Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fast & Furious Update- Kenneth Melson Stepping Down? Anti-Gun Chicago ATF Branch Head Waiting in Wings as WaPo Does Damage Control

Kenneth Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is expected to step down in the next couple of days in the wake of controversy and damning testimony from field agents before a Congressional oversight committee.
In the operation, straw buyers were allowed to purchase illegally large numbers of weapons, some of which ended up in the hands of cartels in Mexico.

Attorney General Eric Holder will meet Tuesday with Andrew Traver, head of the ATF field office in Chicago, about possibly becoming the agency's acting director, according to senior federal law enforcement sources, who are familiar with the details of the controversy.

The Justice Department refused comment. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters he had no new information on the issue.

The operation has come under intense criticism since the December killing of a U.S. Border Patrol officer.

Operation Fast and Furious was "a colossal failure of leadership," Peter Forcelli, a supervisor at the bureau's Phoenix field office, said recently.

The program focused on following people who legally bought weapons that were then transferred to criminals and destined for Mexico. But instead of intercepting the weapons when they switched hands, Operation Fast and Furious called for ATF agents to let the guns "walk" and wait for them to surface in Mexico, according to a report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The idea was that once the weapons in Mexico were traced back to the straw purchasers, the entire arms smuggling network could be brought down. Instead, the report argues, letting the weapons slip into the wrong hands was a deadly miscalculation that resulted in preventable deaths, including that of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Terry was killed last year north of the Mexican border in Arizona after confronting bandits believed to be preying on illegal immigrants. Two weapons found near the scene of the killing were traced to Fast and Furious.

"I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe it at first," Terry's mother, Josephine, said when she learned the ATF may have let some of the guns used in the attack slip through its fingers. Terry's relatives said they want all those involved in his killing and who helped put the weapons in their hands to be prosecuted.

"We ask that if a government official made a wrong decision, that they admit their error and take responsibility for his or her actions," Robert Heyer, Terry's cousin and family spokesman, said in a hearing last week by the House panel.
Reportedly, the Obama Administration is tapping former Chicago ATF Chicago branch head Andrew Traver to head the agency should Melson resign. Traver appeared in a misleading 2009 segment on a Chicago NBC affiliate's report on gang warfare implying that gangs were arming themselves with military style weapons purchased from retail outlets. Traver also reportedly supported Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's recent efforts to make public the name of Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID) holders to the press available on request.

The successful nomination or appointment of Andrew Traver to the head of the ATF would basically be rewarding the Department of Justice and Obama Administration for this clusterfuck known as Fast & Furious while encouraging further attempts to restrict transactions among law-abiding gun owners. While Senate Democrats facing a tough re-election bid next year in swing states less enamored with gun control than Chicago or Washington D.C. would likely join their Republican colleagues in blocking a Traver nomination, it's almost certain that the Obama administration would wait until the Senate adjourned and appoint him over the recess.

Elsewhere, in what can only be described as a pathetic, flailing attempt at damage control on behalf of the Obama administration, the Washington Post began circulating reports on Tuesday evening that House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa had already been briefed on Fast & Furious as far back as April 2010.

At the briefing last year, bureau officials laid out for Issa and other members of Congress from both parties details of several ATF investigations, including Fast and Furious, the sources said. For that program, the briefing covered how many guns had been bought by “straw purchasers,’’ the types of guns and how much money had been spent, said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the briefing was not public.

“All of the things [Issa] has been screaming about, he was briefed on,’’ said one source familiar with the session. even if I were to take the WaPo's VERY convenient anonymous source at face value that there was a private briefing for members of both parties regarding Fast & Furious, according to the WaPo, they discussed the number and types of guns purchased by 'straw buyers' and how much money was spent. I wonder if THE ATF INTENTIONALLY ALLOWING THE WEAPONS TO BE FORWARDED TO MEXICAN CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS came up in that same briefing.....which took place when the Democrats had a supermajority in the House of Representatives and were focusing on things like 0bamacare, cap and trade or card check.

Probably not- I'd like to think that if that was explicitly mentioned to members of Congress in that aforementioned briefing the WaPo assures us took place, that members of both parties would've demanded answers and hearings into exactly what the hell the ATF was doing right then and there.

But that's just me.

[Cross posted at Not Another New England Sports Blog!]

1 comment:

  1. Wa po no longer a reliable source seeing as they support and employ illegals and don't give a shirt about america. In my opinion they are the problem and the people influencing opinions on immigration is an illegal immigrant aka lawbreaker or apparently we only enforce the law when it takes money from poor american citizens who have become the minority and are treated poorly by imigrants in our own country, even slaughtered like terry.god bless his mother, since obama apperantly doesnt give a damn just casualty to those rich politicians in their little puppet show of greed.