ATF Promotes Some Key Players in Controversial Fast and Furious Project

By Allan Lengel

ATF has promoted some key players involved in the controversial gun project “Operation Fast and Furious” that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen — all with the hope of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartel, the LA Times reports.

The operation was considered a failure. Agents lost track of some of the weapons that later surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the Mexican-U.S. border.

One of those key players is William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West. He was promoted Sunday to McMahon was promoted Sunday to deputy assistant director of the ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations, the Los Angeles Times reported.

David Voth,  a field supervisors who oversaw the program out ATF’s Phoenix office, has become branch chief for the agency’s tobacco division, the paper reported.

The LA Times reported ‘several agents said they found the timing of the promotions surprising, given the turmoil at the agency over the failed program.’

Additionally, William Newell, who headed the Phoenix Division during Operation Fast and Furious, has gotten a new post as special assistant to the assistant director of the agency’s Office of Management in Washington.

His new assignment was a bit more complicated.

Last October, ATF announced that he would become ATF’s attache in Mexico City.  But when Operation Fast and Furious blew up and became the focus of a Congressional inquiry, the agency delayed his departure to Mexico and instead sent him to Washington to help with the inquiry.

Word circulated within ATF that the Mexican government was fuming over the program that let guns into Mexico, and that the government was talking about arresting Newell if he came south across the border.

ATF rethought the assignment and decided to keep Newell in Washington.

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