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Congressman raises stakes in 'Fast and Furious' probe, targeting Eric Holder

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But the programs have had no shortage of critics. National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre has even suggested that Operation Fast and Furious was ultimately intended to foment violence in order to build support in the United States for more gun control. Some gun law experts say the program may have broken federal gun-trafficking laws.

"It's a crime to obstruct Congress, and of course it's a crime to participate in international gun smuggling," Dave Kopel, a gun control expert at the conservative Independence Institute in Golden, Colo., said recently on an Independence Institute webcast. "I don't know what part of federal law allows federal officials to commit the crime of international gun trafficking." He also said, "There's a growing possibility that … there's perjury."

Revelations that the FBI and DEA were involved have raised questions about the nature of America's covert operations south of the border, and whether they're hurting or helping US security.

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