Senate fires warning shot at Justice Dept. over 'Fast and Furious'

The Senate Tuesday afternoon unanimously cleared an amendment to prohibit funding for operations similar to the Justice Department's botched gun-tracking program, nicknamed “Operation Fast and Furious.”

The amendment is designed to prevent the Justice Department from implementing similar programs in the future, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) — the sponsor of the amendment — said prior to the 99-0 vote.  

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“When 2000 firearms go missing and at least one is found at the crime scene of a murdered U.S. Border Patrol agent, we must do everything possible to ensure that such a reckless and ill-advised operation like ‘Fast and Furious’ is not repeated," he said. 

Cornyn's amendment, now tacked on the appropriations “minibus,” would explicitly prohibit the Justice Department from expending further federal funds on Operation Fast and Furious or programs that involve sending weapons into Mexico.

The program, now under congressional investigation, was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives beginning in 2009. It facilitated the export of American weapons to known Mexican drug cartels in order to map gun-running routes. Agents lost track of around 1,500 of the assault rifles, however, and one was linked to the murder of a U.S. border agent. 

The program has drawn political fire from both sides of the aisle: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has launched an investigation in his House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in which Attorney General Eric Holder testified as to what he did or did not know about the program.