WASHINGTON, D.C. – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did not rule out the possibility that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms misled her department about the intent of Operation Fast & Furious to put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
“I hope they did not,” Secretary Napolitano responded to Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), who asked whether DHS or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent assigned to assist ATF had been misled. The Secretary’s response raises the question of whether one U.S. Government agency, in this case Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, misled another.
Rep. McCaul, Chairman of the Homeland Security Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, is investigating DHS’s role in Fast & Furious, the Department of Justice operation which walked an unknown number of guns south across the border to Mexico in a botched effort to track the weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
One of those weapons was traced to the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona. However, Secretary Napolitano could not quell speculation that weapons used to kill U.S. ICE Agent Jaime Zapata may also have been linked to Fast & Furious. Last week marked the one year anniversary of Agents Zapata and Victor Avila being ambushed on a Mexican highway by members of the Los Zetas cartel. Avila was wounded but survived.
“‘It’s possible’, is what you’re saying?” Rep. McCaul asked about a link during the hearing.
“I just don’t know one way or another,” Secretary Napolitano responded.
“So you can’t conclusively say one way or the other whether there’s a link to these weapons and Fast & Furious?” Rep. McCaul followed.
“That’s true,” Secretary Napolitano said.