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7 31 12 Ff Part i Final Report

7 31 12 Ff Part i Final Report

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Published by Daniel Hopsicker

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Published by: Daniel Hopsicker on Sep 04, 2012
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A failure to supervise: Though he was a senior ATF official and
received frequent updates on Operation Fast and Furious, Mark
Chait played a surprisingly passive role during the operation. He
failed to provide the supervisory oversight that his experience should
have dictated and his position required.

A. Position and Role

On November 25, 2009, ATF Assistant Director for Field Operations Mark Chait learned
that 20 firearms recovered in Mexico had been purchased in two transactions. Chait learned that
the firearms had times-to-crime of as little as one day.597

Chait immediately recognized “how

hot this is” and wrote to Bill Newell “to make sure we put all resources on this.”598

Chait wanted
ATF to start working its way up the straw purchasing chain by interviewing the transporter of the
guns, the exact steps the Phoenix Field Division should have been taking.599

Newell informed
Chait that the firearms recovery was already part of an active Phoenix case—Operation Fast and

Two weeks later, on December 6, 2009, Acting Director Ken Melson designated Chait as
the ATF point-of-contact for a new initiative between ATF and the Justice Department’s
Criminal Division.601

The arrangement called for a Criminal Division attorney to “help

coordinate weapons seizure investigations.”602

Shortly thereafter, Chait forwarded Deputy
Director Hoover his prior e-mail correspondence with Newell regarding the significant weapons
recovery in Sonora, Mexico. Chait apparently believed that ATF should cooperate with the
Department’s Criminal Division on Fast and Furious.603

In preparation for a meeting with the Criminal Division in mid-December 2009 as part of
this coordination, Chait ordered his subordinates to prepare an i2 chart of the Phoenix

This intelligence analysis tool generated a visual chart linking all of the suspected
straw purchasers into a single network. Chait wanted to show the Criminal Division how much


E-mail from Mark Chait to William Newell (Nov. 25, 2009) [HOGR 001983-001984] (Exhibit 29).






E-mail from William Newell to Mark Chait (Nov. 25, 2009) [HOGR 001983] (Exhibit 29).


E-mail from Kenneth Melson to Lanny Breuer and Mark Chait (Dec. 6, 2009) [HOGR 001985] (Exhibit 247).


E-mail from Jason Weinstein to Kevin Carwile and James Trusty (Dec. 6, 2009) [HOGR 003405] (Exhibit 248).


See e-mail from Mark Chait to William Hoover (Dec. 9, 2009) [HOGR 001983] (Exhibit 29).


E-mail from Lorren Leadmon to David Voth and Hope MacAllister (Dec. 17, 2009) [HOGR 001887] (Exhibit



progress ATF had made in identifying Fast and Furious suspects. According to Jason Weinstein,
Lanny Breuer was “very eager” for somebody from the Criminal Division to work with Chait on
this initiative.605

Chait reciprocated this interest by delivering a detailed briefing on Fast and
Furious to the Criminal Division on December 17, 2009. At this briefing, Chait was able to
explain the chart in detail.606

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