keep digging*

In a blockbuster development in the Operation Fast & Furious gun-running scandal, Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson secretly testified before House and Senate investigators on July 4 with his own personal lawyer present … without the knowledge of the ATF or the Department of Justice. [i.e. not a protect-the-DoJ lawyer]

This morning, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley released a copy of a letter [click for PDF] they sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on July 5 about Melson’s testimony. Melson’s revelations raise even more serious issues not only about the operation itself , but about apparent attempts by the Justice Department to mislead Congress on the details of the operation.

Melson provided detailed information and documents to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department. But that information was not given to Congress by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole. In fact, “Melson was not allowed to communicate to Congress” and “Justice Department officials directed [ATF’s senior leadership] not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.” According to the letter Issa and Grassley sent to Holder, it was “two days after [Melson] told [Cole] about serious issues involving lack of information sharing” that the Wall Street Journal suddenly reported that Melson was about to be ousted by the Obama administration.

In fact, Melson told the Justice Department’s acting inspector general about the possible role of the DEA and the FBI in April and specifically informed Acting Deputy Attorney General Cole on June 16. Yet Cole was not confirmed as the deputy attorney general until June 28 — and only after Senator Grassley agreed to lift his objection to Cole because Justice agreed to allow oversight into Operation Fast & Furious. But it seems obvious that at the time Grassley made this agreement with the Justice Department, neither Cole nor anyone else at Justice had told Grassley about the vital information it was withholding, particularly the possible involvement of the FBI and the DEA.

[W]ith Melson’s testimony, it is also appears that the Justice Department and specifically Deputy Attorney General James Cole have been obstructing Congress and engaging in a cover-up to prevent Congress and the public from finding out just how much the leadership of the Justice Department was involved in this expanding scandal.

* Both Congress (for the truth) & the Administration (the hole they’re in)

By the way,
I am still not convinced that this was merely a political ploy to puff-up the gun-control mythology.
Nothing, so far, argues against this being a truly criminal act of gunrunning.
Just sayin’.

Honduras, too? Merovign in comments (14)


  1. Another Bob
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    I can only hope that the media will adopt the new suffix “walker” to replace the ancient and overused “gate” when they name a political scandal in the future.

  2. bigviking
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    So when does this become a treasonous act?…..

  3. LLoyd
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    Oh man. This would have been out with screaming sirens, you name it if…..

    These scum bags. I have never held more of desire to wipe certain species off this planet as I have this present totalitarian regime. I want to see political carnage through out the whole Demon-crat party. Get these basturds off the Hill. STAT.

  4. iD
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    Sooner or later, the media will have to explain this to the American people, probably about the time that indictments are drawn up. Until then, they will ignore it and hope it goes away. And if they do have to explain it, they will not try to simplify it to aid our understanding. They will try to make it as complicated as possible, so we will turn off to the issue. There will be no public outrage, and some deputy assistant under-secretary will be the fall guy, just for closure and appearance’s sake.

  5. Melissa In Texas
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    ^iD… provided anyone other than us GAS about it.
    THAT is what worries me..

  6. Merovign
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm |

    Doug – if you’re not convinced that this was criminal, how do you explain it? I haven’t heard a single alternative explanation other than “they’re so dumb they can’t even dress themselves.”

    Both Melson and the Mexicans are saying the US Government not only “let the guns go” but may have been funding some of the purchases.

    If that turns out to be true, we’re talking about the US Government funding narco-terrorism next door and in our own country. I think that falls under the category or treason, or at the very least a long, long list of felonies.

  7. Merovign
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm |

    Also, while I agree that the case needs to be proven and air tight, I’m kind of headdesking that people are still, after the last two and a half years, saying “they wouldn’t do anything *that* bad, would they?”

    It’s mind-boggling.

  8. Melissa In Texas
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm |

    Mero… I put NOTHING past this administration!

  9. Another Bob
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm |

    When Clinton was president, there were posters of him with the text, “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

    I’m thinking the poster of Obama should say “What Constitution?”.

  10. Paul
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm |

    I think it WAS all about gun control.

