Breaking–CBS News: ATF whistleblower indicates high level approval of scheme
March 25th, 2011 5:35 pm ET
In a new development in the continuing scandal at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives–a division of the Department of Justice–CBS News is reporting today that Barack Obama is denying all knowledge of the illegal scheme but that an ATF whistleblower insists that someone in the highest levels of the Administration not only knew about it but gave their approval.
The ATF’s lead official in Mexico, Darren Gill, reported in an exclusive interview with CBS News today that his Washington Bureau supervisor told him point-blank that the person who approved the scheme is higher up in the Administration than ATF director Kenneth Melson.
That would mean at the very least the Justice Department, which has oversight of the agency.
A video of the interview can be found in the top left column. A second portion of the interview can be found at the CBS News site.
The key portion of the interview is in this exchange:
“Is the director aware of this,” Gil asked the supervisor. Gil says his supervisor answered “Yes, the director’s aware of it. Not only is the director aware of it, D.O.J.’s aware of it… Department of Justice was aware of it.”
Gil goes on to say senior Justice official Lanny Breuer and several of his deputies visited Mexico amid the controversy last summer, and spoke to ATF staff generally about a big trafficking case that they claimed was “getting good results.” Gil says Melson, ATF’s Acting Director, also visited Mexico City. Gil’s Deputy Attache and his Analyst questioned Melson about the case that surrounding all the weapons showing up in Mexico. “His response was ‘it’s a good case, it’s still going on,'” recalls Gil, “and we’ll close it down as soon as we possibly can.”
Thus, not only is the ATF’s acting director implicated in illegal activity, but so is someone yet unnamed at the Department of Justice.
CBS News video: