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Final Minority Report - Online

Final Minority Report - Online

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Published by: valeriesjunkmail on Feb 01, 2012
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Committee on Oversight and Government ReformU.S. House of RepresentativesJanuary 2012
Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona
For information related to this report, please contact:Minority Staff, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform(202) 225-5051http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/Cover photo by inspireyed Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license
 January 30, 2012
Dear Members of the Commiee on Oversight and Government Reform:On December 15, 2010, Brian Terry, an Agent in an elite Customs and Border Protectiontactical unit, was killed in a gunght 18 miles from the Mexican border. Two AK-47 variantassault ries found at the scene were traced back to purchases by one of the targets of aninvestigation called Operation Fast and Furious being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). When he purchased these weapons, the target hadalready been identied as a suspected straw purchaser involved with a large network of rearmstrackers illegally smuggling guns to deadly Mexican drug cartels. Despite knowing abouthundreds of similar purchases over a year-long period, ATF interdicted only a small number ofrearms and delayed making arrests.Last June, I pledged to Agent Terry’s family that I would try to nd out what led to thisoperation that allowed hundreds of rearms to be released into communities on both sides of the border. Following the Commiee’s year-long investigation of this maer, I directed my sta tocompile this report to provide some of those answers. I instructed them to focus on the facts wehave discovered rather than the heated and sometimes inaccurate rhetoric that has characterizedmuch of this investigation.As a result, this report tells the story of how misguided gunwalking operations originatedin 2006 as ATF’s Phoenix Field Division devised a strategy to forgo prosecutions against low-level straw purchasers while they aempted to build bigger charges against higher-level cartelmembers. Unfortunately, this strategy failed to include sucient operational controls to stopthese dangerous weapons from geing into the hands of violent criminals, creating a danger topublic safety on both sides of the border.The report describes how, rather than halting this operation aer its aws became evident,ATF’s Phoenix Field Division launched several similarly reckless operations over the course ofseveral years, also with tragic results. Operation Fast and Furious was the fourth in a series ofoperations in which gunwalking—the non-interdiction of illegally purchased rearms that couldand should be seized by law enforcement—occurred since 2006.This report also details complaints by ATF line agents and senior ocials in Washington,who told the Commiee that these failures were aggravated and compounded by the Arizona

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