Photo: Iam_Anuphone/Shutterstock

ATF Director Speaks Up About Operation Fast and Furious

by Abbie Mood Jul 6, 2011
The plan was simple – sell semi-automatic weapons to illegal gun runners, track the guns that will most likely end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartel members, then bust the cartel. Instead, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lost track of the guns, or, as it turns out, they may have been called off from continuing to track the guns.

I was watching The Daily Show last night when Jon Stewart started taking about this undercover government operation called “Fast and Furious,” the operation that allowed hundreds of illegal semi-automatic gun purchases to take place in Arizona so that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) could track the guns and bring down the Mexican drug cartel. The operation began in October 2009 when it appeared that an increasing number of U.S. purchased guns were being used by the Mexican drug cartels, but when two of the firearms showed up at the crime scene in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in a shoot-out in December 2010, people started questioning the whole thing.

This was all big news in early 2011, but is coming back up because ATF’s acting director, Kenneth E. Melson, has finally started talking.

Melson told congressional investigators that he believes the FBI and DEA might have been working with the “higher-ups” that Fast and Furious was targeting. Melson also told investigators that Fast and Furious was operating under the direction of Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, and that his agents had witnessed illegal gun sales and were instructed to not follow them further, an allegation which had also been made by several Phoenix agents who were upset about the lack of continued surveillance of the weapons.

Apparently Melson wanted to be more helpful months ago but was “prohibited from talking.”

Discover Matador