Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson has been transferred from ATF to a position at the Justice Department, sources say.
One source speaking on condition of confidentiality informed this reporter that Melson was called to Attorney General Eric Holder’s office on Friday and that his office was cleared out over the weekend.
In a phone call earlier today, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman indicated he was also chasing down the story–the account he was following indicated an announcement could be forthcoming today–this column will link to his as soon as he posts.
In tracking down corroboration, Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars contacted two reporters for major networks who immediately took that information and began investigating using their resources and contacts. CBS News now reports “Sources: ATF Director Melson ‘out’ as director,” and expect a report from Fox News to be forthcoming.
A call to ATF’s “Pressroom” for an official statement resulted in this reporter being told there was nothing they could say at this time, but they promised to call when the information was available.
There is no word yet on who will be selected to replace Melson, and whether it will be another “acting” assignment or if a recess appointment will be made.
UPDATE: Workman’s report.
UPDATE: B. Todd Jones to replace.
UPDATE: Statement from Darrell Issa, via email.
While the reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes within the Department of Justice, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation to ensure that blame isn’t offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department. There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility, but these changes are warranted and offer an opportunity for the Justice Department to explain the role other officials and offices played in the infamous efforts to allow weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels. I also remain very concerned by Acting Director Melson’s statement that the Department of Justice is managing its response in a manner intended to protect its political appointees. Senator Grassley and I will continue to press the Department of Justice for answers in order to ensure that a reckless effort like Fast and Furious does not take place again.