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EVIDENCE OF HOLDER’S KNOWLEDGE MOUNTS
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 15, 2011) — On Independence Day earlier this month, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Kenneth Melson testified privately to members of Congress in the company of his attorney without informing the Department of Justice, of which the ATF is a part. Melson reportedly said that other government departments knew the identities of some of the gun traffickers and might have been paying them to act as informants. Further, the Department of Justice prevented Melson from speaking directly with members of Congress in what appears to be a cover-up by faux Attorney General Eric Holder.
Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley informed Holder that Melson had testified and have stated that they believe that knowledge of the operation permeated to “the highest levels of the Department of Justice.” Melson was appointed by Obama, whose constitutional eligibility for the presidency has been raised by many but which Congress has refused to address. Holder was nominated by Obama and confirmed by the Senate on February 2, 2009. Holder has worked in the public sector for virtually his entire career.
Obama’s spokesperson, Jay Carney, has been evasive about Obama’s knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious, which was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Operation Fast and Furious is described as “an illegal gun trafficking sting” carried out by the ATF in order “to permit otherwise-suspected straw purchasers to complete the weapon’s purchase and transit to Mexico, in order to build a bigger case against Mexican criminal organizations who were suspected of being the ultimate buyer.” According to CNS News, a different firearms program initiated in late 2009, “Operation Fast and Furious,” was one in which “the federal government purposefully allowed known or suspected gun smugglers to purchase guns at federally licensed firearms dealers in Arizona.” The report states that straw purchasers were identified by the Phoenix, AZ ATF in a heavily-redacted January 2010 report.
Holder had originally denied the allegations that ATF staff knowingly sold firearms to criminals but later admitted that an investigation of the allegations raised by ATF employees had been initiated. He stated to members of Congress that “Letting guns walk is not something that is acceptable” and said that he “probably” learned of the ATF gun sales during the last few weeks before testifying.
A September 2010 report released by the Department of Justice stated that a “revised strategy” did not “replace Project Gunrunner.” According to Digital Journal, significant funding for law enforcement, and specifically Gunrunner-related activities, came from the so-called Stimulus bill passed in February 2009.
ATF agents had spoken out about the practice of “gunwalking” earlier this year, and a grand jury indictment of 20 defendants claims that guns were purchased and sold in Mexico with money from “Drug Trafficking Organizations.”
Last February, unnamed “whistleblowers” were reported by The Washington Post as having contacted Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) about a program operated by the ATF which knowingly sold firearms to “straw buyers” which were later used to kill Border Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Grassley wrote a letter to Melson on January 27, 2011 in which he stated that “Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons throughout the southwestern border area and into Mexico.” At that time, Grassley had requested that “knowledgeable ATF supervisors” provide information to his staff so that an investigation could commence.
There is speculation that the ATF sold guns to known criminals to “provide the justification for more firearm restrictions on American citizens and more power and money for ATF.” On July 12, Obama signed an executive order which requires southwest border states “to alert the federal government to frequent buyers of high-powered rifles.”
A website which states that its purpose is to “Cleanup ATF” contends that “Managers, Counsel, Internal Affairs and staff of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE or “ATF”) have repeatedly given false testimony, concealed substantial waste, fraud and abuse, abused their lawful authority, and waged systematic campaigns of reprisal against their own employees that dare to speak out. “
In regard to sales of guns to Mexican criminals, WorldNetDaily CEO Joseph Farah stated that “The Obama administration appears to have put together a sophisticated, inter-agency conspiracy to provide money to Mexican gangsters to purchase guns from the U.S. to kill federal agents.” Reason.com contends that “there’s still no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms program ‘Fast and Furious,’ in which ATF agents stood idly by as guns that were illegally purchased in the United States were trafficked to Mexico, where cartels used them to kill U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”
According to the ATF website, Project Gunrunner began in 2006 “as a comprehensive strategy to reduce firearms and explosives related violent crime associated with Mexican criminal organizations operating in the U.S. and Mexico by preventing these organizations from unlawfully acquiring and trafficking firearms and explosives.” An August 2008 ATF Fact Sheet stated that “ATF is deploying its resources strategically on the Southwest Border to deny firearms, the ‘tools of the trade,’ to criminal organizations in Mexico and along the border, as well as to combat firearms-related violence affecting communities on both sides of the border.”
Faux Attorney General Holder has been testifying to the House Oversight Committee regarding what he knew about the sales to straw purchasers. In May, an alleged “White House Insider” predicted that Holder would not serve out his term. On June 7, 2011, White House Insider stated:
While I continue to remain suspicious of Issa’s ultimate willingness to take on Eric Holder to a conclusion that results in Holder’s resignation, my suspicions may soon be proven unjustified. I hope that is the case. A significant development is to be revealed regarding the DOJ very soon now. That is the information I have been given most recently.
Did several federal departments “conspire” to sell firearms to criminals? Is there a “sophisticated inter-agency conspiracy…to kill federal agents?”