Justice Department Faulted In Gun-Trafficking Operation

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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UPDATE: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Two senior Justice Department officials are leaving their jobs, after the release of a report that faulted the agency's handling of a gun-trafficking probe in Arizona.

The probe, called Operation Fast and Furious, resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico.

The inspector general's report cited misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures during the bungled operation. More than a dozen people were referred for possible disciplinary action for their roles in the probe and an earlier investigation that was carried out during the George W. Bush administration.

The report didn't criticize Attorney General Eric Holder, but it said lower-level officials should have briefed him about the investigation much earlier.

One of those criticized in the report, Kenneth Melson, retired upon release of the report. He was the former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The report said he "made too many assumptions about the case."

And Justice Department career attorney Jason Weinstein has resigned. He was a deputy assistant attorney general in the department's criminal division in Washington. The report said he was in a position to see the similar "inappropriate tactics" used in the two probes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Justice Department's internal watchdog is faulting the agency for misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures during a bungled gun-trafficking probe in Arizona that resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico.

In a 471-page report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred over a dozen people for possible disciplinary action for their roles in Operation Fast and Furious. The report did not criticize Attorney General Eric Holder.

The report found no evidence that Holder was informed about the operation before Jan. 31, 2011, or that the attorney general was told about the controversial gun-walking tactic employed by the department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


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