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. Ind.

    Obama also allowed (ignored the obvious warnings) Americans to die in Libya.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      You repugs said Bill Clinton was warned about a possible 9/11 attack before GWB took office and he did nothing about it. Well, if so, what did GWB do about that warning from the Clinton administration to avert the 9/11 attacks? Absolutely nothing! Ludicrous right wing trolls.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ind.

      Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer – If Obama killed your mother you'd still praise him like the messiah you think he is.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark

    So it would come down to Holder either being guilty or just failing to do his job. We learn again and again in this administration, not doing your job is completely acceptable.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      You can't fail to do a job if your underlings do something without your knowledge. It worked for Reagan during Iran-Contra.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bran

    Just like the military, The lowest ranking high rank gets hug out to dry and the higher ups go scott free. An example is Lt William Calley. He spent 3 yrs in at home confinement when his company commander and those the CO reported to knew all about My Lai.

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

      14 "held responsible"... none were actually involved in the direction or management... typical... ALWAYS... Our government has ZERO morals, ethics, and integrity. We're being led to slaughter by these swine. That is my opinion.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DuluthMN

      Eric Holder asks us to believe he knew nothing about the whole business right from the very beginning yet he refuses to hand over communications relating to the case even after being held in contempt of Congress. This doesn't add up, not one bit. Any bets on this being a bigger cover-up than Watergate?

      September 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Soosalah

    Let's blame the Bush administration! That seems to be the preferred answer to everything.

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

      When it's THEIR FAULT, then yes blame them. Dur.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ind.

      rosethornne – Unfortunately it's the left's all inclusive answer along with screaming racist.

      Doesn't matter if it's true of not to democrats.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Well, actually GWB did do some good after all. He created jobs at ground zero in NYC.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • YesLets

      Well, the program was started under the Bush adminstration...

      September 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNNuthin

      A man shoots his wife. He is charged and goes to prison. Someone else buys the house that the shooting happened in. The man living there starts getting harassment from neighbors about him shooting his wife. He didn't shoot his wife, but the neighbors are slow to the news. The man one day get's a ticket for jaywalking. His neighbors find out and say, "That's what you get for shooting your wife." The man tells them, " I never shot my wife. That was the last guy." Later he gets a fine for not cutting his lawn. His neighbors say, "See, that is what you get for jaywalking and shooting your wife." The man says, "I never shot my wife, and I paid my fine for the jaywalking." THAT is what your constant accusations about OBAMA sound like to the rest of us. George W Bush Screwed stuff up. You pretend that every mistake Obama makes is the reason why the world is so messed up. It isn't. Some mistakes add to the trouble but the root mess was SOMEONE else. Mainly your Dub-ya pretzel choking, unflinching when told about the WTC Bush.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • zlulz

      For all you people blaming bush, this was not the same program. Bush's program used GPS trackers on all the devices, cooperated with mexican authorities, and shut down the second they realized some of the trackers were no longer working.

      Obama used no gps trackers, didn't tell Mexico, and is covering it up. Transparency much?

      September 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. johnharry

    yep, they got disciplined into the next higher level paygrade and i wouldnt doubt some got cash bonus's

    September 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mensa member

    Another mess inherited from the disastrous Bush years. The DOJ, with all its components, is an enormously large organization. General Holder was only in office a few months when the agent was tragically killed. To blame Holder is absurd. An Independent Counsel! You must be kidding! After Ken Starr, NEVER!!!

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

      The operation started under Obama, to blame Bush is laughable.

      Another operation, that did not result in deaths or a bunch of lost guns was run under Bush, but they had assistance from Mexican authorities and plans for tracking. Those two things were conveniently lacking in the Obama operation; leading one to wonder if they didn't want to have the guns running free for other motives.

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

      Unfortunately it's normal for the Democrats to blame Bush for everything. The economy is in the tank almost 4 years after Bush left office but Bush is still to blame. The unemployment rate in much of the nation is still over 8% almost 4 years after Bush left office but Bush is still to blame. The housing market tanked and is still extremely weak yet Bush is at fault. This nations military is poised to enter both Syria and Iran but since Bush decided to send troops to Iraq it must all be his fault too. Following this logic I guess I can see why the Democrats believe that forcing legal gun shops to sell 2000 automatic weapons to the Mexican drug cartels and then never even bothering to track them must also be Bush's fault! After all, the program in the Bush administration placed GPS transmitters in the weapons. Operation Fast and Furious did not even do that. When will the liberals of this nation wake up and realize that BOTH parties are opposite sides of the same coin! They are both corrupt and run by people who simply do not care about the needs of the American people! Good grief!

      September 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Dick Cheyney has an implanted heart from a deceased Taliban. Its true says an inside source.

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

    Holder is obviously a racist criminal.


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

      I agree. HOLDER KNOWINGLY allows lawyers and judges to steal cash from victim litigants in OUR corrupt courts. He's been apprised of the crimes – provided EVIDENCE – and IGNORES investigating it. That's atrocious. We need to prohibit lawyers from staffing execuitive and legislative branches of government – then clean it up. It's the only solution.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Charles

    Obama covered with his executive order.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. volsocal

    Did the IG have access to the emails that were denied to Congress? No, they did not. Did they demand to see them? No, they did not. Is the IG that ran this investigation biased? You tell me.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aha stupid

    You republicans cant get nothing to stick on Obama...I loveit.. Now go cry me a river hahaha

    September 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Holder is weak

      You are happy because obama was able to surpress evidence that would have lead to Holder? Wow, it is sad when people put there political party above the country.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yea, the President was supposed to loose the election after the ACA was repealed by the Supreme Court. Hehe. Thank you Justice Roberts! Hehe! Then the sabotaged oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico (thanks to the domestic terrorist group called the Tea Party) was supposed to contaminate the Gulf coast for a hundred years. Now marine scientists are baffled over how all the oil has dissipated and marine life has been restored and how a desaster a hundred times worst than the Exxon Valdez is now just a memory. Hey, as they say, God works in mysterious ways and God has endorsed President Obama. And with God in charge, this President will NOT be defeated. Hehe!

      Obama/Biden 2012 by a landslide.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes Scott

      Holder is weak said:

      "You are happy because obama was able to surpress evidence that would have lead to Holder? Wow, it is sad when people put there political party above the country."

      What is really sad is how frequently RepubliKKKans have placed their political party above the best interest of the nation starting with Nixon and his "Enemies List" and continuing through every RepubliKKKan campaign and administration every since.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Leon

    One US border patrol agent dead is a tragedy. Hundreds of dead Mexicans due to fast and furious is just
    a statistic.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      And our dead troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are just a statistic to the repugs.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zlulz

    So no criminal action for them after their actions have resulted in over 200 civilian deaths with more to come? Only from Obama and Holder.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gagnon Funkhouser

    Holder is a racist disgrace as his pal, the Cord Apologizer. The report is entirely predictable.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Holder is weak

    obama saved Holder from being held responsible. He put his administration ahead of justice and ahead of his country.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
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