Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder wants us all to be kept in the dark with regard to Operation Fast and Furious.
The acting director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson, testified in secret before investigators from both houses of Congress with his own lawyer present, rather than a lawyer for the DOJ or ATF. To make matters worse, none of his superiors informed him of an agreement they made with Congress allowing him to testify with his own legal counsel. Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Darryl Issa sent a letter to Eric Holder regarding Melson’s testimony. It’s quite revealing.
A few highlights:
We have very real indications from several sources that some of the gun trafficking “higher-ups” that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other agencies and may even have been paid as informants. The Acting Director said that ATF was kept in the dark about certain activities of other agencies, including DEA and FBI. Mr.Melson said that he learned from ATF agents in the field that information obtained by these agencies could have had a material impact on the Fast and Furious investigation as far back as late 2009 or early 2010. After learning about the possible role of DEA and FBI, he testified that he reported this information in April 2011 to the Acting Inspector General and directly to then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole on June 16, 2011.
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 agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities. While this is preliminary information, we must find out if there is any truth to it. According to Acting Director Melson, he became aware of this startling possibility only after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers, which we now know were substantially delayed by the u.s. Attorney’s Office and Main Justice.
It is one thing to argue that the ends justify the means in an attempt to defend a policy that puts building a big case ahead of stopping known criminals from getting guns. Yet it is a much more serious matter to conceal from Congress the possible involvement of other agencies in identifying and maybe even working with the same criminals that Operation Fast and Furious was trying to identify. If this information is accurate, then the whole misguided operation might have been cut short if not for catastrophic failures to share key information. If agencies within the same Department, co-located at the same facilities, had simply communicated with one another, then ATF might have known that gun trafficking “higher-ups” had been already identified. This raises new and serious questions about the role of DEA, FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office in Arizona, and Main Justice in coordinating this effort.
Believe it or not, this reckless policy of the Obama administration has led Democrats to call for stricter gun control. By all means, keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens while putting guns in the hands of criminals. That’s just what we need.
Update: Via memeorandum, others discussing this include: : Sister Toldjah, Moe Lane, Power Line, Nice Deb, Confederate Yankee, Daily Punditand Hot Air. Notably absent from that list is anyone from the Main Stream Media. I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you!
Update 2: The Western Experience linked – thanks!