Issa Demands Answers on Gun Smuggling
By David Baumann | March 18, 2011 12:12 pm

Add Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to the growing list of people who want answers about a gun smuggling probe conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along the Mexican border.

Issa, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, this week sent  a letter to agency acting Director Kenneth E. Melson accusing him of not cooperating with congressional inquiries about Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, CBS News reported this week. Fast and Furious allowed suspected smugglers to purchase 1,765 firearms, 797 of which were recovered in Mexico and the United States after they were used in crimes. Two of those guns were found at the scene of the killing of Agent Brian Terry in December. Jamie Aliva, a straw purchaser of firearms, was arrested shortly after the killing.

In his letter, Issa cited frustration expressed last week by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Issa quoted Grassley as saying he was getting the “runaround” from DOJ.

Issa echoed Grassley’s contention that the Justice Department’s Inspector General cannot conduct an impartial probe of the programs. “Only a full congressional investigation can achieve this result and restore the public’s faith in the workings of the ATF,” he wrote. Issa requested Melson to produce a variety of documents from the program by March 30.

The bureau had no immediate comment on Issa’s allegations.

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