OBAMA AND HOLDER’S SCAPEGOATS NAILED FOR OPERATION FAST AND FURIOUS
By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
September 5, 2011
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) yesterday announced the “personnel changes” for three officials involved in the law enforcement snafu known as “Operation Fast and Furious.” However, many observers believe the three officials are merely scapegoats being sacrificed to protect the more powerful in the U.S. capital.
The Department of Justice personnel changes impacted Arizona’s U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley.
The DOJ announced that acting ATF director Kenneth Melson, who began his agency leadership in 2009, was being replaced and transferred to the Office of Legal Policy. The ATF announcement coincided with a DOJ announcement that the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, was resigning. Burke oversaw the legal aspects of the Fast and Furious operation, providing advice to the law enforcement agents involved. Meanwhile, Hurley resigned from his post.
“In my opinion, Melson and Burke weren’t fired because if they were unemployed or disgraced they’d be more likely to cooperate with investigators still probing one of the worst law enforcement scandals in recent history,” said former police officer Edie Aquino from New York.
While Issa is garnering praise for these personnel changes, observers in law enforcement and government believe the men involved are being scapegoated and “taking the heat for higher-ups” such as Attorney General Eric Holder and his senior staff members. Both President Barack Obama and Attorney General Holder have said they did not approve the operation, but have declined to comment further, citing an independent investigation by DOJ’s inspector general.