Friday, June 24, 2011

The latest on "Operation Fast And Furious"

The scandal over the ATF's allowing illegally-purchased guns to cross the Mexican border (also known as "Project Gunwalker" or "Project Gunrunner") continues to grow. A lot has happened this week, so here goes with a run-down.

Say Uncle posts what may be the best summary of the scandal I've yet read:

Imagine the DEA telling pharmacists to illegally sell oxycontin to known drug dealers or they would be shut down. Then imagine the DEA using the fact that more oxycontin was on the street (and hundreds of overdose deaths) as a pretext for making it harder for patients to get prescribed narcotics. This is essentially what happened with the ATF and Project Gunwalker.


Another murder has been linked to the guns the ATF allowed to go south - this time of the brother of a Mexican state attorney general. Nothing like murder victims with powerful connections to help an investigation along, is there?

The ATF appears to be retaliating against whistleblowers, even though the agency has been warned not to do so by Senator Grassley, who's investigating the scandal.

"ATF served Special Agent Vince Cefalu with termination paperwork today."

That's the word from Jay Dobyns, himself a subject of Bureau retaliation, in a post on CleanUpATF.

Gun Rights Examiner reported on Cefalu in May of last year--He was the agent assigned to do nothing because he came forward to complain about ATF mismanagement.

More at the link.

People outside the circles of firearms enthusiasts and Second Amendment advocates are now putting in their $0.02 worth. For example, Investors Business Daily asks:

Rather than a botched attempt to catch criminals, was the ATF program actually an attempt to advance gun-control efforts by an administration that has blamed Mexican violence on easy access to U.S. weapons?

Again, more at the link. I think it was . . . but I'll leave you to make up your own mind. On that subject, Bob Owens submits:

Acting ATF Director Ken Melson will be the first official likely dismissed as a result of Gunwalker, but there are significant indications that more senior administration officials knew about and perhaps have lied about their knowledge of the program.

This operation could not have taken place without the cooperation of the Department of Homeland Security — DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano should bear responsibility for her agency’s actions. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has apparently lied to Congress about when he knew of Gunwalker, and considering the scope of the operation it is implausible that he was not involved in its implementation.

It is only reasonable to believe that knowledge of this operation did not stop with cabinet-level officials. If the directors of so many executive branch agencies were involved in this scandal, as it appears they might have been, it is plausible that knowledge of this scheme — perhaps the origination? — came directly from the White House.

. . .

The Constitution puts no one above the law. If Melson, Napolitano, Holder, Obama and their staffs were complicit in a plot to arm narco-terrorists that led to hundreds dead and wounded, they must face justice.

Read more of his thoughts at Pajamas Media. He makes sense.

Oh - and Acting ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson may not be willing to take the blame for the scandal, or be 'thrown under the bus' to save others. The Los Angeles Times reported today:

The acting director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is strongly resisting pressure to step down because of growing controversy over the agency's surveillance program that allowed U.S. guns to flow unchecked into Mexico, according to several federal sources in Washington.

Kenneth E. Melson, who has run the bureau for two years, is reportedly eager to testify to Congress about the extent of his and other officials' involvement in the operation, code-named Fast and Furious.

. . .

"He is saying he won't go," said one source close to the situation, who asked for anonymity because high-level discussions with Melson remained fluid. "He has told them, 'I'm not going to be the fall guy on this.' "

Added a second source, who also requested anonymity: "He's resisting. He does not want to go."

Melson has an open invitation to appear on Capitol Hill. So far, he has not been given Justice Department approval to appear before Congress.

This week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he hoped that Melson would give a full accounting of how the gun operation was conceived and carried out. He also said Melson should resign, and that other senior leaders at ATF and the Justice Department should be held accountable as well.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also is awaiting answers from Melson, and cautioned this week that even if the acting director stepped down, it "would be, by no means, the end of our inquiry."

Again, more at the link.

Keep your eyes on this scandal, folks. It's getting worse by the day. I'm willing to bet Mr. Melson knows 'where the bodies are buried'. If he's granted immunity by the Senate in return for his testimony, an awful lot of those bodies might just be exhumed in the full glare of publicity. The stench is going to be terrific . . .



Bob@thenest said...

I've been following this since the early days at Sipsey Street Irregulars My prediction is that this "incident" will prove to be an example of the thickest coating of Teflon ever seen in an administration. I want blood, and LOTS of it, but I'm betting all we'll get is words and a scapegoat.

Shrimp said...

This all assumes that Mr. Melson doesn't meet with an unfortunate accident or an untimely demise prior to his chance to spill the beans.

The Chicago way, and all that.

Personally, I'm betting that he doesn't make it. A car accident, a plane crash, a suicide in the park, heart attack--take your pick. If he truly knows something, he'll get thrown under the bus or buried under it.

Anonymous said...

What Shrimp said.