ATF Fires Managers over Fast and Furious, Obama and Holder Get Off Scot-Free
This past week, the Obama media made sure the Duchess of Cambridge's bout with morning sickness beat out the latest news on Operation Fast and Furious. Nonetheless, the two stories have one thing in common -- they're both vomit-inducing.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Professional Review Board recommended the firing of four senior officials involved in the Obama administration's gun-walking program. Fast and Furious commenced in 2009 and eventually led to the deaths of agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
In addition to the high-level managers, two ATF employees were also cited for disciplinary actions.
The managers recommended for termination, according to people familiar with the matter, are Mark Chait, former assistant director for field operations; William McMahon, who oversaw field operations in the Western U.S.; William Newell, former chief of the ATF's Phoenix office; and George Gillett, the No. 2 official in the ATF's Phoenix office.
In addition to dismissal, the officials' security clearances would be revoked if the recommendations are accepted, according to the people familiar with the matter, a move that could hurt their future job prospects.
The two other ATF employees subject to disciplinary proceedings are David Voth, an ATF Phoenix supervisor who rejected complaints from agents about the operation, and Hope McAllister, a lead agent in the operation. Mr. Voth would be demoted to a street agent and Ms. McAllister would be subject to a reprimand and a disciplinary transfer to another ATF post.
The recommendations come months after an Office of Inspector General Report cleared Attorney General Eric Holder while holding 14 individuals accountable for what the mainstream media has euphemistically labeled a "botched sting operation." The OIG report faulted the ATF and U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona but specifically stated that Holder was not made aware of the program until February of 2012.
The report singled out Holder's chief of staff, Gary Grindler, who announced his resignation this past Monday, days after the advisory board's recommendations.
Grindler was acting deputy attorney general at the DOJ when he was briefed in March 2010 regarding illegal straw purchases of Fast and Furious guns. Despite the fact that the number-two at Justice was presented with a chart identifying the purchasers and the number of guns they acquired -- 1,026 -- Grindler later testified, "I am not sure at this point of my tenure that I knew exactly what this was in terms of significance."
Also criticized for their roles in Fast and Furious in the inspector general's report were Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Jason Weinstein, who resigned after the report's release; Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who remains at the Department of Justice; and Kenneth Melson, head of the ATF. Melson was reassigned in August 2011 to the position of senior adviser on forensic science at the Justice Department's headquarters.
Now that the ATF board has sent out notices to bureau managers, recommending terminations and disciplinary actions for senior officials and lower-level agents, is it the end of the Fast and Furious story? Maybe not.
Dave Workman of Examiner.com writes:
Still very much in play is a legal action by Issa's committee to get its hands on thousands of documents currently protected by presidential privilege since Barack Obama took ownership of Fast and Furious in July, giving cover to Holder, who did not want to release the documents. The question remains, what's in there that Holder and the White House do not want the committee to see?
What's in there, indeed? Why did the president need to invoke executive privilege on an issue he and the attorney general knew nothing about? If they're so innocent, they should pony up the documents.
The White House and DOJ have withheld evidence, stonewalled and covered up Fast and Furious from the very beginning. Then they appointed an inspector general who works for Eric Holder to investigate Holder. Is it any wonder that IG Michael Horowitz produced a highly biased sham report that protects those at the top of the food chain?
The Obama administration and its collaborators in the media will keep the truth from coming out no matter how many dead bodies pile up. The latest flurry of activity from the ATF is just more of the same nauseating chum Holder and Obama have been throwing out for two years.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.