Jump to content

Obama's Mexican Gunrunning Operation


Recommended Posts

A recent Fortune Magazine article written by Katherine Eban is very enlightening concerning this whole Fast and Furious issue. I suggest that everyone read that article. A lot of the myth and misstatement of fact is covered in the article. Starts with the whistle-blower and ends with Issa.

 

 

 

Discussed here and here for the rest who may have missed it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 2.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Posted Images

Issa denies it.

 

You must have missed the quote of Issa where he says he has never called for Bruer's firing.

 

I did? What did you think I meant by the words "Issa denies it" above?

 

The point I was making relates to your comment that Holder is not doing his job because he hasn't fired Bruer. Well, Issa isn't demanding that Bruer be fired either.

 

He might be, and Fortune magazine just has not revealed it yet. They scooped everyone on his call for Holder to resign in that "just the facts" article! :lol:

 

I don't necessarily agree with Issa on every fine point, you know. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Issa denies it.

 

You must have missed the quote of Issa where he says he has never called for Bruer's firing.

 

I did? What did you think I meant by the words "Issa denies it" above?

 

The point I was making relates to your comment that Holder is not doing his job because he hasn't fired Bruer. Well, Issa isn't demanding that Bruer be fired either.

 

He might be, and Fortune magazine just has not revealed it yet. They scooped everyone on his call for Holder to resign in that "just the facts" article! :lol:

 

I don't necessarily agree with Issa on every fine point, you know. ;)

 

Fortune was proved right on that one. Somebody dug up a quote from Issa where he did call for Holder to resign. I'm sure the NRA will get around to telling you about it one of these days. Give them time.

 

Right now they better get to work on the Fox News Latino. He's clearly off the reservation.

 

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/06/29/geraldo-rivera-legislative-vandalism/

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fortune was proved right on that one. Somebody dug up a quote from Issa where he did call for Holder to resign.

 

 

Uh huh. I'm familiar with one in which he said Holder needed to "lead or resign" but no others. That was not sufficient to add him to the long list of people who have simply called for resignation without mentioning another option in any case but one. Fortune thought it enough.

 

Lead or resign is different from resign. If some need to pretend they are the same to make a point, I can't help it, but I won't join the pretense.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Senator Grassley has been busy.

 

July 3, 2012

Grassley asks for Justice Department records of field agent memo on Fast and Furious

ATF agent describes discussion of operation one day before Justice Department denial

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for information about who at the Department of Justice (DOJ) saw a memo from a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was stationed at the Phoenix field division and was knowledgeable about Operation Fast and Furious. This memo was produced the day before the Department of Justice flat out denied there was a program underway to let guns walk to straw buyers.

 

In a letter to Attorney General Holder this afternoon, Grassley said the memo traveled rapidly through the chain of command at ATF and was allegedly forwarded to DOJ headquarters on February 3, 2011, in advance of the February 4, 2011, denial by DOJ. Grassley’s office has been told that the substance of the memo “caused such a stir that ATF planned to put a panel together to address the allegations but someone within DOJ suppressed the idea.” The details in the agent’s memo would have provided DOJ officials important information about what, in fact, was happening in Operation Fast and Furious.

 

Grassley said he is asking questions today because discovering how high up the chain of command the memo was reviewed “has not been easy.” His requests to interview officials who might corroborate accounts has been denied, and DOJ may have withheld relevant documents from what it said were the deliberative materials used to draft the February 4, 2011, letter. Ultimately, in the face of mounting evidence presented by Grassley and others, DOJ withdrew its February 4 denial.

 

“Without the complete, documented set of facts, fair and informed conclusions can’t be drawn, and the Justice Department’s lack of transparency about what it knew and when about Operation Fast and Furious is unacceptable, especially in light of the connections to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and an unknown number of Mexican citizens,” Grassley said.

 

Click here to read today’s letter from Grassley to Holder, which includes a copy of the February 3, 2011, memo by the ATF agent.

 

 

The letter:

 

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

 

Dear Attorney General Holder:

 

July 3, 2012

 

The investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has focused on two specific areas: (1) When did individuals within the Department of Justice (DOJ/Department) become aware of the tactics and (2) How did DOJ provide false information to Congress regarding the allegations of gunwalking.

 

I believe the Department should have been abundantly aware of allegations of gunwalking as there was more than one ATF agent providing information to Department components before the February 4, 2011, letter was sent to Congress.

 

Specifically, on February 2, 2011, my investigators contacted an ATF Special Agent who worked out of the Phoenix Field Division, Group VII office, and was familiar with Operation Fast and Furious. The conversation centered on the ATF Agent’s recollection of how Fast and Furious was executed and his recollection confirmed the allegations my office had heard from other ATF whistleblowers. What was unknown until late 2011 was that this ATF Agent produced a memorandum on February 3, 2011, which documented his discussion about Fast and Furious. The subject of the memorandum is, “Contact with Congressional Investigators,” and I have enclosed it within this letter.

 

This Fast and Furious memorandum traveled rapidly through ATF’s chain of command. The memorandum was emailed on February 3, 2011, from the Dallas Field Division to Phoenix SAC William Newell and Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon. Records that the Justice Department has withheld from Congress, which were only made available for review in camera, show an email chain attaching this memorandum was sent to Assistant Director of Field Operations Mark Chait at ATF headquarters by the afternoon of February 3, 2011.

 

According to ATF personnel, the memorandum was discussed by high level ATF personnel and possibly forwarded to DOJ headquarters on February 3, 2011. Specifically, it has been alleged that individuals within the Deputy Attorney General’s (DAG’s) office and the Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) at the Department were aware of or actually read the memorandum before the Department’s February 4, 2011, letter was sent. Some individuals who spoke with my office claim they were “alarmed” by the substance of the memorandum and it caused such a stir that ATF planned to put a panel together to address the allegations but someone within DOJ suppressed the idea.

 

The possibility that DOJ was aware of this memorandum on February 3, 2011, and still sent the erroneous letter to Congress on February 4, 2011, raises more questions about DOJ’s claim that faulty information from Department components inadvertently led to the false letter. This was direct, documented information from street level agents in a far better position to know the facts than the senior supervisory personnel whom DOJ claims to have relied upon for information about the allegations.

 

Discovering how high up the chain of command inside the Justice Department the memorandum was reviewed has not been easy. The Department has not made available certain individuals who could corroborate what my office has been told. Moreover, it is unclear whether the set of “deliberative” materials about the drafting of the February 4, 2011, letter that the Department produced to Congress constitutes a complete set of all relevant documents or whether other relevant documents from the pre-February 4th timeframe may have been withheld. Consequently, please answer the following questions:

 

  • 1) Have all records relating to the February 3, 2011, memorandum been gathered and preserved by the Justice Department? If not, why not? If so, please describe the nature and volume of those records.
  • 2) Will you produce those records to Congress? If not, please explain why not.
  • 3) Which DOJ personnel received a copy of the February 3, 2011, memorandum prior to February 4, 2011?
  • 4) Which DOJ personnel were aware of the memorandum before the February 4, 2011 reply was sent to me? Please provide all records related to these questions, or certify that all relevant documents have already been provided.
     
    I would appreciate a written response by no later than July 17, 2012. If you have any

questions concerning this matter, please contact Brian Downey of my staff at (202) 224- 5225.

 

 

The email in question:

 

styers-email-1.gif

 

styers-email-2.gif

 

styers-email-3.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

5 Charged in Death of Agent Terry

 

 

The indictment was brought by a federal grand jury in November 2011, but is being unsealed now to seek the public’s assistance in locating the fugitives.

 

I'm going to guess that following the guns to the cartel killers has not worked so far.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the NRA rightfully has a dog in this fight myself.

 

A year ago you did:

 

Cutting off the flow of arms to the Cartels could get pretty gol-derned draconian for a spell. The NRA has to be on board for that to happen. Only they can give Blue Dogs and rational Republicans the political cover they would need on this.

 

You never did say what kinds of draconian things the NRA should agree to on behalf of gun owners, but somehow I see them having a dog in that fight.

 

Voth explained that in his statement.

 

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/?hpt=hp_t2

 

Things like making laws that prevent an 18 year old from walking in and buying hundreds of AK 47's with cash. Pretty draconian, by NRA standards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the NRA rightfully has a dog in this fight myself.

 

A year ago you did:

 

Cutting off the flow of arms to the Cartels could get pretty gol-derned draconian for a spell. The NRA has to be on board for that to happen. Only they can give Blue Dogs and rational Republicans the political cover they would need on this.

 

You never did say what kinds of draconian things the NRA should agree to on behalf of gun owners, but somehow I see them having a dog in that fight.

 

Voth explained that in his statement.

 

http://features.blog...ruth/?hpt=hp_t2

 

Things like making laws that prevent an 18 year old from walking in and buying hundreds of AK 47's with cash. Pretty draconian, by NRA standards.

