House Oversight Report – Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gun-walking in Arizona

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 31, 2012

Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gun-walking in Arizona, Report of the Minority Staff, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, January 2012

  • “…this report tells the story of how misguided gunwalking operations originated in 2006 as ATF’s Phoenix Field Division devised a strategy to forgo prosecutions against lowlevel straw purchasers while they attempted to build bigger charges against higher-level cartel members. Unfortunately, this strategy failed to include sufficient operational controls to stop these dangerous weapons from getting into the hands of violent criminals, creating a danger to public safety on both sides of the border. The report describes how, rather than halting this operation after its flaws became evident, ATF’s Phoenix Field Division launched several similarly reckless operations over the course of several years, also with tragic results. Operation Fast and Furious was the fourth in a series of operations in which gunwalking—the non-interdiction of illegally purchased firearms that could and should be seized by law enforcement—occurred since 2006. This report also details complaints by ATF line agents and senior officials in Washington, who told the Committee that these failures were aggravated and compounded by the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office, which failed to aggressively prosecute firearms trafficking cases, and Federal courts in Arizona, which showed leniency toward the trafficking networks that fuel armed violence in Mexico.”
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