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March 3, 2011 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
A federal operation that allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers so they could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels has lost track of hundreds of firearms, many of which have been linked to crimes, including the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in December. The investigation, known as Operation Fast and Furious, was conducted even though U.S. authorities suspected that some of the weapons might be used in crimes, according to a variety of federal agents who voiced anguished objections to the operation.
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 | By Richard A. Serrano
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.
July 17, 2011 | Richard A. Serrano
Congressional investigators probing the controversial Fast and Furious anti-gun-trafficking operation on the border with Mexico believe at least six Mexican drug cartel figures involved in gun smuggling also were paid FBI informants, officials said Saturday. The investigators have asked the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration for details about the alleged informants, as well as why agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the Fast and Furious operation, were not told about them.
August 29, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano and Alexei Koseff
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would close loopholes in the rules on acquiring machine guns and other dangerous weapons and ban U.S. military-style firearms sent overseas from returning to this country. The announcement of the new executive actions came as Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to the new head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the first Senate-confirmed director in the agency's history.
September 19, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON -- Fourteen federal law enforcement officials -- from field agents in Arizona to top managers in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Justice Department in Washington -- created a "significant danger to public safety" under Operation Fast and Furious , an investigative report found. Those officials still employed were referred for possible job discipline for carrying out the gun-trafficking operation that saturated the Southwest border with more than 2,000 illegally purchased firearms.
April 12, 1989 | From Times wire service s
Gun importers are prepared to bring close to 1 million more semiautomatic assault-style rifles into the United States should the Bush Administration decide not to make its import ban permanent. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms now has applications pending for 965,000 of the weapons, ATF spokesman Dick Pedersen said. "It appears there have been a lot more applications that came in after the ban," he said. The temporary suspension imposed March 14 covered about 400,000 weapons, including about 300,000 for which import permits had already been approved.
March 28, 2012 | Richard A. Serrano
Family members of slain U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry said they were  “sickened” by reports that federal law enforcement agencies on the Southwest border did not share information about their investigations, and believe Terry would be alive today had the ATF known that two top targets in their Fast and Furious case actually were FBIinformants. “It is beyond our comprehension that U.S. federal law enforcement agencies were not talking with one another,” the family said in a statement released Wednesday by their Phoenix attorney, Lincoln Combs.
February 28, 2011
Violence along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to spiral upward, with all-too-frequent reports of bullet-ridden bodies turning up on street corners, in parks, on deserted highways, even at quinceaneras . A complex combination of drugs, corruption and poverty may be behind the bloodletting. But the source of the weapons used to kill is easily identified: The U.S. accounts for an estimated 85% of guns seized by Mexican authorities, according to a 2009 Government Accountability Office report.
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