This is interesting, especially since the Department of Justice was planning to allow Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), to testify next week. Melson – with his personal attorney – quietly met with congressional investigators on July 4.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder which includes the following.
Yesterday, Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson participated in a transcribed interview regarding Operation Fast and Furious and related matters with both Republican and Democratic staff. He appeared with his personal counsel, Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods LLP. His interview had originally be en scheduled through the Justice Department to occur on July 13 in the presence of DOJ and ATF counsel. As you know, however, under our agreement Department witnesses who choose to a t t end a voluntary interview with their own lawyer are free to exercise that right rather than participate with counsel representing the Department’s interests.
Yeah. More fuel to enforce the idea Melson was being set up as the fall guy and was not willing to fall on the sword, even though Melson specifically noted he had not been asked to resign. Melson was not told by the DOJ he could testify on his own with personal council. When he found out, he took the opportunity.
The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons but that taxpayer dollars from other [the FBI and DEA are mentioned in the letter] agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities.
[Melson] told investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he was “sick to his stomach” when he learned about problems with the operation, and that after he and ATF’s senior leadership team moved to reassign every manager involved in the program, they were prohibited from telling Congress the reasons for the reassignments.