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ATF chief reassigned after botched arms sting

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration announced on Tuesday a major shake-up of the U.S. agency that botched an attempt to track arms flowing to drug cartels in Mexico after weapons were allowed to flow freely across the border.
    Kenneth Melson, who has been acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was reassigned after admitting mistakes in the sting operation meant to try to crack down on weapons reaching violent drug gangs from U.S. gun stores.
    In further fallout from the operation, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, has resigned effective immediately and the lead prosecutor on the case, Emory Hurley, has been reassigned too, according to an Obama administration official.
    Another administration official said the shake-up at ATF was a chance for a "fresh start given everything they've gone through lately."
    The sting operation, dubbed "Fast and Furious," has spawned congressional and internal Justice Department probes and put the Obama administration on the defensive about whether dangerous weapons were knowingly allowed to cross the border.
    Authorities had hoped they would be able to follow the guns to cartel leaders, but ATF agents did not track the weapons after they were transferred from the initial buyer to others who smuggled them across the border. Some agents have testified that they were not allowed to continue the pursuit.
    Attorney General Eric Holder and Melson both issued statements but steered clear of any comments about the controversy. Holder has referred the entire matter to the department's inspector general for an investigation.
    Melson will be reassigned to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy as an adviser on forensic science, the Justice Department said. The U.S. attorney for Minnesota, Todd Jones, will serve as acting ATF director starting on Wednesday.
    Mexican authorities have complained bitterly about the flow of guns from the United States across the border where gangs have battled with each other and with the Mexican authorities, straining ties between the two countries.
    Some 42,000 have died since 2006 as a result of the turf wars. The congressional investigation has turned up evidence that guns sold in the sting have been showing up at numerous crime scenes in the United States and in Mexico.
    U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry died in a December 2010 shootout on the American side of the border and two guns found there have been traced to the sting. It is not yet known if those guns were used to fire the fatal shots.
    Some of the weapons recovered at crime scenes include powerful AK-47s and .50 caliber rifles.
    Republicans in the U.S. Congress have been demanding the Obama administration explain who knew what and when about the ATF program, which was conceived of and run out of the agency's Phoenix division.
    "There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility," said Republican Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House of Representatives' Oversight Committee which is probing the matter.
    "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," he said.
    For years the ATF has been without a director confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The position has been the source of tension between advocates and opponents of gun control.
    President Barack Obama has nominated Andrew Traver of the agency's Chicago office to the job, but the gun industry has opposed him. Melson is a career federal employee.
    Obama will need to nominate someone to fill the U.S. Attorney post. Burke previously served as chief of staff to Janet Napolitano when she was Arizona governor. He was interviewed earlier this month by congressional investigators, a spokeswoman for Issa said.
    Melson was interviewed on July 4 by congressional investigators. At that time he acknowledged mistakes had been made and other law enforcement agencies had had critical information that they did not share about their targets.

    Obama shakes up gun agency over botched Mexico sting - Yahoo! News
    Gator 45/70, Sapper John and BTPost like this.
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    News Alert: ATF chief is reassigned
    August 30, 2011 12:21:41 PM

    Kenneth Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has been reassigned, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

    Melson will become a senior adviser in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy.


    As usual one mainstream media mouthpiece says one thing, and another has a different story. I wonder what the truth actually is?
  3. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    This is so wrong.
  4. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    Tikka, somehow the word wrong just doesn't do it justice...not nearly a strong enough word.But for this forum, it will just have to suffice...[dunno]
  5. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    reassign those a-holes to prison like they would one of us
  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Why you can't do that! This is one of the Liberal Establishment's hand chosen elite. They are clouds above you common little people. Continue eating grass in the pasture where we tell you to little sheep. This is above your paygrade.[beat][kneelsuckers]
    ps: totally tongue in cheek.
    beast likes this.
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