From CBS News:
The Inspector General (IG) draft report on Fast and Furious heaps blame on the Phoenix-based staff of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) according to those familiar with the document.
Those familiar with the contents say ATF Phoenix officials shoulder much blame, including then-Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell, the lead Fast and Furious case agent Hope MacAllister, and group supervisor David Voth.
Since the controversy was first exposed, a divide has developed between the ATF staff in Phoenix who oversaw and implemented Fast and Furious; and their supervisors at ATF headquarters and the Justice Department. The Phoenix officials say higher-ups approved of the case. But the higher-ups say it was all the brainchild of rogue ATF officials in Phoenix.
Phoenix ATF officials tell CBS News that higher-level officials were integral in shifting focus away from arresting ground level gun buyers, to “a cartel focused strategy” that allowed guns hit the streets in an attempt to make a bigger case. They say the idea was codified in the September 2010 ATF document “Project Gunrunner-A Cartel Focused Strategy.” The document refers to using the tactic of “limited or delayed interdiction” of guns, while cautioning that such investigations “must be closely monitored.”
As alleged proof that they had the blessing of their superiors, ATF officials in Phoenix point to regular briefings provided headquarters and the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center. Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had agents working the case. The Justice Department also approved seven wiretaps in Fast and Furious. However, then-head of ATF Kenneth Melson and officials at the Justice Department say they never intended for agents to allow guns to walk,
Documents released during the course of the investigation show the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, Lanny Breuer, learned that ATF had let guns walk –even as the Justice Department was denying that had ever happened. When those documents were made public last November, Breuer issued a statement saying he regretted not alerting others in Justice Department leadership. Breuer also signed off on the Fast and Furious wiretaps.