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Obama's Mexican Gunrunning Operation


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For those not inclined to clicking and reading, here is an email sent by Phoenix ATF group supervisor David Voth to his team:

 

vothletter.gif

 

GO TEAM! The not-so-subtle message: if you do not agree with the Gunwalking program, you do not deserve to be here....

 

Then recently:

 

Where are they now?

 

Here's what has happened to the managers of the operation:

 

-- Group Supervisor David Voth managed Fast and Furious on a day-to-day basis and repeatedly stopped field agents from interdicting weapons headed to the border, according to congressional testimony. ATF boosted Voth to chief of the ATF Tobacco Division, where he now supervises more employees in Washington than he ever did in Phoenix.

 

 

 

And yesterday in Serrano's column...

 

Hours after Terry was killed south of Tucson, David J. Voth, the ATF group supervisor for Fast and Furious in Phoenix, sent an email to lead Agent Hope A. MacAllister. He titled the email, "no more rose colored glasses."

 

"If you have not heard a Border Patrol agent was shoot and killed here in Arizona," he told her. "The trace came back to Fast and Furious…Ugh...! Call as soon as you can, things will most likely get ugly."

 

The only taxpayer subsidy this man should be getting is room and board at a federal prison. Why are we still paying him and many of the others responsible for this? And why the complete silence on that issue from fans of "common sense" gun control laws? <_<

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It's Judge Jackson or Judge Berman Jackson. It isn't Judge Berman unless you're watching reality court TV at the laundromat. Actually, I did mean only those documents. Again, the Kenyan’s EP was

Maybe he'll be nicer now that his period is over.

People who have time to read things like the relevant Inspector General's report instead of just spewing insults and talking points know that the reality is that the stupid program was shut down under

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Sen. Joe Leiberman has noticed Fast and Furious and asked his staff to investigate.

 

A spokesperson told The Daily Caller Wednesday that Lieberman “believe that the lack of interagency coordination along the border merits further examination, and as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he has directed his staff to follow up with the relevant federal agencies on that topic.”

 

Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchase guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.

 

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.

 

Some reports suggest that the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were also involved in some manner or another with the operation.

 

For instance, Pajamas Media reported that the night Terry was killed, an FBI informant was in the drug cartel rip crew that used Fast and Furious weapons to murder him.

 

 

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303 days into the Justice Department Inspector General's investigation of the Justice Department, one of the guys who broke the story took time to recall the original reaction of the OIG to allegations of gunwalking.

 

“I have a good relationship with the inspector general,” Holder revealed. How good seems a legitimate question to explore, especially since, illusory administration assurances of independence notwithstanding, certain conduct on the part of OIG is worth a much closer look. Especially since, as this column reported last March, Sen. Charles Grassley expressed no confidence and asked that investigation of ATF’s Fast and Furious policy be removed from the Justice Department Inspector General.

 

Why? Because of deliberate indifference it had already shown to a whistleblower putting his neck on the block to come forward with revelations about ATF-sanctioned gunwalking:

 

[T]he DOJ-OIG was aware of the allegations long before the Attorney General’s request and did nothing. Agent Dodson had already contacted the DOJ-OIG in December, just after Agent Terry’s death. He received no reply. After contacting my office, Agent Dodson contacted DOJ-OIG again, and still received no reply. No one from the office contacted him to gather information about his allegations until after my staff contacted the Acting Inspector General directly on February 1, 2011. Given that the DOJ-OIG initially failed to follow-up, it might have an incentive to minimize the significance of the allegations in order to avoid the appearance that its own inaction contributed to the problem in the last few months.

 

 

Yeah, we can expect a thorough and independent investigation, I'm sure. And those responsible will be punished.* :rolleyes:

 

 

*Those responsible for making this mess public, not those responsible for creating it.

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303 days into the Justice Department Inspector General's investigation of the Justice Department, one of the guys who broke the story took time to recall the original reaction of the OIG to allegations of gunwalking.

 

“I have a good relationship with the inspector general,” Holder revealed. How good seems a legitimate question to explore, especially since, illusory administration assurances of independence notwithstanding, certain conduct on the part of OIG is worth a much closer look. Especially since, as this column reported last March, Sen. Charles Grassley expressed no confidence and asked that investigation of ATF’s Fast and Furious policy be removed from the Justice Department Inspector General.

 

Why? Because of deliberate indifference it had already shown to a whistleblower putting his neck on the block to come forward with revelations about ATF-sanctioned gunwalking:

 

[T]he DOJ-OIG was aware of the allegations long before the Attorney General’s request and did nothing. Agent Dodson had already contacted the DOJ-OIG in December, just after Agent Terry’s death. He received no reply. After contacting my office, Agent Dodson contacted DOJ-OIG again, and still received no reply. No one from the office contacted him to gather information about his allegations until after my staff contacted the Acting Inspector General directly on February 1, 2011. Given that the DOJ-OIG initially failed to follow-up, it might have an incentive to minimize the significance of the allegations in order to avoid the appearance that its own inaction contributed to the problem in the last few months.

 

 

Yeah, we can expect a thorough and independent investigation, I'm sure. And those responsible will be punished.* :rolleyes:

 

 

*Those responsible for making this mess public, not those responsible for creating it.

 

It's getting the crap investigated out of it alright. The problem is Issa isn't interested in anyone that isn't a direct Obama appointee.

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303 days into the Justice Department Inspector General's investigation of the Justice Department, one of the guys who broke the story took time to recall the original reaction of the OIG to allegations of gunwalking.

 

"I have a good relationship with the inspector general," Holder revealed. How good seems a legitimate question to explore, especially since, illusory administration assurances of independence notwithstanding, certain conduct on the part of OIG is worth a much closer look. Especially since, as this column reported last March, Sen. Charles Grassley expressed no confidence and asked that investigation of ATF's Fast and Furious policy be removed from the Justice Department Inspector General.

 

Why? Because of deliberate indifference it had already shown to a whistleblower putting his neck on the block to come forward with revelations about ATF-sanctioned gunwalking:

 

[T]he DOJ-OIG was aware of the allegations long before the Attorney General's request and did nothing. Agent Dodson had already contacted the DOJ-OIG in December, just after Agent Terry's death. He received no reply. After contacting my office, Agent Dodson contacted DOJ-OIG again, and still received no reply. No one from the office contacted him to gather information about his allegations until after my staff contacted the Acting Inspector General directly on February 1, 2011. Given that the DOJ-OIG initially failed to follow-up, it might have an incentive to minimize the significance of the allegations in order to avoid the appearance that its own inaction contributed to the problem in the last few months.

 

 

Yeah, we can expect a thorough and independent investigation, I'm sure. And those responsible will be punished.* :rolleyes:

 

 

*Those responsible for making this mess public, not those responsible for creating it.

 

It's getting the crap investigated out of it alright. The problem is Issa isn't interested in anyone that isn't a direct Obama appointee.

 

That's fine with me. Someone has to do it. I have been saying for a long time that this scandal reveals Eric Holder to be incompetent or corrupt. I'm pretty sure the answer is corrupt, but as long as we really don't know, someone has to investigate.

 

I know IG's are supposed to be independent, but there's something to that old "trust but verify" line. I'm pretty sure Issa is outside of Holder's influence, while I'm not at all sure of that about the Justice IG.

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303 days into the Justice Department Inspector General's investigation of the Justice Department, one of the guys who broke the story took time to recall the original reaction of the OIG to allegations of gunwalking.

 

"I have a good relationship with the inspector general," Holder revealed. How good seems a legitimate question to explore, especially since, illusory administration assurances of independence notwithstanding, certain conduct on the part of OIG is worth a much closer look. Especially since, as this column reported last March, Sen. Charles Grassley expressed no confidence and asked that investigation of ATF's Fast and Furious policy be removed from the Justice Department Inspector General.

 

Why? Because of deliberate indifference it had already shown to a whistleblower putting his neck on the block to come forward with revelations about ATF-sanctioned gunwalking:

 

[T]he DOJ-OIG was aware of the allegations long before the Attorney General's request and did nothing. Agent Dodson had already contacted the DOJ-OIG in December, just after Agent Terry's death. He received no reply. After contacting my office, Agent Dodson contacted DOJ-OIG again, and still received no reply. No one from the office contacted him to gather information about his allegations until after my staff contacted the Acting Inspector General directly on February 1, 2011. Given that the DOJ-OIG initially failed to follow-up, it might have an incentive to minimize the significance of the allegations in order to avoid the appearance that its own inaction contributed to the problem in the last few months.

 

 

Yeah, we can expect a thorough and independent investigation, I'm sure. And those responsible will be punished.* :rolleyes:

 

 

*Those responsible for making this mess public, not those responsible for creating it.

 

It's getting the crap investigated out of it alright. The problem is Issa isn't interested in anyone that isn't a direct Obama appointee.

 

That's fine with me. Someone has to do it. I have been saying for a long time that this scandal reveals Eric Holder to be incompetent or corrupt. I'm pretty sure the answer is corrupt, but as long as we really don't know, someone has to investigate.

 

I know IG's are supposed to be independent, but there's something to that old "trust but verify" line. I'm pretty sure Issa is outside of Holder's influence, while I'm not at all sure of that about the Justice IG.

 

There it is. You also are only are interested if it's someone Obama directly appointed. So why whine about a lack of prosecutions? The agents testified that they thought it was cooked up at the lower levels. Really pissed Issa off, but what's he gonna do? They aren't direct Obama appointees.

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There it is. You also are only are interested if it's someone Obama directly appointed. So why whine about a lack of prosecutions? The agents testified that they thought it was cooked up at the lower levels. Really pissed Issa off, but what's he gonna do? They aren't direct Obama appointees.

 

Is Voth an Obama appointee? You know, the guy I just said should be in jail instead of in a better job than the one he criminally screwed up?

 

How about Newell? Is he an Obama appointee? I have said repeatedly ever since I found out that this is his second gunwalking program that if we reward him again, he will do it again. I want him punished, not rewarded again.

 

Just because I also want Obama appointees punished does not mean I would not like to see them ALL punished up and down the line. All except the ones who are currently being punished, the whistleblowers. Them I would protect. By the way, what did you think of it when the Justice Dept leaked information designed to smear Agent Dodson early on?

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There it is. You also are only are interested if it's someone Obama directly appointed. So why whine about a lack of prosecutions? The agents testified that they thought it was cooked up at the lower levels. Really pissed Issa off, but what's he gonna do? They aren't direct Obama appointees.

 

Is Voth an Obama appointee? You know, the guy I just said should be in jail instead of in a better job than the one he criminally screwed up?

