Federal law enforcement officials saw the failure over "Fast and Furious" as an opportunity to institute new gun control regulations, according to internal documents obtained by CBS News. The new information came to light this week as Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about what he knew of the botched "Fast and Furious" program, which was supposed to stamp out weapons-trafficking to deadly Mexican drug cartels but ended up leading to the disappearance of 2,000 firearms.
As the head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Holder is responsible for overseeing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), which used the "Fast and Furious" operation to pressure American firearms dealers to sell firearms to straw purchasers. The BATFE was supposed to tightly trace the guns but deliberately chose to allow the weapons to end up in the hands of Mexican drug gangs. More than 2,000 guns have disappeared.
CBS News reported Thursday morning that ATF officials discussed using the Fast and Furious scheme as the pretext for new gun control regulation.
Holder testified that the guns will show up at crime scenes "for years to come." Already, more than 100 of those weapons have shown up at nearly 50 crime scenes in the United States and Mexico. He also argued that the BATFE wasn't lying in a February 2011 letter to Congress, which stated the BATFE didn't knowingly approve the sale of assault weapons. The letter has since been withdrawn by the DOJ because of "inaccuracies."
Holder also said he didn't mislead Congress this past May when he testified that he only heard about Fast and Furious in the "last few weeks." In October, an investigative reporter revealed a series of internal memorandums addressed to Attorney General Holder with information about Fast and Furious in July 2010.
Rep. Murphy appeared on WPXI Channel 11 News on Thursday to reiterate calls for Holder to resign.
"The Fast and Furious gun walking scheme carried out by the Department of Justice at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder has resulted in not only numerous violent crimes against American citizens but even the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry," said Rep. Murphy. Two AK-47 assault rifles purchased during Fast and Furious were found at the scene of Mr. Terry's December 2010 murder.
Murphy continued, "Beyond the inconsistencies of Mr. Holder's testimony before Congress about what he knew and when he knew it, this investigation raises troubling questions about his judgment and his leadership of our nation's top law enforcement agency. Deflecting and denying accountability and responsibility for his actions during and since Fast and Furious are not in any way shape or form acceptable qualities in the office of America's top cop."
Rep. Murphy will appear on Fox News this Sunday at 11:30AM to explain why more than 50 legislators, including himself, have called for Holder to resign his post as Attorney General. For more information on the ongoing congressional investigation into the Fast and Furious program, visit the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee site.