Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Marine and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and the start of the political firestorm surrounding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Operation Fast and Furious.
An AK-47 assault rifle used as part of the operation was found at the scene of Terry’s murder, near Rio Rico, AZ. It turned out to be one of more than 2,000 firearms the ATF allowed to pass into Mexico, with the understanding the guns would be handed off to violent drug cartels.
Officials at the ATF and the Justice Department initially denied that Fast and Furious intentionally allowed guns to “walk.” In fact, DOJ was forced to withdraw a letter written to the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming the government had made every effort to interdict weapons headed for the border after it became clear that that simply wasn’t true. Letting guns “walk” was an integral part of the Fast and Furious operation.
ATF whistleblowers admitted as much to congressional investigators. “Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan,” said special agent John Dodson. “It was so mandated.”
Roughly 1,500 Fast and Furious guns remain unaccounted for. While remembering Brian Terry, we also pray that no more lives are ended by the negligence of a few.