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Fast and Furious - Anatomy of a Failed Operation

Fast and Furious - Anatomy of a Failed Operation

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Published by: National Security Internet Archive on Jul 31, 2012
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08/03/2012

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Along with Deputy Director Hoover, in March 2010, Assistant Director Chait requested a
Fast and Furious exit strategy. Chait testified that at that time, ATF leadership saw the need for
the case to be shut down.615

No one complied with the request for an exit strategy, however,

until May 3, 2010—nearly two months later.616

Chait did not do anything during those two

months to speed up the process:

Q. So there was a significant time lag between your request as
[A]ssistant [D]irector and your receipt of the exit strategy?

A. That is correct.

Q. Did you receive any explanation for that timeline?

613

E-mail from Mark Chait to Ken Melson (Feb. 24, 2010) [HOGR 001424-001428] (Exhibit 253).

614

Chait Transcript at 71 (Exhibit 122).

615

Chait Transcript at 26-27 (Exhibit 122).

616

E-mail from William McMahon to Mark Chait (May 3, 2010) [HOGR 001178] (Exhibit 126).

186

A. I really don't recall if there was.

Q. Did it concern you that -- that a request like that had taken over,
well over a month to provide to you and the deputy director?

A. I really don't remember at the time. I mean obviously, you know,
we would have liked to have it sooner.617

This lack of oversight and lax attitude was typical of ATF leadership during Fast and Furious.
No one seemed particularly intent on shutting down the operation. It is difficult to understand
why.

After finally receiving the Fast and Furious exit strategy on May 3, 2010, Chait and
Hoover monitored the Phoenix Field Division’s timeliness. Chait testified about their strategy:

Q.

And were you engaged in the close-out of Operation Fast and
Furious in monitoring the performance of the exit strategy between
when you received the document and the closure of the case in
January of 2011?

A.

I think I would say this. We – I was monitoring it as far as
timeliness.
As far as the specifics, I would leave that for my
deputy and really the command on the ground to carry it out. And
I think there are probably some e-mails and things of me asking
why we – as far as closure, because I was under the impression we
would be able to get this thing closed, I was hoping, in the July
time frame, end of July, possibly August was my impression at the
time.

Q. And did you have discussions with Deputy Director Hoover about
-- about that timeline about the exit strategy?

A. I believe -- I believe I did.618

With McMahon, Chait was part of a discussion in late May and early June 2010

regarding “the transfers of firearms during the course of an investigation” and “what volume of
firearms is acceptable to allow to ‘walk’ before we intervene . . . .”619

However, like McMahon,

Chait does not appear to have addressed this issue with ATF’s Phoenix Field Division.

617

Chait Transcript at 62-63 (Exhibit 122).

618

Chait Transcript at 64 (Exhibit 122).

619

E-mail from Stuart Lowrey to Raymond Rowley (Jun. 1, 2010) [HOGR 002077] (Exhibit 112).

187

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