ATF says it did not "promote" three of its managers deeply involved with the "Fast and Furious" gunwalking scandal. A spokesman for the agency today issued a statement denying reports that claimed the men had been promoted.
The spokesman, Scot Thomasson, said the three managers were "laterally transferred" from operational duties into administrative roles. "These transfers/reassignments have never been described as promotions in any of the documents announcing them," said Thomasson.
Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon, Field Operations who played a management role over "Fast and Furious" has been reassigned to a position within the Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations. Special Agent William Newell, who ran the ATF's Phoenix office, was reassigned to the Office of Management to assist with the Congressional inquiry into the scandal and the ongoing Inspector General's investigation. A third special agent involved in the gunwalking operation, David Voth, has been reassigned to ATF headquarters. According to ATF, these moves do not constitute promotions.
The gunwalking scandal centered on an ATF program that allowed thousands of high-caliber weapons to knowingly be sold to so-called "straw buyers" who are suspected as middlemen for criminals. Those weapons, according to the Department of Justice, have been tied to at least 12 violent crimes in the United States, and an unknown number of violent crimes in Mexico.
"Fast and Furious" was designed to gather intelligence on gun sales, but ATF agents have told CBS News and members of Congress that they were routinely ordered to back off and allow weapons to "walk" when sold.