By William La Jeunesse, FOX News - Bio
It was not fast, but a new Republican Congressional report is certainly furious on the now-infamous government gun-tracking program.
"In Washington, if heads don't roll, nothing changes," said Iowa Senator Charles Grassley.
Republican lawmakers began assessing blame Tuesday in Operation Fast and Furious, singling out five top ATF officials.
Accusing Director Ken Melson of being aloof, Deputy Billy Hoover of being derelict in his duties, Assistant Bill McMahon of giving false Congressional testimony, Head of Operations Mark Chait of failing to supervise and Phoenix Agent-in-Charge Bill Newell of incompetence.
"Are they lying or are you lying?" asked California Congressman Darrell Issa.
Newell replied, "In this investigation, it is my opinion we didn't let guns walk."
Newell's attorney has always thought the investigation was political.
Paul Pelletier said, "It's a witch hunt about a false premise of guns walking."
The report also says the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry could have been prevented. Claiming gun smuggler Jaime Avila lied about his address when he first purchased Fast and Furious weapons. That lie would have allowed the ATF to stop or arrest him six weeks before he bought the guns found at Terry's murder.
The report also criticizes ATF for failing to arrest ring leader and former DEA suspect Manuel Celis Acosta, saying "If ATF had bothered to conduct a thorough review of all the information contained in the DEA wire intercepts, Fast and Furious might have concluded a year earlier than it did."
When guns showed up at a Mexican crime scene -- rather than concern -- U.S. Attorney Denis Burke wrote, "Wow -- frickin' A. Those are already across the border?"
But most embarrassing -- when ATF learned its guns were used to kill the brother of a Mexican State Attorney General -- an ATF supervisor wanted to bury the information, saying "My thought, don't release it."
Grassley says, "If there isn't enough concern regarding a Border Patrol government agent being murdered, than you can see there is less concern of the murders going on south of the border. "
The Justice Department claims the report distorts the facts - and repeats debunked conspiracy theories. The next report, still weeks away, focuses on the Deputy Attorney General and the final report on Attorney General Eric Holder himself, and the obstruction of justice.