 

But we already have such laws, and people get convicted under them. The gun dealer who went to Voth for reassurance that he should continue with obviously illegal sales sure knew about those laws. What new ones are you talking about?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agent Canino seemed to think there was something that could be done when a guy buys over 600 guns. Was he mistaken in thinking some action could/should have been taken?

 

As more information came to light, however, Gil and Canino concluded that hundreds and

hundreds of guns had been walked. These guns ended up in at crime scenes in Mexico, about

which Gil and Canino received extensive briefings. Gil and Canino became incensed when they

finally began to learn about the full scope of Operation Fast and Furious and the investigative

techniques involved:

 

Q. When you first got the impression that this was part of a strategy to

let guns walk into Mexico, what was your reaction to that strategy?

 

A. I wasn’t convinced that this happened until this past April after all

the allegations were made, and I talked to different people. I was

beyond shocked. Embarrassed. I was angry. I'm still angry.

Because this is not what we do.

 

* * *

 

That is, I mean, this is the perfect storm of idiocy. That is the

only way I could put it. This is, I mean, this is inconceivable to

me. This is group think gone awry. You know what General

George Patton says, if we are all thinking alike, then nobody is

thinking. Right? Nobody was thinking here. How could anybody

think, hey, let's follow, I mean there is a guy in this case that

bought over 600 guns. At what point do you think you might want

to pull him aside and say, hey, come here for a second.137

 

When Canino himself uncovered hard evidence that ATF had allowed the guns to disappear from

their surveillance he understood the whistleblower allegations were true:

 

Q. Okay, and take us through what happened in April.

 

A. I was here on a visit to headquarters.

 

Q. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms headquarters?

 

A. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms headquarters, and I was, I was

looking at a, the management log on this case. And the first two

pages, if I'm not mistaken, there are entries there that

chronicle us walking away on three separate occasions from

stash houses.

 

Q. And did that sound to you incredible?

 

A. I stopped reading.

 

Q. So you only got through two pages of this management log?

 

A. Yeah.

 

Q. And then you couldn't read it any longer?

 

A. Didn't want to.

 

Q. Because you were so upset?

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. And you were upset because walking away from three stash houses

struck you as so outrageous?

 

A. Walking away from one, walking away from one gun when you

know that that gun is going to be used in a crime when you, I

mean, there is no, there was no gray area here guys. There was

no gray area here. We knew that these guys were trafficking

guns into Mexico. There is no gray area. They weren't

trafficking, [the] guys weren't going out and buying two Larson 22

pistols. These guys were buying 7.62, 223's, .50 caliber rifles,

okay, there was no mistake about this. This is no gray area.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Was it simply a resource thing? Were Departments just too stretched for manpower to keep up 24/7 surveillence? If that is true, its simply unconscianable to just walk away and shrug your shoulders and hope for the best. Seriously, WTF???

 

"Oops, we ran out of manpower" works once as an excuse. Maybe a few times. Over and over for months on end? At some point it stops seeming like a mistake.

 

Speaking of things that make you go WTF??

 

The Justice Dept finally confirmed what was reported on the first page of this thread: Brian Terry's specially trained assault team that was sent in after violent people who rob drug and human smugglers was armed with... bean bag rounds.

 

In other news, a Border Patrol agent apparently fired a live, normal round at someone who was throwing rocks at him.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of form 4473, a new one just went into effect a couple of days ago. It now not only asks your race, which was always an appropriate thing to ask gun buyers, but also asks whether or not you are Hispanic/Latino.

 

I'm not really sure why I should have to state my race when buying a firearm, let alone my ethnic/cultural heritage. But lying about it is a federal crime punishable by up to a quarter million dollar fine and ten years in prison, so they really, really want to know whether I'm Hispanic or not. :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of form 4473, a new one just went into effect a couple of days ago. It now not only asks your race, which was always an appropriate thing to ask gun buyers, but also asks whether or not you are Hispanic/Latino.

 

I'm not really sure why I should have to state my race when buying a firearm, let alone my ethnic/cultural heritage. But lying about it is a federal crime punishable by up to a quarter million dollar fine and ten years in prison, so they really, really want to know whether I'm Hispanic or not. :rolleyes:

Hmmm, that's REALLY not good. I have zero issue with race and other questions like that for the purposes of stats and demographics research. But it should be optional.

 

That's really troubling.

 

Interestingly, I just bought a Gen 4 Glock 26 last week when I was back in Vegas. I filled out that very 4473 and I just ticked the race box without thinking about it. Damn!

 

The question about race has been on the form for a long time.

 

The new question basically further classifies people by ethnic/cultural heritage. It has only been in use for two days now.

 

I question the need for either one, especially in light of the fact that the form already requires ID. What useful information are we really trying to learn here?

Link to post
Share on other sites

It appears Fast and Furious was put in play as a political football in the Presidential race by Romney on Hannity.

 

“Well how about the transparency of a President who through executive privilege is preventing the American people from finding out what happened in the Fast and Furious program,” Romney said. “If there is transparency that needs to be considered here, it’s the lack of transparency in his administration to let the American people know what has happened in a scandalous activity known as Fast and Furious. ...”

 

In other news, there's now an ethics complaint against Issa over those sealed wiretap applications.

 

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said Issa sidestepped federal law by entering the sealed wiretap applications into the Congressional Record, which grants him immunity under the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.

 

“It is ironic that by revealing the warrant application to further his effort to have Attorney General Eric Holder held in contempt, Rep. Issa was willing to flirt with his own potential contempt charge,” Sloan said in a statement.

 

 

Oh no! Not the briar patch! :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites

IG Report to Come Out This Summer

 

It's not surprising how NPR treated the issue...

 

Probably the biggest item on the Horowitz agenda is a long-awaited report on Fast and Furious. That's the flawed gun sting in Arizona, where ATF agents lost track of 2,000 guns. Some later turned up at crime scenes, including the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

 

They expect that their audience will not know of this operation, since it has only resulted in a bipartisan contempt vote against the Attorney General and a very questionable claim of executive privilege. Nothing serious.

 

Just a foul up in which some agents lost track of some guns. Over and over. For almost a year. Despite repeated warnings from various quarters that this was crazy. These darn agents just kept screwing up, as government employees are prone to doing. They screwed up and screwed up, making the same mistake hundreds of times without learning or altering their behavior until finally Agent Terry was killed. Then I guess the agents must have been told to stop screwing up so bad, or something.

 

I'm not really widely known for my trust in government, but this story is absolutely ludicrous and the fact that it has become the standard propaganda line on this scandal is proof that Goebbels was right about repeating a lie often enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of form 4473, a new one just went into effect a couple of days ago. It now not only asks your race, which was always an appropriate thing to ask gun buyers, but also asks whether or not you are Hispanic/Latino.

 

I'm not really sure why I should have to state my race when buying a firearm, let alone my ethnic/cultural heritage. But lying about it is a federal crime punishable by up to a quarter million dollar fine and ten years in prison, so they really, really want to know whether I'm Hispanic or not. :rolleyes:

Hmmm, that's REALLY not good. I have zero issue with race and other questions like that for the purposes of stats and demographics research. But it should be optional.

 

That's really troubling.

 

Update on 4473 Change

 

“If this is just a consistency update, then it is to make sure every federal agency is consistent with their racism,” Nappen responded.

 

“A government agency, during the Clinton administration, after studies by social scientists and comments from activists from different groups, says use this racist approach for ‘reporting’ and that somehow makes it okay to NOW use it on a 4473 and enforce via NICS [National Instant Check System],” he explained, admitting that while “ATF’s latest change does mimic a government-wide 1997 directive from the Office of Management and Budget, that directive only pertained to agency action such as statistical reporting, general program administrative and grant reporting, and civil rights and other compliance reporting.

 

“Plus, he added, “it was supposed to be implemented by 2003.”

 

“There are key differences here,” Nappen elaborated, explaining “A 4473 is not included in the above categories. A 4473 is not agency ‘reporting.’ It is a mandatory government document that stands between us and the free exercise of a right."

 

“Because it is blatantly racist, strict scrutiny applies here and three tests must be satisfied for it to be lawful,” he continued. “It must be justified by a compelling governmental interest, it must be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest, and it must be the least restrictive means for achieving that interest.”

 

“This is a big fail and I am considering suing in Federal Court and getting my attorney fees paid by the government because it is a civil rights violation,” Nappen revealed.

 

I think he's right and hope he sues and wins.

Link to post
Share on other sites

IG Report to Come Out This Summer

 

It's not surprising how NPR treated the issue...

 

Probably the biggest item on the Horowitz agenda is a long-awaited report on Fast and Furious. That's the flawed gun sting in Arizona, where ATF agents lost track of 2,000 guns. Some later turned up at crime scenes, including the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

 

They expect that their audience will not know of this operation, since it has only resulted in a bipartisan contempt vote against the Attorney General and a very questionable claim of executive privilege. Nothing serious.

