In his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that ATF’s Fast and Furious operation was “a flawed response to, not the cause of, the flow of illegal guns from the United States into Mexico.”
Holder said that “gun walking” was “unacceptable” and said Fast and Furious “was flawed in concept, as well as in execution.”
Unfortunately, Holder said, “we will feel its effects for years to come as guns that were lost during this operation continue to show up at crimes scenes both here and in Mexico. This should never have happened. And it must never happen again.”
But Holder said that that he wanted to correct “some of the inaccurate - and irresponsible - accusations” about Fast and Furious.
“Some of the overheated rhetoric might lead you to believe that this local, Arizona-based operation was somehow the cause of the epidemic of gun violence in Mexico,” Holder said.
The U.S. is “losing the battle to stop the flow of illegal guns to Mexico,” and Holder said that Congress needs to listen to the agents “who serve on the front lines of this battle” who he said “sounded the alarm to Congress that they need our help.” Said Holder:
ATF agents who testified before a House committee this summer explained that the agency’s ability to stem the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico suffers from a lack of effective enforcement tools. One critical first step should be for Congressional leaders to work with us to provide ATF with the resources and statutory tools it needs to be effective. Another would be for Congress to fully fund our request for teams of agents to fight gun trafficking. Unfortunately, earlier this year the House of Representatives actually voted to keep law enforcement in the dark when individuals purchase multiple semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in Southwest border gun shops. Providing law enforcement with the tools to detect and disrupt illegal gun trafficking is entirely consistent with the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and it is critical to addressing the public safety crisis on the Southwest border.
Here’s video from Holder’s opening statement: