Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers at a subpanel hearing Tuesday that he would have modified the Fast and Furious program before it proceeded if he could do it over again.
REP. YODER: Mr. General, if I might interject. Do you believe the program was a mistake?
ATTORNEY GEN. HOLDER: I think that it was a--it was a good attempt--it was a bad attempt at trying to deal with a very pernicious problem, where guns are flowing from the United States to Mexico. It was--in its execution, in its conception, it was fundamentally flawed. But I understand what they were trying to do but they just did it extremely, extremely poorly.
YODER: And if you had a chance to do it over again, would you continue the program or would you have eliminated it before they proceeded?
HOLDER: I certainly would have modified the program. I mean, allowing guns to walk is simply a process--a procedure that just does not make sense. It's bad law enforcement, and I think that is at the heart of the problem with regard to Fast and Furious. On the other hand, coming up with ways in which we stop the flow of guns from the United States to Mexico, I think we need to be aggressive, we need to be creative and we need to help our Mexican counterparts to the extent that we can.
Operation Fast and Furious began in 2009. Federal agents allowed more than 2,000 firearms to be purchased by straw buyers and smuggled across the U.S.-Mexican border. The intent was to track the weapons to drug cartels. However, the ATF soon lost track of the weapons.
Guns trafficked into Mexico under Operation Fast and Furious were linked to the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010, setting off a wide-reaching investigation into the Justice Department’s role in facilitating the operation.