Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief. He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico? "Yes ma'am," Dodson told CBS News. "The agency was."
An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson's job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen. Investigators call the tactic letting guns "walk." In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States.
Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico. ATF named the case "Fast and Furious."
Surveillance video obtained by CBS News shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at a Phoenix gun shop. The long boxes shown in the video being loaded in were AK-47-type assault rifles. So it turns out ATF not only allowed it - they videotaped it.
Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets. Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over. Their answer, according to Dodson, was, "If you're going to make an omelette, you've got to break some eggs." There was so much opposition to the gun walking, that an ATF supervisor issued an e-mail noting a "schism" among the agents.
On Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down. Two assault rifles ATF had let go nearly a year before were found at Terry's murder.