 

Just a foul up in which some agents lost track of some guns. Over and over. For almost a year. Despite repeated warnings from various quarters that this was crazy. These darn agents just kept screwing up, as government employees are prone to doing. They screwed up and screwed up, making the same mistake hundreds of times without learning or altering their behavior until finally Agent Terry was killed. Then I guess the agents must have been told to stop screwing up so bad, or something.

 

I'm not really widely known for my trust in government, but this story is absolutely ludicrous and the fact that it has become the standard propaganda line on this scandal is proof that Goebbels was right about repeating a lie often enough.

 

Actually, NPR has talked about this story at length. Maybe not in as much detail as you would like, but I would bet they've covered it far more than the other traditional news outlets have. I would say that the NPR audience (of which I'm a regular) is far more informed than the general populace on most things.

 

I'm an occasional listener and agree that the reporting is generally good, but "the flawed gun sting in Arizona, where ATF agents lost track of 2,000 guns" does not begin to describe what happened. All you have to know is the duration and scale of the operation and it leads inevitably to the conclusion that the agents are unbelievably bumbling fools or something else was going on. Unbelievably is unbelievably. Can not be believed.

 

Yet Goebbels' rule seems to be at work. There are countless examples of that description in this thread alone and I quit dragging them here and ranting about them quite a while back. It still irritates me, so I couldn't resist ranting again. NPR repeated the spin and wound up in the crosshairs this time, but it really could have been anyone, including Fox.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Grassley: The Justice Department has “special rules” regarding how its attorneys may be quoted by the press?

 

Republican Senator Charles Grassley slammed the Department of Justice Thursday not only over the Fast and Furious dispute, but for what he called an abuse of power by a DoJ attorney in Louisiana.

 

His remarks, to the Executive Committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened with the observation that, “I understand the frustrations of the House leadership and understand why the House held Attorney General Holder in contempt.”

 

Grassley recalled that on the day before the historic contempt vote – which the Justice Department subsequently dismissed by insisting no crime had been committed by Attorney General Eric Holder when he ignored a congressional subpoena – the White House showed House staff less than 30 pages of documents, and offered to resolve the problem “in good faith.” However, he added, the White House “still refused to detail exactly what it was willing to provide or what it insisted on withholding.”

 

But his ire extended beyond his dealings with the White House. Grassley also related a report that a working journalist in Louisiana was told by a Justice Department attorney at a public meeting, “You can quote those who speak, but you can’t quote me.”

 

That female attorney allegedly asserted that the Justice Department has “special rules” regarding how its attorneys may be quoted by the press. According to Grassley, “She did not back up that statement.”

 

“Supposedly,” Grassley stated, “it’s Justice Department policy that the press would have fewer rights than the general public to quote what a government representative said. This undercuts the claim that ‘[t]his Administration has been the most transparent administration ever’.”

 

“As if this wasn’t enough,” the Iowa Republican observed, “she totally abused her power, according to press reports. She told the reporter that she could have the Justice Department call the newspaper’s publishers or editors, saying, ‘You don’t want to get on the Department of Justice’s bad side.’

 

“That statement,’ Grassley said, “represents a raw abuse of power. Threatening to use the power to bring a criminal case or civil action against an entity because it had the audacity to insist that the Department of Justice obey the First Amendment is outrageous.”

 

The picture Grassley painted with his remarks is of a Justice Department out of control with power. That impression existed before the agency refused to act on the House contempt vote, and this latest incident only serves to reinforce that image.

 

“If the Department has a policy of preventing the press from quoting the statements of its attorneys at public meetings,” Grassley stated, “that policy should be reversed immediately. And whether it has a policy or not, the attorney who claimed that such a policy existed, tried to expel a reporter from a public meeting for quoting her, and threatened the reporter for ‘get[ting] on the Department of Justice’s bad side,’ should be appropriately disciplined.”

 

Telling the reporter not to quote her was pretty bad, but threatening the newspaper's publishers or editors with the DOJ's "bad side" is worse, IMO. Even if her employer is a corporation, it has first amendment rights too, and threatening the institution will have a more chilling effect on speech than threatening the reporter.

 

It's important to note that hypothetically, the Supreme Court might have gone a different way on corporate first amendment rights 50 years ago, in which case the newspaper could act on behalf of the reporter's first amendment rights instead of its own. This may seem a bit vexing and complicated, but it is an extremely important hypothetical.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Grassley: The Justice Department has "special rules" regarding how its attorneys may be quoted by the press?

 

 

Telling the reporter not to quote her was pretty bad, but threatening the newspaper's publishers or editors with the DOJ's "bad side" is worse, IMO. Even if her employer is a corporation, it has first amendment rights too, and threatening the institution will have a more chilling effect on speech than threatening the reporter.

 

It's important to note that hypothetically, the Supreme Court might have gone a different way on corporate first amendment rights 50 years ago, in which case the newspaper could act on behalf of the reporter's first amendment rights instead of its own. This may seem a bit vexing and complicated, but it is an extremely important hypothetical.

 

You went from having an excellent opinon on F&F direct into tedious and fucking annoying with your last paragraph. We're not your children or your dog, so stop being such a jackass, please. I'll bet your wife LOVES to have a conversation with you dry.gif

 

My opinion in the first paragraph was not really on Fast and Furious. It was a hijack into the area of personal and corporate first amendment rights, since those were clearly threatened by the alleged actions of the DOJ attorney. It wound up here because of the source and Grassley's related FnF comments in the same article.

 

The last time I remember Grassley repeating what seemed like outlandish allegations of serious governmental misconduct, the situation in question was Fast and Furious.

Link to post
Share on other sites

DOJ Withheld Fast and Furious Whistleblower Memo

 

The memos, obtained by the Washington Guardian, were triggered by the agents' allegations, Justice officials confirmed. In them, ATF officials in Washington instructed field supervisors not to retaliate against the agents in Arizona who complained they had been ordered to let semiautomatic weapons flow to suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels rather than interdicting them.

 

Even as the warning was being sent, Obama administration political appointees were publicly undercutting the agents’ credibility, insisting to Congress that ATF never knowingly let weapons cross the border into Mexico’s violent drug wars - a denial that turned out to be false.

 

...

 

The two Republicans leading the probe into the bungled ATF gun operation told the Washington Guardian on Monday that the whistleblower memo shows that the Justice Department should have taken more time to review the agents’ claims before issuing false denials that ATF had not engaged in gun walking.

 

“It's inexcusable that the Justice Department withheld evidence of yet another red flag that ATF walked guns,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee whose initial investigation disclosed the agents’ concerns in early 2011. It was Grassley who was the recipient of the Feb. 4, 2011 letter from Justice that inaccurately denied gunwalking had occurred.

 

“As DOJ's denial was being crafted, some in ATF were alerting senior management that whistleblower protection guidance was in order because another agent had backed up the initial reports of gunwalking,” Grassley said. “The Justice Department is denying the public a full understanding of what it knew and when by sitting on documents like these that might be embarrassing.”

 

 

 

 

Transparency is good. Sometimes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It appears Fast and Furious was put in play as a political football in the Presidential race by Romney on Hannity.

 

"Well how about the transparency of a President who through executive privilege is preventing the American people from finding out what happened in the Fast and Furious program," Romney said. "If there is transparency that needs to be considered here, it's the lack of transparency in his administration to let the American people know what has happened in a scandalous activity known as Fast and Furious. ..."

 

 

It looks like this guy thought he had a scoop:

 

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney lashed out Tuesday at President Obama for a lack of “transparency’’ in invoking executive privilege to withhold Operation Fast and Furious documents.

 

In a release headlined “Transparent Hypocrisy: Obama’s Fast and Furious Broken Promises,’’ Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said: “President Obama’s pledge to be transparent has turned out to be just another broken promise.’’

 

The statement is an effort by the presumed GOP candidate to push back at Obama attacks on Romney’s limited release of tax returns and his tenure at Bain Capital, which invested in companies that laid off workers or specialized in outsourcing.

 

It is also Romney’s first foray into the thicket of Fast and Furious, the 2009-2010 ATF operation in which Phoenix-based agents were instructed to let Mexican cartel intermediaries purchase weapons rather than stopping them.

 

The aim was to track the weapons to Mexico as part of a broad investigation to link U.S. gun purchases to the drug cartels, whose conflict with Mexican authorities has resulted in 50,000 deaths.

 

But as a result, 2,000 or more weapons were smuggled into Mexico while agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives watched and waited.

 

When two of those weapons were found at the site in Southern Arizona where Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot and killed in December 2010, Fast and Furious percolated into a full-throated Washington brouhaha.

 

 

Well, no, not quite Romney's first foray, but close to it. I'm not going to pick on him because his summary of the Fast and Furious scandal is a whole lot more accurate than the usual "some agents lost track of some guns" propaganda line.

