Another senior Republican has questions about the Fast and Furious undercover weapons investigation on the U.S.-Mexico border, demanding that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. immediately brief his office regarding the “scope and details of any past or present ATF gun-walking programs” in Texas.
Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former Texas attorney general, told Mr. Holder in a letter Thursday that the Arizona-based operation, which he called “ill-advised,” had “tragic consequences” in that state and that his Texas constituents deserved “a full accounting.”
“As you are aware, recent congressional investigations have revealed the existence of a controversial ‘gun-walking’ program operated by the ATF in Phoenix, Arizona,” he wrote. “As a part of that program, known as ‘Operation Fast and Furious,’ ATF agents instructed federally-licensed firearms dealers to illegally sell more than 1,000 weapons to straw purchasers working for drug cartels in Mexico.
“These ATF agents were also ordered by their superiors to ignore well-established practice and refrain from interdicting these weapons before they flowed into the hands of Mexican drug cartels,” he wrote. “Sadly, this ill-advised program had tragic consequences, with these ‘walked’ weapons showing up at the scene of multiple violent crimes – including the murder of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry” along the Arizona-Mexico border.
Mr. Cornyn, in the letter, said the Justice Department had been “less than forthcoming” during congressional investigations into the operation, noting that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich initially denied to Congress accusations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had sanctioned or allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico.
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