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New York Times Editorial: Fast, Furious and Foolish

By The New York Times
Editorial Page

The recklessness of federal officials in their harebrained scheme to assist in illegal gunrunning to Mexican drug cartels was laid bare in a scathing report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Primary blame for the botched program — known as Operation Fast and Furious — was placed on a group of Arizona-based prosecutors and officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who lost track of hundreds of weapons that were allowed to pass into Mexico in hopes of tracing them to cartel leaders.

Two of the high-powered guns turned up at an Arizona shootout in 2010 that killed an American Border Patrol officer.

The ill-conceived operation put public safety at risk with no effective plan to track the guns, according to the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, who found “misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures,” including slipshod oversight at Justice Department headquarters in Washington.

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