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Lawmakers zero in on ATF gun trafficking operation

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Washington (CNN) -- Three ATF agents testified Wednesday that an agency strategy to link gun buyers in the United States to Mexican drug cartels was fatally flawed and never should have been allowed.

Operation Fast and Furious, as it was known, was "a colossal failure of leadership," said Peter Forcelli, a supervisor at the Phoenix field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The objective of the hearing, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was to pin down who authorized the strategy and who knew about it, said Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California.

In a report released Tuesday, Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, described a the strategy as a "reckless investigative technique."

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