April 28, 2013 |
The mayhem in Boston the week of April 15 was a reminder of how an American city can be paralyzed by a homemade bomb. The same kinds of improvised explosive devices that menaced U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan can easily be deployed by freelance terrorists or madmen trying to send a message, incite panic or just create a media spectacle. The Tsarnaev brothers were identified because of surveillance videotape, but the FBI might have been able to do it faster if tiny plastic markers had been part of the small-arms propellant packed into the pressure-cooker bombs.
November 10, 2010 |
A much-touted federal effort to keep U.S. firearms out of the Mexican drug wars is unwieldy, mismanaged and fraught with "significant weaknesses" that could doom gun smuggling enforcement on the border to failure, an internal Justice Department review concluded Tuesday. Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives focus only on small gun sales and do not share information with law enforcement officials on both sides of the border, the review said.
February 2, 2012 |
House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious operation threatened Thursday to seek a contempt of Congress citation against Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., saying his Department of Justice has refused to turn over key documents in the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms gun-tracking investigation and that the Obama administration is trying to hide its involvement in the program that allowed hundreds of U.S. weapons to fall into the hands...
September 19, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Fourteen federal law enforcement officials - from field agents in Arizona to top managers in the ATF and Department of Justice in Washington - created a “significant danger to public safety” under Operation Fast and Furious and those still employed were referred for possible job discipline for carrying out a gun-walking operation that saturated the Southwest Border with more than 2,000 illegally-purchased firearms. Less than an hour after those findings were announced Wednesday by the Justice Department's Inspector General's office, two of the individuals - Kenneth Melson, the former head of the ATF, and Deputy Assistant Atty.
September 2, 2011 |
Newly obtained emails show that the White House was better informed about a failed gun-tracking operation on the border with Mexico than was previously known. Three White House national security officials were given some details about the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious. The operation allowed firearms to be illegally purchased, with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the effort went out of control after agents lost track of many of the weapons. The supervisor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in Phoenix specifically mentioned Fast and Furious in at least one email to a White House national security official, and two other White House colleagues were briefed on reports from the supervisor, according to White House emails and a senior administration official.
June 14, 2011 |
Federal gun agents in Arizona -- convinced that "someone was going to die" when their agency allowed weapons sales to suspected Mexican drug traffickers -- made anguished pleas to be permitted to make arrests but were rebuffed, according to a new congressional report on the controversial law enforcement probe. Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told congressional investigators that there was "a state of panic" that the guns used in the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in January and two U.S. agents in Mexico a month later might have been sold under the U.S. surveillance operation.
November 13, 1997 |
A "rogue operation" within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has accelerated approval of import permits for 150,000 modified assault weapons, despite President Clinton's clear intent to keep such guns out of the country, administration sources said Wednesday. The permits were approved "in an expedited manner" by a group of ATF agents who "knew full well that the weapons were all but banned by the president," said one senior administration official. The official noted that Clinton is on the verge of issuing an executive order barring imports of the rapid-fire arms.
May 3, 1987
Generally speaking, media coverage of the defense business is characterized by slanted, sensational, anti-industry diatribes. But Ralph Vartabedian's Advanced Tactical Fighter story ("Subcontractors See Red When Looking at ATF," April 19) is damn good. When it comes to publicity, civil servants are notorious cowards, so we have seen government officials increasingly criticizing the industry to satisfy congressional and media critics. There also is increasing direct government participation in the actual management of defense programs.
March 22, 2012 |
Manuel Celis-Acosta, the chief suspect in the ATF's "Fast and Furious" investigation who was caught but released at the U.S.-Mexico border in May 2010, was also stopped and released two months earlier while in possession of a Colt .38-caliber pistol purchased illegally under the gun-tracking operation. The revelation that officials twice declined to arrest their prime suspect shows that agents were keenly aware of Celis-Acosta's activities yet repeatedly turned down opportunities to charge him with felony offenses and bring a quick end to the Fast and Furious probe.