Melson: DOJ Response to Fast and Furious Investigation Intended to Protect Political Appointees

Attorney General Eric Holder is not as politically astute as I previously thought despite having been groomed by the Clintons. If he were more politically astute, he would have known better than to make a career bureaucrat the fall-guy for Operation Fast and Furious because they are exceedingly adept at in-fighting. Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson is currently serving in a slot set aside for a political appointee. However, Melson had been a career employee of the Department of Justice from 1983 until 2009 when he was appointed Acting Director with the understanding he would return to the career service. He didn’t get to the Senior Executive Service on talent and good looks alone.

When Melson was made the designated fall-guy, he balked. Moreover, he began to talk to Congressional investigators which led to today’s 10-page letter to Holder from Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley asking about “the smoking gun” so to speak.

Chairman Issa and Senator Grassley Press Attorney General Holder with Key Testimony

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today pressed Attorney General Eric Holder about the Justice Department’s unsatisfactory responses and lack of cooperation with an investigation into the highly controversial Operation Fast and Furious. A letter sent by the two lead investigators highlighted testimony indicating internal disputes within the Justice Department and a statement from the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that the Justice Department is attempting to protect its political appointees.

“It was very frustrating to all of us, and it appears thoroughly to us that the Department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the Department,” ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson said of his frustration with the Justice Department’s response to the investigation in a transcribed interview.

“The Department should not be withholding what Mr. Melson described as the ‘smoking gun’ report of investigation or Mr. Melson’s emails regarding the wiretap applications,” wrote Issa and Grassley. “Mr. Melson said he reviewed the affidavits in support of the wiretap applications for the first time after the controversy became public and immediately contacted the Deputy Attorney General’s office to raise concerns about information in them that was inconsistent with the Department’s public denials. The Department should also address the serious questions raised by Mr. Melson’s testimony regarding potential informants for other agencies.”

The full text of that letter can be found here. It is very interesting. The letter and Melson’s testimony leads one to believe that an active cover-up is in process at DOJ and that documents have been created after the fact.


One thought on “Melson: DOJ Response to Fast and Furious Investigation Intended to Protect Political Appointees”

  1. If [Holder] were more politically astute, he would have known better than to make a career bureaucrat the fall-guy for Operation Fast and Furious because they are exceedingly adept at in-fighting.

    This relates to something I talked about (at the end) here.

    It's almost as if all the complaining about a "leaderless ATF" isn't so much about any lack of a career bureaucrat's ability to get things done, but because such a bureaucrat doesn't afford his superiors the plausible deniability that a political appointee would.

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