Three supervisors heavily implicated in the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives’ controversial Mexican gunrunning scheme have been promoted and moved quietly to Washington, D.C.
The trio, William McMahon, ATF deputy director in the west, and Phoenix field officers William Newell and David Voth, have all been criticized for their part in Operation Fast and Furious.
They received their promotions due to “the skills and abilities they have demonstrated throughout their careers,” the agency’s acting director Kenneth Melson said in an agency-wide confidential memo, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Fast and Furious, which ran for 14 months, was a scheme that allowed the sale of weapons to known gunrunners. The idea was to trace the weapons as they were smuggled across the border into the hands of drug cartel kingpins.
But it all went wrong and ATF lost track of 80 percent of the guns, which have been used in numerous crimes in Mexico and have been involved in the deaths of US border agent Brian Terry and immigration officer Jaime Zapata.
McMahon, who was promoted at the weekend to deputy assistant director of the division of the ATF that investigates misconduct by employees, told a House committee investigating Fast and Furious that he had made serious mistakes.
“I share responsibility for mistakes that were made,” he said at the committee meeting last month. “The advantage of hindsight, the benefit of a thorough review of the case, clearly points me to things that I would have done differently.”
Newell, who was special agent in charge of the field office for Arizona and New Mexico has been promoted to assistant director of ATF’s office of management, while Voth, the on-the-ground supervisor for Fast and Furious, has become Washington branch chief of ATF’s tobacco division.
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