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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

U.S. House Committee Report Blasts: Justice’s Bungled Gun Sting!

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John Solomon, / Jul 26, 2011 1:53 AM EDT.

Mexico Drug War
Seized weapons sit on a table during a presentation for the media in Mexico City, Thursday, June 9, 2011. Over 200 weapons were seized after arresting five alleged members of the Zetas drug gang at a Navy check-point Wednesday near the city of Villa Union, in Mexico's Coahuila state. , Alexandre Meneghini / AP Photo.

A House committee report blasts the Justice Department over an ATF operation where guns ended up with Mexican drug cartels and at crime scenes on both sides of the border. By John Solomon.

A House committee is accusing top Justice Department officials of turning a blind eye to a bungled gun sting that allowed hundreds of semiautomatic weapons to flow to straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels and be used in crimes on both sides of the border.

In an investigative report to be released Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lays out detailed evidence that guns from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation known as Operation Fast and Furious fell into the hands of criminals with federal agents' knowledge and were used in crimes.

“The faulty design of Operation Fast and Furious led to tragic consequences,” said the report, obtained early by The Daily Beast. “Countless United States and Mexican citizens suffered as a result.”

The report also discloses that a top Justice Department official was sent by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to a briefing in 2010 in which concerns about the bungled sting—particularly the large number of weapons it allowed to flow into Mexico—were discussed, but there was no action to halt the operation. As a result, more guns flowed across the border for months until two weapons from the bungled sting showed up at the scene of the murder of a U.S. border agent last December, forcing the immediate shutdown of the case, the report states.

Earlier this year when the gun controversy first erupted, Justice officials claimed they didn't know anything about the controversial tactics used in the Arizona-based operation. But the congressional report concludes that senior Justice officials did know about the operation and should have acted sooner to stop the tactics.

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