The OIG is reviewing the Department’s and ATF’s implementation of recommendations in the OIG’s September 2012 report, A Review of Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters. The OIG made six recommendations in that report designed to increase oversight of ATF operations, improve coordination among the Department’s law enforcement components, and enhance the Department’s wiretap application review and authorization process. Since the Fast and Furious report was issued, the Department has provided the OIG with information describing measures it has taken to implement the OIG’s recommendations. The current review will examine this and other information to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of these measures.
The OIG is reviewing allegations that ATF failed to timely investigate and arrest subjects involved in trafficking firearms that were used in an attack on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Mexico in 2011. One of the agents, Jaime Zapata, died from injuries he sustained during the attack. The OIG investigation is examining the information that was available to ATF about the firearms traffickers prior to Agent Zapata’s death.
The OIG is reviewing ATF’s oversight of certain of its storefront operations. One of the key findings of the OIG’s September 2012 report, A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, was that ATF failed to exercise sufficient oversight of activities that posed a danger to the public or otherwise presented special risks. ATF recognized this problem and established a Monitored Case Program to improve its oversight capabilities. The OIG’s review will examine several storefront operations that continued or began after the inception of the Monitored Case Program, and evaluate the effectiveness of the Monitored Case Program as an oversight tool.
In September 2012, the OIG issued its report about Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver, two firearms trafficking investigations conducted by ATF. We found in that review that those investigations were seriously flawed in several respects, most significantly in their failure to adequately consider the risk to public safety in the United States and Mexico that resulted from a strategy of not taking overt enforcement action against individuals making unlawful firearms purchases. During that review, the OIG received information about an ATF investigation involving a U.S. citizen named Jean Baptiste Kingery that allegedly used a strategy and tactics similar to those employed in these two operations. The OIG is examining ATF’s investigation of Kingery, an individual suspected of smuggling thousands of grenade components from the United States to Mexico where it is believed that he was building live grenades for use by drug cartels. The OIG’s review is also examining the role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the investigation and prosecution of Kingery.
The OIG is examining the Department’s and five components’ policies, guidance, and training governing the off-duty conduct of employees on official travel or assignment in foreign countries. The five components in the review are ATF, Criminal Division, DEA, FBI, and USMS.
The OIG is examining the nature, frequency, reporting, investigation, and adjudication of sexual misconduct (including the transmission of sexually explicit text messages and images) where the conduct potentially affected the workplace or the security of operations within ATF, DEA, FBI, and USMS. The OIG is also reviewing whether these law enforcement components can effectively address allegations of sexual misconduct in a consistent manner.
The OIG is auditing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which provides criminal background checks in support of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993. The OIG will evaluate the effectiveness of processes related to the FBI’s referral of denials to ATF; ATF’s initial screening and referral of denials to its field offices for investigation; ATF field offices’ investigation of denials; and the U.S. Attorney Offices’ prosecution of crimes associated with denials.