Friday, March 25, 2011

Former ATF Attache In Mexico City On Operation Fast And Furious

Darren Gil served as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Attache in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. He was recalled to Washington late in 2010 after he started asking questions about Operation Fast and Furious.Gil subsequently retired in December 2010. His replacement was the former Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division William Newell who's actions are at the center of Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker).

Mr. Gil hasn't spoken out publicly about the gun walking. That is, until now. Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News has just published an interview with him in which he says that knowledge of the gunwalking went higher than ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson.
In an exclusive interview with CBS News, the lead ATF official in Mexico at the time Darren Gil says somebody in the Justice Department did know about the case. Gil says his supervisor at ATF's Washington D.C. headquarters told him point-blank the operation was approved even higher than ATF Director Kenneth Melson.

"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."
One of the reasons that Gil is speaking out is because Mexican politicians are threatening to bring charges against ATF agents in Mexico. Gil says that would be wrong because the ATF agents in Mexico were specifically excluded from having knowledge of the gunwalking. They were frozen out of their normal computer access to case files. He notes that some of his conversations with officials in Washington became "screaming and shouting matches" over this lack of access. He did note that many of their serial number traces went back to the Phoenix area - where SAC William Newell was running Operation Fast and Furious.

Mike Vanderboegh has mentioned Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division at DOJ, many times on his blog Sipsey Street Irregulars as involved in Project Gunwalker. Gil's interview is confirmation that Breuer was probably up to his neck in it. The question now is whether he or Melson will be thrown under the bus to protect Attorney General Eric Holder.

As mentioned a few days ago, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson will be appearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee's  Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs. Now that Darren Gil has gone on the record with CBS's Sharyl Attkisson about higher-ups being involved, it would be a shame if the screws weren't put to Melson to testify under oath on just how high it went.

UPDATE: Video of the interview is now available.

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