Whistleblower Testifies Obama Obstructed Fast and Furious Investigation

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

The chief congressional investigators of Operation Fast and Furious released explosive testimony from the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that they say indicates the Obama administration tried to stonewall Congress, deny witnesses the ability to testify freely, and fire employees who refused to conceal damning information. According to acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson not only did the Justice Department play fast-and-loose with Fast and Furious, but other government agencies may have known – and funded – the straw purchasers the ATF program was designed to catch. The agency’s investigation, which has resulted in at least two deaths, may have been entirely unnecessary.

Scorn on the Fourth of July

Congressman Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley sent a joint letter to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday, revealing that Melson gave a transcribed interview on the Fourth of July, with only his personal lawyer present. The news must have come as a shock to Holder. Melson’s testimony had been scheduled to take place July 13, with Melson’s counsel and Obama administration lawyers from the DoJ and ATF taking part.

According to the letter, Melson testified that the administration had not informed him of his legal right “to attend a voluntary interview with [his] own lawyer… rather than participate with counsel representing the Department’s interests.”

“We are disappointed that no one had previously informed him of that provision of the agreement,” they wrote. “Instead, Justice Department officials sought to limit and control his communications with Congress. This is yet another example of why direct communications with Congress are so important and are protected by law.”

(Obstruction of) Justice Department

The Congressmen’s recounting of Melson’s testimony includes mistakes he admitted making, including not personally reviewing hundreds of documents relating to Fast and Furious until March of this year. “By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story,” they write.

In the most stinging passage of the letter, Issa and Grassley accuse the administration of a concerted cover-up….

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Federal Employees Say Inept Obama Officials Politicize Their Agencies

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

Barack Obama’s political appointees are inept, incapable, and needlessly politicize the basic functions of whole segments of the federal government. That is not the assessment of firebrand conservatives but the result of a recent survey of high-placed career federal employees.

The survey, conducted by the Government Business Council, polled 148 Senior Executive Service members. These federal managers ranked Obama’s political appointees at only 2.0, down from the 2.3 rating enjoyed by the Clinton and Bush administrations. At least 10 percent more managers gave Obama’s appointees a D or F than failed Bush or Clinton’s teams. National Journal reports 20 percent gave such low marks to Clinton/Bush, as opposed to “more than 30 percent” for Obama.

More damning than the dry statistical data are the descriptions of federal employees of Obama’s team. According to one manager the political appointees are far more involved in day-to-day affairs, but “the effectiveness, skill and knowledge has dramatically decreased” since January 2009. Some said Obama’s appointees attempt to “break organizations.” One said the administration’s overseers “have a divide-and-conquer strategy, and there are way too many industry fingers allowed in decision-making.” Another said this led to “politicization of normal agency functions.”

The survey comes on the heels of remarks by Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-MI, who said CIA employees have a strong current of “dissent and dislike,” because….

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