The Obama administration handed over documents on a controversial anti-gunrunning program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) just ahead of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Some of the documents showed that agents working on Project Gunrunner didn’t intend for weapons that were supposed to be tracked in an effort to prosecute larger kingpins of guntrafficking operations to actually cross the border.
“We have no plans of letting any firearms (with or without a tracker) cross from the U.S. into Mexico,” ATF Agent David Voth wrote in an email on April 23, 2010.
Last night, Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a scathing joint report on Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious that included testimony from ATF agents who said they voiced their concerns about the tactics to their superiors but were ignored. Issa’s spokesman said that the committee was receiving more information from whistleblowers inside the agency.
“Over the last few days, Justice has conveniently turned over 200 pages of documents prior to our public hearings,” Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins said in a statement to TPM. “To date, we’ve still received an exponentially higher number of documents from concerned agency insiders than from the Justice Department itself.”
Issa said in a statement about the report that preventing loss of life “was not the primary concern” of the operation.
Oversight Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a statement that “no legitimate examination of this issue will be complete without analyzing our nation’s gun laws, which allow tens of thousands of assault weapons to flood into Mexico from the United States every year, including fifty caliber sniper rifles, multiple AK variants, and scores of others.” He said he would be exercising his right under the rules of the House for a minority day of hearings on the issue.
The report is embedded below.
Here’s Issa’s opening statement: