David Laufman, an attorney for Mark Chait, said in an email that his client “has not been advised of any adverse finding or recommendation by the Professional Review Board at ATF, and any such action would be utterly without merit.”
“Mr. Chait had no contemporaneous knowledge or reason to believe that ATF agents in the Phoenix field division were allowing firearms to flow to suspected straw purchasers, or were forgoing the interdiction of firearms transfers when operationally feasible and permissible under law,” Mr. Laufman said. “Nor did he fail to take any appropriate actions based on the information disclosed to him at the time and existing ATF policies and procedures.”
Mr. Laufman said that when Mr. Chait learned that ATF agents had come forward with allegations of misconduct, he “immediately took steps to protect their legal rights as whistleblowers.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that two other ATF employees face disciplinary actions short of firings. David Voth, an ATF Phoenix supervisor, would be demoted to a street agent, and Hope McAllister, a lead agent, would receive a reprimand and disciplinary transfer.
Rep. Darrell E. Issa, who helped spearhead the investigation of Fast and Furious as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said: “His departure from the Justice Department is warranted and long overdue.
“Gary Grindler was appropriately faulted by his department’s own inspector general for keeping information about a connection between the murder of a Border Patrol agent and a mishandled department operation away from the attorney general and the Department of Homeland Security,” the California Republican said.
Mr. Grindler had served the Department of Justice as interim deputy attorney general and later as chief of staff to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
The inspector general’s 471-page report blamed the failure of Operation Fast and Furious on a series of “misguided strategies” and cited “errors in judgment and management failures” on the part of ATF officials at the headquarters in Washington and in the Phoenix field office, and said “questionable judgments” by Justice Department officials in Washington marred the department’s responses to Capitol Hill inquiries.