Univision: The untold story of what 'Fast and Furious' wrought in Mexico
Sunday evening, Univision airs an investigative report on how the botched 'Fast and Furious' program resulted in a deadly toll in Mexico when US authorities allowed guns to 'walk' across the border.
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The program comes two weeks after a long-awaited DOJ inspector general report was met with bipartisan approval as it chided the Justice Department and ATF for allowing Fast and Furious to ever happen, identified 14 people who should be held responsible, and suggested that the program was ultimately what Mr. Obama and Eric Holder originally said after Agent Terry’s murder: the product of an ill-advised ATF gambit in Phoenix, where employees later tried to cover up the fact that gunwalking was occurring.Skip to next paragraph
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The author of the report, Michael Horowitz, did note to the House Oversight Committee that a person who could have possibly connected Fast and Furious to the White House refused to be interviewed. Mr. Horowitz also faulted the Department of Justice for failing to pick up on what the program entailed, which could have been easily gleaned from wiretap applications sent for approval to the department in Washington.
Under the program, about 2,000 mostly AK-47s and some .50 caliber guns were allowed to be purchased by known straw buyers and “walk” without trace into Mexico. The gunwalking was at first denied by the Justice Department, which then had to concede that the government did indeed knowingly allow guns to cross the border.
Obama has called the program a mistake, but said it had an honorable intent: Under intense pressure to stymie tens of thousands of illegal guns flowing across the border, ATF, building on a smaller Bush-era program that cooperated with Mexican authorities, hoped agents could trace the guns beyond low-level straw buyers and to the highest levels of cartel. Some 40 people were indicted on charges brought using intelligence gleaned from Fast and Furious.
The question remains how far up in the Justice Department knowledge of the program went. Some Republicans suspect that it was a ploy brewed up at the highest levels, including Holder and Obama, to foment support for more domestic gun restrictions.
But Horowitz, the inspector general, found only blame at the lower reaches of the Justice Department, positing that the program was the product of a regional taskforce, not a national subterfuge intended by the administration to sway policy.
No matter how far up knowledge of Fast and Furious actually went, exposure of its true toll in Mexico will likely raise new questions about how such a fatally flawed operation could ever have happened.
In a press release for Sunday’s program, Univision says, “Univision News’ Investigative Unit was also able to identify additional guns that escaped the control of ATF agents and were used in different types of crimes throughout Mexico. Furthermore, some of these guns – none of which were reported by Congressional investigators – were put in the hands of drug traffickers in Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. A person familiar with the recent Congressional hearings called Univision’s findings ‘the holy grail’ that Congress had been searching for.”