Angry former ATF chief blames subordinates for Fast and Furious

The deposition, which was taken in July and was recently obtained by the Washington bureau, shows that Kenneth E. Melson was irate. Even his chief intelligence officer at ATF headquarters was upset with the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious, but did little to shut it down, Melson complained. “He didn’t come in and tell me, either,” Melson said. “And he’s on the same damn floor as I am.”

But B. Todd Jones, Melson’s replacement as acting director of the agency, said in an interview that Melson allowed overzealous field agents and supervisors to go beyond approved tactics…

“Anybody, including Mr. Melson, who waits for things to happen or waits for information to come to them, that is something I personally am not a believer in,” Jones said. “I’m a believer in management by walking around. If you’re not hearing it, you seek it out. And there are a lot of ways to do that other than sitting in your corner office waiting for memos to come in.”…

Once Fast and Furious broke into public view, Melson said, Justice officials strenuously objected when he wanted to disclose everything to Congress. “We were floating the idea and asking them to allow us to do that,” he said. But he said he was told “it is a long-standing policy of the Department of Justice that we don’t talk about ongoing cases.”