The Washington Times - June 30, 2012, 09:48PM

The two men leading Congress’ investigation into “Fast and Furious” said Friday they see signs the administration is retaliating against the whistle-blowers who first shed light on the botched gunwalking operation that has President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. under fire.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Rep. Darrel Issa demanded the Justice Department’s inspector general step into the fray and make sure the whistle-blowers are shielded.

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In a letter asking for action, the two men said the whistle-blowers, who weren’t named, have been put under the supervision of a man who had already promised to “take them down” for their involvement in exposing the scandal, which this past week resulted in the House voting to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress.

The lawmakers said the supervisor, Scot Thomasson, was chief of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) when Fast and Furious first came under fire, and helped prepare the agency’s responses to pointed questions.

Mr. Grassley and Mr. Issa asked the inspector general to find out how ATF came to put Mr. Thomasson in charge of the whistle-blowers and demanded to know if any steps are being taken to protect them.

During the operation, roughly 2,000 guns were allowed to be sold to straw purchasers knowing they were being trafficked across the border to Mexican cartels. The operation finally came to a halt after two of the weapons were recovered at the scene of a shootout between Border Patrol agents and Mexican bandits that left Agent Brian Terry dead.