 

How about Newell? Is he an Obama appointee? I have said repeatedly ever since I found out that this is his second gunwalking program that if we reward him again, he will do it again. I want him punished, not rewarded again.

 

Just because I also want Obama appointees punished does not mean I would not like to see them ALL punished up and down the line. All except the ones who are currently being punished, the whistleblowers. Them I would protect. By the way, what did you think of it when the Justice Dept leaked information designed to smear Agent Dodson early on?

 

You've been studying this thing for months and you don't know that Newell and Voth aren't Obama appointees? That they haven't been re-assigned?? If you want them punished further, then talk to Issa. He could easily get a resolution passed to do force Justice to do that. But wait a minute....wouldn't that open a can of worms about the illegal things (like torture) that the people who did it got Yoo to give a legal opinion on?? That couldn't be the reason why that's avenue isn't being explored, now could it?

 

I'm interested in this Justice Dept smear stuff though. I was aware that the ATF tried that, but did somebody from Justice do it too?

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There it is. You also are only are interested if it's someone Obama directly appointed. So why whine about a lack of prosecutions? The agents testified that they thought it was cooked up at the lower levels. Really pissed Issa off, but what's he gonna do? They aren't direct Obama appointees.

 

Is Voth an Obama appointee? You know, the guy I just said should be in jail instead of in a better job than the one he criminally screwed up?

 

How about Newell? Is he an Obama appointee? I have said repeatedly ever since I found out that this is his second gunwalking program that if we reward him again, he will do it again. I want him punished, not rewarded again.

 

Just because I also want Obama appointees punished does not mean I would not like to see them ALL punished up and down the line. All except the ones who are currently being punished, the whistleblowers. Them I would protect. By the way, what did you think of it when the Justice Dept leaked information designed to smear Agent Dodson early on?

 

You've been studying this thing for months and you don't know that Newell and Voth aren't Obama appointees? That they haven't been re-assigned??...

 

I'm interested in this Justice Dept smear stuff though. I was aware that the ATF tried that, but did somebody from Justice do it too?

 

Of course I know they are not appointed. That's why I brought them up. You've been following my studies all these months and did not know that people other than Obama appointees are on my target list? Read more closely is all I can suggest.

 

I know that various people have been reassigned. Voth, for example, is now supervising more people than he was before. Newell is still a manager, now in Washington DC. I think the Department of Justice should actually punish them, not reassign them to equal or better jobs, specifically by firing and then prosecuting them. The fact that this has not happened is, to me, evidence of corruption or severe ineptitude.

 

You would not fire anyone who came up with a plan like Fast and Furious? You believe that reassignment at the same level is appropriate "punishment" for their crimes?

 

The ATF is part of the Justice Department.

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There it is. You also are only are interested if it's someone Obama directly appointed. So why whine about a lack of prosecutions? The agents testified that they thought it was cooked up at the lower levels. Really pissed Issa off, but what's he gonna do? They aren't direct Obama appointees.

 

Is Voth an Obama appointee? You know, the guy I just said should be in jail instead of in a better job than the one he criminally screwed up?

 

How about Newell? Is he an Obama appointee? I have said repeatedly ever since I found out that this is his second gunwalking program that if we reward him again, he will do it again. I want him punished, not rewarded again.

 

Just because I also want Obama appointees punished does not mean I would not like to see them ALL punished up and down the line. All except the ones who are currently being punished, the whistleblowers. Them I would protect. By the way, what did you think of it when the Justice Dept leaked information designed to smear Agent Dodson early on?

 

You've been studying this thing for months and you don't know that Newell and Voth aren't Obama appointees? That they haven't been re-assigned??...

 

I'm interested in this Justice Dept smear stuff though. I was aware that the ATF tried that, but did somebody from Justice do it too?

 

Of course I know they are not appointed. That's why I brought them up. You've been following my studies all these months and did not know that people other than Obama appointees are on my target list? Read more closely is all I can suggest.

 

I know that various people have been reassigned. Voth, for example, is now supervising more people than he was before. Newell is still a manager, now in Washington DC. I think the Department of Justice should actually punish them, not reassign them to equal or better jobs, specifically by firing and then prosecuting them. The fact that this has not happened is, to me, evidence of corruption or severe ineptitude.

 

You would not fire anyone who came up with a plan like Fast and Furious? You believe that reassignment at the same level is appropriate "punishment" for their crimes?

 

The ATF is part of the Justice Department.

 

But when I said that the only reason nothing is happening is because Issa is only interested in direct Obama appointees, you replied you were fine with that.

 

Calling the ATF the Department of Justice backs that up too.

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There it is. You also are only are interested if it's someone Obama directly appointed. So why whine about a lack of prosecutions? The agents testified that they thought it was cooked up at the lower levels. Really pissed Issa off, but what's he gonna do? They aren't direct Obama appointees.

 

Is Voth an Obama appointee? You know, the guy I just said should be in jail instead of in a better job than the one he criminally screwed up?

 

How about Newell? Is he an Obama appointee? I have said repeatedly ever since I found out that this is his second gunwalking program that if we reward him again, he will do it again. I want him punished, not rewarded again.

 

Just because I also want Obama appointees punished does not mean I would not like to see them ALL punished up and down the line. All except the ones who are currently being punished, the whistleblowers. Them I would protect. By the way, what did you think of it when the Justice Dept leaked information designed to smear Agent Dodson early on?

 

You've been studying this thing for months and you don't know that Newell and Voth aren't Obama appointees? That they haven't been re-assigned??...

 

I'm interested in this Justice Dept smear stuff though. I was aware that the ATF tried that, but did somebody from Justice do it too?

 

Of course I know they are not appointed. That's why I brought them up. You've been following my studies all these months and did not know that people other than Obama appointees are on my target list? Read more closely is all I can suggest.

 

I know that various people have been reassigned. Voth, for example, is now supervising more people than he was before. Newell is still a manager, now in Washington DC. I think the Department of Justice should actually punish them, not reassign them to equal or better jobs, specifically by firing and then prosecuting them. The fact that this has not happened is, to me, evidence of corruption or severe ineptitude.

 

You would not fire anyone who came up with a plan like Fast and Furious? You believe that reassignment at the same level is appropriate "punishment" for their crimes?

 

The ATF is part of the Justice Department.

 

But when I said that the only reason nothing is happening is because Issa is only interested in direct Obama appointees, you replied you were fine with that.

 

Calling the ATF the Department of Justice backs that up too.

 

First, that is not the only reason nothing is happening. It is not just Issa's job to find out who is criminal and/or incompetent within the Justice Department and fire them. Holder could do it too, if he were interested in seeing that those responsible are punished.

 

Second, I'm fine with Issa investigating people appointed by Obama because some of them seem to me to be either hopelessly inept or corrupt. Yes, I wish he and/or Holder would do something about the lower level people involved, but those people did not orchestrate the coverup and try to decieve the Congress. Lanny Breuer and his staff seem to have been in charge of that aspect of the scandal. If their actions upset Obama or Holder, they would be gone. They're still there, so Obama and Holder are not upset by the coverup or the lies to Congress. I can understand if Issa's focus is on people who lie to Congress, not lower level people who would be punished by a competent Justice Department anyway.

 

Noting that the ATF is part of the Justice Department is not "calling the ATF the Justice Department." By the time that smear came about, Breuer and co were in full stonewall/coverup mode. I don't think it just came from the ATF. Has that nasty Breuer slime smell to it.

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First, that is not the only reason nothing is happening. It is not just Issa's job to find out who is criminal and/or incompetent within the Justice Department and fire them. Holder could do it too, if he were interested in seeing that those responsible are punished.

 

Second, I'm fine with Issa investigating people appointed by Obama because some of them seem to me to be either hopelessly inept or corrupt. Yes, I wish he and/or Holder would do something about the lower level people involved, but those people did not orchestrate the coverup and try to decieve the Congress. Lanny Breuer and his staff seem to have been in charge of that aspect of the scandal. If their actions upset Obama or Holder, they would be gone. They're still there, so Obama and Holder are not upset by the coverup or the lies to Congress. I can understand if Issa's focus is on people who lie to Congress, not lower level people who would be punished by a competent Justice Department anyway.

 

Noting that the ATF is part of the Justice Department is not "calling the ATF the Justice Department." By the time that smear came about, Breuer and co were in full stonewall/coverup mode. I don't think it just came from the ATF. Has that nasty Breuer slime smell to it.

 

 

You must be unaware of how difficult it is to fire someone in the LE end government, barring them doing something illegal or breaking a rule. I can understand why that is, it's not all that easy to understand.

 

The problem with these guys is they covered themselves by getting the blessing of the head of the ATF, Melson, backed by Burke of Phoenix AG office signing off on the legality of it.

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First, that is not the only reason nothing is happening. It is not just Issa's job to find out who is criminal and/or incompetent within the Justice Department and fire them. Holder could do it too, if he were interested in seeing that those responsible are punished.

 

Second, I'm fine with Issa investigating people appointed by Obama because some of them seem to me to be either hopelessly inept or corrupt. Yes, I wish he and/or Holder would do something about the lower level people involved, but those people did not orchestrate the coverup and try to decieve the Congress. Lanny Breuer and his staff seem to have been in charge of that aspect of the scandal. If their actions upset Obama or Holder, they would be gone. They're still there, so Obama and Holder are not upset by the coverup or the lies to Congress. I can understand if Issa's focus is on people who lie to Congress, not lower level people who would be punished by a competent Justice Department anyway.

 

Noting that the ATF is part of the Justice Department is not "calling the ATF the Justice Department." By the time that smear came about, Breuer and co were in full stonewall/coverup mode. I don't think it just came from the ATF. Has that nasty Breuer slime smell to it.

 

 

You must be unaware of how difficult it is to fire someone in the LE end government, barring them doing something illegal or breaking a rule. I can understand why that is, it's not all that easy to understand.

 

The problem with these guys is they covered themselves by getting the blessing of the head of the ATF, Melson, backed by Burke of Phoenix AG office signing off on the legality of it.

 

Nothing illegal happened here?

 

If the government agents were not involved and a bunch of firearms dealers cooked up this plan, I have a feeling you would see the crimes. Do the badges that authorized those crimes make the crimes legal, or the badge-wearers criminals?

 

I think the latter.

 

What the heck is a Phoenix AG doing making our foreign policy with Mexico without consulting anyone who actually has the authority to make our foreign policy?

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First, that is not the only reason nothing is happening. It is not just Issa's job to find out who is criminal and/or incompetent within the Justice Department and fire them. Holder could do it too, if he were interested in seeing that those responsible are punished.

