Published December 08, 2011
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder suggested Thursday that weapons lost during the course of the failed “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation will continue to show up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico “for years to come.”
Holder, in testimony on Capitol Hill that comes as the congressional investigation into the program expands, decried the “gun-walking” tactic used in the operation as “inexcusable” and “wholly unacceptable.” But a day after an influential senator called for the resignation of one of Holder’s top deputies over the scandal, Holder denied department leaders played any role in the crafting of “Fast and Furious.”
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Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.
PICTURES: ATF “Gunwalking” scandal timeline
In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the “big fish.” But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called “gunwalking,” and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3”. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.
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Steve H/T Grouchy