Most of what we've heard about the gun-trafficking scandal is wrong.
FORTUNE — One day ahead of a historic vote in which Congress may hold attorney general Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over documents in an investigation of a now-notorious ATF gun-trafficking operation, Fortune.com has released an article by Katherine Eban entitled "The Truth About the Fast & Furious Scandal" that questions many of the widely accepted and fundamental "facts" about the case.
Fast and Furious is typically portrayed as a flawed action in which ATF agents in Arizona intentionally allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. But the Fortune.com article, based on six months of interviews with seven agents involved in the case, 32 other sources, and 2,000 pages of confidential government documents, concludes that the ATF never had such a policy. ATF agents consistently tried to interdict guns, Fortune.com reports, but were repeatedly hamstrung by a combination of weak federal laws and prosecutors who interpreted those statutes narrowly. ATF agents proposed the arrest and indictment of more than two dozen gun trafficking suspects in the case in 2010, but prosecutors did not act until two weapons tracked by the ATF were found at the scene of the murder of a federal agent.
Keep reading: What really happened in Fast and Furious? – Fortune Features ~ Intro to the article: