Rep. Issa: Holder, Others Should Pay for ATF Blunders

Tuesday, 21 Jun 2011 09:49 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa is calling for more heads to roll than just Kenneth Melson as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Attorney General Eric Holder, top dogs at the Justice Department, and even a judge should be held accountable for the “bad judgment” exercised in the “Fast and Furious” sting, the California Republican said today on “Fox & Friends.”

Issa, California, Republican, Fast and Furious
Rep. Darrell Issa: Attorney General Eric Holder isn't doing his job if he didn't know about "Fast and Furious." (Getty Images Photo)
Although Melson, who is expected to resign in the controversy, obviously was involved in making the call for a sting operation selling guns to Mexican thugs, the responsibility goes up the ladder, Issa said.

Holder “should have known,” Issa said. “I believe it was his obligation to know.”

The attorney general isn’t doing his job right if he doesn’t know what transpires at ATF, said Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has convened hearings on the controversial programs and their deadly consequences.

Under Operation Fast and Furious and its sister program Project Gunrunner, about 2,000 weapons were sold to straw buyers, who in turn sold them to the cartels. The idea was that it would allow the ATF to trace the weapons and discover who was selling them subsequently.

But the plan backfired, and the weapons have been used in at least 150 shootings. The ATF now admits it lost track of two-thirds of the guns, and even President Barack Obama has described the program as flawed.

The controversy came to a head in December when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in Arizona and two weapons discovered at the scene were found to have been part of Project Gunrunner.

Although the problem “did sort of develop at ATF,” Issa said on “Fox & Friends, he added that others in the Justice Department, including Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, must have known about it. And a federal judge must have signed off on the wiretaps needed for the mission, he said. in the U.S. Justice Department had to know about it – all the way up to Lanny Breuer at least, he said. Breuer is the assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.


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