 

In other news, these folks are offering $100k for a Fast and Furious whistleblower to rat on Obama or Holder. :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

ATF Video Warns Employees Not To Be Whistleblowers

 

Sen Grassley Reacts To Whistleblower Warning

 

In a video message released to ATF staff on July 9, 2012, ATF Acting Director Todd Jones says, “… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don't respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

 

Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, stating that the essence of whistleblowing is reporting problems outside of an employee’s chain of command, and whistleblowers were instrumental in exposing the shortcomings of the government’s botched gun-walking operation, Fast and Furious. Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, “Your ominous message – which could be interpreted as a threat – is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified.”

 

Key Fast and Furious Documents, for those interested in this branch line of the Transparency Express... ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, "Your ominous message – which could be interpreted as a threat – is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified."

 

 

Needs to be clarified? What part of that message wasn't a clear threat not to whistleblow???

 

He's a Senator. They have to talk that way. This is what it is like when he's being a bit more assertive:

 

***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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Inspector General's Report On Gunwalking Coming

 

...in weeks not months is the latest update as of a couple of days ago.

 

coming within the week and should be interesting reading:

 

Congressional report blasts ATF managers in Fast and Furious gun operation

Los Angeles Times | Jul 30, 2012 | 4:27 PM Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials – from the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field office to the top man in the bureau’s Washington headquarters – are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.”

 

The investigators, in a final report likely to be released this week, also unearthed evidence that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix initially sought to hide from the Mexican government the crucial information that two Fast and Furious firearms were recovered after the brother of a Mexican state attorney general was killed.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

My conclusion from reading the above report: we need to abolish the ATF and merge its legitimate functions into the FBI.

 

With the initiation of Operation Head Shot, the FBI obtained information from the DEA wire regarding the targets of the investigation and their contacts with Fast and Furious targets. The targets in Operation Head Shot were arranging for the purchase and delivery of weapons from the Fast and Furious straw buying ring with the intent to traffick the guns to Mexico. Although the FBI had participated in the OCDETF approval process, FBI officials apparently did not recognize that ATF's proposed OCDETF case had targets associated with targets in Operation Head Shot. Further, the FBI never pursued weapons trafficking charges or followed up with ATF on such charges against its drug trafficking targets in the months to come. The FBI therefore bears partial responsibility for some of the failures of Fast and Furious. ATF would spend the next seven months allowing guns to walk in order to identify the firearms traffickers ultimately receiving the weapons acquired by the straw purchasers—yet the FBI and DEA, through Operation Head Shot, already knew who these individuals were.

 

The whole operation should never have happened. We already knew who all the straw buyers were and who they were buying for before it began.

 

The original Wide Receiver prosecution was shut down when prosecutors realized how many guns had been allowed to walk, and that ATF had misled them about the cooperation of gun dealers. That case was revived under the Obama administration, which is what led Gunwalker Bill Newell to believe that gunwalking was acceptable again.

 

To overcome possible political embarrassment about the number of guns walked in Wide Receiver, the strategy was to bury that info among a bunch of cases:

 

"[T]he best way to announce the case without highlighting the negative part of the story and risking embarrassing ATF is as part of Deliverance." --Jason Weinstein, pg 85

 

Project Deliverance was the name given to an umbrella project to announce various cases from around the country to the public all at once. By proposing to include Wide Receiver as part of Project Deliverance, the Justice Department apparently hoped to bury the case among others to minimize the media attention and fallout.

 

These contemporaneous e-mails stand in stark contrast to the outrage Weinstein professed to congressional investigators that he felt over Wide Receiver. Weinstein testified: "I was stunned by those tactics which were unlike anything I had encountered in my career as a prosecutor; and, although the tactics had been used years earlier, I was sufficiently troubled by them that I raised them with Mr. Breuer and at his direction with top officials at ATF. I made clear to ATF my concerns about the tactics, and I was satisfied that ATF leadership shared those concerns and viewed those tactics as unacceptable."240

 

...

 

Newell apparently began to believe that the new political leadership in the Justice Department in 2009 might welcome the use of the previously eschewed investigative tactics. Two early efforts by the new Department leadership sent such signals. One was that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division at Justice Department headquarters, assigned a prosecutor to Arizona to resurrect and prosecute the Wide Receiver case despite its use of gunwalking tactics. The U.S. Attorney's Office had not previously prosecuted Wide Receiver because ATF had not been forthcoming about the use of these controversial tactics. As one individual in ATF's Phoenix Field Division summarized on August 3, 2009, when proposing that the Criminal Division consider the case, the "AUSA was . . . pushing back w/ moral dilemma w/ the G[overnment] allowing the targets to traffic 300+ firearms to Mexico."480 Breuer's Criminal Division found no problems with prosecuting the case and formally accepted it at the end of September 2009.481 It may have appeared to Newell that gunwalking tactics were no longer a bar from prosecution.

 

The main target of the investigation was actually arrested a couple of times. Sunshine Bear MacAllister does not come off so bright in this one:

 

MacAllister asked Celis-Acosta to prepare a new written statement based on everything he had said in the interview.290 The ROI then describes Celis-Acosta being let go after asking MacAllister to write her contact information on a ten dollar bill and promising to call her when he returned to Mexico

 

...

 

Two weeks later the ROI noted, "As of June 16, 2010, CELIS-ACOSTA has not initiated any contact with S/A MacAllister."293 The fact that the main target in ATF's most important investigation never contacted the case agent after this encounter with law enforcement should not have come as a surprise to ATF and the Department. Without charging him with anything, Celis-Acosta had no incentive whatsoever to cooperate.

 

Really. The head case agent asked the prime suspect to please call her when he got to Mexico. Oddly enough, he did not. :blink: Dumber than your average bear.

 

Deputy Director Hoover was slammed for his negligence and lack of the kind of supervision he mustered back in 2007:

 

The fact that at least as early as April 2010 Hoover learned that weapons had walked in Operation Wide Receiver compounds his failure to recognize the warning signs in Operation Fast and Furious. Hoover knew Wide Receiver had been run out of ATF's Phoenix Field Division, and the discussion with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein about guns being walked in that case should have set off warning bells for Hoover more than anyone else in ATF, since Hoover had already had concerns about Newell's use of such tactics. Since Weinstein raised these issues with Hoover directly, Hoover should have exercised the leadership expected of the Deputy Director. Hoover understood the dangers of the lack of interdiction in Fast and Furious. He took no action, however, to prevent the uncontrolled distribution of the weapons once they left the FFLs.

 

...

 

Perhaps Hoover's biggest failure as Deputy Director of ATF was his lack of close supervision of SAC Newell. Several years before Fast and Furious began, dating back to 2006, Hoover knew that Bill Newell was willing to employ risky tactics in his investigations. SAC Newell oversaw multiple cases during his early days as Phoenix SAC that utilized either gunwalking or controlled deliveries across the border as investigative techniques.

 

Hoover knew about Newell's prior operations, and he did not condone them. Upon learning about the Hernandez case in 2007, Hoover, then Assistant Director of Field Operations, demanded answers from Newell about the operation. Newell first reassured Hoover by stating that Newell had conducted similar operations "all the time in Colombia."654 Newell finally recognized that Hoover had serious concerns about the Hernandez operation. He wrote to Hoover in an e-mail:

 

"OK, I know you have reservations but please rest assured that this will go down as planned, as allowed per MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) with Mexico, with full approval of the USAO (confirmed again late this afternoon), and will have big payoffs for us and the Department in addressing Mexico's concerns that we (US) aren't doing enough to address their concerns. Trust me, I'm with Gov't."655

 

At that time, Hoover did not rely on Newell's assurances. He sought clarification from ATF Counsel as to whether Newell was operating within the bounds of the law.656

 

When Hoover learned that the Mexican authorities had missed one of the loads of weapons crossing the border during a controlled delivery in the Hernandez case, he was furious. As Assistant Director for Field Operations, Hoover gave unambiguous orders. He stated:

 

"I do not want any firearms to go South until further notice. I expect a full briefing paper on my desk Tuesday morning from SAC Newell with every question answered. I will not allow this case to go forward until we have written documentation from the U.S. Attorney's Office re full and complete buy in."657

 

Hoover admitted to "frustration" with Bill Newell and the Phoenix Field Division, and he expressed his dissatisfaction with Newell regarding the lack of information he received about Newell's operation: "SAC Newell should understand that I will need complete answers to every question I have had to this point."

 

Hoover did not ask Newell questions about Operation Fast and Furious similar to the ones he asked of him back in 2007 upon learning of the Hernandez operation. Hoover believed that Newell had learned his lesson. Hoover testified:

 

Q. And so, based on this experience, don't you think Newell, being the head of -- you know, the SAC, still had the obligation to alert headquarters of all the specific things that were going on here?

 

A. Well, again --

 

Q. Aren't you angry that they didn't?

 

A. I think what needs -- that would be a life's lesson for Bill Newell: Make sure you have these things in place as you move forward.

