Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border

Hearing Date: July 26, 2011 12:00 am

Chairman Darrell Issa Hearing Preview Statement

Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will examine the effects of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) program dubbed “Operation Fast and Furious.”  Specifically, we will review the impact of this program on our neighbor to the south, on our agents working in, and on the people of Mexico.

The Committee’s task today is serious, and the Administration’s effort to impede this investigation slows our work to make public the truth of an acknowledged—and failed—operation.  The Acting Director of the ATF, in a transcribed interview with investigators, has said that the Justice Department is trying to push all of this away from its political appointees.  That is not the response this Committee, Congress and the public, should expect from the ‘most transparent Administration in history.’

In this hearing, lawmakers will hear firsthand from field agents who have worked in Mexico for years and who were systematically kept in the dark by officials in Phoenix and at headquarters about the real nature and scope of “Operation Fast and Furious.”  The Committee will also hear testimony from ATF supervisors who chose to allow weapons to flow from illegal sales in the United States directly into the hands of Mexican drug cartels—without interception or interdiction.

To date, President Obama has been keen to talk about who didn’t know about the program and who didn’t authorize it.  These answers will not suffice.  The American people have a right to know—once and for all—who did authorize it and who knew about it.

Working with our counterpart in this investigation, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Committee will remain focused on these basic questions and pursue the trail of truth to the highest levels of government.  We owe the men and women in law enforcement nothing less because it is their lives on the line.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. Carlos Canino ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico Document
Mr. Darren Gil Former ATF Attaché to Mexico Document
Mr. Jose Wall ATF Senior Special Agent Tijuana, Mexico Document
Mr. Lorren Leadmon ATF Intelligence Operations Specialist Document
Mr. William Newell Former ATF Special Agent in Charge Phoenix Field Division Document
Mr. William McMahon ATF Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations (West, including Phoenix and Mexico) Document