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.

FULL STORY
soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Dale

    Upper-level management getting disciplined or fired, or are they lower level didn't have anything to do with it but follow orders sacrificial scapegoats.

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

      Dale: You took the precise words out of my "pen". They are scape-goats" and the "Divider in Chief" and his contemptuos Attorney (Mr. Holder) think mistakenly that this is over. No way.........

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

    I'm an Obama supporter and will definitely be voting for him on Election day, BUT, having said that, I do find it really hard to believe that Eric Holder had NO knowledge of F&F until the 2011 killing. All of these agencies are under the Homeland Security umbrella, and I'm sure he has briefings about anything happening under that umbrella. Maybe I'm misinformed, in which case feel free to correct me. Although I am a supporter, I am also not a lemming and I know where President Obama has failed in my expectations of him. Nobody could have done any better, as far as I'm concerned. Peace!

    September 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack 63

      If you think that Holder and Obama didn't know about F a F your name should not be NativeSonKY it should be NaiveSonKY!

      September 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      If only the repugs could tell us where the WMDs are!

      September 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • JCGUY

      Think about it. The article states the misguided tactics were field driven. Do you think they would actually tell on themselves if they were not following the tactics set out by the administration? My take on the article is that those in the field felt a different approach was warranted, therefore, took it upon themselves to change it. I highly doubt they would report back.. "Yeah, we didn't like your plan, so we changed it.". So I would surmise they reported back things were going as planned. Until the killing, then admin started investigating and discovered plans had been changed.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dubrats

    the fox is minding the hen house...did anyone ever think there would be charges for this?.....pitiful....our gov't is nothing more than thugs in suits...when did we americans become so gullible?

    September 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • blobert

      And what makes you so certain your beliefs in this are correct?

      September 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. s

    and STILL no one is reporting that these larger scale "gun walking" operations have been going since at least '06...

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

      So what? A gun walking operation going on under the Bush admin, that didn't lead to deaths as far as we know, doesn't absolve Obama's responsibility for a gun walking operation that happened under his administration which resulted in hundreds of deaths.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. EatThemUpYum

    The "management failure" rests in the hands of Holder and Obama. Sacrificing middle or lower management means they are trying to sweep this under the rug.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • kilowatt23

      Your response is truly pathetic but expected. Facts? What facts? Facts only get in the way.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Hopefully they find the WMDs under the rug or on Crawford ranch!

      September 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Liberals only blame the top level when they are 1 percenters. Apparently they don not realize that Obama is a 1% er.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. crabapples23

    I think what bothers me most about government in recent history is they don't even try to hide their lies anymore, they just drop trow and do it right in your face. The question I have is if Holder didn't know of an operation this large, who are the faceless, unregulated field agents giving the green lights on things like this? Furthermore, why is nobody acountable? Sorry folks this is not a partisan issue, many people lost their lives over this.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. julnor

    "The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics;"

    Then how can Obama claim executive privelege? Hmmmm.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dd

    Holder is responsible. He is the CEO of Justice! Fire him!

    September 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dave

    Is anyone surprised at the outcome of this report? With Obama using his power to hide information, was there any doubt of the outcome? Of course it was the previous administration, everything is Bush's fault according to the Obama whitehouse. Do you really believe anything our government tells you?

    September 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dubrats

    FIRE HOLDER.....FIRE HOLDER......FIRE HOLDER....

    September 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jack

    The dems were accusing the GOP of carrying out a witch-hunt when F&F investigations started .... nice to see vindication, 14 in trouble & one top DOJ official resigned (so far) after this report !! Holder & his cronies are as crooked as Hussein OBama .. November can't arrive soon enough

    September 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TOMG

    KARMA

    September 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rosslaw

    Outstanding from the right wing view. Law enforcement is now put on notice that any attempt to control the massive sale from the United States of military level weapons to drug cartels, homicidal warlords the world over or terrorists will place those law enforcement at risk of sanctions or imprisonment. Mission accomplished!

    September 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Semi automatic weapons are not "war grade weapons".

      September 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Or "Military grade"

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

    WHAT GO AROUND MUST KARMA COME BACK AROUND DOG WORLD

    September 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheTruth

    Blaming Bush AGAIN ???? And the White House spokesman declares that the report is complete and accurate, so Republicans can't use it any more – yeah, this is an honest, unbiased report alright ....... despite contradicting/denying so many known and substantiated facts. Sounds a bit more like revisionist history designed to kill a legitimate election year issue.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dop73

      The program started under Bush and was continued under Obama.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wisconsin

      you should change your username....you are NOT telling "the truth"

      September 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      F&F was not started under Bush, get informed before spouting off lies. gun walking as a tactic does date back to operation wide receiver, which was run under Bush and shut down before Obama.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
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