A review board for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has recommended that four managers be let go over the botched “Fast and Furious” gunrunning mission in 2009 and 2010.
The officials will lose their jobs, and two other ATF employees will be disciplined, after the agency lost track of most of the weapons sold to drug dealers in an attempt to catch the powerful leaders of Mexican drug cartels, reported the Wall Street Journal
The Bureau’s Professional Review Board is recommending the actions after Republican lawmakers pressured the agency to hold its employees accountable after what the Justice Department called “a pattern of serious failures” in the mission.
The mission was part of Project Gunrunner, a series of missions that allowed licensed U.S. gun dealers to sell weapons to buyers known to be taking them to drug cartels in Mexico. The idea was to track the guns to those running the cartels in an effort to topple the massive Mexican drug trade plaguing that country.
Fast and Furious involved about 2,000 guns being sold to smugglers for the cartels. ATF lost track of many of them, however, recovering only 100 — with many showing up at crime scenes in both the U.S. and Mexico.
One of the weapons was used in a shootout with border police in Arizona, resulting in the death of U.S. border agent Brian Terry.
The Terry family, and many members of Congress, believe that his death could have been avoided if he’d known that the operations — including Fast and Furious — were going on in the area he patrolled.
Terry’s border patrol team had to deal with the distribution of those weapons, according to CBS News, which his family told the network is at least partially to blame for his death in December 2010.
"If Brian and his team had known about this information, they would have been on a far more defensive posture and would have taken appropriate measures to protect themselves from harm," the family said in a statement last year.
“These officials failed in their primary mission and it resulted in the death of Brian Terry."
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