"Fast and Furious" started as a way to capture drug dealers in violent Mexican drug cartels. It ended as part of a scandal involving the Barack Obama presidency that had to be wrapped up following unnecessary deaths.
Here are eight facts about the failed operation that many people aren't aware of.
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1. The project that became known as Fast and Furious began in November 2009 and took place out of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) office.
Gun-buyers, many of whom the feds suspected were criminals, were permitted to take firearms purchased in the U.S. and walk into Mexico without interference from agents; the intention was that once the guns were sold to powerful drug cartels, the ATF would later trace the firearms. Whistleblowers and investigators, however, found no attempt to trace the guns.
2. Some ATF agents became concerned the weapons were being used for crimes. On Dec. 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed during a gunfight. Guns in the shootout were involved in the Fast and Furious operation, it was later learned.
3. More than 2,000 guns were sold to suspected criminals thought to be linked to Mexican drug gangs in the two years of the operation under the Obama presidency.
A similar operation took place years before under the Bush administration. Called "Operation Wide Receiver," it also failed in tracking down gun and drug traffic, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
4. Agents came forward in 2010 to speak with Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa who was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley began to work with GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. ATF director Ken Melson, who would later be moved to a different position, began talking secretly with Grassley and Issa.
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5. Following moves by the White House to use executive privilege in an attempt to halt emails related to the case, and contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012, many documents were finally handed over to Issa’s House Oversight Committee in November 2014.
Emails from Holder reveal his contempt for the committee — he refers to Issa "and his idiot cronies," the Wall Street Journal reported.
6. Emails released to Judicial Watch,
a group that filed suit to obtain legal documents from the Justice Department, show Holder’s direct involvement with officials throughout the Justice Department and the ATF in how to handle congressional inquiries and ways to format talking points about Fast and Furious.
7. The operation started to fall apart inside as U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who headed the Phoenix office, became angry with Special Agent John Dodson for reporting on the bungled program before Congress.
Burke, who was later forced to resign in 2011, leaked information about Dodson’s activities in the operation to Fox News. An inspector general’s report cited Burke’s actions in violation of Justice Department policy.
8. It has been alleged by the National Rife Association and the New American that the killing
of hundreds of Mexicans and even some U.S. law enforcement officers because of the Fast and Furious program was going to be used by the Barack Obama administration as an excuse for more gun control.
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