 

Q. But he had the life's lesson back in '07.

 

A. That's what I'm talking about.

 

Hoover believed issues with Newell had been resolved after the 2007 issue. Hoover stated:

 

"I think the 2007 issue – subsequent to that email, I had an opportunity to talk to Bill and Carson, and I think we came to a pretty clear understanding of what was expected. I did not have any issues after that with allowing Bill to run his field division."659

 

Yet when a large gun trafficking case emerged from the Phoenix Field Division in 2009, a case where senior officials in ATF headquarters, including Hoover, were concerned about the number of weapons, Hoover apparently trusted that his instructions to Newell from two years earlier were sufficient. They were not.

 

Hoover had a responsibility to ensure that the largest gun trafficking case in ATF at the time was operating according to ATF and Justice Department guidelines. Knowing that the SAC of the field division overseeing the case had problems with investigations in the past, Hoover should have asked the tough questions of Newell and obtained the information he required—just as he did back in the 2007 Hernandez case.

 

As Deputy Director, Hoover was ATF's chief operating officer. He came up through the ranks as a field agent and was well respected throughout ATF. He understood the ATF, having spent the bulk of his professional career there, but fell short in his duty to protect public safety during Fast and Furious.

 

 

Senior officials from Melson and Hoover on down were concerned about the number of guns that were walking and were urging (but not ordering) subordinates to conclude the operation for ten months, well beyond the 90 day time frame they allowed for an exit strategy. The federal wiretap applications, interactions with DOJ in DC, and Melson's notes to Holder already indicate a good deal of high level DOJ knowledge about Fast and Furious prior to Agent Terry's murder.

 

The pattern of activity after his death shows that the primary concern was to deflect and cover up the fact that ATF had walked so many guns for so long and no one had stopped it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

ATF head doesn't want to hear from the gun dealer at the very start of it all: Wide Receiver Confidential Informant Mike Detty

 

Firearms dealer Mike Detty, who sold about 450 guns to straw purchasers under the assurances of his ATF handlers that they would be under surveillance, attempted to give Jones operational information both in person and by letter earlier this year, only to be ignored.

 

“I met him in the Sig booth at SHOT this year,” Detty told this correspondent. “I asked one of his people if he had time to say hello to another former Marine. He came over with a big smile and shook hands. I handed him a business card and told him, ‘If you're serious about getting to the bottom of the gunwalking scandal you'll need to start at the beginning--that's me and Operation Wide Receiver.’

 

“He nodded and said he'd be in touch,” Detty continued. “Several weeks later I sent him a letter with my contact info and offer to help. Nothing.”

 

...

 

(letter from Detty to Jones)

“Operation Wide Receiver accounted for 450 guns being lost across the border but there were two other major cases that I brought to ATF that accounted for at least another 200 guns that are now in cartel hands,” Detty related. “As a CI it was not my place to question ATF’s motives or demand a detailed plan of action. I had assumed that my efforts would truly be used to help take down a powerful cartel.”

 

“If you’re sincere in wanting to get to the bottom of the gunwalking scandal then you’ll need to start at the beginning and that is me and Operation Wide Receiver,” Detty advised Jones. “Throughout my time as a CI, I kept meticulous notes--some 600 pages worth. In fact, it was my journal that raised the ire of SAC Newell. Once he learned of my documentation he ordered the field agents not to accept any new cases from me. He knew immediately that my records, irrefutable and unimpeachable, would prove troublesome for him at some point in the future.”

 

 

 

 

...

 

 

 

 

To date, Jones has ignored this resource who can provide not only vast and detailed personal recollections, but actual documentation to back up his testimony. Instead, the acting director has pursued a course to relegate the actions of ATF managers involved in Operation Fast and Furious to a personnel issue instead of a criminal matter, and recently stirred up controversy with an in-house video widely perceived to be a chilling warning to whistleblowers.

 

The unwillingness of the acting director to even have a subordinate contact Detty is revealing, particularly since Jones publicly laments his agency is “under the microscope” and that running it is “testing all of [his] skill sets.” It’s also curious, as the former confidential informant has first-hand information about his dealings with former Phoenix Field Office Special Agent in Charge William Newell, one of five ATF careerists identified as culpable for Fast and Furious gunwalking in the Congressional joint staff report recently prepared for Rep. Darrrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, who “quickly forwarded information about such recoveries to ATF headquarters, where ATF senior officials became fully informed of the early ‘successes’ of the operation.”

 

That Jones does not wish to create a record of receiving information from any source outside his control indicates many things, but a commitment to use all means to determine the truth does not appear to be one of them.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd actually abolish some of the legitimate functions of the DEA, then integrate the rest.

 

The failure of these different agencies to coordinate was striking. Reader's Digest version:

 

FBI and DEA investigating some guy, get a wire tap. Later on, the guy comes to ATF's attention. They also get a wire tap approved, and they go and check with other agencies to see if anyone else is listening to the same phones. FBI and DEA say yes, we are, and here's all the stuff we've learned.

 

ATF did exactly nothing with the stuff they were handed, and instead launched Fast and Furious to go get the guy.

 

This would be crazy even if FnF were a legitimate investigation, run properly, which it clearly was not.

 

It all puts a new light on this:

 

Asked during a congressional hearing last year how ATF planned to arrest Mexican cartel kingpins implicated in such crimes, Newell responded that agents would simply inform Mexican authorities and nothing more.

 

So after not listening to the DEA and FBI and not telling the Mexicans we were sending thousands of guns their way, the plan was to inform the Mexican authorities of the identities of cartel figures?

 

And nobody thought they should perhaps tell Hillary about all this?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd actually abolish some of the legitimate functions of the DEA, then integrate the rest.

 

The failure of these different agencies to coordinate was striking. Reader's Digest version:

 

FBI and DEA investigating some guy, get a wire tap. Later on, the guy comes to ATF's attention. They also get a wire tap approved, and they go and check with other agencies to see if anyone else is listening to the same phones. FBI and DEA say yes, we are, and here's all the stuff we've learned.

 

ATF did exactly nothing with the stuff they were handed, and instead launched Fast and Furious to go get the guy.

 

This would be crazy even if FnF were a legitimate investigation, run properly, which it clearly was not.

 

It all puts a new light on this:

 

Asked during a congressional hearing last year how ATF planned to arrest Mexican cartel kingpins implicated in such crimes, Newell responded that agents would simply inform Mexican authorities and nothing more.

 

So after not listening to the DEA and FBI and not telling the Mexicans we were sending thousands of guns their way, the plan was to inform the Mexican authorities of the identities of cartel figures?

 

And nobody thought they should perhaps tell Hillary about all this?

 

Separate budgets, and competition for space at the public trough to replenish those budgets is an inhibitor to collaboration and cooperation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd actually abolish some of the legitimate functions of the DEA, then integrate the rest.

 

The failure of these different agencies to coordinate was striking. Reader's Digest version:

 

FBI and DEA investigating some guy, get a wire tap. Later on, the guy comes to ATF's attention. They also get a wire tap approved, and they go and check with other agencies to see if anyone else is listening to the same phones. FBI and DEA say yes, we are, and here's all the stuff we've learned.

 

ATF did exactly nothing with the stuff they were handed, and instead launched Fast and Furious to go get the guy.

 

This would be crazy even if FnF were a legitimate investigation, run properly, which it clearly was not.

 

It all puts a new light on this:

 

Asked during a congressional hearing last year how ATF planned to arrest Mexican cartel kingpins implicated in such crimes, Newell responded that agents would simply inform Mexican authorities and nothing more.

 

So after not listening to the DEA and FBI and not telling the Mexicans we were sending thousands of guns their way, the plan was to inform the Mexican authorities of the identities of cartel figures?

 

And nobody thought they should perhaps tell Hillary about all this?

Hillary was waaaaayyyyy too busy studying the international implications of the Keystone Pipeline.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd actually abolish some of the legitimate functions of the DEA, then integrate the rest.

 

The failure of these different agencies to coordinate was striking. Reader's Digest version:

 

FBI and DEA investigating some guy, get a wire tap. Later on, the guy comes to ATF's attention. They also get a wire tap approved, and they go and check with other agencies to see if anyone else is listening to the same phones. FBI and DEA say yes, we are, and here's all the stuff we've learned.

 

ATF did exactly nothing with the stuff they were handed, and instead launched Fast and Furious to go get the guy.

 

This would be crazy even if FnF were a legitimate investigation, run properly, which it clearly was not.

 

It all puts a new light on this:

 

Asked during a congressional hearing last year how ATF planned to arrest Mexican cartel kingpins implicated in such crimes, Newell responded that agents would simply inform Mexican authorities and nothing more.

 

So after not listening to the DEA and FBI and not telling the Mexicans we were sending thousands of guns their way, the plan was to inform the Mexican authorities of the identities of cartel figures?

 

And nobody thought they should perhaps tell Hillary about all this?

