Ken Melson, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, isn't falling on his sword.
"Fast and Furious," the ill-fated plan that allowed guns to flow across the U.S. border into Mexico has come under intense scrutiny after the death of a border patrol agent was linked to those weapons. But according to a recent Los Angeles Times story, Melson refuses to be the fall guy: He won't step down, and he wants to talk to Congress.
Under "Fast and Furious" ATFE agents allowed hundreds, if not thousands, of weapons to be smuggled into Mexico. Straw purchasers obtained the guns from Arizona dealers. The ATFE was aware of the purchases, but instructed agents not to stop the weapons at the border. The Bureau hoped that the guns would lead them to the heads of Mexican drug cartels.
Here's my take on the program: allowing guns to walk into Mexico doesn't meet any possible definition of sanity or security. Still, this is not the work of an Acting Director. The authorization for this program had to come from someone higher than Melson. Much higher.
Which may be why the Department of Justice isn't letting him talk to Congress?
One more thing: I'd bet good money that the frequently reported picture of Melson sitting in his office, watching straw purchases via an internet feed is a crock. It's a classic evil-genius image, but I'm not sure it conveys reality. I may be wrong, but there's only one way to find out.
Let the man talk.