Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (which ought to be a convenience store) refuses to fall on his metaphorical sword. Rather than resigning and giving the Justice Department some red meat to throw to the Congressional investigators he has decided to remain as acting director until they come and pry his fingernails from the carpet.
Melson is refusing to be the "fall guy" for Operation Fast & Furious, mentioned previously on this blog, that resulted in 1,700 semiautomatic weapons (including the infamous .50 Barrett rifles) being illegally purchased and presumably smuggled into Mexico. The ostensible purpose of the operation was to track the weapons and tie them to high-level narco-terrorists in Mexico. The problem, however, was that BATFE was unable to track the weapons and at least two have turned up at the scene of a murder of a United States Border Patrol agent.
The official spin on the operation was that it was conceived and executed by regional BATFE supervisors in Phoenix, AZ and that the national-level suits knew nothing about what was happening. Well, as it turns out, Mr. Melson knew enough about the operation to request access to the realtime surveillance camera footage of the straw purchases taking place. Ooops!
My personal suspicions from months ago were that the operation was at the very least authorized by high-level persons in the Justice Department as a means of running up the trace numbers out of Mexico to justify calls for additional gun control laws. Recent events appear to be bearing this out. Mr. Melson has not yet received "permission" from the Justice Department to testify under oath about his role in the operation and I suspect that it will be a cold day in Hell before he does.
The question remaining is this; if Mr. Melson refuses to jump in front of the bus, who else will he drag kicking and screaming on to the pavement with him? Stay tuned.