Explosive emails released by the House Oversight Committee reveal new evidence that Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson was aware of the scandalous operation known as "Fast and Furious" as early as March of last year. The emails were released as the Oversight Committee opened a second hearing into the investigation, which allegedly allowed thousands of guns to end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
ATF Agent John Dodson said in his testimony, "This was not a matter of some weapons getting away from us, or allowing a few to walk so as to follow them to a much larger or more significant target. Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals — this was the plan. It was so mandated." Other agents testified that they were told time and again to ignore guns going across the border, with nothing other than occasional attempts at surveillance, but never were they allowed to interdict the guns before they crossed over the U.S./Mexican border.
Justice Department representative Ronald Weich couldn't answer the simplest question posed to him by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa: "Who in Washington authorized the program?" Instead, Weich responded that an internal investigation is Weich responded that an internal investigation is under way, and that more information would be forthcoming.
Issa wasn't satisfied with that answer, and pointedly told Weich that if he couldn't provide the information, then the Oversight Committee would be forced to bring in officials who could. While no dates for further hearings have been officially set, it's clear that there are some very important questions left to be answered.
It's time for the Justice Department to come clean on Operation Fast and Furious and reveal what it knows. Who thought up the plan? How high up did knowledge of this program go? And if the Justice Department won't provide answers, then the Washington press corps should push President Obama to compel Attorney General Eric Holder to answer these basic questions. Enough is enough. President Obama promised his administration would be the most transparent in history. It's time for him to prove it.