Friday, July 15, 2011

ATF Florida Gun Probe Earns Congressional Scrutiny in Wake of 'Fast and Furious'

Several lawmakers are questioning the Obama administration about whether the controversial "Fast and Furious" gunrunning probe may have had a cousin in Florida that resulted in guns being trafficked to Central America.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., penned a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson inquiring about a program known as "Operation Castaway." Other top lawmakers are also starting to look into it, though ATF claims the program was above board and not similar to Operation Fast and Furious at all.

The Justice Department says Castaway was an anti-gun trafficking operation handled by an ATF division in Florida. It resulted last year in a slew of convictions for defendants the department claimed provided firearms linked to violent crimes around the world. But in light of questions surrounding the Fast and Furious probe out of ATF's Phoenix division, Bilirakis questioned whether Castaway bore the same suspicious hallmarks. (more)