The PJ Tatler

High-level ATF officials knew about Gunrunner, emails reveal

Hearings into the failed Operations Gunrunner and Fast and Furious are underway in Washington D.C. as I write this.

In the opening statements it was revealed ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover were intimately aware of the operation.

Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating the case, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released three emails which show the involvement.

A March, 10 2010 email shows Melson and Hoover were being briefed weekly. Another email, dated March 12, 2010 shows Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so enthused about the operation he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix just 45 minutes after his plane landed.

A third email dated April 12, 2010 shows that after a detailed briefing of the program, Melson asked multiple follow-up questions which required additional research to even answer. Melson was apparently interested in the IP address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and watch a live feed of straw buyers purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.

Just yesterday, Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a scathing report which shows both agents and gun store owners had been screaming for months the operation needed to be shut down before someone died. Eventually exactly that happened — U.S. Border Control Agent Brian Terry was murdered with a gun which was part of the program.

It continues to beggar belief that Attorney General Eric Holder was unaware of the program, even as he continues to deny knowledge and the Justice Department continues to stonewall the investigation.

More here and over at PJM as it develops.