Politics

Congressional report names five ATF figures in Fast and Furious scandal, reveals related murder

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Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

A forthcoming congressional report names five senior officials from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as being ultimately responsible for Operation Fast and Furious.

The 211-page draft report — obtained by The Daily Caller and prepared by staff for House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley — delves into the actual government wrongdoing that occurred when guns were allowed to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartel operatives.

The five ATF officials Grassley and Issa point to as responsible for Fast and Furious are:

  • William Newell, the special agent in charge of the phoenix field division
  • William McMahon, Newell’s boss who was ATF’s deputy assistant director for field operations
  • Mark Chait, McMahon’s boss who was ATF’s assistant director for field operations
  • William Hoover, ATF’s former deputy director
  • Kenneth Melson, former acting ATF director

Since Fast and Furious broke out as a major national scandal, all five of those ATF leaders have since been reassigned within ATF and the Justice Department.

Two more reports that Issa’s and Grassley’s staffs are working on will detail how political figures in President Obama’s administration were involved in and covered up the scandal.

The second report, investigators write, will chronicle the “devastating failure of supervision and leadership by officials at Justice Department headquarters, principally within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and within the Criminal Division” and the third “will address the unprecedented obstruction of the investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the Attorney General himself.”

They say the second report will be released “soon” and the third report “can only be prepared after the Justice Department fulfills its obligations to cooperate with the Congress and produce documents.”

Another major development in this report is new evidence that Obama administration ATF officials sought to cover up the Fast and Furious connection to a death other than that of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Mario Gonzalez, the brother of then-Mexican prosecutor Patricia Gonzalez, was killed with Fast and Furious weapons in early November 2010. According to internal ATF emails congressional investigators obtained and released in this report, one ATF agent had discovered that two of the guns found at Mario Gonzalez’s murder scene were Fast and Furious weapons.

That agent, Tonya English, emailed her supervisors David Voth and Hope MacCallister asking them to “not release any information” on the Fast and Furious connection to that murder.

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