08-08-2011, 06:22 AM
Gunwalker: Drug Enforcement Agency Admits Involvem
| Gunwalker: Drug Enforcement Agency Admits Involvement |
This marks the first admission of knowledge from an agency besides the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Michele Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, has sent a letter to congressional investigators admitting her agency played a role in a criminal investigation that turned into a de facto gun-smuggling operation run by federal law enforcement agencies.
In mid-July, Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa sent a pair of letters to the heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, asking them to explain their alleged roles in Operation Fast and Furious and to provide specific communications relating to specific agents and managers in those respective organizations.
Fast and Furious is blamed for the deaths of approximately 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers, along with an unknown number of civilian casualties on both sides of the border. The program was only shut down after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in a nighttime desert firefight with criminals armed with at least two Fast and Furious-provided AK-pattern rifles.
The letters from Grassley and Issa were directed to FBI Director Robert Mueller and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. According to Richard Serrano of the Los Angeles Times, Leonhart has responded:
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration has acknowledged to congressional investigators that her agency provided a supporting role in the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious run by the groupís counterparts at the ATF.
Michele M. Leonhart, the DEA administrator, said DEA agents primarily helped gather evidence in cases in Phoenix and El Paso, and in the programís single indictment last January that netted just 20 defendants for illegal gun-trafficking.
The development marks the first time another law enforcement agency has said it also worked on Fast and Furious cases other than the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is under two investigations into why it allowed at least 2,000 firearms to be illegally purchased and then lost track of the gunsí whereabouts.
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