Operation Fast and Furious did not come up during last night’s final presidential debate, but it is definitely in the spotlight this morning as the two Capitol Hill lawmakers responsible for investigating the gun walking scandal are now asking for an update, and they’ve set a deadline tomorrow to get that information.
Senator Charles Grassley and Congressman Darrell Issa sent a letter last Friday to B. Todd Jones, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, asking for an update on the dual employment of William McMahon at ATF and J.P. Morgan Chase bank. The lawmakers note that they asked about this issue two months ago and have yet to get a response.
This column discussed the McMahon case back on Aug. 22. He is one of the key figures named in the Inspector General’s report on the mismanaged operation, which allowed some 2,000 guns to be illegally “walked” into the hands of criminals in Mexico. On Sept. 20, this column provided details on the IG report’s criticisms of various officials. That report asserted that “McMahon’s oversight of the Phoenix Field Division’s handling of Operation Fast and Furious was wholly inadequate.”
“At the same time ATF appears to be helping one of the supervisors responsible for Fast and Furious double-dip at taxpayer expense, it apparently has no qualms about pursuing a personnel action against the man who blew the whistle on Fast and Furious, Special Agent John Dodson,” the Oct. 19 letter states. “An ATF Internal Affairs e-mail sent this week notified Special Agent Dodson that it had opened and closed an internal investigation against him. The notice, however, failed to disclose to him any details of the investigation…Special Agent Dodson’s counsel has not been afforded an opportunity to review the report.”
In their letter, Grassley and Issa assert that “ATF appears to have failed to provide even minimal standards of due process to Special Agent Dodson.”
“Given the secrecy and timing of this alleged Internal Affairs investigation,” they wrote, “it raises the question of whether this is a thinly veiled attempt to punish Special Agent Dodson for speaking to Congress about Operation Fast and Furious.”
According to the letter, ATF’s Professional Review Board will meet on Thursday. In anticipation of that meeting, Grassley and Issa want Jones to provide information on the members of that board, a copy of the Internal Affairs report, other documents provided to the board regarding any discipline imposed on Dodson and other materials. They have given Jones until noon Wednesday to provide the information.
National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea today expressed frustration that Fast and Furious was not discussed in last night’s debate on foreign policy. This column said yesterday that it should be on the debate agenda, but moderator Bob Schieffer quickly allowed the debate to revert to a discussion of domestic policy and the economy.
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