Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee keeps trying to push the meme that Operation Fast and Furious was a local operation out of the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division that went horribly wrong. In a letter today to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), he pushed to have former ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson appear at the same hearing as Attorney General Eric Holder.
Our staffs have already conducted transcribed interviews with Mr. Melson and the former Deputy Director of ATF, William Hoover. During those interviews, these officials expressed serious concerns about the controversial tactics employed by the Phoenix Field Division of ATF as part of this operation. They also raised concerns about the manner in which the Department of Justice responded to congressional inquiries. Both officials also stated that they had not been aware of the controversial tactics being used in Operation Fast and Furious, had not authorized those tactics, and had not informed anyone at the Department of Justice headquarters about them. They stated that Operation Fast and Furious originated within the Phoenix Field Division, and that ATF headquarters failed to properly supervise it.
Mr. Cummings certainly has his job cut out for him if he intends to be the Obama Administration’s designated obstructionist into finding the facts of Operation Fast and Furious. As for Melson, he seems to have been bought off rather cheaply with the transfer to DOJ which allows him to keep his full pension. Of course, it is you and I as taxpayers who are footing the bill for that payoff.