Congressional Republicans: Why Are Fast and Furious Staff Still at ATF?

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 07:00 PM

By Cathy Burke

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House and Senate Republicans are demanding to know why major ATF personnel involved in the "reckless" Fast and Furious gun-running operation are still working at the agency.

In a letter sent Monday to B. Todd Jones, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and reported by Town Hall on Tuesday, House Oversight Committee head Darrell Issa and the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, said the family of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry had contacted the lawmakers to ask why no one has been fired since Terry's death Dec. 15, 2010.

"Weapons from the reckless Fast and Furious Operation were found at the the scene of his murder," the letter noted.

"Although Operation Fast and Furious took place before you became Director of ATF, the disciplinary actions against the ATF agents who designed, conducted, and managed the reckless operation has fallen squarely within your tenure at the head of the agency."

The congressmen also railed that even though several ATF agents chose to retire or leave rather than face discipline, "three key players" continue to work at the agency: agent Hope MacAllister, and group supervisor David Voth and special agent in charge William Newell.

An Inspector General's report in September 2012 blasted Newell in particular, the letter said, finding:

"Overall, we found that ... Newell's conduct with respect to ... Fast and Furious was irresponsible, and that he failed to provide the leadership and judgment required of a Special Agent in Charge."

The lawmakers called it "inexcusable that, 19 months after these findings became public, ATF has provided Congress with no information about whether, or to what extent, these employees have been held accountable. "

"The repeated faulty judgment of MacAllister, Voth, and Newell severely jeopardized public safety during Fast and Furious, and ATF’s failure to account for what disciplinary action, if any, has been taken is an affront to the family of Brian Terry," the letter concluded.

Issa, a Colorado Republican, and Grassley also slammed the approval given to former ATF Agent Bill McMahon to double dip — pocketing his $200,000 per year salary with JPMorgan, the bank that holds ATF credit cards, while getting paid ATF leave.

Jones is set to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday in front of the House Oversight Committee, which also is examining the ATF's notorious storefront gun stings.

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