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My Letter From TN-Senator Lamar Alexander 12/06/12
On December 14, 2010, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent Brian Terry was tragically shot to death in a firefight near the Arizona-Mexico border. In an investigation that followed Terry’s death, two guns recovered at the scene were linked to an ATF “gunrunning” program known as “Fast and Furious”. It appears that this program consisted of U.S. government agents intentionally allowing thousands of firearms to be delivered into the hands of drug cartels and criminal rings.
Since early 2011, when the Terry shooting and the Fast and Furious program first became public, both the ATF and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have come under increasing scrutiny for their roles in this controversial program. More than 1,400 firearms which were sold as part of the Fast and Furious operation are still missing. Kenneth Melson, former Acting ATF Director, has been reassigned to another department within DOJ.
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a joint report on Operation Fast and Furious in June 2011. Additionally, many other ATF and DOJ officials have been called before Congress, including Attorney General Eric Holder. He has testified that he knew very little of the program until earlier this year. In October 2011, the Senate unanimously agreed to an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill, introduced by Senator John Cornyn of Texas, which would prevent taxpayer dollars from funding gunrunning programs like Operation Fast and Furious.
I appreciate you taking the time to let me know where you stand. You can be sure that my colleagues and I will be watching as details of this program and the continuing investigation unfold.