The outcome of the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious has been a diplomatic crisis, embarrassment for the ATF and the Department of Justice, thousands of weapons in the hands of the drug cartels and gangs in the US, and, oh yeah — a dead Border Patrol agent. Congress has issued subpoenas, the acting head of the ATF has had to defy the DoJ to testify to a Senate committee, and the stink has reached the White House. So what would any good government bureaucracy do? Send heads rolling?
The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.
Well, it’s not like these three were involved in the failures of Fast and Furious … right? Wrong:
All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.
The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office.
But they’re protesting their roles in the failures, right? Er …
McMahon and Newell have acknowledged making serious mistakes in the program, which was dubbed Operation Fast and Furious.
“I share responsibility for mistakes that were made,” McMahon testified to a House committee three weeks ago. “The advantage of hindsight, the benefit of a thorough review of the case, clearly points me to things that I would have done differently.”
Things that I would have done differently. Hmmm … you mean, like not allowing illegally-purchased weapons to cross the border by the thousands? Perhaps listening to those agents who warned that this would result in disaster? Maybe not punishing those whistleblowers who brought your “mistakes” to light?
Well, now they can do things differently with more pay and more responsibility. Only in government would three supervisors who botched their jobs so badly that people died would get promoted so that they can maybe avoid getting people killed in the future.