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Dems: no high-level direction on Fast & Furious

Associated Press Modified: January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm •  Published: January 30, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on a congressional committee say the panel has obtained no evidence that a flawed gun smuggling probe called Operation Fast and Furious was conceived or directed by high-level political appointees at Justice Department headquarters.

The Democrats say the probe grew out of a misguided five-year-long effort during both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations in the Phoenix division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to dismantle arms trafficking networks along the Southwest border.

The report is by Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and it follows a yearlong inquiry. It is expected to differ sharply with the conclusions of Republicans, who will question Attorney General Eric Holder about Operation Fast and Furious at a hearing Thursday before the committee.