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September 21st, 2012
Grijalva Statement on Justice Department Inspector General Report on Responsibility for “Fast and Furious” Gun Trace Program Failures

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijava released the following statement today on the recently released Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (IG) report on the controversial “Fast and Furious” program. The report was requested on February 28, 2011, by Attorney General Eric Holder, who was blamed by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and other Republicans for the program’s failures. The IG report clears Holder of wrongdoing.

“The first priority here is not politics. This is a time to recognize the service of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terryand the life he gave to protect his country. His life’s work was our security, which we sometimes take for granted.The last thing we should do is turn his memory into a political football. He deserves better.

“His family has made a very eloquent plea for accountability, and this report provides it. It also debunks many of the extreme, cavalier allegations Republicans have made over the past 18 months. It is now clear, once and for all, that neither Attorney General Holder nor senior Justice Department officials authorized the flawed gun-walking tactics that started under the Bush administration in 2006.It is time to recognize that fact and move on. Continued witch hunts are a waste of everyone’s time and do a disservice to the principle of serious oversight.

“The failures of ‘Fast and Furious’ were inexcusable and must never be repeated. Nobody is defending the program. The question is who was responsible for designing and executing it. We now have those answers. Using Attorney General Holder as a political scapegoat is inappropriate and unprofessional, and it has to come to an end.

“Although this report cannot offer deeper solace to the Terry family, I hope it at least provides some of the answers they have been searching for since Agent Terry’s death.I also hope politicians who want to use his death for partisan ends think twice from now on.”

Summary of DOJ Inspector General Report on Operation Fast and Furious and Operation Wide Receiver

No finding that the Attorney General authorized, approved of, or knew about “gunwalking”

  • The Inspector General’s report found “no evidence that Attorney General Holder was informed about Operation Fast and Furious, or learned about the tactics employed by ATF in the investigation, prior to January 31, 2011.” (p.297)
  • The Inspector General’s report does not support Chairman Issa’s claims that gunwalking was “an approved plan, uh, that, you know, is basically at the highest levels of the Obama appointees” and that DOJ “authorized every aspect of this … at the highest level.” (Rep. Issa on the Roger Hedgecock Show, April 25, 2011)

Gunwalking started under the Bush Administration in 2006

  • The Inspector General’s report concluded that Operation Wide Receiver “was noteworthy because it informed our understanding of how these tactics were used by ATF more than three years before Operation Fast and Furious was initiated.” (p. 27)

Gunwalking began in Operation Wide Receiver under the Bush administration

  • The Inspector General’s report found that ATF agents in Operation Wide Receiver “knew that the subjects were purchasing firearms for other persons, converting firearms to illegal weapons, and transporting firearms to Mexico. However, during the course of Operation Wide Receiver, agents did not arrest any subjects and seized less than a quarter of the more than 400 firearms purchased.” (p. 28)

Operation Fast and Furious was a ground-up operation

  • The Inspector General’s report found that “Operation Fast and Furious and related matters revealed a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment, and management failures that permeated ATF Headquarters and the Phoenix Field Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.” (p. 471)
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