September 19th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Fast and Furious report finds DOJ management failures

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Fourteen employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Justice Department face disciplinary action for their roles in the botched Fast and Furious weapons-tracking program, according to a report released Wednesday by department investigators. No criminal charges are recommended, according to the report.

The program was doomed by a "series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures" on the part of line agents, prosecutors and senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, Justice Department investigators concluded in a report released Wednesday.

The report does not recommend any criminal sanctions against individuals in connection with the controversial gun-trafficking operation.

The report finds that Attorney General Holder was not informed of the controversial ATF operation until 2011 after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

Parents say slain agent's death exposed flaws of gun-running operation

"I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now: The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006; The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and The Department’s leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Read Holder's full statement

Holder said he has accepted the resignations of Kenneth Melson, the former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein in connection with their roles in the Fast and Furious weapons-tracking program.

"Today’s report affirms the problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the previous Administration, and it was this Administration’s Attorney General who ended it," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. "Nevertheless, The Justice Department has taken strong steps to ensure accountability and make sure this does not happen again, including important administrative, policy, and personnel changes. If Republicans still have any legitimate questions about Fast and Furious, this 450-page report answers them. In light of this thorough report and Congress’s 16 month-long investigation, Republicans have no excuse to keep wasting time and taxpayer resources on politically-motivated, election-year attacks."

The botched investigation was designed to track trafficking kingpins responsible for illegal gunrunning to Mexico. It has been blamed for contributing to crimes - including the high-profile slaying of a U.S. border agent - and has become a partisan bone of contention heading into the November elections.

The report is important because of its scope - it is the result of more than a year of research - and for its conclusions, which could stir even more partisan attacks, depending on its outcome. The report is expected to conclude whether the botched plan was mostly the doing of agents in Arizona, or if the Obama administration played a central role.

In the controversy over its handling, conservative Washington legislators voted down party lines to cite the U.S. attorney general - a Democrat - for contempt. It marked the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.

soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. AL in West Palm Beach, FL


    I swear Obama was born before then, HE IS RESPONSIBLE.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OtherSF.

    Im waiting for Romney's comment...

    September 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CaesarXIII

    Government failure at its best.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tgregory

    "The report does not recommend any criminal sanctions against individuals in connection with the controversial gun-trafficking operation."

    Funny... the government makes gun owners out to look like the bad guys, but when the government actually IS the bad guy they get no punishment.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wolfpackbob

    ".....according to a report released Wednesday by department investigators." Wow, how is that for an independent review. The DOJ is almost as big a joke as Eric Holder. The Department of Justice. Right. Yesterday, there was Freedom of Information (6 months late) emails released between the DOJ and Media Matters, the Soros mouthpiece. What a disgrace and cesspool that department has become. Just another political tool for President Obama.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      Remember, this is the same DOJ that dropped charges agianst the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, after the Bush Administration had won the case! Do you really expect ethical behavior from this bunch of Chicago mobsters?

      September 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • boffo

      Actually, this was done by the inspector general, who is not hired by the attorney general and whose statutory and budgetary authority is independent of the department. So, no, this was not an attempt by Holder and DOJ to sweep it under the rug. I suggest you inform yourself about the inspector general system. But why have information when you can just recycle stale talking points?

      September 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      boffo, who appoints the inspector general? The president.

      Who does the inspector general ultimately report to? The president.

      Who is the inspector general's direct superior? The head of the DOJ.

      You you would have us believe that the inspector general is unbiased when doing a report that could conclude Holder and Obama had known about this and that they lied? Yeah right.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GI Joe

    2006 folks.

    2 0 0 6 -----– Read the article.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Leeford

    WoW the GOP just cant seem to get a break.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rachel

    Will Eric Holder be one of the people held reponsible? I'm guessing not.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pan3

    Since 2006... let's see... who was in power then...?

    September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pjoe

    So Eric Holder investigates Eric Holder and finds that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious until 2011?

    If you believe Eric Holder, you are part of the 47%.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • oreo

      dems see nothing wrong about this. so it must be fair.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Randy

    So a report by an Obama appointee states that Obama and another appointee were not involved in one of the most insane ideas to come out of DC in decades and all just before the election. What a shocker! I would have trusted the report more had an independent counsel been in charge.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. julnor

    Hopefully two of those employess are Holder and Obama.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tr1Xen

    The AG needs to face some "disciplinary action" for contempt of Congress.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. oreo

    real surprising did anyone actually think the ADMIN and their thugs would get in any trouble? Please. laws only protect those in power.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GI Joe

    19 days to early voting in some states.

    ANYBODY but Ryan/Romney - the vulture/voucher duo.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • aj

      Am I the only one that thinks what a waste of time it is to have the justice department investigate the justice department. Tell me the DOJ didn't dictate these findings when they mention it went back to 2006. Operation Wide Receiver was stopped prior to this administration and had nothing to do with Fast and Furious. They found that Wide Receiver didn't work and they stopped it before our current President took office. So why bring it up unless this is politically motivated. Plus, I am not buying that something this big was not known by someone higher up the DOJ food chain. Why would the President claim executive privilidge if this was field driven.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
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