A July 4 meeting between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) front man Kenneth Melson and Congressional investigators revealed the Department of Justice has actively engaged in a “cover-up” and “remain silent” campaign concerning the controversial firearm program that allowed U.S. weapons to cross into Mexico in the hands of criminals.
The hush, hush meeting revealed a couple of things, first, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knew a lot more about this operation than he has previously admitted and, second, Melson will not be the Obama Administration fall guy.
This investigation began when senior Republican Congressional lawmakers embarked on quest to find out why Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December of last year with a gun that traced back to an ATF program. However, Agent Terry’s family and lawmakers were met with roadblocks from ATF leaders.
That all changed with the Fourth of July meeting between lawmakers and investigators when Melson exposed that it was the Department of Justice (DOJ) which silenced ATF leaders.
“If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand,” Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA) chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a letter Tuesday to AG Eric Holder. “That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation.”
“According to Acting Director Melson, he became aware of this startling possibility only after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers.” (Straw purchasers are criminals who buy weapons for other known criminals who cannot legally buy firearms.)
The secret meeting also produced admissions that ATF “made many mistakes” with the controversial gun walking program “Fast and Furious.” In fact Melson’s private attorney, Richard Cullen, a former federal prosecutor, was present at the July 4 meeting with investigators to protect the acting director.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who also sits on the Government Oversight Committee said this scandal has quickly lent itself to a “he said, she said” scenario.
Chaffetz also cited his concern about AG Holder’s knowledge of the reckless ATF program. “We received page after page of redacted ATF documents. And in May Holder said he only learned about the gun walking program, even though we have questionable ATF memos that date back to January of this year.”
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