Sadly, it will take a long time for the Oversight Committee to obtain the documents they requested -- that is, if they ever get them. The American people can only speculate as to what the documents will prove as to who in the DOJ granted approval. How high did it go? We probably will never learn the truth. Certainly the truth will not be known before November.
Documents at hand prove that Asst. AG Lanny Breuer, Chief of the DOJ's Criminal Division, knew and approved. Documents at hand also prove that "someone" at the DOJ approved funding the operation. Will Lanny Breuer face criminal charges? Right now he is facing nothing. Has he been fired? No. He hasn't even been transferred. Paycheck and retirement are still intact.
The DOJ looked for a fall guy. First they blamed ATF's Phoenix AZ, office saying it was a rogue operation on their part. Nobody got fired. Nobody got charged. ATF supervisiors in Phoenix got transferred.
When ATF agents in the field complained that DOJ's U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke (who was the DOJ's prosecuting officer in AZ) would not prosecute or act when ATF agents seized straw man gun sellers, Burke became the fall guy. Was the DOJ's U.S. Attorney in AZ fired or charged? No, he was allowed to resign.
ATF Actiing Chief Melson knew about F & F and testified behind closed doors in July 2011 that he sent ATF reports about F & F to the DOJ after he read them. He also said that the DEA and the FBI were involved. He also said that Eric Holder received briefings on Fast and Furious as early as July 2010. Melson was not fired or charged. In Aug 2011 the DOJ transferred him to another division called the Office of Legal Policy where he is a senior supervisor of forensic science. (Paycheck and retirement intact.)
A month later (Sept 2011) Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked at an Oversight Hearing when she knew about the operation. She testified she did not know about it while it was underway (it operated for about 13 months, from Nov. 2009 - January/Feb 2011). I guess for 13 months nobody at the ATF, the DEA, the FBI, or the DOJ told Janet about a gun walking operation that was going on in her home state.
So for 13 months about 2,500 illegal guns were provided by the ATF (via the DOJ) to gun shops in So. AZ for them to sell to straw buyers who hustled the approx 2,500 AK47s and other guns across the border to sell to the Mexican cartels. ATF field agents were told to look the other way. If Customs discovered any guns, they were told to let them pass through.
Since Asst AG Lanny Breuer knew and approved from the get go, do you think he ever told his boss Eric Holder?
If no one gets charged with criminal charges, if no one gets fired, this is going to happen again because there is no accountability and no punishment.
How high did it go? The DOJ wants us to believe it went no higher than ATF Acting Chief Melson.