PHOENIX - ATF Field Agents in Phoenix were told that they were the first Southwest Border Group to be pursuing operation Fast and Furious and that it was the "pinnacle of U.S. law enforcement techniques."
A day after a fiery Capitol Hill hearing on the controversial program that allegedly let guns "walk" across the border, it is becoming more apparent that the strategy was ineffective and dangerous. So much so that when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen others were shot in Tucson, panic spread within the entire Phoenix Field Division of ATF.
"There was concern from the chain of command that the gun was hopefully not a fast and furious gun," Special Agent Peter Forcelli testified at a House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
"Everytime there's a shooting whether it was Mrs. Giffords or anybody, anytime there was a shooting in the general Phoenix area or even Arizona, we're fearful that it might be one of these firearms," said Special Agent Olindo Casa.
The ATF was tracking a straw buyer who purchased a truckload of assault weapons in January 2010 but did not stop him.
In December two of those guns were recovered at the murder scene of Border Agent Brian Terry in Rio Rico, Arizona.
Terry's mother, Josephine Terry, testified at Wednesday's hearing but is now back home in Michigan.
Reached by phone she told 3TV she was pleased with how the hearing progressed. "I felt like everyone was on Brian's side 100 percent," said Terry.
Members of Congress vow to continue to probe the ATF operation and find out who at the highest level sanctioned the program.