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. Bill, Bloomington Il

    If Holder didnt know what was going on for 2 1/2 years, that would also be a crime.

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

    So doing something criminally stupid, something that gets a man killed, gets a few people a slap on the wrist–and Holder lets himself off the hook with the oldest excuse in the book, "No one ever told me..."

    How about an honest investigation rather than a corrupt organisation "investigating" itself (read "covering its own posterior")?

    September 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      No way Holder did not know. Unreal that he would know nothing. And may go all the way to BO. But they covered themselves nicely it appears. Now they can continue their assault on our rights.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Sure, as soon as the investigation into the missing WMDs is complete!

      September 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cheech

    2006? Smells like Dick Cheney.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      And Karl Rove...

      September 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ind.

    As long as this administration is not implemented in any way the administration will go along with hanging someone out to dry.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Yes, and good thing. We need to keep things running smoothly and let Romney and lying ryan keep shooting themselves in the foot. This looks like Dick Cheneys work.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      You mean like the repugs did to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?

      September 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia Jones

      Yes!

      September 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. EddieHaskell

    Eric Holder should be prosecuted.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Sure, as soon as GWB, Dick Cheyney and Donald Rumsfeld are tried and executed for treason and mass murder.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JinNH

    Executive Privilege was needed why? There was something to hide when Obama made this claim. This is not over with nor should it be.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pushover

    If it is not Holder or Obama, it doesn't matter.

    But I guess thats why CNN demands our email addreses, so we can be "educated"

    September 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    If this report, which comes from the Justice Dept is accurate, then Holder is completely incompetent. If it's not accurate, then he's a criminal.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      So because Attorney General Holder didn't know what was going on he's imcompetent? I guess by that same token that makes Ronald Reagan incompetent because he didn't know about the Iran-Contra operation. And while we're on the same subject let's talk about two people who DID know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and lied about it anyway. Their names are Bush and Cheney, in case you're forgotten.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edward Hazzard

      According to the Democrats, ignorance (in the case of Holder) is an acceptable defense. He claims to have not known what one of his departments was doing therefore he must be innocent. And, from the sound of it, they are getting rid of anyone who could speak to what actually happened and who actually knew about it. No witnesses... no crime! Sounds like the Justice Department is cleaning house Chicago-style! LOL

      September 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    I'm willing to bet that had an independent council investigated, the outcome would be far different.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Then perhaps we'd discover what ever happened to the WMDs and why GWB and company should be tried for treason and mass murder. .

      September 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Next time you say something so ignorant Bill look up the functions of the Inspector General. You might be surprised.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joel

    It's hard to believe that people who sold weapons to known criminals didn't commit any crimes in so doing. Perhaps there is an exception written into the statute that says that ATF agents are exempt from gun sale laws? Or is this just an example, of, "We're the government. We don't care whether our employees committed federal criminal offenses. We and all of our employees are above the law, whenever and wherever we feel like it, either before or after the fact."

    September 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chill

    No one is blaming Bush. The report states that the operation was mostly contrived and run at the field level in AZ. Neither Bush nor Obama nor either of their AGs had advance knowledge of it according to the Inspector General. It's well known that some version of the scheme was running as early as 2006.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mb2010a

    Especially if the "independent council" happened to be a Republican...

    September 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James

    Or to put it more succinctly...

    Obama finds a way out of his own Watergate.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chuck

    You did a great job burying this news story CNN, as expected.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ind.

    How much debt do we have Obama? Oh yeah you don't know.

    Ignorance is bliss for democrats.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
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