‘El Chapo’ Rifle Linked to Operation Fast and Furious
Sources at Fox News Politics have confirmed that a rifle found after Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s arrest was one of the guns channeled through Operation Fast and Furious, part of the ATF’s “gunwalking” program. According to Fox, the gun was a .50-caliber anti-materiel rifle, one of two found at Guzman’s hideout.
Operation Fast and Furious was one of a series of “botched stings” conducted by the ATF, part of Project Gunrunner. During the operation as many as 1,400 firearms were knowingly and illegally transferred as straw purchases. As many as 34 of these guns were .50-caliber rifles like the one found after the Guzman raid.
Investigators are still working to identify if any of the other guns seized in the raid originated in the U.S., although the ATF confirmed that the .50-cal. rifle in question was a Fast and Furious gun. Eight firearms were seized in the raid including two .50-cal. rifles.
Guns tied to the operation have been linked to several high-profile crimes including the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The ATF lost track of all but 600 guns transferred during the operation.
The resulting scandal has been a thorn in the White House’s side since 2011 after members of the Congress and the Senate began to respond to allegations of ATF misconduct. President Obama went on to state that neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder was aware of the operation.
The controversy flared when Holder refused to turn over Justice Department documents on the operation to congressional investigators. He was later held in contempt of Congress. At the same time the President used executive privilege to suppress the documents.
Earlier this week a federal judge challenged the President’s use of executive privilege to deny Congress access to the records as any damage they may cause to those involved is only a small part of the fallout from the operation, and the operation has already been made public.
“There is no need to balance the need against the impact that the revelation of any record could have on candor in future executive decision making, since any harm that might flow from the public revelation of the deliberations at issue here has already been self-inflicted,” ruled U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, reports Politico.
“The Department itself has already publicly revealed the sum and substance of the very material it is now seeking to withhold,” argued Jackson. “Since any harm that would flow from the disclosures sought here would be merely incremental, the records must be produced.”
In the wake of the ruling current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has stated that the Justice Department has not decided whether or not to invoke executive privilege by continuing to withhold the documents. The judge ordered the documents to be turned over by Feb. 2.
“We did receive that ruling,” said Lynch to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “We are still reviewing that ruling. I am aware of that provision in it. We, of course, want to study it carefully and determine what appropriate steps to take and the timeliness of them.”
The Attorney General said that the department will make their final decision in the allotted time, reports CNS News.