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Panel chairman blasts Justice Dept. on gun probe
House panel's chairman blasts Justice Department for inconsistent statements about gun probe
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee accuses the Justice Department of giving inconsistent statements about what he calls a reckless and dangerous law enforcement program.

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas says many questions remain about who authorized the arms-tracking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is being criticized for failing to track illicitly obtained weapons that were later recovered in Mexico and the U.S., many of them at crime scenes.

Attorney General Eric Holder, the sole witness at Thursday's hearing, says it was inexcusable for the bureau to use a controversial tactic known as "gun-walking" in its effort to identify and prosecute major arms trafficking networks along the Southwest border.

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