Congressional committee wants answers on 'Fast and Furious' gun scandal

WASHINGTON - Coverups continue more than six years after Congress revealed an ill-advised U.S. government effort to catch gun traffickers by letting Mexican gun cartels buy automated weapons, witnesses told a House investigative committee on Wednesday. Dozens of people in the United States and Mexico were killed with the nearly 2,000 firearms sold during the operation, including a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose mother begged the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to keep pushing for answers.

The idea behind the operation - which the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dubbed "Fast and Furious" - was to identify cartel members after guns used in their crimes were traced back to their original purchases. But it ignored the logical consequences of letting criminals buy weapons, said committee chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

"Absent from this strategy was any modicum of public safety," said Chaffetz. "ATF failed in its mission to protect our communities from violent criminals and the illegal use and trafficking of firearms."
osephine Terry, whose border patrol agent son, Brian, was killed in a 2010 gunfight with drug traffickers in the Arizona desert, said probes into his death have been plagued by "cover-ups and deceptions from the very people he served." She said many of those who spearheaded the gun sales operation got Justice Department promotions and awards.

"Only one possible motivation remains for all of those involved who have covered up Operation Fast and Furious," said Terry, who testified beside a photograph of her deceased son. "That is to conceal their own shame and disgrace; quite possibly their crimes."

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