By Neubauer, Chuck
The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Chuck Neubauer, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee says a Justice Department investigation into the botched Fast and Furious gunrunning operation has taken an awfully long time to finish and, as a result, should meet the highest standards of accuracy and independence.
Operation Fast and Furious failed to live up to the standards set by the American people, and we need to know how that could ever happen, said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who first questioned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation more than a year ago.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asked the inspector general's office at the Justice Department in February 2011 to investigate the operation after Mr. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, discovered that ATF had allowed more than 2,000 weapons - including AK-47 assault rifles - to be walked across the border to drug smugglers in Mexico.
Fast and Furious was an ATF attempt to allow straw buyers in Arizona to walk weapons into Mexico with a goal of tracking them to drug cartel leaders. But ATF lost track of hundreds of the weapons, 1,400 of which still are unaccounted for.
Mr. Holder's request followed harsh challenges by Mr. Grassley and Mr. Issa concerning the operation after Fast and Furious weapons were found at the site of the December 2010 shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, who was killed in a gunfight 10 miles north of the Arizona border town of Nogales. Two Romanian-made AK-47s found at the scene were identified as having been purchased in a Glendale, Ariz., gun shop as part of Fast and Furious. …