Firearms from the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious weapons trafficking investigation turned up at the scenes of at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., as well as at a Border Patrol agent's slaying in southern Arizona last year, the Justice Department has acknowledged to Congress.Of course. They hate providing details.
The department did not provide details about the crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, where a total of 42 weapons from the operation were seized at two crime scenes.
The new numbers, which expand the scope of the danger the program posed to U.S. citizens over a 14-month period, are contained in a letter that Justice Department officials turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
In the letter, obtained by The Times on Tuesday, Justice Department officials also reported that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials advised them that the agency's acting director, Kenneth E. Melson, "likely became aware" of the operation as early as December 2009, a month after it began.
Melson has said he did not learn about how the operation was run until January of this year, when it was canceled.
The July 22 letter, signed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich, was sent to Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was in response to questions posed to the Justice Department about Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and the weapons operation.
The program was intended to identify Mexican drug cartel leaders and smuggling routes across the border by allowing illegal purchases of firearms and tracking the weapons. Instead, many of the guns vanished.
Weich said that although the "ATF does not have complete information" on all of the lost guns, "it is our understanding that ATF is aware of 11 instances" beyond the Border Patrol agent's killing where a Fast and Furious firearm "was recovered in connection with a crime of violence in the United States."
Justice Department officials did not provide any more details about the crimes or how many guns were found.
If this crap happened during a Republican administration there'd be daily televised hearings and calls for impeachment. Why the almost complete media silence? Are the esteemed "journalists" at MSNBC too busy editing tapes to make people appear racist? Have they ever even mentioned this?