Shake Up at the ATF

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The Justice Department has announced the reassignment of Kenneth E. Melson as acting head of the ATF and the departure of United States Attorney Dennis Burke.  Melson will assume the role of senior advisor on forensic science at the Justice Department.  These transitions are the results of the failure of Operation Fast and Furious.  This ATF operation focused on Mexican gun trafficking.  The weapons were to be traced from Arizona gun retail shops to Mexican drug cartels.  During the course of this 15-month operation over a thousand guns crossed the border: most of them were not recovered and no arrests were made.  Operation Fast and Furious came into question when weapons from it were found at the scene of a murdered border patrol agent.  When the operation became public, it caused outrage on both sides of the border.  Since then, the Justice Department and the White House have been under pressure from Republicans in Congress to release information on this operation as well as remove those who were responsible.  President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder denied knowledge of the operation.  Paul Burks took full responsibility for the sting before the shake up took place.  Melson stated in a Congressional hearing that there had been mistakes.  Burke will be replaced by his assistant, while B. Todd Jones, a United States Attorney from Minnesota, will replace Kenneth Melson.


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