Word is out that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms acting head Kenneth Melson is going to be sacrificed some time this week over Operation Fast & Furious:
The shakeup shows the extent of the political damage caused by the gun-trafficking operation called Fast and Furious, which used tactics that allowed suspected smugglers to buy large numbers of firearms. Growing controversy over the program has paralyzed a long-beleaguered agency buffeted by partisan battles. The ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed director since 2006, with both the Bush and Obama administrations unable to overcome opposition from gun-rights groups to win approval of nominees[*].
The Wall Street Journal sort of gets it wrong, there: the problem was not that smugglers were allowed to buy guns. It was that they were allowed to then smuggle them. The evidence is pretty damning that higher-ups in both BATF and the Department of Justice were looking to trace drug-trafficking networks in Mexico by seeing which gangs ended up with federally-supplied firearms… and if you think that that strategy looks incredibly pernicious when just written out that way, well, I used the word ‘damning’ for a reason. Particularly since the federal strategy in this case led to Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry being murdered by someone using one of the tracked firearms.
Continue reading Kenneth Melson’s Fast & Furious Firing?
So. Somebody in the Obama administration is telling lies to the House Oversight/Government Reform Committee. That’s not smart. When people tell lies to House committees, people go to jail.
Background on this: this is all about the BATF/Justice Department Operations Gunrunner and Fast & Furious, which were originally purported to be methods by which [illegal purchases of] guns could be detected and arrested*. However, they instead turned into methods by which Mexican drug cartels were able to get their hands on [illegally-purchased semi-automatic] weapons. You see, the problem was that while selling the guns to middlemen (‘straw purchasers’) [who intend to sell the guns illegally] is in itself a standard ‘sting’ operation, somehow the guns continued on down the supply chain until they resurfaced in Mexico. The end result was inevitable: somebody used a BATF-supplied gun to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
As you can imagine, nobody in the BATF or DoJ wishes to be officially responsible for selling criminals the guns that said criminals used to kill federal agents, so there has been a remarkably comprehensive drive to stonewall the investigation; alas for the administration, the House of Representatives flipped last November. And new Chairman Darrell Issa is very keen to get to the bottom of this.
Hence, the lying. But who is lying? Continue reading Operation Fast and Furious’ fast and furious unraveling.