Wednesday, June 15, 2011

E-mails in the Gunrunner mess:

Moments ago in his opening statement at today’s hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:

* The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”
* A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.
* A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.
I can't remember, did Melson every tell Congress he didn't know about this, or 'didn't know the details'? If so, this is proof he lied.

And Holder claiming 'he just heard about it a couple of weeks ago' when he first testified?
The House Oversight Committee has released interviews with four ATF agents indicate that a top official in the Department of Justice may have lied to, or at the least misled, Congress on a controversial operation that put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, one of which was used to kill a Border Patrol agent. Ronald Weich, an Assistant Attorney General under Eric Holder, assured Congress in writing that the ATF and Department of Justice “made every effort” seize all illegally-purchased weapons. However, the ATF agents testifed that the ATF and DoJ deliberately allowed hundreds of such weapons to cross the border as part of Operation Fast and Furious:
Dodson said he was told “the U.S. Attorney is on board, and it was Mr. [Emory] Hurley, and they say there is nothing illegal going on.”
There's no way, with this, Holder can pretend he never knew about this(at least not honestly); to claim he didn't when one of his Assistant AGs and the US Attorney knew...


Sigivald said...

There are, according to DOJ, 93 US Attorneys at the moment.

I don't find it hard to believe that one of them could know something and not pass it on to Holder.

(I'm not saying he didn't know, but I am saying that there are a lot of US Attorneys, and they're all busy men - and if one of them just gave it a glance, said "looks legal to me", and moved on, well...

Holder'd never know until the Senate was grilling him about it, so to speak.

It's not a good way to run a shop, but it's not like the US Government is legendarily well-run, is it?)

Firehand said...

I know there are a bunch of them; but the idea that one would be involved in something like this and not make sure he was covered with higher-ups... I have to doubt that.