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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa Now Investigating Project Gunrunner

The burgeoning scandal that involves an alleged policy by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) allowing guns to 'walk' into Mexico has now caught the attention of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). In classic bureaucratic doublespeak, ATF's Project Gunrunner was put in place to prevent weapons from illegally crossing into Mexico. Under that umbrella, the agency - ostensibly with the approval or at the direction of the Department of Justice - formed Operation Fast & Furious (FF).

According to a whistleblower from the ATF - Agent John Dodson - his agency leaders instructed agents to allow straw purchasers to buy very powerful weapons and cross into Mexico under the auspices of going after bigger drug cartel fish.

Now CBS's Sharyl Attkisson, the reporter responsible for breaking the story is reporting that Issa has assembled a team that will begin to investigate:
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is calling on the ATF to answer questions and produce documents about "gunwalking" operations where guns were allegedly allowed into Mexico in order to track drug cartels.

A CBS News investigation revealed that thousands of guns have found their way into criminal hands in Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner.

In a letter sent to Kenneth Melson, acting director of the ATF, Issa urges him to "act decisively to assuage the public's deep suspicions" about the program.
HERE is a copy of that letter. Several days ago, Attorney General Eric Holder told Kay Bailey Hutchison that letting guns 'walk' is wrong and that such a tactic should not and is not the policy of the ATF. Unfortunately for Holder, the U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix was fully aware of the problem. The question now becomes, who at the Phoenix office authorized the operation and will anyone be fired?

The most damage done to the ATF in this case has come from one of its own - Agent John Dodson - who has blown the whistle on the operation and even implicated the Department of Justice. Watch the interview HERE.

To this point, the ATF has been stonewalling Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Odds are better than not that it will do the same with Issa. It would be nice to see more agents like Dodson come forward. Stonewalling has become a way of life for this Justice Department, perhaps more than any DOJ in history. Again, as in other cases, suspicions will rise the longer Holder's DOJ obfuscates.

Click HERE to listen to interview with Darrell Issa.

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