House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has released emails that he says prove top-level involvement by law enforcement officials in Operation Fast and Furious.
"Fast and Furious" was the official name for an ATF sting gone wrong. Honest gun dealers were encouraged by ATF to sell to people who were obviously weapons traffickers and made large, suspicious purchases. ATF allowed thousands of guns to be delivered across the border to Mexican cartels. The idea was to trace the guns, but they were instead used later to kill Americans, possibly including a Border Patrol officer.
Issa's summary provides some context to the emails linked above:
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.
Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released a report yesterday on the operation, which critics are derisively calling "Operation Gunwalker."