The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has informed Congress that it plans to destroy the guns it still has from the botched Fast and Furious operation, which resulted in the U.S. arming Mexican cartels.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, objected to the idea in a letter published Tuesday night, charging the weapons are still important “evidence.”
“Although the ATF apparently intends to forget its dangerous misconduct in Operation Fast and Furious, the scandal is still a matter of public concern,” wrote Jordan. “I request that you immediately take steps to preserve all evidence associated with Operation Fast and Furious and confirm in writing that you have done so.”
Thank God 👇👇@Jim_Jordan is demanding ATF preserve the evidence https://t.co/Bpr9VT2YCg
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) December 7, 2022
Jordan sparred with ATF last week as well after he accused the agency of “usurping the power of Congress.”
Fox News reports that the decision for destruction was made after the Department of Justice’s inspector general audited a West Virginia ATF storage site where “thousands of firearms, firearm parts, and ammunition had been stolen.”
Weapons kept after the Fast and Furious operation were reportedly improperly stored on top of an emergency gun vault despite there being room for the items inside.
“While these firearms were secured in shipping cases, the cases could be accessed by an individual using one of the ladders kept in the same area of the facility,” read the inspector general’s report.
The inspector then suggested that the ATF gets rid of the weapons as they were no longer important for the mission. The agency agreed to do so after they alleged that all “criminal investigations, internal DOJ reviews, and civil suits relating to Operation Fast and Furious have concluded and that stored evidence from that investigation no longer needs to be preserved.”
Jordan pushed back on this assessment and pointed out some of the many issues brought forth by the Fast and Furious scandal.
“Earlier this year, prosecutors in Mexico charged seven individuals with crimes related to Operation Fast and Furious, including Mexico’s former top police official and a former Mexican Federal Police commander,” wrote Jordan.
The scandal was arguably quite significant; it resulted in federal agents allowing over 2,00 firearms to be sold illegally, according to Fox News.
Some of the guns sold have since been used in crimes along the U.S.-Mexico border.