Fast & Fu­ri­ous: Screw up, move up, cover up

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

There are now enough Op­er­a­tion Fast and Fu­ri­ous of­fi­cials play­ing hide-and-seek in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to fill a “rub­ber room.” That’s the nick­name for tax­payer-sub­si­dized hold­ing pens, such as the ones in the New York City pub­lic schools, where crooked em­ploy­ees are sep­a­rated from the sys­tem and paid to do noth­ing. Per­haps the White House can stim­u­late a few con­struc­tion jobs by adding an en­tire rub­ber room an­nex for “re­as­signed” scan­dal bu­reau­crats at 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue. It’s get­ting mighty crowded.

On Aug. 30, the Jus­tice Depart­ment an­nounced it was shuf­fling Ken­neth Mel­son, act­ing di­rec­tor of the Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives, out of his job. The dis­clo­sure comes amid con­tin­ued GOP in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fa­tally botched straw gun pur­chase racket at the bor­der and spread­ing out­rage over le­gal ob­struc­tion­ism and whistle­blower re­tal­i­a­tion by DOJ brass. The DOJ in­spec­tor gen­eral is also con­duct­ing a probe.

In­ter­nal doc­u­ments ear­lier showed that Mel­son was in­ti­mately in­volved in over­see­ing the pro­gram and screened un­der­cover videos of thou­sands of straw pur­chases of AK-47s and other high-pow­ered ri­fles, many of which ended up in the hands of Mex­i­can drug car­tel thugs, in­clud­ing those who mur­dered Bor­der Pa­trol Agent Brian Terry last De­cem­ber. Fast and Fu­ri­ous weapons have been tied to at least a dozen vi­o­lent crimes in Amer­ica and un­told bloody havoc in Mex­ico.

In se­cret July 4 tes­ti­mony, Mel­son re­vealed he was “sick to his stom­ach” when he dis­cov­ered the ex­tent of the op­er­a­tion’s deadly lapses. Join the club, pal.

Mel­son told con­gres­sional in- ves­ti­ga­tors that he and ATF’s se­nior lead­er­ship “moved to re­as­sign ev­ery man­ager in­volved in Fast and Fu­ri­ous, from the deputy as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for field op­er­a­tions down to the group su­per­vi­sor” after ATF whistle­blow­ers went to the press and Capi­tol. But ac­cord­ing to Mel­son, he and com­pany were or­dered by Jus­tice Depart­ment higher-ups to re­main silent about the rea­sons for the re­as­sign­ments.

In other words: the ATF man­agers in the know were “ef­fec­tively muz­zled while the DOJ sent over false de­nials and buried its head in the sand,” as GOP Rep. Dar­rell Issa, chair­man of the House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form, and Sen. Charles Grass­ley, the rank­ing mem­ber of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, con­cluded in July.

Mel­son has been kicked back to DOJ’s main of­fice in a flab­ber­gast­ing new slot as “se­nior ad­viser on foren­sic science in the depart­ment’s Of­fice of Le­gal Pol­icy.” He may have been “sick to his stom­ach,” but the fed­eral ca­reerist ap­par­ently has no in­ten­tion of quit­ting an ad­min­is­tra­tion with blood on its hands. And now he’ll be ad­vis­ing oth­ers on how to track and han­dle ev­i­dence. Nice make­work if you can get it.

Oth­ers on the Fast and Fu­ri­ous dance card of lemons:

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Emory Hur­ley in Phoenix, who helped over­see the straw gun pur­chase dis­as­ter. He’s be­ing trans­ferred out of the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice’s crim­i­nal di­vi­sion and into the civil di­vi­sion.

As­sis­tant ATF Spe­cial Agents in Charge George Gil­lett and Jim Nee­dles. Moved to other po­si­tions.

BATF deputy di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions in the West, Wil­liam McMa­hon. Pro­moted to ATF head­quar­ters.

ATF Phoenix field su­per­vi­sors Wil­liam Newell and David Voth. Pro­moted to new man­age­ment po­si­tions in Wash­ing­ton.

Keep your friends close and your hench­men on the verge of spilling all the beans closer.

There’s been only one vis­i­ble Fast and Fu­ri­ous res­ig­na­tion: U.S. At­tor­ney Den­nis Burke in Phoenix, who qui­etly stepped down on Aug. 30. One of his last acts? Op­pos­ing the re­quest of mur­dered Bor­der Pa­trol Agent Brian Terry’s family to qual­ify as crime vic­tims in a court case against the thug who bought the Fast and Fu­ri­ous guns used in Terry’s mur­der.

The fish rots from the head down, of course. DOJ is run by Eric Holder, the Belt­way swamp crea­ture who won bi­par­ti­san ap­proval for his nom­i­na­tion, even after putting po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests ahead of se­cu­rity in­ter­ests at the Clin­ton Jus­tice Depart­ment in both the Marc Rich par­don scan­dal and the Puerto Ri­can FALN ter­ror­ist de­ba­cle. Re­mem­ber: Holder won over the Se­nate by ar­gu­ing that his poor judg­ment made him more qual­i­fied for the job.

Screw up, move up, cover up: It’s the Holder way, the Obama way, the Wash­ing­ton way. And in­no­cent Amer­i­cans pay.

Michelle Malkin is the au­thor of “Cul­ture of Cor­rup­tion: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Reg­n­ery 2010).

Act­ing ATF Di­rec­tor Ken­neth Mel­son has been re­as­signed to a lesser post in the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the U.S. at­tor­ney for Ari­zona was also pushed out Aug. 30 as fall­out from Op­er­a­tion Fast and Fu­ri­ous reached new heights.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.