Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and 13 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding recent allegations that ATF may have been complicit in the illegal transfer of firearms into Mexico.
The members requested information regarding the Phoenix-based program known as "Fast and Furious," which according to reports, intentionally allowed straw buyers for criminal organizations to purchase thousands of guns so that ATF could track them across the border.
Smith and the members criticized ATF's alleged actions saying, "We find it ironic that the government allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico as part of a program designed to stop guns from being trafficked into Mexico. We are also troubled that ATF engaged in activities that may have facilitated the transfer of guns to violent drug cartels while simultaneously attempting to restrict lawful firearms sales by border-area firearms dealers."
According to the Center for Public Integrity, ATF allowed nearly 2,000 guns--valued at over one million dollars--to cross the border to known criminal organizations. Two of the guns from the program were found at the murder scene of Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry in December.
The Department of Justice has requested that the Inspector General investigate the allegations. But more questions for the Department remain, including who authorized and directed the program.