Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Agents "furious" in Fast and Furious


ATF field agents repeatedly warned supervisors about the dangers of a controversial gun smuggling operation, but those concerns were ignored. That is according to a Congressional investigation filed into evidence in a federal court case involving a suspected gun smuggler.

Agents testified that they were routinely told to allow straw buyers to purchase dozens of weapons at time from local gun stores, then allow the buyers to disappear with those weapons. Several agents say they had never allowed buyers to escape with guns in the past, for fear those guns would be used to commit crimes.

"Why don't we go ahead and stop that vehicle. We can arrest them. We can grab the guns. And they said no," recalled one agent quoted in the Congressional report.

"A 22 year old walks in and dumps $10,000 on AK47s in a day, when she is driving a beat-up car that doesn't have enough metal to hold hubcaps on it. They knew that was going on," said another agent.

ATF officials say the goal of the operation, known as Operation Fast and Furious, was to trace gun smuggling to drug trafficking kingpins.

But agents testified that they warned their supervisors that some of the weapons allowed to "walk" to Mexico could be used against US law enforcement officials.

"Are you prepared to go to a border agent's funeral over this? Because that's what's going to happen," said one agent.

He went on to tell investigators that his supervisor responded, "If you want to make an omelette, you need to scramble some eggs."

In December of last year, two AK47s traced to Operation Fast and Furious were recovered at the scene of the fatal shooting of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Copyright 2011 KPHO. All rights reserved.

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