A new report from the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee details how the Department of Justice under former President Obama stonewalled on producing information from their controversial “Fast and Furious” gun-running program.
According to the report released Wednesday by Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the Obama administration saw the family of one of the victims of the botched program merely as a public relations “nuisance.”
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed in a gunfight in December, 2010, with cartel members along the U.S.-Mexico border. The gun-running operation was discovered after guns found at the scene of Terry’s death were traced back to gun shops in Phoenix, Arizona, where the government had allowed criminals to acquire weapons. The intent of the program was to monitor where the guns ended up, but they lost track of hundreds of firearms.
“More than five years after Brian’s murder,” the report states, “the Terry family still wonders about key details of Operation Fast and Furious. The Justice Department’s obstruction of Congress’s investigation contributed to the Terry family’s inability to find answers.”
The report says the Department of Justice used technicalities to justify keeping the Terry family in the dark about the death of their son. “Despite promises from Arizona-based DOJ officials and senior DOJ officials in Washington, D.C.,” the report claimed, “documents show the Department did not make a genuine effort to keep the Terry family informed or involved in the investigation and prosecution of their son’s murder.”
The report also claimed the Department of Justice’s internal probe was a “sham” that placed politics above public safety.
“The Department’s efforts focused on managing the day-to-day media cycle and protecting its senior political appointees rather than thoroughly investigating allegations of misconduct raised by whistleblowers,” the report read. “Documents show senior officials at Main Justice conducted just a cursory inquiry and accepted information received from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona at face value, despite these being the very offices responsible for the wrongdoing.”
John Dodson, an ATF whistleblower, said that government officials targeted him instead of trying to find the truth about the botched program.
“That decision, the single act of standing up and saying, ‘What we are doing is wrong’… instantly took my standing from being that of an agent of the government – to an enemy of the state,” he said, according to Fox News. “ATF and DOJ officials implemented an all-out campaign to silence and discredit me… Suffice to say, the last six to seven years at ATF have not been the best for me or my career.”