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Ear to the Ground

What You Don’t Know About the ‘Fast and Furious’ Scandal

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Posted on Jun 27, 2012
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As is often the case with political scandals, allegations of conspiracy and widespread finger-pointing have surrounded the government program dubbed Fast and Furious. Facts about the case have been lost in the political wrangling among Congress, the Department of Justice and President Obama.

However, factors ranging from National Rifle Association political pressure to internal divisions among federal agents who were assigned to the case have shaded the truth about Fast and Furious. Fortune magazine has cast some much-needed light on this controversy. —CN

Fortune:

In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth’s ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico’s vicious drug war.

Some call it the “parade of ants”; others the “river of iron.” The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF’s congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.

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