Over the Fourth of July weekend, last year, Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson was interviewed by staff members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about Fast and Furious. He brought his own lawyer. It was reported by nearly everyone that he was cooperating with House investigators, telling them everything he knew about Fast and Furious, which he only found out about after it hit the news.
According to Mr. Melson, it was not until after the public controversy that he personally reviewed hundreds of documents relating to the case, including wiretap applications and Reports of Investigation (ROIs). By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story. Mr. Melson said that he told the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) at the end of March that the Department needed to reexamine how it was responding to the requests for information from Congress.
The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice
Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons but that taxpayer dollars
from othe r agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities. While this is
preliminary information, we must find out i f there is any truth to it. According to
Acting Director Melson, he became aware of this startling possibility only after the
murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers,
which we now know were substantially delayed by the u.s. Attorney’s Office and Main
Justice. Mr. Melson provided documents months ago supporting his concerns to the
official in the ODAG responsible for document production to the Committees, but those
documents have not be en provided to us.
Last month, an email surfaced that showed Melson thanking Dennis Burke for his hardliner approach to the DOJ on the response letter to Senator Grassley that has since been “withdrawn.”
From: Melson, Kenneth E.
To: Burke, Dennis (USAAZ)
Sent: 2/3/2011 7:51:58 PM
Dennis: I just got back from the Interpol meeting and wanted to thank you for your help on the Grassley response and for your work on Fast and Furious. Ken
That alone didn’t prove to me that he knew, but it certainly increased suspicion.
This latest email not only proves that he did know about Fast and Furious as early as Dec 2010, but he was actively trying to contain chatter about it on the Clean-up ATF Message board.
The Western Center For Journalism reports:
Discovery of a January 2011 e-mail exchange between then Acting ATF Director Ken Melson and the Bureau’s chief council Steve Rubenstein has put the kibosh on Obama administration elites’ latest “we didn’t know about it” defense concerning the regime’s involvement in Operation Fast and Furious.
On December 22, 2010, a contributor identifying himself as “1desertrat” posted the following to the “CLEANUP ATF” website:
Word is that curious George Gillett the Phoenix ASAC stepped on it again. Allegedly he has approved more than 500 AR-15 type rifles from Tucson and Phoenix cases to be “walked” to Mexico. Appears that ATF may be one of the largest suppliers of assault rifles to the Mexican cartels! One of these rifles is rumored to have been linked to the recent killing of a Border Patrol Officer in Nogales, AZ. Can anyone confirm this information? 
Well, Director Melson read this “CLEANUP ATF” post and didn’t appreciate the fact that ATF business had been so willfully shared with the general public. Especially, this business. So, he contacted ATF Chief Council Steve Rubenstein for advice. And the e-mail reply he received from Rubenstein is a beauty. Rubenstein wrote:
The disclosure of this information has a potential deleterious effect on ATF’s undercover operations. In that regard, suspects may alter their behavior if they know that law enforcement is allowing certain firearms to “walk” into Mexico. (my bold text) In addition, public knowledge of this type of operation potentially places informants and undercover agents in jeopardy.
If “1desertrat” is an ATF employee, then he/she is subject to our Orders and Standards of Conduct….
Melson Email, here.
Rubentsein goes on to quote the ATF Code of Conduct for employees, making it clear to Melson that the individual responsible for the post could be dealt with rather severely if indeed an ATF agent.
And Melson’s response: “Thanks Steve. I’m going to forward this to IA.” That is, Internal Affairs, which had by this time earned the reputation of being little more than a tool for the intimidation of agents who did not adequately adhere to ATF policy, regardless of how corrupt or nefarious.
Is it possible that Melson knew about the highly illegal gun-walking operation, but kept his superiors in the Department of Justice in the dark? Doug Book at WCFJ answers that question:
As an attorney, Ken Melson knew the consequences, both of such a crime and its cover up. One can wager, if only to protect his own hide, he made sure his Department of Justice and executive branch bosses knew it as well.
The name Steven Rubenstein may ring a bell, since he was recently seen here, treading water fast and furiously after he jumped off the sinking Fast and Furious ship:
ATF Chief Counsel Steve Rubenstein is retiring affective Jan 31.
No other details have been confirmed at this time, but it is certain that Rubenstein was hip deep in any number of ATF scandals, including the Gunwalker conspiracy and cover-up. My sources, who have had a belly-full of Rubenstein’s anti-gun agenda over the years, say he will not be missed.
I should have mentioned that after many had speculated, last Spring, that Kenneth Melson would be thrown under the bus, he was finally moved last August, from his position as acting ATF Director to the position of senior adviser on forensic science at the Office of Legal Programs. It was considered by the DOJ to be a “lateral move”.
Clean upATF: Melson denies his subordinates told him about F&F:
Posted 06 January 2012 – 04:58 PM
“Acting” directors or not, how does Melson explain his January, 2011 email exchange with Rubenstein? Melson was informed of gunwalking in December of 2010, right here on CleanUp ATF! His only concern appeared to be the severity of the punishment he would be able to inflict on 1desertrat, if an Agent. Apparently the brass believe the lowly agents to be capable of any sort of misdeed due to congressional failure to approve a presidential nominee!***Posted Yesterday, 09:13 PMSo is Melson claiming to be the dumbest damned human being on the face of the planet?
I mean….assuming I was in his position …working for the BATFE….ie enforcing GUN laws…and for some strange reason Im sitting at my desk watching GUN SALES…..am I so damned dense that I cant make ANY connection that I might be watching them for a REASON ?
Did Melson not like the Golf Channel or CNN at all…and so much so that instead of watching some entertaining show on TV to pass the long work day that he instead decided to watch gun sales down at the local mom and pop firearm shop ?
Something seriously isnt adding up if he’s claiming ignorance unless there is some extreme situation here where Melsons office is similar to the Matrix movies “Architect” that has a few hundred TV screens all going at once and he just happens to watch whichever one his chair and donuts are currently pointed at….ie he had so many options that he didnt know what he was actually watching….which for me and a lot of the voting public just isnt going to fly. It was his damned job to know what he was dealing with. And if he couldnt then whomever put him in that position seemingly wanted a warm, brainless body to sit in that chair but not think about what he was actually doing….in that case it would seem that the one who appointed Melson would be complicit in F/F themselves and trying to make sure that they placed a complete lackwit who wouldnt figure it all out in that position.
I remember when his name first came into this, and I’ll have to check my own notes, but it seems to me if he’s playing the stupid card now that his story has changed in some way. Something seriously amiss here. Its no wonder decent, honorable BATFE agents have brought this all to light.
Hat tip: Brian B.