8:11am

Thu August 18, 2011
The Two-Way

ATF Denies 'Fast And Furious' Supervisors Received Promotions

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives denied a report from The Los Angeles Times that supervisors of ATF's controversial "Fast and Furious" operation were promoted.

The ATF said the supervisors were "laterally transferred."

"Fast and Furious" was a sting operation that sold weapons and allowed them to cross the U.S./Mexico border in an effort to bring in the bigger fish. What happened, however, is that the guns sold by the operation ended up being used in killings. The operation is now facing legal scrutiny.

As we reported Tuesday, the Times said three agents in charge of that operation were "promoted." William G. McMahon became "deputy assistant director of the ATF's Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations — the division that investigates misconduct by employees and other problems." Kenneth E. Melson, who ran the field office in Arizona and New Mexico became "special assistant to the assistant director of the agency's Office of Management in Washington." And David Voth, who was the operation's team supervisor, became "branch chief for the ATF's tobacco division."

In a press release, the ATF said the changes moved the supervisors from "operational positions" to "administrative roles."

"They did not receive salary or grade increases nor did they assume positions with greater responsibility," the ATF statement read.

The Los Angeles Times reported that it spoke to three ATF employees who characterized the moves as promotions. The Times adds:

[The agency's acting director, Kenneth E.] Melson announced McMahon's new job in an email Sunday, citing him for the "skills and abilities" he demonstrated throughout his career.

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