 

Separate budgets, and competition for space at the public trough to replenish those budgets is an inhibitor to collaboration and cooperation.

 

It does appear that obtaining and maintaining a federal wire tap was regarded as a feather in the cap by some at ATF, mostly because it is seldom done in firearms investigations and because they are kind of hard to get. The fact that they were trying to learn the identity of a person already known to the FBI and DEA was not exactly helpful.

 

Maybe that's why they initially did nothing with the info that the FBI and DEA gave them. Maintaining the wire seems to have become a cause in itself, possibly the reason the operation was carried on for months after Hoover and Melson were trying to shut it down. Either of them could have tried harder, and Hoover did in 2007, but somehow it was different by 2010.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fast and Furious Whistleblower Reaches Settlement Agreement Over Retaliation Claims

Peter Forcelli, an ATF agent who blew the whistle on management lapses in the gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious, has reached an agreement with the bureau over his retaliation claims.

 

A lawyer for Forcelli declined to disclose the terms of the settlement because it was the product of a confidential mediation process.

 

"We can't reveal the details but Mr. Forcelli's smile could not be broader," lawyer Tom Devine, of the Government Accountability Project, told NPR in an interview. "This outcome was a 180 degree reversal by new management... This dispute is over."

 

Forcelli appeared in Congress in June 2011 to blast his supervisors and the U.S. attorney in Arizona for failing to oversee a law enforcement operation that lost track of as many as 2,000 guns along the Southwest border.

 

"What we have here is actually a colossal failure in leadership from within ATF, within the chain of command involved in this case, within the United States attorney's office and within DOJ as to the individuals who were aware of this strategy," Forcelli testified.

 

Forcelli said he never understood the strategy behind the ATF operation. To watch guns walk across the Southwest border, he said, was a recipe for disaster.

 

"We weren't giving guns to people who were hunting bear. We were giving guns to people who were killing other humans," he said.

 

Is "watching guns walk across the border" and "giving them to people who were killing other humans" really best summed up by saying they "lost track" of guns.

 

Losing track of something is generally not an intentional act. Gunwalking was intentional.

 

But if you suggest the wrong problem, people will ask the wrong questions in trying to solve it, and if you get them asking the wrong questions, nothing else matters. <_<

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering when this would happen...

 

A weapon tied to "Operation Fast and Furious" was seized in Tijuana in connection with a drug cartel's conspiracy to kill the police chief of Tijuana, Baja California, who later became the Juárez police chief, according to a U.S. government report.

 

...

 

 

Last month, "Proceso," Mexico's national investigative magazine, reported that a Mexican lawyer and law experts in the United States are preparing a lawsuit against the ATF over Fast and Furious. Such a lawsuit has not been filed yet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It would also make a great false flag excuse for 2nd Amendment restrictions in this country

 

It would also make a great false flag excuse for 2nd Amendment restrictions in this country

Link to post
Share on other sites

Issa to sue Holder

 

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa plans to sue Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday for refusing to provide documents related to the "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling operation.

 

"The committee expects to file the civil contempt suit against the attorney general Monday," a Republican source said. The suit will be filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia.

 

The action is the latest escalation in the dispute between House Republicans and the Justice Department over the documents, which relate to a botched gun-smuggling operation.

 

On June 28, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress and authorized the Oversight panel to bring suit to enforce its rights.

 

In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns to "walk," which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.

 

The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's murder scene.

 

In the most recent conflict between Congress and the president over a Congressional subpoena, Democrats' and Republicans' roles were reversed.

 

The Democratic-led House held two White House aides, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued to the George W. Bush administration. Republicans, including Issa, defended the administration, while Democrats said it was unlawful.

 

After the House held Miers and Bolten in contempt, the Judiciary Committee sued the two aides in federal district court.

 

In August 2008, a federal judge ordered Miers to testify and Bolten to turn over documents, overruling the administration's claim of executive privilege. That ruling was appealed.

 

In March 2009, a year after the suit was filed, Miers and Karl Rove, who had also become ensnared in a separate contempt proceeding, agreed to testify behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee. The deal broke the stalemate.

 

Based on the previous timeline, it should be a couple of years before a federal court order forces closed-door cooperation with Congress.

 

The previous episode, in which Democrats were trying to get a Republican administration to comply with a Congressional subpoena, illustrates why I don't trust Issa to oversee a Romney administration, any more than I would trust Cummings to oversee this administration.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Newt for Bomb Thrower!

 

TheDC asked Gingrich if he would send Capitol Hill police to arrest Holder, as the Washington Times had suggested the House could, now that he is in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress.

 

“No,” Gingrich said in response, during a wide-ranging interview with TheDC staff in the news outlet’s Washington, D.C., offices. “If I were speaker, I’d cut off funding because that’s real. If I were speaker, I’d announce that we’re not moving any appropriations for the Justice Department as long as Holder is attorney general.”

 

“The reason [former President Bill] Clinton and I got a lot done is we both understood what was real,” Gingrich added. “Yeah, we held press conferences and we postured, but we had real brawls. We closed the government. We had real fights and people got it. The reason we were re-elected in ’96 is we had the guts to close the government.”

Link to post
Share on other sites

Newt for Bomb Thrower!

 

TheDC asked Gingrich if he would send Capitol Hill police to arrest Holder, as the Washington Times had suggested the House could, now that he is in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress.

 

“No,” Gingrich said in response, during a wide-ranging interview with TheDC staff in the news outlet’s Washington, D.C., offices. “If I were speaker, I’d cut off funding because that’s real. If I were speaker, I’d announce that we’re not moving any appropriations for the Justice Department as long as Holder is attorney general.”

 

“The reason [former President Bill] Clinton and I got a lot done is we both understood what was real,” Gingrich added. “Yeah, we held press conferences and we postured, but we had real brawls. We closed the government. We had real fights and people got it. The reason we were re-elected in ’96 is we had the guts to close the government.”

 

Boehner took part in the coup that over-threw Newt. Newt couldn't resist the opportunity to call him a pussy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Issa to sue Holder

 

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa plans to sue Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday for refusing to provide documents related to the "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling operation.

 

"The committee expects to file the civil contempt suit against the attorney general Monday," a Republican source said. The suit will be filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia.

 

The action is the latest escalation in the dispute between House Republicans and the Justice Department over the documents, which relate to a botched gun-smuggling operation.

 

On June 28, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress and authorized the Oversight panel to bring suit to enforce its rights.

 

In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns to "walk," which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.

 

The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's murder scene.

 

In the most recent conflict between Congress and the president over a Congressional subpoena, Democrats' and Republicans' roles were reversed.

 

The Democratic-led House held two White House aides, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued to the George W. Bush administration. Republicans, including Issa, defended the administration, while Democrats said it was unlawful.

 

After the House held Miers and Bolten in contempt, the Judiciary Committee sued the two aides in federal district court.

 

In August 2008, a federal judge ordered Miers to testify and Bolten to turn over documents, overruling the administration's claim of executive privilege. That ruling was appealed.

 

In March 2009, a year after the suit was filed, Miers and Karl Rove, who had also become ensnared in a separate contempt proceeding, agreed to testify behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee. The deal broke the stalemate.

 

Based on the previous timeline, it should be a couple of years before a federal court order forces closed-door cooperation with Congress.

 

The previous episode, in which Democrats were trying to get a Republican administration to comply with a Congressional subpoena, illustrates why I don't trust Issa to oversee a Romney administration, any more than I would trust Cummings to oversee this administration.

 

Somebody else is getting sued:

 

http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/lawsuit-claims-black-sacker-ban-from-big-sandy-grocery-store/article_211e8217-acdf-5489-8915-8f6cc7900470.html

Link to post
Share on other sites

More on the lawsuit:

 

A civil lawsuit filed Monday by House Republicans asks a federal court to enforce a congressional subpoena of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in his refusal to turn over documents sought in an investigation by a House committee into the failed Fast and Furious gunrunning operation.

 

House Speaker John A. Boehner said in a statement the lawsuit seeks to overturn the Obama administration's "frivolous executives privilege claims," forcing the Justice Department to make public documents the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee claims could show who at the department was aware of the botched investigation and what they did about it.

 

Mr. Boehner said President Obama and his team were ignoring an Oct. 11 congressional subpoena — something the courts have long recognized as valid — and that lawmakers were left with no choice but to ask the U.S. District Court in Washington to referee.

 

"By stonewalling Congress and ignoring a contempt order, the Justice Department has left the House no choice but to take legal action so we can get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious operation that cost border Agent Brian Terry his life," Mr. Boehner said.

 

"After providing — then retracting — inaccurate information to Congress, Attorney General Holder has gone to extraordinary lengths to block access to subpoenaed documents and deny the efforts of the Terry family to get the truth," he said.

