Report on Botched Sting Clears Eric Holder

But 2 are out and more than a dozen face discipline over 'Fast and Furious'

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 19, 2012 2:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Justice Department's internal watchdog today faulted the agency for misguided strategies, errors in judgment, and management failures during a bungled gun-trafficking probe in Arizona that resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the US and Mexico. The report did not criticize Attorney General Eric Holder, but said lower-level officials should have briefed him about the investigation much earlier. Two senior officials left the department, one by resignation and one by retirement, upon release of the 471-page report.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred more than a dozen people for possible department disciplinary action for their roles in Operation Fast and Furious and a separate, earlier probe known as Wide Receiver, undertaken during the George W. Bush administration. The report found no evidence that Holder was informed about the Fast and Furious operation before Jan. 31, 2011, or that the attorney general was told about the much-disputed gun-walking tactic employed by the department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In this July 26 file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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