Fast & Furious Uproar Forces DOJ Division Chief to Resign

A high-ranking member of the U.S. Department of Justice plans to resign from his post in the wake of the controversy surrounding the bungled Fast & Furious gun running operation.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Friday in a statement that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer will step down from his job as chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“Lanny Breuer’s resignation is long overdue,” Issa said is a press release. “Breuer was at the heart of several critical failures in Operation Fast and Furious:  he knew about reckless tactics, failed to take seriously allegations that they were continuing, and only owned up to his failures once they were publicly exposed.”

The government's Fast and Furious gun-smuggling operation allowed people suspected of illegally buying guns to walk away from gun shops with weapons rather than be arrested -- and then freely smuggle them into Mexico.

Operation Fast and Furious has drawn heavy criticism as agents lost track of hundreds of weapons, including two used in a shootout that killed Border Patrol agent Brian Terry along the Arizona-Mexico border in December 2010.

Authorities intended to track the guns in Mexico. Two rifles found at the scene where Terry was killed were bought by a member of the gun-smuggling ring being investigated.

“Inspector General’s report admonished Breuer for failing to inform the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General when he learned, in April 2010, that the reckless tactic of gunwalking was used in a prior operation,” Issa added. “Had Breuer taken any action whatsoever, Fast and Furious would have ended eight months sooner than it did. This resignation paves the way for needed new leadership in the Criminal Division.”

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