 

"The White House has been complicit in this effort to hide the truth by making executive privilege claims that have no merit, which is why today's action is necessary," the Ohio Republican said, adding that a bipartisan vote by the House to hold Mr. Holder in contempt "made clear that the Obama administration owes the Terry family and the American people the truth."

 

He said the House would continue to hold the administration accountable until it provides the documents and answers the questions sought by the committee "to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again."

 

The House voted a contempt of Congress citation against Mr. Holder on June 28 in a 255-67 vote for his refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents in the Fast and Furious investigation.

 

The committee inquiry began in December 2010 after the death of Terry. Two AK-47 semiautomatic weapons purchased by straw buyers as part of Fast and Furious were found at the site of the Terry killing.

 

More than 2,000 weapons were purchased from Arizona gun shops during the lengthy operation, about 1,000 of which remain unaccounted for. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents were told to stand down instead of interdicting the weapons. The Fast and Furious operation was supposed to track the guns being sold to Mexican cartels to identify the actual buyers, but the ATF lost track of the weapons.

 

The White House, which had first said it would try to work out a way to release the documents but that they didn't show anything incriminating, later reversed course and claimed executive privilege, thus preventing the Justice Department from releasing the records.

 

Department officials have said they were willing to negotiate over the documents but the committee sought instead to litigate the matter.

 

Republicans on Capitol Hill want to know who approved the ATF operation and have rejected Obama administration assurances that it was lower-level staffers. Released emails and documents paint a complex picture, showing some details either were or should have been noticed by high-level Justice Department officials.

 

Mr. Holder has disputed those characterizations — though he has already had to retract an official communication to Congress that had false information about the operation itself, and has also officially withdrawn part of his own testimony that seemed to suggest one of his predecessors under President George W. Bush had known of a similar operation.

 

Among other things, the lawsuit seeks documents showing why the Justice Department took 10 months to retract a Feb. 4, 2011, statement that contained false denials of the investigative tactics used in Fast and Furious. It also notes that minutes before the House committee convened a business meeting to consider the Holder contempt citation, Mr. Obama invoked an eleventh-hour assertion of executive privilege over the documents. The lawsuit asks the federal court to rule Mr. Obama's assertion of executive privilege invalid and to compel Mr. Holder to produce documents.

 

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the civil lawsuit "wastes taxpayer dollars and resources," calling it a "distraction from the urgent business before Congress: Acting to create jobs and grow our economy." She also said it was aimed at distracting the Justice Department from challenging state laws to tighten voting rules.

 

 

A pretty thorough article, but this bit still grates on me: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents were told to stand down instead of interdicting the weapons. The Fast and Furious operation was supposed to track the guns being sold to Mexican cartels to identify the actual buyers, but the ATF lost track of the weapons.

 

Yes, that's right. Somehow, after being told to stand down instead of interdicting the weapons, they lost track of them. :rolleyes: When you put it alongside part of what actually happened, it makes even less sense. Include the rest of what happened, namely the creation of a suspect guns database filled with guns they walked and the traces they performed using that database, and it begins to suggest what the actual problem here was. Of course, it could be that the problem here is that the AG is a black guy, or that state voting rules are in controversy, but I think that there was some other problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite the much louder noise about straw purchases from retail gun dealers, the largest single source of cartel guns is the US Direct Commercial Sales program, under which our gun makers can sell directly to foreign governments. So if a US gun manufacturer sells a load of weapons to the Mexican military, how do they wind up in cartel hands?

 

This is how.

Link to post
Share on other sites

More gunwalking

 

Documents made available to Gun Rights Examiner this week from a source close to the case of FBI agent John Shipley, convicted of dealing in firearms without a license, bolster defense claims that he was merely an active collector, and further reveal evidence of guns being smuggled to Mexico following ATF-directed deals by suspects under extended surveillance. A mysterious receipt for a gun sale to a Mexican resident, reports of investigation that include suspect interviews, trial transcripts, government press releases, Mexico weapons recovery pictures and the indictment of a trafficking suspect all lend credible support to concerns that the government itself engaged in wrongdoing.

 

...

 

“This is a photocopied receipt of sale for Barrett #20488 that was recovered in Mexico,” the source told Gun Rights Examiner, indicating the sale took place on the premises of Collector’s Gun Exchange, a business that was cooperating with ATF, to one Jonatan Lopez Gutierrez on 12/19/07.”

 

...

 

Look closely at the photo accompanying this article and note something very strange indeed.

 

“The address on Lopez’s license is in Juarez, Mexico,” the source pointed out. “It is illegal to sell a firearm to a resident of Mexico. [The] FFL would not [participate in the sale of] a firearm to a non-immigrant unless it was done with the permission of the ATF to further an ongoing investigation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A few more on the Shipley case. It's bizarre.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/documents-confirm-atf-surveillance-u-s-before-gun-found-mexico

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/reports-point-to-atf-oversight-and-authorization-of-illegal-rifle-sale

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/documents-show-prejudicial-tactics-helped-result-shipley-conviction

 

The lesson I would draw from all this if I were a licensed dealer or collector would be: never, ever talk to the ATF for any reason. All comms in writing only.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shipley is in prison because of a gunwalking cover up

 

“After conducting a controlled delivery of the Barrett...the ATF allowed Lopez to traffic the firearm into Mexico,” the source observed, noting “this is the same ‘gun walking technique that the ATF used in operations ‘Wide Receiver’ and ‘Fast and Furious.’

 

“The ATF's assistance in trafficking the Barrett to Mexico was discovered because it was recovered at a shoot out and the Government of Mexico asked ATF to assist them in determining how the gun got to Mexico,” the source revealed. “ATF now had a problem. [They] couldn't tell Mexico that they allowed the gun to ‘walk’ and were directly responsible for the gun being trafficked to Mexico.

 

n FBI Agent Shipley's case, they didn't just lie to the American public, they lied under oath to a federal judge to obtain a search warrant for a FBI agent's house,” the source continued. “They knew Shipley wasn't involved, but they had to cover their own culpability. The ATF and the [Assistant U.S. Attorney] of El Paso convicted an innocent man to cover their own illegal activities.

 

“Although the ATF knew Lopez bought Barrett # 20488 from their informant and trafficked it to Mexico, [they] did not include this firearm in the indictment of Lopez even after Lopez admitted trafficking it to Mexico,” the source pointed out. “ATF didn't include this firearm in Lopez's indictment or charges because [they] would then be required to provide discovery documents that would prove that the ATF was directly responsible for the firearm being trafficked to Mexico.

 

“This would also prove that the Department of Justice Agent lied to a Federal Judge to obtain a search warrant to track how the firearm got to Mexico,” the source added.

 

“An innocent FBI Agent is in federal prison because of the criminal actions of the ATF and the DOJ,” the source concluded

Link to post
Share on other sites

Accountability Means Sweetheart Deals for stonewallers, for whistleblowers... not so much.

 

A letter sent today from Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa to B. Todd Jones, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, asked how “a top ATF official involved in Operation Fast and Furious…can remain on paid leave while simultaneously drawing an additional six figure salary from a major financial services company,” a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform release announced.

 

...

 

“Under any reading of the relevant personnel regulations, it appears that ATF management was under no obligation to approve this sort of arrangement. Given McMahon’s outsized role in the Fast and Furious scandal, the decision to approve an extended annual leave arrangement in order to attain pension eligibility and facilitate full-time, outside employment while still collecting a full-time salary at ATF raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement and the judgment of ATF management.

 

“ATF has essentially facilitated McMahon’s early retirement and ability to double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks—one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector,” the letter maintained. “Moreover, ATF did not wait for the Office of Inspector General to complete its report on Fast and Furious before approving the arrangement.

 

“This is in sharp contrast to the posture the agency has taken with whistleblowers like Special Agent John Dodson, who is told he must wait until the Inspector General’s report is complete before the agency will even consider his simple request for a statement retracting the false statements made about him by agency leadership,” the letter pointed out.

 

McMahon's second job? Working for JP Morgan.

 

Man, that set off a rant!

 

“J.P.Morgan has ATF's credit card account,” one source contacting this correspondent volunteered. “No big surprise that McMahon landed in a cushy job there.

 

...

 

“Wait a minute,” whistle-blowing agent and author of “No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels” Jay Dobyns wrote to ATF and Department of Justice lawyers and managers in an email this morning, referencing the McMahon report. “ATF and DOJ are suing me for over a half million dollars for an alleged violation of ATF’s media policy and alleged violations of my outside employment agreement while at the same time sanctioning McMahon to work full time outside of ATF?

“The charges against me a fabricated, embellished are nothing more than a retaliatory prosecution, and McMahon gets greased?” Dobyns continued.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Issa's comment on McMahon's second job:

 

“This is somebody who our reports said perjured himself before the Congress,” Issa charged. “We don’t understand why J.P. Morgan would hire somebody who’s lied to Congress, that will probably be referred for criminal prosecution.

