October 2011

Down Range: October 2011

In the latest development in the ongoing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) "Fast and Furious" scandal, the NRA-ILA reported that the Department of Justice has announced the appointment of U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones to serve as Acting Director of BATFE, replacing Kenneth Melson. The DOJ also announced that Dennis Burke, U.S. attorney for the district of Arizona, has resigned. And the Wall Street Journal reported that Emory

Todd Woodard

Hurley, the assistant U.S. attorney responsible for the day-to-day operations of "Fast and Furious," has been removed from his post and reassigned to the department’s Civil Division.

As we now know, the reckless and utterly failed BATFE operation known as "Operation Fast And Furious" was run out of the BATFE’s field office in Phoenix. The bungled operation put thousands of guns into the hands of violent criminals in Mexico. The more information comes out about "Fast and Furious," the more clear it seems that knowledge of the operation, and approval for it, went higher than the Phoenix field office, or even BATFE, NRA-ILA says.

There is clear evidence, uncovered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee headed by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), that senior Obama Administration officials were aware of this disastrous operation. And as the evidence continues to mount, it’s looking more and more likely that what we’re seeing unfold is a large-scale cover-up.

A recent Fox News story reported that federal officials quickly tried to cover up evidence that a gun found at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder was one the government intentionally helped sell to the Mexican cartels via the "Fast and Furious" program. Also, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has revealed that 21 more "Fast and Furious" guns have been found at violent crime scenes in Mexico, up from 11 the agency admitted to just last month. Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa said they are expanding their investigation into the scandal, and have sent a strongly worded letter to Anne Scheel, the new U.S. attorney for Arizona, requesting interviews, e-mails, memos and even hand-written notes from members of the U.S. Attorney’s office that played key roles in the failed program.

Regarding this week’s shake-up, Rep. Issa released the following statement: "I also remain very concerned by Acting Director Melson’s statement that the Department of Justice is managing its response in a manner intended to protect its political appointees."

In my opinion, Rep. Issa is the king of understatement. GT

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