Joint staff report on Operation Gunwalker
Pdf here. It's pretty damning.
"The Department’s leadership allowed the ATF to implement this flawed strategy, fully aware of what was taking place on the ground. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona encouraged and supported every single facet of Fast and Furious. Main Justice was involved in providing support and approving various aspects of the Operation, including wiretap applications that would necessarily include painstakingly detailed descriptions of what ATF knew about the straw buyers it was monitoring."
"While leadership at ATF and DOJ no doubt regard these deaths as tragic, the deaths were a clearly foreseeable result of the strategy. Both line agents and gun dealers who cooperated with the ATF repeatedly expressed concerns about that risk, but ATF supervisors did not heed those warnings. Instead, they told agents to follow orders because this was sanctioned from above. They told gun dealers not to worry because they would make sure the guns didn’t fall into the wrong hands."
"After months and months of investigative work, Fast and Furious resulted only in indictments of 20 straw purchasers. Those indictments came only after the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry."
"It was not until after whistleblowers later reported the issue to Congress that the Justice Department
finally issued a policy directive that prohibited gunwalking."
Email from a supervisor: "Whether you care or not, people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case .... we are the tip of the ATF spear when it comes to Southwest Border firearms trafficking ... If you don't think this is fun you are on the wrong line of work, period!"
That's about as strong a statement of "if you don't like running guns to Mexico, HQ will see that you are fired" as you are likely to see in a bureaucratic communication.
A whistleblower agent: "When we hit the ground in Phoenix, say, and the original 40 straw purchasers were identified, and I can’t remember if it is 240 or 270 guns that they knew at that point that these guys were responsible for ... we should have landed on every one of those people the minute that we hit here. And the ones that we landed on that we couldn’t make cases on, at least they would have been on notice that we were watching and they would have stopped buying, or every time they did, the flag went up and we could have been on them then.
And of all the ones that we didn’t land on, several of them would have spoken to us, a couple of them even maybe would have worked for us as a confidential informant or sources, which is how you climb the ladder in an investigation into an organization."
Another agent: "I cannot see anyone who has one iota of concern for human life being okay with this..."
An agent so frustrated at being told NOT to stop a straw buyer's car full of guns that his radio response made other agents think he was in distress and needed help. The buyer had spotted that he was being tailed and there was no longer any reason to hold off and let him get away. "there is a verbal screaming match over the radio about how . . . what are you talking about? There is no better time or reason to pull this guy over than right now."
Agent describes a supervisor: "Whenever he would get a trace report back . . . he was jovial, if not, not giddy, but just delighted about that, hey, 20 of our guns were recovered with 350 pounds of dope in Mexico last night. And it was exciting." Supervisors saying, if want an omelette, you have to break some eggs.
A DoJ letter: "At the outset, the allegation described in your January 27 letter – that ATF “sanctioned” or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico – is false." Another: "It remains our understanding that ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious did not knowingly permit straw buyers to take guns into Mexico."