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Document drop: More Project Gunrunner fit hits the shan

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 15, 2011 11:24 AM


Graphic via CBS News

I’ve been keeping you abreast of all the Obama administration’s Project Gunrunner stonewalling since March (links/chronology below). Today, vigilant GOP House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa is holding another hearing to pressure Team Obama for the whole truth. On Monday, Issa and GOP watchdogs spotlighted DOJ obstructionism (Sipsey Street Irregulars has a rundown here.)

More fit is hitting the shan. And in one of those rare confluences, other MSM outlets have joined CBS News in exposing the story.

First, new documents. Just in from Issa’s office:

Moments ago in his opening statement at today’s hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:

* The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”
* A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.
* A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.

Here are the e-mails:

6 15 11 Melson Docs(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

The LA Times covers the outrage of federal ATF agents rebuffed by their superiors over the fatal consequences of the program:

Federal gun agents in Arizona — convinced that “someone was going to die” when their agency allowed weapons sales to suspected Mexican drug traffickers — made anguished pleas to be permitted to make arrests but were rebuffed, according to a new congressional report on the controversial law enforcement probe.

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told congressional investigators that there was “a state of panic” that the guns used in the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in January and two U.S. agents in Mexico a month later might have been sold under the U.S. surveillance operation.

“I used the word anxiety. The term I used amongst my peers is pucker factor,” Larry Alt, special agent with ATF’s Phoenix field division, told investigators preparing a joint staff report for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The report will be released Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Neither of those shootings was ultimately linked to the “Fast and Furious” probe, though two weapons sold to a suspect under surveillance were found at the scene of the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Ariz., in December.

Terry’s family will be among the key witnesses at an oversight committee hearing Wednesday on the ATF operation, under which the bureau allowed purchases of high-powered weapons in an attempt to track their progress into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. According to the report and numerous interviews with The Times, several ATF agents regarded the operation as dangerous and misguided…

At the Examiner, Dave Workman provides needed context and background on the Dems’ wagon-circling on Gunrunner.

They can run, but they can’t hide.

***

Previous:

March 30 Project Gunrunner: Obama’s Stimulus-Funded Border Nightmare

April 1 Stop ATF’s anti-gun zealots

April 1 Project Gunrunner update: Issa subpoenas the stonewallers

April 19 Project Gunrunner update: ATF ignored warnings, DOJ ignores document requests

April 20 Project Gunrunner document drop: Issa blasts DOJ stonewalling, threatens contempt proceedings

May 4 Project Gunrunner update: The fit hits the shan

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