Rather than losing his job for overseeing Operation Fast and Furious, the National Journal has confirmed Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson has been moved from his position at ATF to the Justice Department Office of Legal Policy.
The embattled head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is being replaced in the aftermath of a botched sting operation that allowed guns to knowingly fall into the hands of violent criminals in Mexico.
Kenneth Melson will be replaced as acting ATF director by U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Jones is expected to assume the new position on Aug. 31. Melson is being reassigned as a senior advisor on forensic science in the Office of Legal Policy, the department said.
The National Journal, as most media outlets have, calls Operation Fast and Furious "botched." The operation was not "botched," and was carried out exactly as intended. Officials within the Obama DOJ and ATF knew innocent victims would be killed as a result of the operation, and used human life to assess risk.
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, who has been leading the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has released a statement:
“While the reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes within the Department of Justice, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation to ensure that blame isn’t offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department. There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility, 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. I also remain very concerned by Acting Director Melson’s statement that the Department of Justice is managing its response in a manner intended to protect its political appointees. Senator Grassley and I will continue to press the Department of Justice for answers in order to ensure that a reckless effort like Fast and Furious does not take place again.”