Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.

How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It’s a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson’s anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general’s report is submitted.)

  1. Enemy_Of_The_State says:

    Everything we “know” is wrong, including this statement.

  2. Ted says:

    I hate the second amendment also

  3. bobbo, why can't we be smart instead of stoopidly manly says:

    I thought F&F was a good idea “if” trackers had been placed in the gun. The stock is big enough to have some kind of tech that could have sent signals from time to time sufficiently to track and bust.

    Ha, ha. The problem is guns which are bad which are legal, fighting drugs that are good that are illegal.

    what could go wrong?

    Silly Hoomans.

  4. Jason says:

    Here’s the admission that Obama’s Justus Department was using F&F to push for stronger gun control laws:

    “They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and *weak*laws*, which stymied them at every turn.”

    • LibertyLover says:

      Anybody who doesn’t know that FF was a gun control propaganda stunt should stay on all four legs.

      • Pedrool says:

        Try reading the article again. The ATF tried to do their job and BECAUSE of AZ’s lax gun laws, it was an onerous task.

        No conpirousiry.

        (I only have two legs, pal. Three – if you ask your wife.)

        • LibertyLover says:


          I love people who personally insult like that behind a moniker.

          Yeah, I’m feeling insulted . . . not.

  5. Joe says:

    The debate should be over the “war on drugs” and not on failed tactics.

  6. Mustardtits says:

    Trust your gut instinct. Of course this is a B.S. story. first off look
    at the extremes the administration went to in trying to cover this up, and second,
    look where this story is coming from.

  7. Harry says:

    The NRA should stay out of this and let congress do it’s business without outside influence. People should be able to own a gun for recreational porposes but only after a short wait and a background check.

    • LibertyLover says:

      A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

      • GunsAreForKillingAintGoodForNothin'Else says:

        Only if the gun is in the hand of a trained professional. Otherwise, it’s just more tragedy waiting to happen.

        • LibertyLover says:

          Considering that I don’t have my own personal trained professional with me 24/7, I’ll have to stick with my previous statement.

          • GunsAreForKillingAintGoodForNothin'Else says:

            Your no pro. So I’ll stand by my statement.

          • GunsAreForKillingAintGoodForNothin'Else says:

            EDIT: You’re no pro.

          • Pedrool says:

            Robbing? Who said that?

            If you own a gun, shouldn’t you know how to use it?

            If the robber doesn’t (your equal) and you don’t – are you REALLY that sure your gonna ‘win’?

            To ‘win’, use a phone (if you can operate one) and call a cop.

            Leave markmansship and security to those who ‘play-to-win’. Leave the Rambo role playing to the paintball field.

          • LibertyLover says:

            To ‘win’, use a phone (if you can operate one) and call a cop.

            And there is your misconception and why you are afraid of weapons.

            You see someone who carries as trying to win. Nobody wins when the shooting starts. Yes, the phone call should be the first line of defense. But the cop is an average of 22 minutes away, nationwide. While you are waiting, the bad guy can get in, knock you in the head then rape your wife and daughter.

            Personally, I’m going to change his mind. It isn’t that hard. Criminals prefer easy targets.

  8. dusanmal says:

    Simple refute by direct testimony of one of the agents made to work in this program. By his sworn testimony (search find the original) – when he repeatedly asked for the same tracking support from ATF and DOJ at the crucial stage of weapons transfer from straw purchaser to criminal organizations that he have had in similar Bush era programs… he was both DENIED and told specifically to let them go. Sworn testimony available to article writer (who conveniently chose not to report that fact, getting in a way of his story). The only question is WHO decided not to track these weapons in Obama administration (every single one was tracked both by Bush administration and Mexican counterparts during Bush era… 1400+ were NOT tracked, intentionally during Obama Administration. Fact. Not spin).

  9. las artes says:

    Yet, bureau records released by Grassley indicate that “walking” guns into Mexico was an approved strategy and that some agents were silenced when they protested that criminals were being armed and lives jeopardized.

  10. Uncle Patso says:

    There is an inherent dichotomy between the desire to stem the tide of weapons to the cartels in Mexico and the idea that everyone should be able to buy as many guns as they want. Weirdly, both ideas seem to be espoused by those who would pillory the ATF here. Are Fortune magazine and the results of their six month investigation to be ignored as part of the “liberal press?” Ha.

    Read the whole article before you shoot your mouth off.

  11. deowll says:

    You need to have your paper work in order before the sale is made. These people messed up a staggering number of times if all that gun walking was an accident.

  12. MikeN says:

    Eric Holder denied gunwalking in an affidavit to COngress. Then 9 months later they withdrew the affidavit. Most people go to jail for perjury. Eric Holder gets to withdraw his statement.

  13. Ah_Yea says:

    The article entirely misses the point.

    It’s not about whether Fast and Furious was legal, but ALL about the coverup.

    Why did Holder lie to congress? Why did Holder move vital employees around? Why did Holder request Executive Privilege?

    This whole thing would already be forgotten if Holder had simply allowed a proper investigation.

    Sounds more like Nixon

    • Polly-wanna-cracker says:

      Nixon? What happen to the Hilter comparisons? Are you Psuedo-Conservatives* reducing the rhetoric and moving to the middle?

      *you HAVE to be a Fox viewer. I can smell the regurdatasion from here:)

  14. The Watcher says:

    It is abundantly clear that F&F was a blatant attempt by Zero and his minions to prove that Mexican criminals were buying their guns from US dealers by forcing the dealers (and BATFE) to ignore the abundant safeguards already in place. Thus making US dealers and their Law Abiding Citizen customers look bad, and advance his agenda to disarm honest people. After all, they don’t vote for him….

    When caught with their hands in the cookie jar, Chicago techniques were called upon to punish the innocent and protect the guilty. I.e., lie, cheat, obfuscate.

    If you voted for Zero in 2008 to prove you weren’t a racist, vote against him in 2012 to prove your not an idiot….

    • Nobody's Bait says:

      That is some seriously funny satire, dude. Keep it up and maybe you can get a show on Comedy Central (after Jon and Stephen’s slots).


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