Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that is investigating Operation Fast and Furious told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren in an interview Tuesday night that responsibility for the botched gun trafficking sting “goes higher” than two officials who left their jobs earlier in the day, as this column reported.
It’s a good bet that Northwest Firearms forum members watched, as they have been following this week’s developments closely. Likewise, the folks at WaGuns are keeping tabs on these developments since Mexico’s president blamed this country’s gun laws for a casino attack last week. More about that in a moment.
Van Susteren expressed some concern that neither Kenneth Melson, who was replaced by Attorney General Eric Holder as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was being made “sort of the sacrificial lamb here.” U.S. Attorney for Phoenix Dennis Burke simply resigned, effective immediately, while Melson gets a transfer to some obscure post within the Justice Department.
Issa contended that his investigators, and his committee, is being “gamed” by the Justice Department and ATF by providing subpoenaed documents so heavily redacted as to be useless. However, Issa also reported that he had obtained many of the same documents from other “third-hand” sources, so he is aware of what the Justice Department is trying to hide.
Melson told congressional investigators that he and ATF’s senior leadership “moved to reassign every manager involved in Fast and Furious, from the deputy assistant director for field operations down to the group supervisor” after ATF whistleblowers went to the press and Capitol. But according to Melson, he and company were ordered by Justice Department higher-ups to remain silent about the reasons for the reassignments.—Michelle Malkin
The California congressman said he believes responsibility for the operation, which sent possibly 2,000 to 2,500 guns into the hands of Mexican cartel gunmen, goes at least as high as Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. He indicated that he will meet with Holder when he returns to Washington, D.C. next week, hoping for better cooperation in an effort to wrap up the investigation.
The musical chairs exercise will not bring an end to the probe, that much is assured. Columnist Michelle Malkin blasted the shuffle, and the Christian Science Monitor has weighed in, explaining why the Obama administration still has a problem with the ATF operation and aftermath.
Malkin has joined gun rights activists to wonder why people haven’t been fired at ATF rather than just shifted around to other jobs.
The reshuffle in ATF personnel seems unlikely to end the controversy over Fast and Furious. US Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California, who heads the House Oversight Committee that has been investigating the botched operation, said in his Twitter feed Tuesday, “We won’t let blame for reckless Fast and Furious be shifted onto these few.”—Christian Science Monitor
This column noted that international heat is still being generated by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, but that his attention is focused on Congress with a demand that we renew the ban on so-called “assault weapons.” The violence in his country is our fault, he contends.
“We know we’re being gamed, and we think the time for games is up.”—Congressman Darrell Issa
But the proverbial “bottom line” here aims at the top of an administration that seems to be making things up as it goes along. This appears to be true with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the national economy and perhaps its most glaring manifestation was Operation Fast and Furious, which — according to testimony from whistle blowers — violated every standard procedure by letting guns “walk” into the hands of criminals.
It is becoming clear that this operation is not an aberration, but business as usual for an administration that probably shouldn’t plan anything beyond January 20, 2013.
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