 

Second, I'm fine with Issa investigating people appointed by Obama because some of them seem to me to be either hopelessly inept or corrupt. Yes, I wish he and/or Holder would do something about the lower level people involved, but those people did not orchestrate the coverup and try to decieve the Congress. Lanny Breuer and his staff seem to have been in charge of that aspect of the scandal. If their actions upset Obama or Holder, they would be gone. They're still there, so Obama and Holder are not upset by the coverup or the lies to Congress. I can understand if Issa's focus is on people who lie to Congress, not lower level people who would be punished by a competent Justice Department anyway.

 

Noting that the ATF is part of the Justice Department is not "calling the ATF the Justice Department." By the time that smear came about, Breuer and co were in full stonewall/coverup mode. I don't think it just came from the ATF. Has that nasty Breuer slime smell to it.

 

 

You must be unaware of how difficult it is to fire someone in the LE end government, barring them doing something illegal or breaking a rule. I can understand why that is, it's not all that easy to understand.

 

The problem with these guys is they covered themselves by getting the blessing of the head of the ATF, Melson, backed by Burke of Phoenix AG office signing off on the legality of it.

 

Nothing illegal happened here?

 

If the government agents were not involved and a bunch of firearms dealers cooked up this plan, I have a feeling you would see the crimes. Do the badges that authorized those crimes make the crimes legal, or the badge-wearers criminals?

 

I think the latter.

 

What the heck is a Phoenix AG doing making our foreign policy with Mexico without consulting anyone who actually has the authority to make our foreign policy?

 

Same reason the guys who tortured people are not in jail Tom. Still have their jobs too.

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You must be unaware of how difficult it is to fire someone in the LE end government, barring them doing something illegal or breaking a rule.

 

According to various agents, never letting guns walk is an important ATF rule.

 

Conspiring with gun dealers to make straw sales is illegal on its face, and not defensible in this case. Additionally, there were likely Arms Export Control Act violations, Kingpin Act violations, not to mention the alleged usurpation of foreign policy authority.

 

If we can't fire them when they go this far, we should stop hiring now.

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Mr. Fast and Furious suddenly concerned about the flow of illegal guns:

 

The number of
killed in the line of duty jumped 13 percent in 2011 compared with the year before — and U.S. Attorney General
condemned the increase as "a devastating and unacceptable trend" that he blamed on illegal
.

 

The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty rose to 173 this year, from 153 in 2010, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund announced Wednesday. This year's figure is 23 percent higher than 122 killed in the line of duty in 2009.

 

Holder said "too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them," in explaining the increase.

 

Yes, Mr. Holder, that's why they are called "criminals".... Like the criminals you supplied with guns and ammo in Mexico.

 

But, as we've surmised........ That means more "gun control", doesn't it?

"This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day," Holder in a statement. "I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year's increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power — and use every tool at our disposal — to keep our police officers safe."

 

You mean just like you did for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Mr. Holder? --http://www.qando.net/?p=12219

 

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The coming Inspector General's report on gunwalking has apparently led to a few gunwalkers being relieved of duty.

 

William Hoover, ATF's Deputy Director during Fast and Furious, who was recently reassigned as Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office, Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations Mark Chait, likewise reassigned as head of the Baltimore Field Office, and Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations William McMahon have reportedly been sidelined pending the outcome of the anticipated report from the Office of Inspector General. Debbie Bullock a mid-level manager has reportedly been advised that she is now the acting SAC for Baltimore, and will assume Chait's functions.

 

In other news, Holder will be back to continue trying to explain the scandal and the coverup in his department on Feb 2.

 

Wrote Issa:

 

The Department of Justice’s conduct in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious has been nothing short of shameful. From its initial denials that nothing improper occurred, to efforts to silence whistleblowers who wanted to tell Congress what really happened, to its continuing refusal to discuss or share documents related to this cover-up, the Justice Department has fought tooth and nail to hide the full truth about what occurred and what senior officials knew. Attorney General Holder must explain or reverse course on decisions that appear to put the careers of political appointees ahead of the need for accountability and the Department’s integrity.

 

The last portion of the letter provided me via Issa’s email highlights new (and startling) information on the DOJ’s refusal to cooperate with investigators to date.

 

 

 

According to the letter, in December 2011 the DOJ “explicitly informed the Committee that it would not deliver subpoenaed documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious created after February 4, 2011.” Moreover, “in interviews with committee investigators, senior Justice Department officials who had management responsibilities for Operation Fast and Furious have also refused to answer questions about decisions and conversations that occurred after February 4, 2011.”

 

 

They really do not want to explain the now-withdrawn BIG LIE letter of February 4th, in which they claimed there was no gunwalking. I would not want to either.

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Oh my, wait...what?

 

At least twenty weapons that were allowed to “walk” during a Bush-era investigation aimed at combating gun trafficking were later recovered in Mexico, documents the Justice Department sent to congressional investigators on Thursday indicate.

 

One of the distinctions that Republicans have drawn between Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed investigation that allowed weapons to “walk” into Mexico during the Obama administration, and Operation Wide Receiver, which did the same during the Bush administration, is that authorities who took part in the earlier investigation were coordinating their efforts with Mexican authorities.

 

“The difference in the previous administration is there was coordination with the Mexican government,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said at a hearing in December. “They made a real effort under Wide Receiver to pass off a small amount of weapons and track them.”

 

But new documents DOJ disclosed to congressional investigators on Thursday indicate that ATF officials didn’t even consider looping Mexican authorities in on their operation until several months after the investigation began and ATF had already lost track of weapons that likely ended up in Mexico.

 

DOJ Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich wrote in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa that the documents paint a “mixed picture” of how Operation Wide Receiver unfolded. ATF agents had already allowed suspected “straw purchasers” to buy weapons well before they began discussing making the effort to involve Mexican authorities. The documents indicate that former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton participated in a discussion about the tactics used in the investigation, but don’t explicitly indicate he signed off on the strategy. Ten months later, however, an email from an assistant U.S. attorney indicated that agents were still not arresting straw purchasers. The federal prosecutor indicated in May 2007 that it was their understanding that ATF “will probably take them down on the next purchase.”

 

An ATF official observed in June of that year that they “want the money people in Mexico that are orchestrating this operation for indictment” and that they already “have numerous charges up here.”

 

By late 2008, the Arizona Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the case was expressing concerns with the tactics used, saying it “is wrong for us to allow hundreds of guns to go into Mexico to drug people knowing that is where they are going.”

 

An email from an unknown ATF official in August 2009 — just before officials in the Gang Unit at Justice Department headquarters in D.C. too over the case — indicates that a federal prosecutor on the case was “pushing back [with] moral dilemma [with] the [government] allowing the targets to traffic 300+ firearms to Mexico.”

 

Republican who have been pursing Fast and Furious said the documents don’t change their view of the matter.

 

In a statement, Sen. Chuck Grassley said that the documents showed that the “administration knew that guns were walked in Operation Wide Receiver, yet did nothing about it even as it was happening again in Fast and Furious.”

 

“I’ve said all along that walking guns is wrong, period. I don’t care who did it,” Grassley said. “We know that Lanny Breuer knew about guns being walked in Operation Wide Receiver, which is why he needs to do the right thing, hold himself accountable and resign.”

 

A spokeswoman for Issa said that DOJ was prolonging and complicating the investigation by refusing to offer direct answers and access to key witnesses like the lead prosecutor from Operation Wide Receiver.

 

“It is deeply discouraging that top Justice officials knew such details about problems in Operation Wide Receiver yet were still so quick to dismiss warnings from whistleblowers about reckless and dangerous tactics happening on a much larger scale in Operation Fast and Furious,” said Becca Glover Watkins.http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/emails_refute_republican_suggestion_that_bush-era_gun_walking_was_coordinated_with_mexico.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

 

According to Grassley a couple resignations will fix this?

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Oh my, wait...what?

 

At least twenty weapons that were allowed to "walk" during a Bush-era investigation aimed at combating gun trafficking were later recovered in Mexico, documents the Justice Department sent to congressional investigators on Thursday indicate.

 

One of the distinctions that Republicans have drawn between Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed investigation that allowed weapons to "walk" into Mexico during the Obama administration, and Operation Wide Receiver, which did the same during the Bush administration, is that authorities who took part in the earlier investigation were coordinating their efforts with Mexican authorities.

 

"The difference in the previous administration is there was coordination with the Mexican government," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said at a hearing in December. "They made a real effort under Wide Receiver to pass off a small amount of weapons and track them."

 

But new documents DOJ disclosed to congressional investigators on Thursday indicate that ATF officials didn't even consider looping Mexican authorities in on their operation until several months after the investigation began and ATF had already lost track of weapons that likely ended up in Mexico.

 

DOJ Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich wrote in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa that the documents paint a "mixed picture" of how Operation Wide Receiver unfolded. ATF agents had already allowed suspected "straw purchasers" to buy weapons well before they began discussing making the effort to involve Mexican authorities. The documents indicate that former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton participated in a discussion about the tactics used in the investigation, but don't explicitly indicate he signed off on the strategy. Ten months later, however, an email from an assistant U.S. attorney indicated that agents were still not arresting straw purchasers. The federal prosecutor indicated in May 2007 that it was their understanding that ATF "will probably take them down on the next purchase."

 

An ATF official observed in June of that year that they "want the money people in Mexico that are orchestrating this operation for indictment" and that they already "have numerous charges up here."

 

By late 2008, the Arizona Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the case was expressing concerns with the tactics used, saying it "is wrong for us to allow hundreds of guns to go into Mexico to drug people knowing that is where they are going."

 

An email from an unknown ATF official in August 2009 — just before officials in the Gang Unit at Justice Department headquarters in D.C. too over the case — indicates that a federal prosecutor on the case was "pushing back [with] moral dilemma [with] the [government] allowing the targets to traffic 300+ firearms to Mexico."

 

Republican who have been pursing Fast and Furious said the documents don't change their view of the matter.

 

In a statement, Sen. Chuck Grassley said that the documents showed that the "administration knew that guns were walked in Operation Wide Receiver, yet did nothing about it even as it was happening again in Fast and Furious."

 

"I've said all along that walking guns is wrong, period. I don't care who did it," Grassley said. "We know that Lanny Breuer knew about guns being walked in Operation Wide Receiver, which is why he needs to do the right thing, hold himself accountable and resign."

 

A spokeswoman for Issa said that DOJ was prolonging and complicating the investigation by refusing to offer direct answers and access to key witnesses like the lead prosecutor from Operation Wide Receiver.

