Fast and Furious report singles out 5 ATF officials

Tuesday , July 31, 2012 - 9:56 AM

Brian Terry was killed in a shootout on the U.S. side of the border with weapons from Operation...

Peter Yost

WASHINGTON — After an 18-month investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, a Republican congressional draft report concludes that five officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives share much of the blame for what went wrong with the gun-smuggling probe in Arizona.

The first of what will be three reports says many people in the chain of command at ATF are responsible, but the investigation singled out five key figures in the controversy, ranging from the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Phoenix field division up to the agency’s director.

In Operation Fast and Furious, agents employed a controversial tactic called gun-walking — allowing low-level "straw" buyers in gun-trafficking networks to proceed with loads of weapons that they purchased at gun shops in Arizona. The tactic was designed to track guns to major weapons traffickers and drug cartels, but many of the weapons weren’t tracked and wound up at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including the site of a shootout on the U.S. side of the border that resulted in the death of a border agent, Brian Terry.

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