Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Kenneth Melson is being moved out of the top job at the bureau, ATF special agents in charge announced during an internal conference call today. He will transfer to the Justice Department and assume the position of senior advisor on forensic science, Office of Legal Programs.
[...]Also, U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke has submitted his resignation to President Obama, effective immediately.
[...]Sources tell CBS News that the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Phoenix, Emory Hurley, who worked under Burke and helped oversee the controversial case is also expected to be transferred out of the Criminal Division into the Civil Division.
Why all of these “re-assignments”?
The flurry of personnel shifts come as the Inspector General continues investigating the so-called gunwalker scandal at the Justice Department and theATF.
The gunwalking scandal centered on an ATF program that allowed thousands of high-caliber weapons to knowingly be sold to so-called “straw buyers” who are suspected as middlemen for criminals. Those weapons, according to the Justice Dept., have been tied to at least 12 violent crimes in the United States, and an unknown number of violent crimes in Mexico.
Dubbed operation “Fast and Furious,” the plan was designed to gather intelligence on gun sales, but ATF agents have told CBS News and members of Congress that they were routinely ordered to back off and allow weapons to “walk” when sold.
Previously, ATF Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell was reassigned to headquarters, and two Assistant Special Agents in Charge under Fast and Furious, George Gillett and Jim Needles, were also moved to other positions.
Pajamas Media provides more of the history.
The public scandal began when ATF whistleblowers disclosed that a multi-agency federal law enforcement operation in Arizona — Operation Fast and Furious — supplied weapons found at the crime scene of murdered U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
It was quickly revealed that federal law enforcement officers, supervisors, and administration appointees ensured that straw purchasers would be able to purchase weapons intended for the Sinaloa drug cartel without the threat of arrest. As federal agents watched — essentially acting as cartel security — 2,020 firearms were purchased, and the majority of them were “walked” by straw purchasers into the hands of the violent drug gang.
Mexican authorities claim that an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers, plus an unknown number of civilians have been murdered with weapons “walked” under the eyes of the federal task force. Three U.S. federal agents have also been shot in crimes using Fast and Furious weapons. Two died.
Initially, the Obama administration attempted to scapegoat acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson. When that failed, they colluded with the Washington Post and later possibly the New York Times on attempted character assassinations of Congressman Darrell Issa. Issa, along with Senator Charles Grassley, is leading the charge to investigate the scandal.
A month following Melson’s testimony to Issa’s committee, the Gunwalker landscape has changed considerably. Emails have been unearthed, additional figures with inside knowledge of the operation are testifying, and more congressmen and senators have joined the probe of the Department of Justice to see just how wide and high the administration’s knowledge of and participation in the gunwalking program — or programs — truly went.
All of these evolving disclosures are increasing the pressure on administration officials such as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, both of whom simply must have known of the operations considering the high-level collaboration between multiple agencies under their control.
[...]A National Security Council (NSC) operative in the White House named Kevin O’Reilly was in direct contact with Bill Newell, the agent in charge of the operation. (Are we to believe that the benign emails released between the two men were their only Gunwalker conversations, and that O’Reilly wasn’t briefing the National Security Council or the president?)
The U.S. attorney involved in Fast And Furious, Dennis Burke, is a long-time Napolitano ally and was her chief of staff while she was governor from 2003-2008. Burke is also on the attorney general’s Advisory Committee border and immigration law enforcement subcommittee. He recently opposed a routine filing by murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s family, in a move that appears designed to protect him in criminal and civil trials regarding Gunwalker.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, you remember, is the woman who thinks that returning vets, opponents of illegal immigration, believers in the Constitution and small government, pro-lifers, etc. are all potential terrorists. I suppose that she thinks that actual terrorists are not potential terrorists, because that would be mean. I really don’t know for sure.
The thing to understand about liberals is that they are fine with criminals and drug cartels having guns. What they don’t like is when law-abiding citizens have guns, because they might hurt the innocent criminals who commit crimes against law-abiding people while running drugs, etc. The only people who follow gun control laws are law-abiding people, not criminals.
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