Justice Department shrugs off Fast and Furious report
Source: LA Times
WASHINGTON — Top Justice Department officials largely dismissed a new House Republican report on the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, saying Tuesday that they have moved ahead with major reforms to prevent future incidents of U.S. firearms being lost and smuggled across the border into Mexico.
Further, the attorney for the ATF special agent in charge in Phoenix, who oversaw Fast and Furious, lashed out at Republican congressional leaders, calling their report a "political witch hunt" aimed less at finding fault than pinning Democrats with negative political fallout from Fast and Furious.
The report by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, concluded that five supervisors at the federalBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were collectively responsible for Fast and Furious, which allowed about 2,500 weapons to be illegally purchased in Arizona.
But Tracy Schmaler, the top spokeswoman at the Justice Department, said the report was filled with "distortions and now-debunked conspiracy theories." She did, however, credit the report for acknowledging that the idea for "gun walking" — allowing illegal weapons sales on the border — originated under the Republican administration before her boss, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., took office in 2009.