Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ATF Director Testifies, Not Falling on the Sword

The only thing more ridiculous than the incessant coverage of the Casey Anthony trial is that this story isn't getting a hundred times more attention. It was explosive enough to learn that ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson was being briefed weekly on the Operation Fast & Furious program, in which his agency allowed guns to 'walk' into Mexico but now it looks like he is not going to take the fall for the Justice Department or Obama administration.

He testified in front of Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley (R-IA). I found this LETTER in my inbox, courtesy of Issa's press office. It's from Issa and Grassley and addressed to Eric Holder. It says, in part:
Acting Director Melson's cooperation was extremely helpful to our investigation. He was candid in admitting mistakes that his agency made and described various ways he says that he tried to remedy the problems. According to Mr. Melson, it was not until after the public controversy that he personally reviewed hundreds of documents relating to the case, including wiretap applications and Reports of Investigation (ROIs). By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story. Mr. Melson said that he told the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) at the end of March that the Department needed to reexamine how it was responding to the requests for information from Congress.

According to Mr. Melson, he and ATF's senior leadership team moved to reassign every manager involved in Fast and Furious, from the Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations down to the Group Supervisor, after learning the facts in those documents. Mr. Melson also said he was not allowed to communicate to Congress the reasons for the reassignments. He claimed that ATF's senior leadership would have preferred to be more cooperative with our inquiry much earlier in the process. However, he said that Justice Department officials directed them not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress. The result is that Congress only got the parts of the story that the Department wanted us to hear. If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand. That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation. The Department's inability or unwillingness to be more forthcoming served to conceal critical information that we are now learning about the involvement of other agencies, including the DEA and the FBI.
This letter unlikely revealed the full extent of what Melson said but it reveals quite a bit anyway. Basically, Melson has decided not to take the fall for Eric Holder's Justice Department and has begun pointing the finger away from ATF and directly at DOJ.

This is going to get a whole lot more interesting...

Read the entire letter HERE.

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