Fed Prosecutor Emory Hurley Deserves Some Blame in ATF’s “Fast and Furious” Operation

By Allan Lengel

There seems to be plenty blame to go around when it comes to the ill-thought out “Operation Fast and Furious”, ATF’s program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hope of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

Some have already taken a hit as a result. ATF Director Ken Melson just stepped own. So did Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke.

But someone who deserves a fair share of the blame in the mess appears to be Arizona’s  Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley, who was the point man in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Operation Fast and Furious. He has since been transferred from the criminal to the civil division.

Sources tell ticklethewire.com  Hurley let guns walk and prevented agents from stopping and questioning some straw purchasers and seizing weapons. Agents were frustrated and angry with Hurley.

Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, in a Sept. 1 letter to Acting Arizona U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel, pointed the finger at Hurley as well. The letter was posted on the CBS News website.

“Witnesses have reported that AUSA Hurley may have stifled ATF agents’ attempts to interdict weapons on numerous occasions,” the letter said. “Many ATF agents working on Operation Fast and Furious were under the impression that even some of the most basic law enforcement techniques typically used to interdict weapons required the explicit approval of your office, specifically from AUSA Hurley.”

“It is our understand that this approval was withheld on numerous occasions.

“It is unclear why all available tools, such as civil forfeitures and seizure warrants, were not used in this case to prevent illegally purchased guns from being trafficked to Mexican drug cartels and other criminals..

“We have further been informed that AUSA Hurley improperly instructed ATF agents that they needed to meet unnecessarily strict evidentiary standards merely in order to temporarily detain or speak to suspects.”

Hurley did not comment through a spokesman for his office.

(See story below for more on Hurley).


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