    Jack up the body count and blame it on ‘gun shows’.

    I sure hope they send Holder to Mexico for trial. Mexico isn’t like the USA and their jails are, well, spartan!

  11. mech
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm |

    Regardless, this could be cleared up quickly if the congresscritters finished the budget and didn’t waste time on things like investigating baseball or college football, obstructing energy production, forcing food to be used as fuel, or naming post orofices that will soon be closed anyway.

  12. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    Paul (10)
    Yep, that’s the easiest to believe.

    However, we’re talking about Chicago-based corruptocrats infesting this Administration. Who knows who some of them are actually taking orders from. As I said, haven’t seen anything yet that rules out some kind of corrupt dealings with the cartels, even if it wasn’t known to the Administration’s senior Capos.

    It’ll be interesting to watch for an “Okay, it was just a stupid publicity stunt gone wrong.” plea when somebody turns over a rock, and a Chicagolian crime slime reek wafts up.

  13. PatrickP
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:00 pm |

    We need people in government willing to end up dead in a trunk for telling the truth in order to really purge ourselves of these viles bastards.

  14. Merovign
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    As-yet unconfirmed reports from Codrea that ATF did this with the Honduras as well, separate operation.

    Long old URL:

  15. mojo
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    It already is criminal gunrunning, Doug, and has been since the first time they watched a weapons transfer to a third party and did not intervene.

    Being an ATF agent does not bestow any magical immunity from obeying the law.

  16. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    mojo (15)
    Agreed, but you’re talkin’ crime for political gain,
    and I’m talkin’ crime for financial gain.
    (What? Yeah, you’re right; but tor the sake of this argument, let’s consider them separate entities for a minute.)

  17. Lucius Severus Pertinax
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 12:06 am |

    I am beginning to like this guy Melson more and more
    The man , at least, has some real SPINE
    First he basicly tells Holder to fuck off by refusing to resign, then turns around and plants a boot in his groin.

    Good for him!

    And now, Meson is effectivly a witness for the prosecution; which means Holder and his crew dont dare touch him without exposing themselves to further charges of obstruction AND witness tampering and intimidation.

    Prediction: before this summer ends, Holder will no longer be Attorney General. The big question is going to be between Holder and Obama: who is going to throw whom under the bus first?

  18. blindshooter
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 4:23 am |

    I hope I can get out the popcorn and watch long trials on tv and maybe even throw an after show party.

  19. rickn8or
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 6:50 am |

    The big question is going to be between Holder and Obama: who is going to throw whom under the bus first?”

    Maybe they can drag Rahm Emanuel down with them… And I’m wondering when Blago is going to start singing, now that the word “sentencing” is starting to become reality to him?

    Popcorn-worthy indeed!

  20. mojo
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 10:22 am |

    Obama and Holder have DAG Lanny Breuer as their cut-out. A “good little samurai”, he’ll sacrifice himself for his Lord. And be well compensated.

    You’re dealing with the Chicago Way here. Never forget that.

  21. Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:53 am |

    Lucius, couple of things:
    One, Melson seems to have decided he does NOT want to be the ‘take the fall for the AG and President’ guy; note that he went along with all this crap for a LONG time. So I’m not going to praise his ‘courage’ in acting to try to keep his sorry ass out of jail.
    Two, I seem to remember reading that he looked like someone had blackjacked him when listening to the family of Agent Terry testify; maybe that actually did shock him enough to get some buried sense of shame to bubble up and do some good.

  22. mojo
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    Possibly he assumed that the management below him was doing their job in an honest and forthright manner.

    If so, he’s a fool or worse. That’s NEVER a safe assumption in a job like his.

  23. Paul
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm |


    I do feel, at the least, it was no a ‘we did a stupid thing’.

    Yes they had a reason. It may be political, it may be for bucks, but to involve the FBI, ATF, DEA, Homeland Security, Justice dept., etc…, and who knows maybe CIA for all I know, just doing a thoughtless deed?

    No, you are right, there was a reason. And who knows the mob may be there to.