 

"It is deeply discouraging that top Justice officials knew such details about problems in Operation Wide Receiver yet were still so quick to dismiss warnings from whistleblowers about reckless and dangerous tactics happening on a much larger scale in Operation Fast and Furious," said Becca Glover Watkins.http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/emails_refute_republican_suggestion_that_bush-era_gun_walking_was_coordinated_with_mexico.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

 

According to Grassley a couple resignations will fix this?

 

Did Grassley say that is all that should happen to fix this? If so, I missed it.

 

He's right about Lanny Breuer, though. He is quite possibly the only person in America who made no connection between Gunwalker Bill Newell's Phoenix gunwalking operation called Wide Receiver and Gunwalker Bill Newell's Phoenix gunwalking operation called Fast and Furious, if he is telling the truth.

 

I think he is one of several people who have lied to Congress during this coverup. I think it is pretty obvious, since everyone else in the country seems to have made the connection between the two programs.

 

He says he failed to notice the similarity, handed it off to his staff, and after they spent three days drafting a false denial to Congress, forwarded a copy to his personal gmail account and congratulated his staff on a job well done, but did not actually read their work. If that were true, which seems extremely unlikely, it would be an indicator that he has no idea what he is doing and no sense of how to manage people and should be fired. If it is false, he is lying to Congress again and should be fired. Or resign, whatever.

 

After that, he should face the criminal penalties appropriate to his actions.

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Another ATF operation called White Gun was run by the same gunwalking gang, and it looks like some more weapons got away.

 

Parts of it make me wonder just what kinds of weapons...

 

Hope A. MacAllister wanted access to police and military vaults for American weapons recovered by Mexican authorities in raids and at crime scenes. She especially was interested in firearms from another ATF investigation, code-named White Gun, that she was running.

 

...

 

In fall 2009, the ATF team sent an undercover agent posing as an arms dealer to Guzman Patino. Photos of weapons, including a Dragon Fire 120-millimeter heavy mortar, were emailed to his "Superman6950" Hotmail account.

 

According to the ATF documents, Guzman Patino told the undercover agent that "if he would bring them a tank, they would buy it." He boasted he had "$15 million to spend on firearms and not to worry about the money." He wanted "the biggest and most extravagant firearms available."

 

The two met again outside a Phoenix restaurant, and the undercover agent showed Guzman Patino five weapons in the trunk of his vehicle, including a Bushmaster rifle and a Ramo .50 heavy machine gun. The undercover agent said he could get that kind of firepower for the Sinaloans.

 

Just as Guzman Patino seemed ready to buy, according to the ATF records, the investigation into his activities abruptly ended. The documents do not explain why, and they don't indicate whether he obtained any weapons.

 

A second case involved cartel members who were seeking shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles and antitank rockets, according to the ATF records.

 

The same undercover agent met the pair in February 2010 at a Phoenix warehouse. David Diaz-Sosa and Jorge DeJesus-Casteneda brought 11 pounds of crystal methamphetamine to trade for weapons. The undercover agent showed them shoulder-launched missiles, rocket launchers and grenades before ATF agents moved in and arrested them.

 

 

...

By that summer, MacAllister had gone to Mexico City to check the police and military vaults. The ATF documents don't detail what she found, but they note she discovered "weapons in military custody related to her current investigations."

 

 

In other news, prosecutors want to unseal parts of the Brian Terry murder trial that they previously asked to be sealed.

 

Six newspaper and television stations in Arizona had asked that documents in the Dec. 14, 2010, death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry be unsealed, telling a federal court the public had a right to inspect the records and attend any criminal trials that may come out of it.

 

On Wednesday, prosecutors said that although unsealing the entire case would reveal the identity of those charged in the shooting but not yet apprehended, they were willing to unseal the remaining documents.

 

Makes me wonder what horrible things would happen if we revealed the identity of those charged in the shooting but not yet apprehended?

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It's always about the coverup in the end, and it looks like the end is approaching.

 

The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona is taking the fifth

 

“Department of Justice officials have reported to the Committee that my client relayed inaccurate information to the Department upon which it relied in preparing its initial response to Congress. If, as you claim, Department officials have blamed my client, they have blamed him unfairly,” the letter to Issa says.

...

 

Cunningham claims he is a victim of a conflict between two branches of government and will not be compelled to be a witnesses against himself, and make a statement that could be later used by a grand jury or special prosecutor to indict him on criminal charges.

 

 

For those who have not been watching, the "inaccurate information" in the letter to Congress was the claim that the ATF makes every effort to interdict illegal guns. We now know that was not true. Grassley is not impressed with the latest defense of that claim:

 

On December 2nd, the Justice Department’s latest spin was that its statement that “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons” was “aspirational.” Nevertheless, that didn’t stop them from withdrawing the letter for inaccuracies. Perhaps the aspirational language should be saved for mission statements. Responses to specific and serious allegations should stick to the facts.

 

This was an oversight letter.

 

I was not asking for a feel-good, fuzzy message about what the ATF aspires to. I was asking for the facts. A U.S. Border Patrol agent had died. His death was connected to an ATF operation. Whistleblowers were reaching outside of the chain of command because supervisors wouldn’t listen. Instead of treating these allegations with the kind of seriousness they deserved, the Justice Department resorted to damage control.

 

Aspirational? This would be funny if it were not true.

 

Cunningham is right to be concerned that he could face criminal charges over that letter. They spent three days toning down the denial, but in the end any denial that there was gunwalking in this case, no matter how toned down, was false.

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The response from the House Reform and Oversight Committee

 

DOJ Official Asserts Fifth Amendment Right in Refusing to Testify in Probe of Operation Fast and Furious

 

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued the following statement:

 

"The assertion of the fifth amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the Department's integrity in Operation Fast and Furious. The former head of the ATF has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees. This is the first time anyone has asserted their fifth amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department's motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment.

 

"Coming a year after revelations about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious were first brought to light, the assertion of the fifth amendment also raises questions about whether President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made a serious and adequate response to allegations raised by whistleblowers. Did Attorney General Holder really not know a senior Justice Department official fears criminal prosecution or is this just another example of him hiding important facts? The committee will continue to demand answers."

 

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This could get interesting. AZ opens investigation into whether Fast and Furious broke state laws

 

I see that this story also displays the common confusion over what happened...

 

Fast and Furious was a straw-purchase program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal was to try to trace guns sold in Arizona shops and then trafficked across the Mexican border, where they landed in the hands of drug cartels.

 

As part of the operation, however, agents let the guns "walk" — meaning they lost track of them. At least two of the guns ended up at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits along a smuggling corridor in Arizona.

 

 

There it is again, the propaganda taking hold. Agents lost track of the guns. That's the story here. :rolleyes:

 

To me, losing track of something implies that it was accidental, when the gunwalking was anything but accidental. Saying the agents did it is true, but ignores the crucial question of why they would deliberately lose track of guns.

 

dodsontestimony.gif

 

Show of hands time. Would anyone here summarize Agent Dodson's testimony by saying that he and the other agents lost track of some guns? Does that not leave out some important parts of the story?

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PHOENIX - Arizona lawmakers plan to launch their own investigation into the flawed Fast and Furious program.

 

Speaker Andy Tobin, a Republican, created the program that will be chaired by State Representative David Burnell Smith, also a Republican.

 

In a news release, the lawmakers stated the committee had three goals: determine the facts, determine the impact on Arizona and, most importantly, determine if the feds broke any state laws. (Ha ha)

 

The committee plans to reveal its findings on March 30.

 

Read more: http://www.abc15.com...o#ixzz1kNVbEEXy

In which Barry Soweto and Eric Holdem-Up learn about payback. Thank you, Gov. Brewer and AZ.

 

 

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I found this interesting it has nothing to do with Fast and Furious, but it does make the claim that the administration knew nothing because so many memoes are involved in the day to day operations look a little weak.

 

here

 

Bobby Jindal got the same treatment when Obama came to visit Louisiana and the governor met him on the tarmac. Jindal would later recount in his book:

 

 

I was expecting words of concern about the oil spill, worry about the pending ecological disaster, and words of confidence about how the federal government was here to help. Or perhaps he was going to vent about BP’s slow response. But no, the president was upset about something else. And he wanted to talk about, well, food stamps. Actually, he wanted to talk about a letter that my administration had sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack a day earlier.

 

The letter was rudimentary, bureaucratic, and ordinary. .  .  . We were simply asking the federal government to authorize food stamps for those who were now unemployed because of the oil spill. Governors regularly make these sorts of requests to the federal government when facing disaster.

 

But somehow, for some reason, President Obama had personalized this. And he was upset.

 

There was not a word about the oil spill. He was concerned about looking bad because of the letter. “Careful,” he said to me, “this is going to get bad for everyone.”

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Issa Says Holder Should Apologize to Mexico

 

“Yes, he should find a way to make it very clear to our neighbors to the south — at least to the government and at least publicly — that there needs to be deep regret for what happened and there needs to be reassurances that it never happens again.”

 

Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers, people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.

 

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. At this point, the identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.

 

...

 

Terry was murdered more on Dec. 15, 2010 — more than a year ago — and Congress has been investigating Fast and Furious for most of that time. When TheDC asked, Issa didn’t offer a specific time-frame for the investigation’s conclusion. He did say, however, that the DOJ should begin to cooperate with Congress.

 

“This scandal can end as quickly as the Justice Department cooperates. We need to get the full facts,” Issa said. “We need to stop having people be, systematically, one after another, scapegoats, and simply say: ‘Hold people accountable.’ As you know, Lanny Breuer and others high in the administration have never answered the question of, ‘since they knew, why are they not being held accountable?’”

 

Issa added that Holder’s statements about what he knew of Fast and Furious, and when, have been inconsistent.

 

“Eric Holder said he didn’t know,” Issa said. “Then, he said he didn’t know quite as far back, but he’s never said where the accountability is in his office and his surrounding office. The people who prepared those memos that he didn’t read — are they accountable? Or, is it just acceptable to have the truth told to the attorney general and if he doesn’t read it, it won’t count?”

 

...

 

Holder is scheduled to appear before Issa’s House oversight committee on Feb. 2. Though Holder has already testified before Congress three times about matters relating to Fast and Furious — twice before the House Judiciary Committee and once before the Senate Judiciary Committee — this is the first time Issa’s committee will have an opportunity to question Holder himself.

 

“The Judiciary Committee has multiple issues with the Attorney General,” Issa said. “We have one issue: the issue of breaking the law in order to enforce the law.”

 

“The oversight committee is investigating the Department of Justice, which is very different than his appearances before the Judiciary Committees in which they’re asking how things are going at Justice. What we’ve discovered in our investigations is a pattern of cover-up [and] delay. Ultimately Congress was given false information and now we’ve had people both resign and take the Fifth as we try to get to the basic elements of why and how was Congress lied to.”

