By Duane Lester
I have written before on the failed and moronic ATF program “Fast and Furious,” commonly known as “Gunwalker.”
In this program, ATF agents allowed Mexican drug cartels to purchase over 2500 guns, including three .50 caliber rifles, one of which brought down a Mexican helicopter. The agency then let those guns “walk” across the border.
Rep. Darryl Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley have been leading the investigations into the program and have been stonewalled for some time. However, on the Fourth of July, the acting ATF Director, Kenneth Melson, met in secret and told them what he knew about the program:
Contrary to the Justice Department’s denials, according to Melson, ATF agents specifically witnessed transfers of weapons from straw purchasers to third parties without taking any further action. Melson claimed that it was not until the public disclosure of the operation that he personally reviewed the “hundreds of documents” related to the case. He said he became “sick to his stomach” when he learned the full story. Even more shocking is that some of the “gun trafficking ‘higher-ups’ that the ATF sought to identify were already knownto other agencies and may even have been paid as informants” by agencies such as the FBI and the DEA.
Melson provided detailed information and documents to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department. But that information was not given to Congress by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole. In fact, “Melson was not allowed to communicate to Congress” and “Justice Department officials directed [ATF’s senior leadership] not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.” According to the letter Issa and Grassley sent to Holder, it was “two days after [Melson] told [Cole] about serious issues involving lack of information sharing” that the Wall Street Journal suddenly reported that Melson was about to be ousted by the Obama administration.
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