Issa gets first scalp in ATF gun running scandal

August 31, 2011 07:37

On Tuesday, the DOJ handed Issa a victory, announcing that acting AFT director Kenneth Melson, who has led the agency since 2009, was being replaced and transferred to the Office of Legal Policy. The news came in conjunction with a separate announcement that the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, was resigning. Burke oversaw the legal aspects of the Fast and Furious operation, providing advice to agents involved. – The Hill

By Jordy Yager at


Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) won his first major investigative victory on Tuesday as two of the top federal officials involved with a flawed gun tracking operation stepped down from office.

Along with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Issa has doggedly pursued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for the past five months, issuing scores of subpoenas, interviewing dozens of government officials and publicly lambasting President Obama for not being more forthcoming about the “Fast and Furious” operation.

Brian Darling, a senior fellow in government studies at the Heritage Foundation, said the moves are a clear victory for Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has pledged to continue his investigation until a full picture of the operation and its authorizers is painted.

Operation Fast and Furious was launched in 2009 to sell firearms to known and suspected straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels with the goal of tracking the guns and dismantling the gun trafficking routes.

But agents were often told to abandon surveillance of the weapons, allowing them — and the straw buyers — to disappear, according to testimony from numerous agents before the House.


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