Wed Jun 27, 2012, 04:47 PM
cal04 (39,030 posts)
Fortune: ATF Never Purposefully Let Guns Walk During Fast And Furious
Last edited Wed Jun 27, 2012, 05:59 PM - Edit history (2)
One day ahead of a House vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, a six month investigation by Fortune magazine found that Arizona-based agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives never purposefully allowed guns to “walk” during Operation Fast and Furious.
The extensive piece by investigative journalist Katherine Eban puts a dent in what had been accepted as common wisdom by congressional investigators and journalists alike. Based on a review of over 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviews with 39 people (including seven law-enforcement agents with “direct knowledge of the case”), the story concludes that agents never purposefully allowed weapons to be trafficked. Agents told Fortune they “seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.”
At one point during the investigation, the head of the unit Dave Voth was emailed by an ATF colleague in Texas who had picked up a number of weapons connected to the case and asked if they were just going to allow guns to “walk.”
“I am very offended by your e-mail,” Voth wrote back in August 2010. “Define walk? Without Probable Cause and concurrence from the USAO (U.S. Attorney’s Office) it is highway robbery if we take someone’s property.”
read the whole piece here
The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal
A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.
Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general's report is submitted.)
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