The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Four ATF agents contradict Justice Department account on ‘Fast and Furious’

Four Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents in transcribed interviews with top GOP oversight official Darrell Issa’s office are contradicting the Justice Department’s account of “Operation Fast and Furious,” saying hundreds of weapons -– including assault rifles and military-grade sniper weapons -– were allowed to escape into the clutches of Mexican drug cartels in an apparently reckless investigative strategy.

Their testimony raises the question of whether Ronald Weich, a deputy to Attorney General Eric Holder, lied to congressional investigators in a Feb. 4 letter denying the allegations. Weich is testifying before Issa’s committee Wednesday.

The four ATF agents describe how the weapons were tracked from sales at U.S. gun shops but not seized as is normal practice. The goal of the operation was to track the weapons as they progressed from the purchasers through criminal networks.

But two rifles involved in “Fast and Furious” were found at the scene of Border Agent Brian Terry’s murder Dec. 14, 2010, apparently provoking the Justice Department to halt the operation in the aftermath of the murder. Jaime Avila, the purchaser of the guns, had been under surveillance for over a year as he illegally purchased weapons.

The ATF agents’ testimony, from John Dodson, Olindo James Casa, Lawrence Alt and Peter Forceilli, adds additional context and detail to “Fast and Furious” not previously known. The testimony is excerpted in a report from Issa released on the eve of the hearing where Weich is testifying.

Top-ranking Justice Department officials have previously denied the allegations, saying ATF agents made “every effort” to seize weapons purchased illegally. Since earlier blanket denials, however, Justice officials have since narrowed the scope of what they are denying, defining terms in ways the ATF agents say are at odds with common usage.

(RECONSIDER: ‘Wire’ creator to Holder: Reconsider drug war)

The four agents’ account

Dodson, Casa, Alt and Forcelli say they were instructed to watch weapons purchased illegally en route to criminal networks but not seize the weapons as they had been trained.

Forceilli recounted an instance when Casa requested help after facing aggressive and violent behavior from a man that had just illegally purchased guns.

Having “heard an agent that sounded like he was in distress” on the radio, Forceilli said, “what happened was he [Casa] was attempting to do a car stop. And we heard a female agent … telling him to stand down and not do the car stop. I later found out there were guns in the car and that the agent felt distressed because they had made him on the surveillance.”

(AGAIN: Issa schedules second Gunrunner, Fast and Furious hearing)

“Later on I spoke with him. And he said that a car had almost come at him. That’s how aggressive they had become during the surveillance,” Forceilli said.

Dodson estimates 1,730 weapons escaped to the clutches of Mexican drug cartels throughout the lifespan of “Fast and Furious.” Many were later recovered at the scenes of violent crimes.

“This guy comes in, buys 10, 15, 20 AKs or … a 22-year-old girl walks in and dumps $10,000 on … AK-47s in a day, when she is driving a beat-up car that doesn’t have enough metal to hold hubcaps on it. They knew what was going on. The ‘may have facilitated’ to me is kind of erroneous. We did facilitate it. How are we not responsible for the ultimate outcome of these [g]uns?” Dodson said.

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  • Anonymous

    You left out the ultimate sleazoid, US attorney for AZ, a person  without whom the whole operation couldn’t have  gotten off the grounde

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  • americansforgunsDOTcom

    Hopefully this all is the beginning of the end for the corrupt BATFE.
    DEFUND this bunch of criminals NOW!

    • virginiagentleman

      R

  • americansforgunsDOTcom

    “The goal of the operation was to track the weapons as they progressed from the purchasers through criminal networks.”
    ===============

    An absolute bogus lie.
    These guns were allowed to go across the border into Mexico without Mexican authorization.
    OUR agents would NOT have been able to follow them and thus any assertion that this was a routine ‘sting’ operation is a bold faced lie.

    The reason they (Obama, Holder, etc,) cant fess up to what they were doing is because its really going to look bad on our leadership if they KNOWINGLY and ILLEGALLY supplied guns to a SOVEREIGN nations drug gangs while pretending to be on the side of that nations leadership and supposedly fighting the same war against these cartels.

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  • hedge685

    The federal government has moved on from being merely a nuisance in everyday life to being an outright enemy of the people…

  • bigsigh

    Uncle Saul would be so proud of little Eric. One more example of “the ends justify the means”. These idiots have no faith in the people they claim to serve. The Dems will tolerate death and destruction as long as it is done with “good intentions”.

    • nosmiley

      Yeah, it sounds exactly like Dick Cheney’s thoughts.

  • kingfish

    Holder is DIRECTLY responsible, had knowledge, and FAILED to stop this long-term program. I doubt they’ll fire anyone at all being the criminal administration that it is, but at least the spotlight is finally shining on the roaches.

    It’s the jerks in leadership positions in this and other administrations that are the problem, as shown in this case. I applaud these men who stood up to the jerks, and I hope it continues all across America. Silence and acquiesance with the corruption has been our biggest enemy.

    • americansforgunsDOTcom

      “Holder is DIRECTLY responsible,”
      =============
      Absolutely.

      EVEN IF Holder DIDNT know about the operation he still needs to step down or be removed from his position because clearly that would indicate that he is completely incompetent and UNABLE to do the job given to him.

      He’s responsible by default.
      He’s complicit if he knew and derelict of duty if he didnt.
      If my child is hurt because Im letting them play in the street I get charged.
      It should be the same with Holder if he didnt know…and he should be charged with complicity to Brian Terry’s death if he DID know about Gunwalker.