A post yesterday from “Noreaster” on the CleanUpATF.org forum pointed out that Acting Director Kenneth Melson may not have been as far out of the loop on Project Gunwalker as he is claiming in his testimony with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Read the post below regarding Mark and Vivian Michalic who are both officials with ATF. Mark Michalic is an ATF Agent seconded to Deputy Attorney General James Cole as his Special Assistant while his wife Vivian is Assistant Deputy Director for Management and the former Chief of Staff to Ken Melson. This points in my opinion to a direct up and down communication link between the highest levels of ATF and the highest levels of the Justice Department. This is definitely something that deserves more attention from the House Oversight Committee.
Interesting talk with a good source at 99 New York the other day made me particularly angry about Melson claiming that he had no idea what was going on in F & F, which most of us think is a lie or cleaver lawyer-speak about what “know” or “learned” means.
1. Did you know ATF has had an ATF agent at DOJ HQ for 2 years working at the Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General? I didn’t, but his name is Mark Michalic, formerly of the Intel directorate (OSII). My source tells me this was a hook up from Jim McDermond, the former Secret Service guy and head of ATF Intel who got sent to be the assistant director of Public and Government Affairs last year. Michalic (my source said he is a good guy and a Waco vet) has been there so long he has worked for or with most of the people on Issa/Grassley’s latest demand memo for DOJ emails.
2. Michalic reports to and talks to Melson, Hoover, Sarnacki and Pelletiere as the official and unofficial link to senior management at DOJ and there are LOTS of emails between them.
3. Michalic’s wife is Vivian Michalic, the current assistant director for ATF’s Office of Management but also Melson’s former chief of staff. That directorate controls all of the money, personnel (until recently) and administrative things inside ATF.
So it looks like acting director Melson, breeder of Portuguese water dogs and Captain Crunch stunt double – a guy more in the weeds than any other director we have ever had wants us to believe that even though he had the IP address of surveillance cameras, demanded briefings for he and Hoover weekly, had an AD and former chief of staff feeding him information from AND TO his connection in the DAG’s office, that he didn’t know what was going on? I think that is bull s###.
If the tactic is for Melson and Hoover to blame everyone above and below and try to claim they were poor misled executives, I pray Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa will not be fooled. If you want to use Melson to beat the hell out of DOJ that is your political business, but 5000 employees in ATF deserve better than just that. Act with honor. Act with speed. Act with courage or go down in history as letting 10-15 lousy ATF employees destroy an important government agency and damage ATF’s fight against violent crime, a fight we do better than any other agency, even as screwed up as were are right now.