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(Updates with comment from agency official in third paragraph.)
Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is reorganizing senior staff as lawmakers investigate an agency program that allowed illegal gun purchases in the U.S. in an effort to link the weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
B. Todd Jones, the firearm agency’s acting chief, told reporters in Washington today that 11 senior managers are being reassigned.
“We’re going to hit the reset button and move forward,” Jones said.
Attorney General Eric Holder named Jones, who is also the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, acting director in August amid congressional criticism of the ATF gun operation, called Fast and Furious.
Two of about 2,000 guns that ATF allowed to be carried away were found at the scene of the December 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona, according to a report released in June by Republican Darrell Issa, of California, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The lawmakers are continuing to investigate. Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asked President Barack Obama in a letter yesterday to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether Holder misled lawmakers in congressional testimony about Fast and Furious.
The operation sought to show a connection between straw buyers of assault-style weapons in the U.S. and Mexican drug trafficking organizations working on both sides of the border, according to the report.
--Editors: Justin Blum, Laurie Asseo
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