ATF director does end-around DOJ – privately testifies on Fast & Furious gunwalker program

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.

More from Tina Korbe at Hot Air, and this from The Washington Times who notes Holder’s Department of Justice blocked senior leaders at ATF from cooperating with Congress and…

[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.

19 replies
  1. chase
    chase says:

    Acting Director Melson has shown no compentency of leadership in his time at ATF, but suddenly he actually has Agents thinking he just might have some integrity based on his decision to not be the DOJ fall guy and to do the 4th of July secret testimony with his personal attorney.? Hopefully he provided lengthy details with plenty of documentation. DOJ directed this fiasco, and Melson along with numerous ATF HQ (SES level) managers gladly went along with the policy change that lead to the?gun walking, even though they knew it to be absolutely against everyone’s?best interest and far too dangerous.? DOJ insisted ATF was weak in their gun cases, that straw buyers were too low-level.? Let the guns walk, like DEA walks drugs and money.? Guns in the wrong hands are used to kill. Drugs are used by those who want to use them. Straw buyers have one purpose, to covertly buy guns for people who plan to use them to do harm.? Mexican Drug Cartels use guns to kill. DOJ didn’t care.? Look at the news article by Jerry Seper, Washington Times, Nov. 9, 2010, regarding DOJ OIG review of ATF gun cases and the statements of the Chief of the DOJ OIG.? And look at the numbers the WH was releasing regarding guns being recovered in Mexico that were…

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    ?This just shows the rot in this administration. Cover-up and admit nothing. It goes all the way to the top.? Will anyone in the media ask for an investigation of this as they did the Iran-Contra deal? Oh yeah, I know they are too busy investigating the Tea? Party.

  3. Law-AbidingCitizen
    Law-AbidingCitizen says:

    And, it just keeps on getting curiouser and curiouser. Acting Director Melson testified that “he and ATF?s senior leadership team moved to reassign every manager involved in the program” once he found out about operation Operation Fast and Furious. That sound exactly like he was trying to cover the agency’s ethical lapse. It is directly evident that with that statement he did not know what was transpiring in his own agency and sought to provide cover for himself.
    I hope that this story gets traction in the media along with Congress and does not go quietly away. This has historic implications. This could well be “ATF-gate.” Persons in higher authority, i.e. the White House, DOJ, etc., had to direct BATFE personnel to undertake the Fast and Furious program.? This misuse of a federal government agency cannot be allowed to stand; and, those who directed the malfeasance need to be named and prosecuted.

  4. phil
    phil says:

    Children, can you say “Accessory to Murder”?? Mr. Holder, can you say “Accessory to Murder”?

  5. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    MORE proof that the entire system is broken – corrupted by the politicians.?
    Cheney kept info from getting out.? Hillary got head of the line privileges?to SCOTUS when she had the anti-Hillary movie stopped.
    And recall?little Timmy Geitner not being able to?fill spots?? Integrity protective actions(my guess).
    Melson appears to have integrity.? If so, I wish him luck and support.
    We have seen the signs, but will we act on what we see? ? Voting does not count as acting for it has yet to be effective.

  6. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…
    The new ?bama “transparency” is being disbursed by the ethically deprived Eric Holder.? Ya couldn’t write this stuff!

  7. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    So much of the Bumpy Barry O’Bama and Joe the Dumber Administration is comprised of the worst of the Clinton Administration intermingled with a new cadre of creeps, and Holder is one who has provided notable disservice to this nation under two presidents. Issa and Grassley will continue to apply pressure to find out what happened here, and more and more “news” outlets are shaking off their indifference and reporting on what’s going on. Now if some of the thumb-sitting “independent” voters we hear so much about are paying attention and can be induced to vote sensibly, this could be a major box of nails in the Speechifyer and Chief’s political coffin.

  8. Plainvillian
    Plainvillian says:

    Like the mafia’s soldiers, this administration’s corps of minions swear fealty until threatened with exposure, then flee back to academia and Wall Street or sing like canaries, mouthpiece at their side.? So much for honor among the depraved.? Will the legacy media ever find that this is news?? We can only hope.? ?

  9. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    News reports now reveal some of these guns were seized during the arrests of alien drug gang members WITHIN THE US! Thanks Bumpy Barry O’bama and Derelict Holder. Heckuva job, Barry.

  10. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    TomL, I always read your links, and learn lots from them. But, this one depends a lot on Wikileaks, do you trust them? Ok Steve, I know I’m off target. I am not surprised but, am saddened that the Bush administration distorted figure. Can’t anyone in government just tell the truth?

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