Others Knew about Fast and Furious
While criticism surrounding Operation Fast and Furious has so far focused on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, three other federal agencies knew about the operation and some of their agents tried to stop it, according to the former chief of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Tucson.
Tony Coulson, the DEA’s agent in charge of Southern Arizona during Fast and Furious, says many federal field agents knew the ATF was walking guns to Mexico, but supervisors told them to back off when they objected.
House Oversight memo on Fast and Furious
The following is a Feb. 1 memo on "Fast and Furious" to Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
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Feb. 2: Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing entitled, "Fast & Furious: Management Failures at the Department of Justice."
“Clearly, we went too far,” Coulson said. “The question we had among rank and file law enforcement was, ‘When is someone going to call ATF on this, when is someone going to tell them to stop?’”
Coulson’s remarks jibe with what is already known about the operation. The DEA, the FBI and ICE, also known as Immigration Customs and Enforcement, all played roles in the investigation.
Coulson said those agencies share the blame since top officials knew, but did little to stop, the gunrunning effort. Coulson is among the first senior public officials, current or former, who admit knowing about the botched operation.
Coulson claims he raised objections to then-DEA chief Elizabeth Kempshall, but was told it was taken care of. After attending a meeting with ATF agent in charge Bill Newell, Coulson said that’s when he and other agents “knew (Fast and Furious) was not some sort of benign, pie-in-the-sky publicity stunt. Guns were actually getting in the hands of criminals.”
According to Congressional testimony and documents obtained by Fox News, the other agencies involved include:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement assigned agent Layne France to work alongside ATF in the operation. Sources say France replaced ICE senior agent Ed Hamel, who objected to the ATF ‘gunwalking’ strategy.
As a member of the Fast and Furious task force, France received copies of all ATF investigative reports, and sources say France knew the operation in detail. Congressional investigators want to know who at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security saw France’s reports, and how much he reported up the chain of command about the operation.
“I don’t think ICE can get away from the fact they were there side by side with ATF. They were not willing participants. This was something they were told to do, but they were still there,” Coulson said.
Read more: Former DEA Chief Says 3 Other Federal Agencies Knew About Operation Fast And Furious | Fox News
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