Issa Releases Documents Showing Intimate Involvement of ATF Director in Controversial Gunwalking Operation

June 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago in his opening statement at today's hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:

• The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were "being briefed weekly on" Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were "keenly interested in case updates."

• A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.

• A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.

Click here for copies of the three e-mails.

Click here to WATCH Chairman Issa's opening statement.

Click here for a copy of a report released jointly by Rep. Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley: "The Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious: Accounts of ATF Agents."

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