WASHINGTON -- Fourteen federal law enforcement
officials were recommended for discipline Wednesday, including the head
of the Justice Department's criminal division, related to a botched
gun-trafficking operation that allowed an estimated 2,000 firearms to
fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers, according to an
internal Justice Department review.
472-page report by the department's inspector general concluded that
Attorney General Eric Holder was not informed of the program's
controversial tactics run by the department's Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until after it had been shut down in
For months, House Republicans had
called on Holder to step down and voted to hold him in contempt of
Congress, suggesting that he allowed the flawed gun operation known as
"Fast and Furious'' to continue. The 19-month review "found no
evidence'' that Holder was alerted before late January or early February
The House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee, which has been leading a separate congressional review
of the operation, has scheduled a hearing Thursday to question Justice
Inspector General Michael Horowitz about his findings.
the report, Horowitz identified "serious failures" at virtually every
level of oversight in Fast and Furious and a similar program initiated
in the Bush administration dubbed "Wide Receiver." The report singled
out Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer â?? the head of the criminal
division â??among more than a dozen others for not recognizing the
programs' dangerous flaws.
The report did not suggest that officials should be subject to criminal prosecution.
operation was stopped when two of the weapons in the trafficking probe
were found at the scene of the Dec. 14, 2010, slaying of Border Patrol
Agent Brian Terry. The gun used to kill Terry has not been identified.
after the report was made public, Holder announced that former interim
ATF director Kenneth Melson, assigned from the post in the midst of the
inquiry, was retiring from the department. Holder also said that he had
accepted the resignation of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason
Weinstein, who was criticized in the report for failing to recognize the
risk associated with the investigative tactics.
is a horribly sad day for this country when a professional who has
dedicated his life to law enforcement and the rule of law falls victim
to criticism that is so profoundly wrong and so deeply flawed,''
Weinstein's attorney Michael Bromwich said.
Holder did not publicly address sanctions involving Breuer.
inspector general's report confirms findings by Congress' investigation
of a near total disregard for public safety in Operation Fast and
Furious," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R.-Calif., chairman of the House