The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold another hearing as part of its ongoing investigation into Operation Fast and Furious on Tuesday – but this time investigators will focus on witnesses who worked across the border.
Witness at the hearing, called “Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border,” will feature agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives working in Mexico and Arizona.
They include Carlos Canino, ATF acting Attaché to Mexico; Darren Gil, the former ATF Attaché; Jose Wall, ATF senior special agent for Tijuana, Mexico; Lorren Leadmon, ATF intelligence operations specialist; William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division; and William McMahon, ATF deputy assistant director for field operations.
“The acting Director of the ATF has told congressional investigators that the Justice Department is attempting to shift blame in Operation Fast and Furious away from its political appointees,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in a statement. “Examining the accounts of witnesses who did not participate in Operation Fast and Furious, but were nonetheless disturbed as they watched it unfold is critical to understanding the scope of this flawed program. This testimony is especially important in light of the Justice Department’s willful efforts to withhold key evidence from investigators about what occurred, who knew and who authorized this reckless operation.”
Several ATF agents from the Phoenix Field Division testifying at the previous committee hearing revealed that agents were ordered to stop surveillance on guns destined for Mexican drug cartels.
In all, Fast and Furious allegedly allowed about 2,000 firearms to be sold to straw purchasers and trafficked into Mexico.
Two guns sold in operation were recovered from the scene of a December 2010 shootout between Border Patrol agents and Mexican bandits that ended in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry. Others have been found at various scenes of violent crime and cartel violence in Mexico.
Members of Terry’s family also testified at the previous hearing.