The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Ken Melson, who has been linked to Operation Fast and Furious which allowed thousands of military-style weapons across the border into Mexico, is stepping down to take a position in the Department of Justice:
Kenneth E. Melson, who has faced heavy criticism in connection with the gun-trafficking investigation, announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Also resigning is Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney in Phoenix whose office oversaw the Fast and Furious program, in which ATF agents purposely allowed weapons to be illegally purchased in the hope of catching Mexican drug cartel leaders.
According to CBS News, Melson will become a senior advisor on forensic science in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Programs.
The move is suspect at best, given that Melson gave secret testimony about who knew what and when within DOJ, and included Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.
ATF Special Agent Vince Cefalu, one of the original whistleblowers on the case, believes it’s motivated by a “cover your ass” attitude on the part of Holder. Cefalu notes Melson is a “lab rat” and believes he should never have been put in charge of ATF in the first place:
I think everything we said all along has been proven to be true. It’s no secret that they’re cleaning house.
Cefalu thinks Holder asked Melson what job he wanted in return for his silence:
You don’t think they gave him that for his stellar performance at ATF, do you?
Melson reportedly watched some of the straw purchases in Arizona live via webcam in his office.