 

...

 

Issa said Fast and Furious is different from other Obama administration scandals, including the granting of loan guarantees to the failed solar power company Solyndra and the Obamacare waivers selectively granted to companies in the district of House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Unlike with those scandals, he said, Fast and Furious features an ongoing “cover-up.”

 

“Well, the administration has been trying to make it go away first by denying it, then by covering it up and delaying,” Issa said. “What makes this one different is the cover-up. Very much like Iran Contra and other scandals of the past, the initial action [was] illegal, wrong, foolish, dangerous and ultimately deadly, which is bad enough. But the cover-up, the denial, giving Congress a letter flat saying ‘we don’t let guns walk’ when there was a program in which the emails show they called it gunwalking — they knew it was gunwalking and ultimately, Americans and Mexican citizens have paid with their lives.”

 

The cover-up continues to this day, Issa said....

 

Next Thursday should be interesting...

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Will Another US Attorney Take the Fifth?

 

Last week, the Criminal Division Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona, Patrick Cunningham, stunned the House Oversight committee by announcing he would take the Fifth and refuse to testify before them about Operation Fast and Furious.

 

Now House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding access to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Morrissey, another key player in the Fast and Furious scandal and cover-up, who reported to Cunningham.

 

Cunningham’s assertion of Fifth Amendment privilege “suggests that the Department has jeopardized public safety and the public trust by allowing individuals with potential criminal culpability to remain in positions of authority,” Issa says in the letter.

 

It does seem a little odd that a division chief in the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office can’t answer questions about his job without potentially implicating himself in criminal activity, doesn’t it?

 

One of several things about this coverup that seem odd.

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Emails Show How 'Fast and Furious' Ambush News Unfolded At Justice Dept.

 

Yes, I managed to link to an NPR article without complaining about their coverage.

 

The email messages show the former top federal prosecutor in Arizona, Dennis Burke, notifying an aide to Holder via email on Dec. 15, 2010 that agent Brian Terry had been wounded and died. "Tragic," responds the aide, Monty Wilkinson. "I've alerted the AG, the acting Deputy Attorney General..."

 

It will be interesting when Holder gets back on the hot seat this week.

 

Heard about it in late Spring through the media, huh? He knew about the scandal and the attempted coverup all along.

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What Did Eric Holder Know and When Did He Know It?

 

The documents sent from the DOJ to congressional officials Friday night included a series of emails between former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and Holder’s then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson. Those emails show Wilkinson, a senior Holder aide, knew on December 15, 2010 — the day Terry was killed – that the weapons used to murder him were provided to a Mexican gang by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

 

On that day, records show, Burke wrote to Wilkinson that “[t]he guns found in the desert near the murder[ed] BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store.”

 

The emails also show that Wilkinson “alerted” Holder of Terry’s death on that day. They do not, however, show whether he told Holder that Operation Fast and Furious had provided Terry’s killer with the means to murder him.

 

The Most Transparent DOJ Ever will not say whether Wilkinson alerted Holder.

 

There are two possible answers:

 

1. Deputy Chief of Staff Monty Wilkinson did not mention to his boss that one of his agencies had provided the gun that killed an agent from another of his agencies.

 

2. He did mention it. Meaning Eric Holder knew what happened from the beginning of the coverup.

 

The latter seems vastly more likely. If Wilkinson did not mention that detail, he not only was not doing his job, he just does not recognize a relevant bit of information at all.

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The investigation continues, and now has its own web page:

 

http://issues.oversight.house.gov/fastandfurious/

 

Holder and others are scheduled to testilie on Thursday, including the expected testimony of Cunningham, who has already announced he will take the fifth to avoid self-incrimination.

 

Meanwhile, in other quarters, the investigation is over, some guys in Arizona did it, and nobody knew. <_<

 

Attempting an "its all over" whitewash press release just before Holder gets back on the seat shows a lot of nerve, but not a lot of brains.

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Issa Threatens Holder with Contempt

 

The California Republican pointed to a document that the DOJ released last Friday, which indicated that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer had promoted gun-walking to Mexico on the same day that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote to Congress denying that the DOJ had allowed guns to walk.

 

“It is inconceivable that the Department just became aware of this highly damaging document,” writes Issa, pointing out that the Oversight Committee had originally issued a subpoena on Oct. 12, 2011.

 

Issa outlines certain documents which the DOJ has which has not been provided to the Oversight Committee, and demands their release to the committee by Feb. 9 at 5 p.m.

 

“The department has worked with the committee over the last year providing numerous witnesses for interviews, officials for testimony at hearings and thousands of pages of documents and we will continue to do so,” a DOJ official told POLITICO in response to the letter.

 

The chairman had previously threatened to hold Holder in contempt of Congress in a December Judiciary Committee hearing, for similar reasons, but this is the first time that Issa has formalized it in a letter.

 

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Holder did not know but somebody at Main Justice did

 

 

 

 

Specifically criticized in the memo – leading to questions during the hearing – were Gary Grindler, then-Acting Deputy Attorney General, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein. Also in the crosshairs was Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who heads the Criminal Division. The memo detailed how Weinstein failed to realize that the same discredited tactics used in the earlier operation were also used in Fast and Furious. It also said this on Page 13:

 

Grindler has made no attempt to find out what actually happened during Fast and Furious, despite having been second-in-command in the Department during the pendency of the operation, and in charge of the office with direct supervisory authority over ATF. Grindler said that during a very detailed March 12, 2010 briefing on Fast and Furious he did not fully appreciate the volume of guns that were being transported to Mexico under the program because he was new to the job.45 Therefore, he was unable to make the necessary connections, ask the proper questions, and follow up with ATF after the briefing or have his staff monitor the program closely. If Grindler is to be believed, because he was new to the job, he let ATF operate in an uncontrolled manner.

 

Grindler's management style made it highly unlikely that he would ever discover any wrongdoing. Grindler blames his staff.

 

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

So the administration can break the law if one of its senior officials approves?

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

So the administration can break the law if one of its senior officials approves?

 

It might be in our national interest to walk guns to Mexico, though it is illegal, in the course of a sting operation.

 

The idea is, if that happens again, the decision should be made at the highest levels and without "plausible" deniability. That's probably a good plan, considering this sort of thing has happened before and the people responsible still work for our government. It's likely to happen again, and we don't need another "we didn't know what we were doing" circus/coverup like this one.

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

Going to have to get a lot of people through Senate confirmation to do that. Hundreds.

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

Going to have to get a lot of people through Senate confirmation to do that. Hundreds.

 

There are hundreds of people with the authority to authorize thousands of guns to be walked to Mexican cartels?

 

The system is far more fucked up than I thought if that is true.

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

So the administration can break the law if one of its senior officials approves?

 

It might be in our national interest to walk guns to Mexico, though it is illegal, in the course of a sting operation.

 

The idea is, if that happens again, the decision should be made at the highest levels and without "plausible" deniability. That's probably a good plan, considering this sort of thing has happened before and the people responsible still work for our government. It's likely to happen again, and we don't need another "we didn't know what we were doing" circus/coverup like this one.

 

What's being covered up?

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What's being covered up?

 

Well, I think that

 

There looks to be to have been a bit of an effort to cover it up early on.

 

Specifically, the February 4th letter that took 3 days and more trouble than the Magna Carta to draft. The one where the DOJ consulted those in a position to know, and came back to Congress and said the ATF does not walk guns. Also, the fact that they repeated that increasingly implausible denial a month later, before eventually withdrawing it when it went from implausible to completely indefensible.

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What's being covered up?

 

Well, I think that

 

There looks to be to have been a bit of an effort to cover it up early on.

 

Specifically, the February 4th letter that took 3 days and more trouble than the Magna Carta to draft. The one where the DOJ consulted those in a position to know, and came back to Congress and said the ATF does not walk guns. Also, the fact that they repeated that increasingly implausible denial a month later, before eventually withdrawing it when it went from implausible to completely indefensible.

 

That's not being covered up, that's an admitted screw up.

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

So the administration can break the law if one of its senior officials approves?

 

It might be in our national interest to walk guns to Mexico, though it is illegal, in the course of a sting operation.

 

The idea is, if that happens again, the decision should be made at the highest levels and without "plausible" deniability. That's probably a good plan, considering this sort of thing has happened before and the people responsible still work for our government. It's likely to happen again, and we don't need another "we didn't know what we were doing" circus/coverup like this one.

 

What's being covered up?

How about the identity of the person responsible for authorizing the operation. (Or do you believe that a year later justice is still trying to figure out who that was.)

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What's being covered up?

 

Well, I think that

 

There looks to be to have been a bit of an effort to cover it up early on.

 

Specifically, the February 4th letter that took 3 days and more trouble than the Magna Carta to draft. The one where the DOJ consulted those in a position to know, and came back to Congress and said the ATF does not walk guns. Also, the fact that they repeated that increasingly implausible denial a month later, before eventually withdrawing it when it went from implausible to completely indefensible.

 

That's not being covered up, that's an admitted screw up.

 

So the people who drafted that letter have been held responsible for screwing up so badly? Lanny Breuer and his assistant Jason knew about gunwalking prior to that letter. They spent three days gradually toning down the denial that there was gunwalking, obviously because some involved feared it might be true and some involved knew it was true. Their effort to learn the truth from those in a position to know did not include just asking the whistleblowers.

 

Sorry, but the original denial was more than a screw up, it was a cover up. Repeating it a month later was a really stupid cover up. Those who did it have not been held accountable. That suggests that their boss, Eric Holder, does not mind such bumbling incompetence (if you believe their story) or a cover up (if you believe mine) on his staff. That suggests he needs to go.

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Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

So the administration can break the law if one of its senior officials approves?

 

It might be in our national interest to walk guns to Mexico, though it is illegal, in the course of a sting operation.

 

The idea is, if that happens again, the decision should be made at the highest levels and without "plausible" deniability. That's probably a good plan, considering this sort of thing has happened before and the people responsible still work for our government. It's likely to happen again, and we don't need another "we didn't know what we were doing" circus/coverup like this one.

 

What's being covered up?

How about the identity of the person responsible for authorizing the operation. (Or do you believe that a year later justice is still trying to figure out who that was.)

 

Nope. Burke's DOJ office authorized it. Gotten all the way to Melson at the ATF, so there isn't anything being covered up in there.

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What's being covered up?

 

Well, I think that

 

There looks to be to have been a bit of an effort to cover it up early on.

