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Tipsheet

Obama's Bloodiest Scandal Reemerges as Mexico Demands an Apology for Operation Fast and Furious

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Mexican government is still waiting for an apology for Operation Fast and Furious, an illegal and secret gun running scheme implemented during the Obama administration.

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"Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government would send a diplomatic note to Washington for information on the 2009-2011 operation known as ‘Fast and Furious,’ a topic that has resurfaced in recent days amid a debate over historic U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security and possible corruption under previous administrations," Reuters reports

During the operation from 2009-2010, thousands of AK-47s, .50 caliber rifles and other weapons were purposely allowed by ATF and Department of Justice officials to be purchased illegally by straw buyers at gun stores in the United States and trafficked over the border into Mexico. ATF officials sat by as thousands of guns "walked." They argued this was done to trace weapons to the upper echelons of Mexican cartels, but out of thousands of firearms, only two were rigged with GPS devices that died within hours of crossing the border. 

On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, a former police officer and U.S. Marine, was shot and killed while on a BORTAC mission near Rio Rico, Arizona. The weapons left at the scene were obtained through Operation Fast and Furious. 

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Terry's family has been repeatedly lied to about the circumstances of his death. ATF and DOJ officials moved quickly to cover up the scandal behind how his murderers got their guns. 

It wasn't until Terry was killed that knowledge of the program came into public view. ATF agent John Dodson, who opposed the operation internally, became the first whistleblower to speak out.


The Mexican government was also left in the dark as thousands of guns were used to kill hundreds of civilians. A .50 caliber rifle from the program, a weapon often used by Mexican cartels to take down helicopters, was found in drug kingpin El Chapo's hideout.

A report from 2011, released by then House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, showed "ATF and DOJ 'failed to share crucial details of the Operation Fast and Furious with either their own employees stationed in Mexico or representatives of the Government of Mexico.' Specifically, personnel in Arizona denied ATF agents working in Mexico information directly related to their jobs and everyday operations."

In June 2012, Eric Holder became the first sitting attorney general to be voted in civil and criminal contempt by the House of Representatives for refusing to turn over documents related to the case. Despite memos addressed to directly to Holder about the operation, Holder repeatedly claimed he learned about it in the news. President Obama also claimed not to have knowledge of the operation despite making gun trafficking to Mexico a top priority. White House National Security Adviser Kevin O'Reilly was also briefed regularly on the operation by senior ATF officials in the Phoenix field office.

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