Three Officials Make Excuses over Roles in Fast & Furious

Several officials named in Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on Operation Fast & Furious have spoken out: it’s not our fault!

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein resigned shortly after the report was released and was the highest official named to be responsible. He claims he was scapegoated and released a memo titled “Fact vs. Fiction” in an effort to clear his name. In one point he tried to claim he couldn’t know about gun walking from the ATF's wiretap applications. It is odd that he is the only one who received criticism even though other top-level officials, including Attorney General’s second in command Lanny Breuer, signed off on them. But it doesn’t change the fact that anyone who read the applications knew gun walking was taking place. 

But did he even read them? Mr. Weinstein said for decades it’s not unusual for senior officials to only review summaries of wiretap affidavits. If this is true, then it shows he and anyone else who does this is incompetent, which doesn’t help his case. Wiretaps are a huge invasion of privacy and should only be used as the last resort. They are required to read the applications. If he didn't, it proves incompetence. 

Mr. Horowitz also slammed then-Assistant Director of Field Operations for ATF, Mark Chait, for not reviewing the wiretap applications according to ATF policy. Instead, his subordinate Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon signed four of the nine wiretap applications. Mr. Chait said it’s “been common practice at the ATF” to delegate this duty. Mr. Horowitz replied, “the terms of the ATF order impose a duty on the Assistant Director… and does not contemplate redelegation of such authority.”

Mr. Chait’s response? The ATF policy is “unduly,” “robotic,” and “antiquated.”

The IG report found that ATF Phoenix Field Division Special Agent in Charge William Newell “fully supported the strategy behind Fast & Furious, and did not adequately assess the risk it could have to public safety.” Instead of denying this, Mr. Newell and his lawyer said the IG report should have given more tips on how to prevent another Fast & Furious. Yes, that is their rebuttal. People like Mr. Newell have to be told walking guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels is a bad idea and probably shouldn’t happen.

This operation allowed guns to walk into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. People used the guns to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and over 300 Mexican citizens. No one within the Department of Justice has been held accountable. They’ve been allowed to resign quietly and move on to other cushy jobs or been reassigned to another position.

This Department of Justice is littered with unprofessional people. Their answers to the IG report do not make them appear any better. If anything it makes them look worse because they admit to not following ATF policy.

Agent Terry and the 300 Mexican citizens are dead, yet these people don't care. They still think they didn't do anything wrong. Shame on them.


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