Reactions to the Melson "reassignment"
"This move by the Administration indicates that Director Melson may be being used as a scapegoat for a much larger problem within ATF and DOJ. It appears that other senior officials at DOJ may have been involved in this deadly operation. The American people and Congress will not be appeased until we have the whole truth about how and why Operation Fast and Furious was authorized. "
"While the reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes within the Department of Justice, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation to ensure that blame isn't offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department. There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility, but these changes are warranted and offer an opportunity for the Justice Department to explain the role other officials and offices played in the infamous efforts to allow weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels."
"“The resignation of U.S. Attorney Burke and the demotion of Acting ATF Director Melson are only small steps on the long road to accountability for the Department of Justice. ... I will not rest until the American people are informed about who authorized the program, who allowed it to continue despite grave misgivings on the part of dedicated ATF agents, and who is responsible for the lack of transparency from DOJ thus far.”
"WASHINGTON - Today's uncovering of secret multi-agency program for shipping illegal Gibson guitars to Mexican drug cartels left red-faced officials of the U.S. Department of Justice scrambling for an explanation amid angry calls for a Congressional investigation.
"I have ordered all agency personnel to fully cooperate in any Congressional inquiries, including all reasonable document request, as soon as we can redact them with Sharpie pens and lighter fluid," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The secret program came to light early this morning in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, after what was described as a wild battle of the bands between members of the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas, two of Mexico's most notorious violent drug gangs.....Justice spokesman Gary Evans said the Nogales incident yesterday showed the program was a success. "By putting American guitars in the hands of Mexican gangs, I think we've proven what we've warned all along - that Mexican gangs have access to American guitars. Hopefully this will lead to sane and sensible guitar controls.""
Hat tip to Emily on the last...
"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their [guitars] into plowshares, and their [drumsticks] into pruning hooks."
Mmm, doesn't quite have the same ring, does it...
Posted by: Jim D. at August 30, 2011 07:54 PM
The new acting head, B. Todd Jones, is not leaving his day job as US Attorney for Minnesota. He will be US Attorney for Minnesota AND director of the ATF. So just when you want a strong leader to head the ATF to clean house and make heads roll, they are appointing as head a man who isn't even leaving his day job, will probably not even move to D.C., and certainly will not have the time to disturb the status quo.
Posted by: Kman at August 31, 2011 04:58 AM
Does the US Attorney who resigned get to keep his pension?
Posted by: Anonymous at August 31, 2011 01:21 PM
How about this - does B. Todd Jones get to collect two salaries at the same time - one for being US Attorney for Minnesota and a second for being ATF Director?
Posted by: Man at August 31, 2011 02:04 PM
To answer Kman and Man, when someone like Jones gets detailed to a second job, he or she usually splits time between locations (with more of it spent at Main Justice) but is still paid one salary -- plus per diem and lodging allowance for DC. Anyway, while Holder surely knew about F&F and Melson is being his fall guy, the two go way back. Melson is the star of Northern Virginia prosecutors (21 years as First Assistant USA in EDVA, and years before that prosecuting in Alexandria) while Holder was once the DAG and DC USA. This connection is how Melson could go from being a Bush appointee as Director of EOUSA back to a career job as Acting ATF Director. And, for those in the know, Melson getting the isolation treatment himself is poetic justice indeed.
Posted by: Farragut Jones at September 1, 2011 10:31 PM