 

Specifically, the February 4th letter that took 3 days and more trouble than the Magna Carta to draft. The one where the DOJ consulted those in a position to know, and came back to Congress and said the ATF does not walk guns. Also, the fact that they repeated that increasingly implausible denial a month later, before eventually withdrawing it when it went from implausible to completely indefensible.

 

That's not being covered up, that's an admitted screw up.

 

So the people who drafted that letter have been held responsible for screwing up so badly? Lanny Breuer and his assistant Jason knew about gunwalking prior to that letter. They spent three days gradually toning down the denial that there was gunwalking, obviously because some involved feared it might be true and some involved knew it was true. Their effort to learn the truth from those in a position to know did not include just asking the whistleblowers.

 

Sorry, but the original denial was more than a screw up, it was a cover up. Repeating it a month later was a really stupid cover up. Those who did it have not been held accountable. That suggests that their boss, Eric Holder, does not mind such bumbling incompetence (if you believe their story) or a cover up (if you believe mine) on his staff. That suggests he needs to go.

 

So there is no on-going cover up. I agree. This is all about smearing Holder now.

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Well, I think that

 

There looks to be to have been a bit of an effort to cover it up early on.

 

Specifically, the February 4th letter that took 3 days and more trouble than the Magna Carta to draft. The one where the DOJ consulted those in a position to know, and came back to Congress and said the ATF does not walk guns. Also, the fact that they repeated that increasingly implausible denial a month later, before eventually withdrawing it when it went from implausible to completely indefensible.

 

That's not being covered up, that's an admitted screw up.

 

So the people who drafted that letter have been held responsible for screwing up so badly? Lanny Breuer and his assistant Jason knew about gunwalking prior to that letter. They spent three days gradually toning down the denial that there was gunwalking, obviously because some involved feared it might be true and some involved knew it was true. Their effort to learn the truth from those in a position to know did not include just asking the whistleblowers.

 

Sorry, but the original denial was more than a screw up, it was a cover up. Repeating it a month later was a really stupid cover up. Those who did it have not been held accountable. That suggests that their boss, Eric Holder, does not mind such bumbling incompetence (if you believe their story) or a cover up (if you believe mine) on his staff. That suggests he needs to go.

 

So there is no on-going cover up. I agree. This is all about smearing Holder now.

 

So the fact that the cover up failed means it was OK? Burke has resigned, but never admitted to knowing about the gunwalking, so he didn't authorize it. Who did? And who are those hundreds of people who might have?

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So the fact that the cover up failed means it was OK? Burke has resigned, but never admitted to knowing about the gunwalking, so he didn't authorize it. Who did? And who are those hundreds of people who might have?

 

Burke's office. IIRC, Hurley was the guy handling it, and he briefed Burke at some points. Have to go back to see who Dodson and Forcelli said signed off on it in the Phoenix DOJ office, but I think it was Hurley.

 

"OK"? "Hundreds of people"? What are you referring to?

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So the fact that the cover up failed means it was OK? Burke has resigned, but never admitted to knowing about the gunwalking, so he didn't authorize it. Who did? And who are those hundreds of people who might have?

 

Burke's office. IIRC, Hurley was the guy handling it, and he briefed Burke at some points. Have to go back to see who Dodson and Forcelli said signed off on it in the Phoenix DOJ office, but I think it was Hurley.

 

"OK"? "Hundreds of people"? What are you referring to?

 

Two options as I see it: covering up this operation and lying to Congress was OK, or someone has been or will be punished for it. So far, it's looking like it's OK.

 

Rep Lynch says we need to change our system so that local agents can not authorize schemes that involve breaking our laws without getting written approval from someone confirmed by the Senate.

 

Gee, ya think?

 

Going to have to get a lot of people through Senate confirmation to do that. Hundreds.

 

Hundreds of people could authorize this kind of a program without even checking with DOJ higher ups or the State Department? Who are they? And how can we fix the system so that only high administration officials can make foreign policy and authorize large-scale criminal activity by our government, and they can only do it without plausible deniability?

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OK? With cases being built against people I really don't understand how you get to "OK".

 

The "hundreds" deal comes from the way investigations into organized crime and tricky case building happens, Tom. The cops craft plans of action and the prosecutors who must try the cases vet and sign off on their legality, so the cops don't do anything that could compromise the ability to get a conviction. Having the nations federal prosecutors all having to get Senate approval is at least hundreds, possibly a thousand.

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OK? With cases being built against people I really don't understand how you get to "OK".

 

The "hundreds" deal comes from the way investigations into organized crime and tricky case building happens, Tom. The cops craft plans of action and the prosecutors who must try the cases vet and sign off on their legality, so the cops don't do anything that could compromise the ability to get a conviction. Having the nations federal prosecutors all having to get Senate approval is at least hundreds, possibly a thousand.

 

If there are cases against Lanny Breuer and his staff, I'm not aware of them, but there should be. They lied to Congress purposely and repeatedly.

 

I don't think federal prosecutors have the authority to send thousands of guns into Mexico. That seems like the kind of thing that they should have to check with the Secretary of State. If they do have that authority, it should be taken away. It should be vested in someone who can exercise it only in ways that will not result in "plausible" deniability so that we do not end up in this situation again, wondering who might have authorized thousands of guns to walk off into cartel hands.

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OK? With cases being built against people I really don't understand how you get to "OK".

 

The "hundreds" deal comes from the way investigations into organized crime and tricky case building happens, Tom. The cops craft plans of action and the prosecutors who must try the cases vet and sign off on their legality, so the cops don't do anything that could compromise the ability to get a conviction. Having the nations federal prosecutors all having to get Senate approval is at least hundreds, possibly a thousand.

 

If there are cases against Lanny Breuer and his staff, I'm not aware of them, but there should be. They lied to Congress purposely and repeatedly.

 

I don't think federal prosecutors have the authority to send thousands of guns into Mexico. That seems like the kind of thing that they should have to check with the Secretary of State. If they do have that authority, it should be taken away. It should be vested in someone who can exercise it only in ways that will not result in "plausible" deniability so that we do not end up in this situation again, wondering who might have authorized thousands of guns to walk off into cartel hands.

 

 

The news for me (and for those who do not already know everything they wish to believe) out of this hearing is that Hoover at ATF was pretty leery about this particular version of Mexican gun stings, and ordered the Phoenix office to get some arrests within 90 days and terminate it. This order was ignored. Some people are having cases built against them, and indictments are expected in the next few months. It's understandable why it's taking some time. This gun-running op was signed off on by Justice, and since there were three others before this one, it's been something of a routine. Getting a conviction against a cop under these circumstances? Tricky.

 

 

You seem stuck on an idea that nothing is happening. Are you only paying attention to blogs like the gun-nut one you posted earlier, which only quoted the questions he was asked but none of his answers?

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You seem stuck on an idea that nothing is happening. Are you only paying attention to blogs like the gun-nut one you posted earlier, which only quoted the questions he was asked but none of his answers?

 

Nothing that I want to see happen is happening. As I said, we know that some of the people who told Congress (twice) that there was no ATF gunwalking knew about ATF gunwalking. They still hold high administration positions.

 

Without those "gun nut" blogs we would not be having this discussion. They broke the story when no one else would. Are you still paying attention to tpm muckraker spin and conjuring up wild theories about how this whole thing is an NRA plot to increase dealer sales?

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You seem stuck on an idea that nothing is happening. Are you only paying attention to blogs like the gun-nut one you posted earlier, which only quoted the questions he was asked but none of his answers?

 

Nothing that I want to see happen is happening. As I said, we know that some of the people who told Congress (twice) that there was no ATF gunwalking knew about ATF gunwalking. They still hold high administration positions.

 

Without those "gun nut" blogs we would not be having this discussion. They broke the story when no one else would. Are you still paying attention to tpm muckraker spin and conjuring up wild theories about how this whole thing is an NRA plot to increase dealer sales?

 

You want Breuer charged with a crime? What crime, exactly?

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You seem stuck on an idea that nothing is happening. Are you only paying attention to blogs like the gun-nut one you posted earlier, which only quoted the questions he was asked but none of his answers?

 

Nothing that I want to see happen is happening. As I said, we know that some of the people who told Congress (twice) that there was no ATF gunwalking knew about ATF gunwalking. They still hold high administration positions.

 

Without those "gun nut" blogs we would not be having this discussion. They broke the story when no one else would. Are you still paying attention to tpm muckraker spin and conjuring up wild theories about how this whole thing is an NRA plot to increase dealer sales?

 

You want Breuer charged with a crime? What crime, exactly?

 

My complaint was that they still hold high administration positions, and the ATF gunwalkers still have government jobs too. I have said over and over that this will happen again as long as everyone who does it and covers it up is allowed to keep their jobs.

 

You are right that they seem to have viewed this operation as just the sort of thing our government routinely does. People who see an operation this incredibly stupid that way do not need to keep government jobs.

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You seem stuck on an idea that nothing is happening. Are you only paying attention to blogs like the gun-nut one you posted earlier, which only quoted the questions he was asked but none of his answers?

 

Nothing that I want to see happen is happening. As I said, we know that some of the people who told Congress (twice) that there was no ATF gunwalking knew about ATF gunwalking. They still hold high administration positions.

 

Without those "gun nut" blogs we would not be having this discussion. They broke the story when no one else would. Are you still paying attention to tpm muckraker spin and conjuring up wild theories about how this whole thing is an NRA plot to increase dealer sales?

 

You want Breuer charged with a crime? What crime, exactly?

 

My complaint was that they still hold high administration positions, and the ATF gunwalkers still have government jobs too. I have said over and over that this will happen again as long as everyone who does it and covers it up is allowed to keep their jobs.

 

You are right that they seem to have viewed this operation as just the sort of thing our government routinely does. People who see an operation this incredibly stupid that way do not need to keep government jobs.

 

Brewer wasn't in on the planning or approval of any of these ops, and not aware of the terrible tactics used in F & F. All he did was assume that it was like Wide Receiver, and thereby make an ass out of himself.

 

If you feel that Wide Receiver was illegal, then where is the outrage at Issa threatening to use his Chairman's gavel to stop any conversation about that?

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You seem stuck on an idea that nothing is happening. Are you only paying attention to blogs like the gun-nut one you posted earlier, which only quoted the questions he was asked but none of his answers?

 

Nothing that I want to see happen is happening. As I said, we know that some of the people who told Congress (twice) that there was no ATF gunwalking knew about ATF gunwalking. They still hold high administration positions.

 

Without those "gun nut" blogs we would not be having this discussion. They broke the story when no one else would. Are you still paying attention to tpm muckraker spin and conjuring up wild theories about how this whole thing is an NRA plot to increase dealer sales?

