Adjunct professor and ATF head removed from post amid scandal

Kenneth Melson

An adjunct professor in the GW Law School was removed from his position as acting chief of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tuesday in part of a Justice Department crackdown on two top officials linked to a mishandled investigation into gun-trafficking in Arizona.

Kenneth Melson, who has taught law and forensic sciences courses at the University for nearly 30 years, was associated with Operation Fast and Furious, a contentious border security strategy attempted to track drug cartels by allowing guns to be shipped illegally into Mexico.

Attorney General Eric Holder made the decision to replace Melson with B. Todd Jones, the United States attorney in Minnesota, and announced the resignation of Dennis Burke, the United States attorney in Phoenix.

Melson was named acting director of the ATF in April 2009. Melson will assume a new role as a senior adviser for forensic science issues at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Melson is also an alumnus, having received his J.D. from the law school in 1973.

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