Federal ATF chief said to resist pressure to step down.

The acting director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,…

The acting director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is strongly resisting pressure to step down because of growing controversy over the agency’s surveillance program that allowed U.S. guns to flow unchecked into Mexico, according to several federal sources in Washington.

Kenneth E. Melson, who has run the bureau for two years, is reportedly eager to testify to Congress about the extent of his and other officials’ involvement in the operation, code-named Fast and Furious.

Melson does not want to be “the fall guy” for the program, under which ATF agents allowed straw purchasers to acquire more than 1,700 AK-47s and other high-powered rifles from Arizona gun dealers, the sources said. The idea was to track the guns to drug cartel leaders. But that goal proved elusive, and the guns turned up at shootings in Mexico, as well as at the slaying in Arizona of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in December.

Source: Read the rest of Richard A. Serrano’s article at the LA Times.

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