 

You want Breuer charged with a crime? What crime, exactly?

Obstruction of justice for starters. Then we can address lying to congress. I'm pretty sure that is not something we want our government employees to get used to.

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Brewer wasn't in on the planning or approval of any of these ops, and not aware of the terrible tactics used in F & F. All he did was assume that it was like Wide Receiver, and thereby make an ass out of himself.

 

If you feel that Wide Receiver was illegal, then where is the outrage at Issa threatening to use his Chairman's gavel to stop any conversation about that?

 

Do you believe his statement that he did not read the Feb 4th letter to Congress?

 

The one he forwarded to his personal gmail account, and the one that prompted him to tell his staff "great job as usual" or something like that?

 

There has been a lot of conversation about WR and Issa himself references it in committee docs, so I don't know what you are talking about.

 

He stopped conversation about new gun laws requiring dealer reporting of batch sales. As I said, that is akin to stopping conversation about changing the RRS during a hearing in "the room." Not the time or place. Also, we have a situation here in which the dealers DID report the suspicious sales and what happened after that was the problem. Addressing the problem by requiring dealers to do what they did seems to me to ignore the problem and address a non-problem.

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Brewer wasn't in on the planning or approval of any of these ops, and not aware of the terrible tactics used in F & F. All he did was assume that it was like Wide Receiver, and thereby make an ass out of himself.

 

If you feel that Wide Receiver was illegal, then where is the outrage at Issa threatening to use his Chairman's gavel to stop any conversation about that?

 

Do you believe his statement that he did not read the Feb 4th letter to Congress?

 

The one he forwarded to his personal gmail account, and the one that prompted him to tell his staff "great job as usual" or something like that?

 

There has been a lot of conversation about WR and Issa himself references it in committee docs, so I don't know what you are talking about.

 

He stopped conversation about new gun laws requiring dealer reporting of batch sales. As I said, that is akin to stopping conversation about changing the RRS during a hearing in "the room." Not the time or place. Also, we have a situation here in which the dealers DID report the suspicious sales and what happened after that was the problem. Addressing the problem by requiring dealers to do what they did seems to me to ignore the problem and address a non-problem.

 

Did Bruer claim to have not read something to Congress that he did? Seems to be a pretty odd lie, if so. Congress would spot that one in a second. "I didn't read that to Congress!" would be but a simple matter of "Here's the tape."

 

You don't know what I am talking about on the gavel thing? Then you have not watched or listened to the hearing last week, I guess. It's near the beginning.

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The timeline:

 

Grassley handed Holder a letter asking him to investigate allegations of gunwalking. Holder handed it off to his staff: Lanny Breuer got the job of responding.

 

Breuer, in turn, handed the job off to his staff. They spent three days crafting a response to Congress. One staffer said it was harder to put together than the Magna Carta. When they were done, they emailed the final version to Breuer. He forwarded it to his personal email account and replied to his staff, saying they did a good job.

 

The letter is the famous Feb 4th letter, in which they denied that the ATF walked guns. Breuer knew about previous gunwalking, so if he read the letter, he would be in on the lie. He claims he did not read the letter.

 

Nowhere did I say he claimed not to have read it to Congress. If you had been paying attention to this story, you would have known what I was asking.

 

Now, do you believe Lanny Breuer's claim that he did not read that letter, just relied on his staff to have done a great job as usual and sent it on to Congress?

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The timeline:

 

Grassley handed Holder a letter asking him to investigate allegations of gunwalking. Holder handed it off to his staff: Lanny Breuer got the job of responding.

 

Breuer, in turn, handed the job off to his staff. They spent three days crafting a response to Congress. One staffer said it was harder to put together than the Magna Carta. When they were done, they emailed the final version to Breuer. He forwarded it to his personal email account and replied to his staff, saying they did a good job.

 

The letter is the famous Feb 4th letter, in which they denied that the ATF walked guns. Breuer knew about previous gunwalking, so if he read the letter, he would be in on the lie. He claims he did not read the letter.

 

Nowhere did I say he claimed not to have read it to Congress. If you had been paying attention to this story, you would have known what I was asking.

 

Now, do you believe Lanny Breuer's claim that he did not read that letter, just relied on his staff to have done a great job as usual and sent it on to Congress?

 

 

He admitted he screwed that up. Looks to me he said he couldn't be sure if he read it or not, and it's pretty clear he had his staff write it. Maybe Issa should have stopped there though. Going for Holder is looking like "a bridge too far".

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Now, do you believe Lanny Breuer's claim that he did not read that letter, just relied on his staff to have done a great job as usual and sent it on to Congress?

 

I know what he said, and was not asking about that. I'm fascinated by the crazy things you are able to believe sometimes, and want to know if you believe Lanny Breuer's claims. It seems to me that if he did read the letter, he knowingly allowed his staff to attempt to deceive Congress. If he did not, it seems like dereliction of duty. Which do you believe?

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Now, do you believe Lanny Breuer's claim that he did not read that letter, just relied on his staff to have done a great job as usual and sent it on to Congress?

 

I know what he said, and was not asking about that. I'm fascinated by the crazy things you are able to believe sometimes, and want to know if you believe Lanny Breuer's claims. It seems to me that if he did read the letter, he knowingly allowed his staff to attempt to deceive Congress. If he did not, it seems like dereliction of duty. Which do you believe?

 

Definitely failed to investigate, definitely failed to inform his bosses. I'll go with dereliction.

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Now, do you believe Lanny Breuer's claim that he did not read that letter, just relied on his staff to have done a great job as usual and sent it on to Congress?

 

I know what he said, and was not asking about that. I'm fascinated by the crazy things you are able to believe sometimes, and want to know if you believe Lanny Breuer's claims. It seems to me that if he did read the letter, he knowingly allowed his staff to attempt to deceive Congress. If he did not, it seems like dereliction of duty. Which do you believe?

 

Definitely failed to investigate, definitely failed to inform his bosses. I'll go with dereliction.

 

We disagree, and it is further proof that there is a need for any such operation to be conducted without plausible deniability. I think he did read the various drafts and did keep his boss informed.

 

But anyway, going with what you believe, it means Eric Holder and President Obama are OK with having a highly placed official who was irresponsible when assigned to an important task. Two, if you count Weinstein, as Senator Grassley does. Seems to me he is right.

 

For Immediate Release

December 14, 2011

Why Didn't the Justice Department talk to the ATF Whistleblowers?

***Click here for the Styers memo Grassley references below.***

 

 

 

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Why didn’t the Justice Department Talk to the Agents about Fast and Furious?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For almost 11 months now I have been investigating Fast and Furious, an operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

 

On December 2nd, the Justice Department finally came clean about who helped draft its February 4 letter to Congress. That letter falsely denied ATF whistleblower allegations that ATF walked guns. The revelations in the December 2nd documents were the last straw for me. I called for Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to step down. I don’t do that lightly.

 

Earlier documents had already shown that Mr. Breuer displayed a stunning lack of judgment in failing to respond adequately when told guns were walked in Operation Wide Receiver, a 2006-2007 case. The December 2nd documents showed the Mr. Breuer was far more informed during the drafting of the February 4 letter than he admitted before the Judiciary Committee just one month earlier.

 

These two issues led me to call for the resignation of Mr. Breuer, the highest-ranking official in the Justice Department who knew about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver.

 

The December 2nd documents also establish a number of other key points.

 

The first is that the Justice Department has a flawed process for responding to letters from Congress that involve whistleblowers. In the cover letter that accompanied the documents, the Justice Department wrote that in drafting their February 4 response:

 

“Department personnel…relied on information provided by supervisors from the components in the best position to know the relevant facts…”

 

Clearly, the Justice Department did not rely on those in the best position to know the facts, since the letter was “withdrawn” on December 2nd due to its inaccuracies.

 

The whistleblowers were in the best position to know the facts.

 

Frontline personnel were in the best position to know the facts, not senior bureaucrats and political appointees. Yet, the Department failed to provide credible process for whistleblowers and other frontline personnel to provide information without fear of retaliation.

 

Employees simply do not believe they are free to report misconduct because they see what happens to those who speak out. They know it’s a career killer because the ATF and the Justice Department culture protect those who retaliate against whistleblowers. Yet, the whistleblowers in this case spoke out anyway. They risked their careers to make sure the truth was known.

 

But, when the Office of Legislative Affairs sought information to respond to my inquires, it didn’t ask those brave whistleblowers what happened. Instead, it simply relied on the self-serving denials of the senior officials at ATF headquarters, the Criminal Division here in D.C., and the U.S. Attorney’s in Arizona.

 

In other words, the department took the word of the very officials the whistleblowers alleged had mismanaged the situation in the first place—without getting both sides of the story.

 

The U.S. attorney has since admitted in testimony to Congressional investigators that he was too strident when he first heard these accusations. He claimed he didn’t know all of the facts.

 

You can’t rely on the chain of command when you have a whistleblower. By definition, whistleblowers emerge because the chain of command is broken. Whistleblowers come to Congress because they are unsuccessful in getting their supervisors to address fraud, waste, or abuse. Sometimes those supervisors attempt to cover the tracks, or paper over the problem. That’s why you have to get the story straight from the horse’s mouth.

 

You can’t let the facts be filtered through multiple layers of bureaucracy. After all, the bureaucracy is filled with the same supervisors who should have done something about the problem in the first place, before a whistleblower came forward.

 

These problems are particularly prevalent in a federal government that is so large, it is virtually impossible for anyone to ever be held accountable for anything. So, it is crucial that those investigating whistleblower allegations go straight to those on the ground level with firsthand knowledge of the facts. Their goal should be to understand the underlying facts of the whistleblower allegations—not to intimidate them into silence. Instead, inquiries all too often focus on the whistleblowers themselves, and what skeletons they have in their closet.

 

That approach is exactly what is wrong with the federal government.

 

The focus should be on whether the accusations are true so that any problems can be corrected. Too often, however, the focus is on finding out what information the whistleblower disclosed so that the agency can circle the wagons and build a defense.

 

That needs to change. If the department is going to regain its credibility, it needs to provide straight answers, not talking points and spin. The only way to provide straight answers is to make sure you get straight answers in the first place. That’s one reason we have pushed in our investigation to be able to interview front line personnel. The Justice Department objected in a letter Tuesday night. In that letter, the Justice Department also objected to us talking to first- or second-level supervisors. This is exactly the sort of approach that prevents key information from getting to senior officials and to Congress. Justice cites the so-called “line personnel” policy for refusing to provide officials for voluntary interviews. However, the policy is based purely on nothing but the department’s own preferences.

