Issa: Obama Political Appointees Responsible For Lack of Communication During Operation Fast and Furious

Posted: Jul 20, 2011 3:18 PM

Last night on NRA News' Cam & Company, Rep. Darrell Issa exposed further details of Operation Fast and Furious, saying taxpayer dollars may have been used to fund the operation and paid for guns given to dangerous Mexican drug cartels by straw purchasers who were under heavy surveillance of ATF and the Justice Department. Issa also said that communication between the Justice Department, FBI and DEA was roadblocked by Obama political appointees in the Justice Department who failed to share information with other law enforcement agencies. As more details emerge, it looks as though the Obama Justice Department was using ATF and its agents as pawns for Operation Fast and Furious while keeping them in the dark about the dirty details and purpose of the operation.

I reported Monday that according to closed testimony given by ATF Director Kenneth Melson to Senator Charles Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, the Justice Department is stonewalling the investigation from the House Oversight Committee into Operation Fast and Furious in order to protect Obama's political appointees.  Melson specifically described a "smoking gun," report that has not been released.

“It was very frustrating to all of us, and it appears thoroughly to us that the Department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the Department,” ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson said of his frustration with the Justice Department’s response to the investigation in a transcribed interview.

Next week, Issa will hold the third hearing about Operation Fast and Furious and will examine the accounts of the operation from ATF agents based in Mexico.

These officials saw the steady stream of Operation Fast and Furious guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and were given orders from superiors not to alert Mexican authorities.  Members of the Committee will also have their first opportunity to question ATF supervisors who have defended Operation Fast and Furious and the Justice Department’s decisions to committee investigators.

“The Acting Director of the ATF has told congressional investigators that the Justice Department is attempting to shift blame in Operation Fast and Furious away from its political appointees,” said Chairman Darrell Issa.  “Examining the accounts of witnesses who did not participate in Operation Fast and Furious, but were nonetheless disturbed as they watched it unfold is critical to understanding the scope of this flawed program.  This testimony is especially important in light of the Justice Department’s willful efforts to withhold key evidence from investigators about what occurred, who knew and who authorized this reckless operation.”