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Fast & Furious: Where the buck stops

| Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

Republican congressional investigators continue to document the whole sorry Fast and Furious affair. And while there's plenty of blame to go around for underlings, it's Attorney General Eric Holder who bears ultimate responsibility — and who should lose his job.

The first of three reports, obtained by the Los Angeles Times before its release, concludes that five senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials — including its special agent in charge in Phoenix and top man in Washington — share responsibility, citing their “missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.”

ATF allowed about 2,500 illegal gun sales in Arizona but failed to track those guns to Mexican drug cartels as intended. Two were found at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's killing.

Two others were recovered after a Mexican state attorney general's brother was killed — and that first report says those five ATF officials tried to hide that fact from Mexico's government.

The other reports will deal with Justice's “devastating failure of supervision and leadership” and “unprecedented obstruction” of the congressional probe at the department's “highest levels” — which lately earned Mr. Holder a contempt-of-Congress citation for withholding subpoenaed documents.

However culpable others within Justice may be, the buck stops with Holder, confirming that he's manifestly unfit to remain the nation's top law enforcement officer.

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