As part of President Barack Obama’s 23-point gun control plan, he nominated Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones – who currently doubles right now as the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – to be the ATF director.
Jones was personally a part of the high-ranking Department of Justice unit that first met on October 26, 2009, to create the new DOJ policy that was used to justify “gunwalking” in Operation Fast and Furious. In Fast and Furious, the ATF “walked” roughly 2,000 firearms into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. That means through straw purchasers the agency allowed sales to happen and didn’t stop the guns from being trafficked, even though they had the legal authority to do so and were fully capable of doing so.
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens – estimates put it around at least 300 – were killed with these firearms.
Obama nominated Jones after he said in his gun control plan that the “ATF has not had a confirmed director for six years. There is no excuse for leaving the key agency enforcing gun laws in America without a leader. It is time for Congress to confirm an ATF director.”
According to a congressional report from House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, Jones was one of several senior DOJ officials in the meeting. Before the meeting, then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden disseminated a strategy that became the new law enforcement platform on which gunwalking was based.
“On October 23, 2009, Deputy Attorney General Ogden disseminated this strategy to the heads of Department components, including the ATF, DEA, and FBI,” the Issa-Grassley report, released on Oct. 23, 2012, reads. “The Deputy Attorney General also formed a Southwest Border Strategy Group, which he headed, responsible for implementing the new strategy. The Strategy Group’s first meeting was on October 26, 2009, when it assembled to discuss the new strategy.”
“The meeting invitation included Deputy Attorney General Ogden and his deputies Ed Siskel and Kathryn Ruemmler (both of whom would later leave the Justice Department for the White House Counsel’s Office); Assistant Attorney General Breuer and his deputies, Jason Weinstein, Kenneth Blanco, and Bruce Swartz; ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Director William Hoover; the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis Burke; and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, B. Todd Jones, then serving as Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee,” the report continues.
From that meeting came what’s become known as the “Ogden memo,” which contains a paragraph many involved in gunwalking have pointed to as their legal basis for the practice. “Thus, given the national scope of this issue, merely seizing firearms through interdiction will not stop firearms trafficking to Mexico,” the paragraph, printed on page seven of the memo, reads. “We must identify, investigate, and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them.”
The Department of Justice has withheld documents, details, and more information about these meetings and this group from congressional investigators and internal DOJ investigators at the Department of Justice. Many mainstream media outlets have claimed Attorney General Eric Holder and other senior officials were “vindicated” or “cleared” by the DOJ’s Inspector General when his report came out in the fall 2012. But these documents and details remain hidden from the American people, leaving open more questions about what role Holder or his aides played in gunwalking in Operation Fast and Furious.
“The Committees were unable to ascertain any further details regarding this meeting,” the Issa-Grassley report adds.
As Townhall’s Katie Pavlich notes, Jones also has a penchant for threatening and retaliating against ATF Operation Fast and Furious whistleblowers. Issa said Obama’s decision to nominate Jones is a “slap in the face” to the Terry family.
“Acting Director Jones was at the helm of ATF as many troubling problems from the fallout of Operation Fast and Furious festered,” Issa declared. “His specific decisions on a number of Fast and Furious related issues raise concerns about his judgment and ability to lead the agency.
“While I continue to believe that ATF needs to have a Senate confirmed Director, President Obama has a responsibility to find a nominee who can win confirmation and is not saddled by a string of bad decisions related to the agency’s greatest recent failure.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman hasn’t returned Breitbart News’ request for comment in response to these revelations about Jones and hasn’t answered whether Holder will release the documents and information surrounding those Fast and Furious formative meetings.