Dear Mr. Larson:
Thank you for contacting me about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) Fast and Furious operation. I share your concern and appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this important matter.
As you are aware, recent congressional investigations have revealed the existence of a controversial "gun-walking" program operated by the ATF in Phoenix, Arizona. The ATF, despite its mandate to curtail gun trafficking activities, was actively funneling firearms to drug cartel gun buyers. The ATF has stated that the Fast and Furious operation was an attempt to target and track drug cartel leaders; however, the agency admits that they lost track of thousands of firearms in the process. Many of these firearms turned up at crimes scenes on both sides of the border, including at the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona and during a January and April 2010 seizure of 60 guns in El Paso, Texas.
I wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder following press reports of an alleged Texas-based "gun-walking" program similar to the Fast and Furious operation. In this letter, I demanded answers regarding additional media reports that revealed that ATF managers who directed the Fast and Furious operation were offered new positions in the ATF’s Washington headquarters. Attorney General Holder and Justice Department officials must be held accountable, and until they provide answers regarding all alleged gun-walking operations, it is inconceivable to reward those who spearheaded this disastrous operation with new assignments in Washington.
Furthermore, I introduced an amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (H.R. 2112) that will bar taxpayer funds from being used by the Justice Department to conduct gun-walking programs similar to the Fast and Furious operation, and I am pleased that this amendment passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in the Senate. This bipartisan effort is just the first step towards ensuring that such a foolish operation can never be repeated.
I appreciate having the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will continue working to provide strict oversight of the Obama Administration. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856