A botched operation to track the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico has prompted the removal of the acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the resignation of the U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. Under the once-secret program known as "Operation Fast and Furious," federal agents encouraged U.S. gun shops to sell thousands of weapons to middlemen for Mexican drug cartels. The program was meant to gain access to senior-level figures within Mexico’s criminal organizations, but agents lost track of as many as 2,500 guns. Last week, the Department of Justice acknowledged to Congress that firearms connected with the ATF’s controversial sting operation were used in at least 11 violent crimes in the United States, including the slaying of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Meanwhile, the program has never led to any arrests, and three key ATF supervisors were promoted earlier this month. We’re joined by Vincent Cefalu, an ATF special agent who helped blow the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and has since faced retaliation. "We allowed these guns to go, continue on, in the hopes of establishing some sort of chain, or this iron pipeline, which was so far from the truth," Cefalu says. "The only way to track those guns were to find them at the crime scenes or dead bodies." [includes rush transcript]moreless
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