What did Attorney General Eric Holder know — and when did he know it?
That’s the question congressional investigators are asking — and rightly so — about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which stands exposed as having perpetrated one of the most bizarre gun-sting operations imaginable.
ATF’s acting director, Kenneth Melson, is expected to walk the plank any minute now over the failed stings — Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.
But while his ouster is a necessary first step, it can’t be the last.
Not with so many questions still unanswered.
The idea behind Fast and Furious, which was run in 2009 and 2010, was to track “straw purchaser” gun buyers in Arizona and link them to major weapons dealers south of the border.
What happened instead was that hundreds of high-powered weapons — including AK-47-style semiautomatic rifles — wound up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels while ATF agents essentially stood by and watched.
And two of those weapons turned up at the scene of a shootout in Arizona that took the life of Brian Terry, a Customs and Border Protection agent.
“Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest,” said ATF agent John Dodson. He told the House Oversight Committee last week that he was ordered to “keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk.”
His claims were backed up by two other ATF whistleblowers — one of whom, Peter Forcelli, said that “to allow a gun to walk is idiotic,” adding: “This was a catastrophic disaster.”
- ATF GUNRUNNING SCANDAL UPDATE: “The Wall Street Journal reported last night that the political fall… (pajamasmedia.com)
- Report: ATF head to resign (politico.com)
- Document drop: More Project Gunrunner fit hits the shan (michellemalkin.com)
- Contempt charge from House for Holder over Fast & Furious? (hotair.com)