 

It is not found in any statute. It is not grounded in any case law.

 

The Department has frequently set aside the policy or made exceptions in the past. For example, line attorneys gave transcribed interviews under oath to Congress in the 1992 Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility investigation. As recently as October, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Lieber, the line attorney responsible for the anthrax investigations participated in an interview with PBS’s Frontline.

 

How can the Justice Department argue Congress should not be allowed access to line attorneys when they give that kind of access to the press?

 

Those kinds of line personnel are the individuals who have the actual answers. In this case, had the Justice Department gone to the horse’s mouth before sending an inaccurate letter to me on February 4, they would have been able to get the story straight.

 

This memo (Styers Memo) is from an ATF line agent who substantiated the claims of the first ATF whistleblower. I ask unanimous consent that a copy be placed in the record immediately after my remarks.

 

It is dated February 3, 2011—the day before the Justice Department sent their letter to me.

 

The memo was passed up his chain in response to investigators on my staff talking to him about Operation Fast and Furious. He accurately described the problems with Fast and Furious. What he said was consistent with the claims I had already heard from other whistleblowers. Information like this is why I was skeptical days later when the Department sent its February 4 letter to me denying the allegations.

 

The agent wrote in the memo about being ordered by the Fast and Furious case agent to hold back in their surveillance so they didn’t “burn the operation.” While watching straw purchasers hand off weapons to traffickers, the case agent “told all the agents to leave the immediate area.” The memo explicitly says: “The transaction between the suspects took place and the vehicle that took possession of the firearms eventually left the area without agents following it.”

 

After the phone call with my staff, the ATF agent’s supervisors requested that he write this memo documenting what he had told my investigators. It was passed up the chain all the way to ATF leadership. We know that because there are emails attaching the memo sent to senior headquarters officials. However, the Justice Department has refused to provide copies of those emails and will only allow them to be reviewed at Justice Department headquarters.

 

The department has also refused to provide a copy of this memo. My staff had to obtain it from confidential sources. One of the questions yet to be answered is who in the Justice Department saw the memo and when. Either way, once the Justice Department got ahold of it, they tried to keep it under wraps by refusing to give us a copy. They made my staff go to the Justice Department to view it, even though the entire memo simply recounts information that was already provided to my staff.

 

It’s just embarrassing to the department because it shows that the truth was easily knowable before that false denial was sent to Congress. If they’d asked for firsthand documentation like this memo when they first got my letter in January, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

 

A second point these documents establish is that Main Justice had problems of its own.

 

It wasn’t all the fault of ATF and the U.S. attorney: Mr. Breuer’s deputy, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, participated in drafting a false statement.

 

The Justice Department’s February 4 letter read:

 

“ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”

 

Documents show that that line originated in a phone conversation on February 1, 2011 between Justice Department Legislative Affairs; Assistant Director Billy Hoover, from ATF; and Jason Weinstein, from Main Justice’s Criminal Division. Like Assistant Attorney General Breuer, Mr. Weinstein knew that ATF had let hundreds of weapons walk in Operation Wide Receiver, which was an earlier, smaller-scale case than Fast and Furious.

 

In fact, in April 2010, he brought that fact to the attention of Mr. Breuer, his boss.

 

His email to Mr. Breuer about Wide Receiver said:

“As you’ll recall from Jim’s briefing, ATF let a bunch of guns walk in effort to get upstream conspirators but only got straws, and didn’t recover many guns. Some were recovered in [Mexico] after being used in crimes.”

 

It’s ironic that that’s how Mr. Weinstein described Wide Receiver. He was one of the officials who authorized wiretaps in Fast and Furious. Therefore, he was in the position to know that exact same description applied to Fast and Furious. Yet he allowed the myth to be perpetuated that ATF would never do such a thing.

 

Mr. Weinstein saw the Justice Department’s very first draft of the letter to Congress. In fact, as one of his Justice Department colleagues in the Deputy Attorney General’s office said: “CRM [which is the Criminal Division] and OLA [which is the Office of Legislative Affairs] … basically drafted it…”

 

Mr. Weinstein knew the letter contained a blatantly false line. Yet he did nothing to correct it, and that line thus remained in every successive draft of the letter.

 

On December 2nd, the Justice Department’s latest spin was that its statement that “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons” was “aspirational.” Nevertheless, that didn’t stop them from withdrawing the letter for inaccuracies. Perhaps the aspirational language should be saved for mission statements. Responses to specific and serious allegations should stick to the facts.

 

This was an oversight letter.

 

I was not asking for a feel-good, fuzzy message about what the ATF aspires to. I was asking for the facts. A U.S. Border Patrol agent had died. His death was connected to an ATF operation. Whistleblowers were reaching outside of the chain of command because supervisors wouldn’t listen. Instead of treating these allegations with the kind of seriousness they deserved, the Justice Department resorted to damage control.

 

Now I don’t know what else my investigation is going to uncover.

 

Just this week, the investigation revealed that shortly after the February 4 letter, Lanny Breuer asked Mr. Weinstein to write up an analytical memo of Fast and Furious.

 

This suggests that Mr. Breuer and his deputy, Mr. Weinstein, were down in the weeds on Operation Fast and Furious a lot earlier than previously admitted.

 

Mr. Weinstein was in an excellent position to write such a memo, since Mr. Breuer has acknowledged that Mr. Weinstein was one of the individuals who approved wiretaps in the summer of 2010 as part of Operation Fast and Furious.

 

However, we had to learn of this memo from sources other than the Justice Department. The Justice Department has not provided it to us, even though it is clearly responsive to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s October 25 subpoena. This type of maneuvering is what got the Justice Department in trouble to begin with. The Justice Department should produce this document immediately, along with all other responsive documents.

 

This investigation will continue.

 

People must be held accountable.

 

The Justice Department must stop stonewalling today.

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It's funny how Issa and Grassley never seem to talk about Voth, the guy who really was "down in the weeds" on this. Anybody who can't be linked to Obama gets ignored.

 

That suggests to me these hearings are more about politics than anything else.

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Let’s not be naive, sure there’s a political component… just as the Democrats defense of Holder and DOJ’s lack of transparency on the matter is politically motivated?

 

A Mortons Fork! You either agree that everything he's being charged with is valid, or you are just playing politics.

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It's funny how Issa and Grassley never seem to talk about Voth, the guy who really was "down in the weeds" on this. Anybody who can't be linked to Obama gets ignored.

 

 

Yep Grassley almost never references him.

 

Well, OK, he does it sometimes.

 

Not all that often, possibly because they are investigating the coverup more than the actual operation, since that is what is in dispute.

 

But Grassley does reference him sometimes, leading me to think your objection is all about political distraction and not liking the way our conversation about Breuer and Weinstein was going.

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It's funny how Issa and Grassley never seem to talk about Voth, the guy who really was "down in the weeds" on this. Anybody who can't be linked to Obama gets ignored.

 

 

Yep Grassley almost never references him.

 

Well, OK, he does it sometimes.

 

Not all that often, possibly because they are investigating the coverup more than the actual operation, since that is what is in dispute.

 

But Grassley does reference him sometimes, leading me to think your objection is all about political distraction and not liking the way our conversation about Breuer and Weinstein was going.

 

Well, if the primary motivation of Issa was to get to the bottom of what happened in Phoenix, Voth would have been sitting in that chair. So would Melson.

 

Somehow continually insisting that Holder is the primary cause of this, or tried to cover it up seems to interest Issa far more than that though.

 

OK, I'm being a bit unfair there. I believe that the reason Voth is not being mentioned is that both Issa and Holder know there is an on-going case being built against him, and no public comments can be made at this time.

 

The full story will probably not be found in Issa's committee, Tom, it will be found in the trials of the people involved. IMO. So, these hearings appear to me to be political theater, a fishing expedition for a "blue dress", what's funny is how even without finding one, they have convinced many that there is one.

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"I did not have sexual relations with that woman" is still funny, like "I am not a crook."

 

The "ATF did not walk guns" letter was withdrawn because it was false. Lanny and Jason knew, and I don't think they orchestrated an attempt to mislead Congress without telling their boss. As for Voth...

 

For those not inclined to clicking and reading, here is an email sent by Phoenix ATF group supervisor David Voth to his team:

 

vothletter.gif

 

GO TEAM! The not-so-subtle message: if you do not agree with the Gunwalking program, you do not deserve to be here....

 

Then recently:

 

Where are they now?

 

Here's what has happened to the managers of the operation:

 

-- Group Supervisor David Voth managed Fast and Furious on a day-to-day basis and repeatedly stopped field agents from interdicting weapons headed to the border, according to congressional testimony. ATF boosted Voth to chief of the ATF Tobacco Division, where he now supervises more employees in Washington than he ever did in Phoenix.

 

 

 

And yesterday in Serrano's column...

 

Hours after Terry was killed south of Tucson, David J. Voth, the ATF group supervisor for Fast and Furious in Phoenix, sent an email to lead Agent Hope A. MacAllister. He titled the email, "no more rose colored glasses."

 

"If you have not heard a Border Patrol agent was shoot and killed here in Arizona," he told her. "The trace came back to Fast and Furious…Ugh...! Call as soon as you can, things will most likely get ugly."

 

The only taxpayer subsidy this man should be getting is room and board at a federal prison. Why are we still paying him and many of the others responsible for this? And why the complete silence on that issue from fans of "common sense" gun control laws? <_<

 

Chief of the Tobacco Division Voth is going to face criminal charges? What is the basis for your belief?

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Chief of the Tobacco Division Voth is going to face criminal charges? What is the basis for your belief?

 

Chief of the Phoenix office, Dodsons direct supervisor, who Dodson repeatedly complained to and told him to STFU and get to work? Forced the guy to become a whistle blower to get the thing stopped?

 

What's the basis? Hell, I don't know... :lol:

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We gotta keep beating on this thing, cause Obama is rising up in the polls. Since we have so little to grab at, we must act like Ken Starr going after a blob of sperm.

B)

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Chief of the Tobacco Division Voth is going to face criminal charges? What is the basis for your belief?

 

Chief of the Phoenix office, Dodsons direct supervisor, who Dodson repeatedly complained to and told him to STFU and get to work? Forced the guy to become a whistle blower to get the thing stopped?

 

What's the basis? Hell, I don't know... :lol:

 

That all happened over a year ago, and those facts are all known and have been for quite some time. What happened since? He got promoted. Yeah, yeah, I know they are saying it's a lateral transfer to a position in which he supervises more people. <_<

 

I know how long it takes to prepare cases. I used to watch my mom do it at the dinner table. If he were going to be punished, I think it would have happened by now.