Heartland Institute Reacts to Fast and Furious Hearing

Published November 8, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder today testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the “Fast and Furious” program that allowed American guns to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.

The following statement from attorney Maureen Martin, a senior fellow for The Heartland Institute, may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.

“‘Gun-walking’ – the practice used in Operation Fast and Furious in which the federal government intentionally enabled straw men to purchase guns legally in the United States and then allow the guns to “walk” into the possession of Mexican drug cartels without federal surveillance – is “simply unacceptable,” Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

“Whistleblower agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms testified this practice was approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department. The idea was to allow the weapons to move through criminal hands without monitoring such movement, and then retrieve the weapons when they were used in a crime. The idea was to build a criminal case more serious than the gun purchase violations.

“The problem was some of these guns were used by Mexican cartel members to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year.

“The deadly recklessness and criminal stupidity of the operation are simply breathtaking.

“Republicans on the Senate panel today were bent on impeaching – or at least embarrassing – Holder as to conflicts between his earlier testimony and correspondence on when Holder knew about the operation. Holder testified today he never saw some memos about Fast and Furious directed to him because his staff screened him from them.

“Actually, that’s part of the overriding concern with the operation. The inspector general at the Justice Department is currently investigating the origin of the operation, but it clearly has roots deep within the federal government. Holder will be gone sooner or later – hopefully sooner – but embedded federal bureaucrats will remain in place to dream up even more stupid and deadly operations in the future. God save us all.”

Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.