The former number two official in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tried to put a stop to the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation months before the fatal shooting of an American border patrol agent, a batch of newly released DOJ memos show.
According to the memos and other internal communications obtained by the Los Angeles Times, ATF Acting Deputy Director William Hoover attended a March 2010 briefing with officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who said they were concerned that Fast and Furious guns would start showing up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States.
Hoover began pushing for an “exit strategy” from the Fast and Furious operation. Eventually all parties agreed to wait for indictments to be handed down before ending the program.
Ten months later, in January 2011, those indictments finally came. By that time, US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry had been killed and Fast and Furious guns found at the crime scene.
Terry’s killing set off a political firestorm. Congressional investigators have been trying to unearth who exactly knew about the operation, and when. This new information provides more insight into those questions.
“I probably should have been a lot more strident with that, there’s no question,” Hoover told the Times. “I probably should have jumped on a plane and flown to Phoenix and gotten the field division team and the U.S. attorney’s team together and had a discussion.”