The Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform will be having a hearing today on the “Gunwalker” scandal almost guaranteed to fill any observer with disgust. It will be a markedly different kind of hearing than the previous hearings on the scandal chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa.
The hearings two weeks ago saw Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents testify about their role in Operation Fast and Furious, the multi-agency scheme that allowed gun smugglers to arm Mexican drug cartels with 2,000 or more weapons as federal law enforcement officers watched. Issa’s hearings included evidence of damning emails that showed acting ATF chief Kenneth Melson to be intimately familiar with the program, which has been blamed for the deaths of two U.S. federal agents and more than 150 Mexican police and soldiers.
The ATF’s parent agency, the Department of Justice (DOJ); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) were all directly involved in the operation, which could not even have occurred without State Department approval.