 

Maybe they just need people who are skilled in the art of lying to Congress?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agent Shipley's family is trying to get Issa and Grassley's attention

 

“Enclosed are several Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reports, Department of Justice (DOJ) reports, trial transcripts and other pertinent evidence. Also included are explanations of the significance of each document,” Berchard R. Shipley, LTC (Ret), US Army, wrote in separate letters to Issa and Grassley, referencing the same documents Gun Rights Examiner posted in the recent related reports. As with those exhibits, the letters have been posted to this correspondent’s Scribd account here for the Issa letter and here for the Grassley letter.

Additionally, a timeline of events in the Shipley case, from the beginning of the investigation of trafficker Jonatan Lopez Gutierrez in August, 2007, through to the beginning of Shipley’s trial in April, 2010, has been posted so readers can understand and follow the sequence of events outlined in earlier Gun Rights Examiner reports..

In fairness, the earlier appeals were probably intercepted by staffers. That's been the case before. Longtime readers will recall it was only following a desperate (some would say “rude”) and very public appeal, first to Sen. Grassley’s staffers, and then to Rep. Issa, that both men involved themselves and the power of their offices in what was to become the Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

 

Reading his appeal, it seems pretty convincing. The problem he faces is: the ATF misconduct occurred under the previous administration. He's barking up the wrong tree. He needs to go to Cummings with this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The report is here, or part of it anyway. This is on the ATF side of things, the DOJ coverup will be covered later, apparently.

 

An article on it is here.

 

Another good summary article on the Congressional report on ATF gunwalking

 

At its heart, Operation Fast and Furious appears to have been an attempt by certain individuals within ATF, supported by senior DOJ officials, to play with the “big boys” by targeting kingpins within the Sinaloa drug cartel. In doing so, however, ATF abandoned its most basic mission.

Indeed, far from keeping guns from the bad guys, and in the interests of developing a case that would attract tremendous national media attention,[3] ATF allowed a small group of individuals to buy a massive arsenal of over 2,000 high-powered weapons (despite the reticence of cooperating firearms dealers to sell them) that ended up in the hands of ruthless Mexican drug thugs with predictable results: mayhem and death.

Compounding this colossal exercise of terrible judgment was the fact that supervisors within DOJ and ATF—all the way up the chain of command to the ATF Director and the Deputy Attorney General’s Office—seemed not to understand that it was their job to supervise (and stop) those conducting this out-of-control investigation.

As outlined in Part I of the report, amid a sea of red flags that provided ample notice of what was going on, high-level DOJ and ATF officials talked about an “exit strategy” but ultimately did nothing to implement one. In short, they permitted this reckless and feckless operation to continue for months on end. Then, when things went horribly wrong and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed—the scores of Mexicans who had already been killed or wounded with Fast and Furious guns did not seem to arouse sufficient concern—the implicated individuals decided to circle the wagons and, to prevent the disclosure of embarrassing and possibly criminal information, seemingly began a cover-up that persists to this day.

 

...

 

It was not until after Agent Terry’s murder that Operation Fast and Furious finally came to an end. Thus far, the only people charged have been the straw purchasers, most of whom were known to ATF at the beginning of the case. No charges against drug kingpins have been filed related to Operation Fast and Furious, and it is hard to understand how they might have been, given this operation’s design and the loose controls that surrounded it.

 

Or, to sum it up, some agents lost track of some guns.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Issa Warns IG Against Delaying Release of Gunwalking Report

 

Friday letter sent by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz warned against delaying release of the long-awaited report on its Fast and Furious gunwalking investigation and summoned the IG to appear before the Committee on Sept. 11 for questioning. Additionally, the letter revealed that a copy of the report has been provided to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in addition to being sent to Justice.

 

The length of time the report has taken to prepare prompted Gun Rights Examiner to observe last December that it had already exceeded the time it took the Warren Commission to produce its report on the John F. Kennedy assassination. Cautions were also raised months back about the selection of Horowitz to replace then-acting IG Cynthia A. Schnedar, who had close ties to Attorney General Eric Holder, when this column pointed out his close ties to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, identified early on as a person of interest in Fast and Furious by this column and citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars.

 

“We have been told through our sources for some time to be ready for a ‘September Surprise,’” Vanderboegh told his readers yesterday of this latest development. “The idea was to get the OIG report on the record and then, if it was a whitewash, to blow it out of the water with additional documents and witnesses already in the hands of the Issa committee.”

 

That makes Issa’s warning against delay all the more understandable, and further validates claims made over the weekend to this columnist by a past-proven source that there are “a lot of closed doors” at ATF Headquarters, as Acting Director B. Todd Jones, Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon, the Chief Counsel’s office and relevant staffers are “poring” over a report said to be over 400 pages long.

 

It also renews hope that Issa and the Committee will be taking heed of unsolicited public counsel from this correspondent and Vanderboegh to demand the evidentiary work papers used as the basis for report findings, characterized by an adviser in government practices as “hot stuff, that’s for sure.”

 

So the IG has produced a report and kept it within the Justice Department? This is why I have a problem with the Department investigating itself.

 

This undermines the IG's independence. If the report is good enough for the ATF and the DOJ to read at this point, it's good enough for Issa and for all of us. Let's see the report AND that "hot stuff" supporting material.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sharyl Attkisson at CBS evidently has sources familiar with the IG report.

 

As alleged proof that they had the blessing of their superiors, ATF officials in Phoenix point to regular briefings provided headquarters and the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center. Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had agents working the case. The Justice Department also approved seven wiretaps in Fast and Furious. However, then-head of ATF Kenneth Melson and officials at the Justice Department say they never intended for agents to allow guns to walk, and didn't know it was happening. They also say they either didn't read written briefings submitted about the case, or that the briefings and affidavits didn't reveal the controversial strategy being used. Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, who oversees ICE, also says she knew nothing of the case.

 

Documents released during the course of the investigation show the head of the Justice Department's criminal division, Lanny Breuer, learned that ATF had let guns walk --even as the Justice Department was denying that had ever happened. When those documents were made public last November, Breuer issued a statement saying he regretted not alerting others in Justice Department leadership. Breuer also signed off on the Fast and Furious wiretaps.

 

Also sharing blame in the IG report are then-US Attorney Dennis Burke and his lead deputy on Fast and Furious, Emory Hurley and Melson. Melson and Burke resigned a year ago and Hurley was reassigned.

 

At the beginning of the Congressional investigation into Fast and Furious, the Justice Department issued a letter to Congress denying there had been any gunwalking. The Justice Department then retracted the denial almost a year later. Congress subpoenaed internal documents regarding the denial and retraction, but Attorney General Eric Holder said Congress had no right to them and the White House invoked executive privilege. That led to Congress finding Holder in contempt June 28. The House Oversight Committee has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to enforce the Congressional subpoena.

 

Internal emails revealed that ATF's Newell communicated with then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly about Fast and Furious. The White House has refused to make O'Reilly available for interview by Congressional investigators saying O'Reilly didn't know about "any of the inappropriate investigative tactics at issue... let alone any decision to allow guns to 'walk.'"

 

Other alleged gunwalking operations in the past few years include "Too Hot to Handle" in Dallas, "Castaway" in Tampa, and cases in Evansville, Indiana; Columbus, New Mexico; and Houston, Texas.

 

The draft IG report was provided to the Justice Department last Tuesday. As a matter of procedure, those who are criticized are offered the chance to view excerpts of IG reports and submit comments before the final report is released to the public.

 

 

That last bit explains why the report is not yet released. I'm not sure I understand the rationale. Presumably, those criticized have already been in contact with the IG and had the opportunity to provide their input. Why a second bite at the apple, I wonder?

 

Anyway, it looks like some agents lost track of some guns, the NRA is making a big stink about it for no good reason, other than possibly their racist hatred of the AG and President. Or their desire to increase gun dealer sales. Or something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

At its heart, Operation Fast and Furious appears to have been an attempt by certain individuals within ATF, supported by senior DOJ officials, to play with the “big boys” by targeting kingpins within the Sinaloa drug cartel. In doing so, however, ATF abandoned its most basic mission.

Indeed, far from keeping guns from the bad guys, and in the interests of developing a case that would attract tremendous national media attention,[3] ATF allowed a small group of individuals to buy a massive arsenal of over 2,000 high-powered weapons (despite the reticence of cooperating firearms dealers to sell them) that ended up in the hands of ruthless Mexican drug thugs with predictable results: mayhem and death.

Compounding this colossal exercise of terrible judgment was the fact that supervisors within DOJ and ATF—all the way up the chain of command to the ATF Director and the Deputy Attorney General’s Office—seemed not to understand that it was their job to supervise (and stop) those conducting this out-of-control investigation.

As outlined in Part I of the report, amid a sea of red flags that provided ample notice of what was going on, high-level DOJ and ATF officials talked about an “exit strategy” but ultimately did nothing to implement one. In short, they permitted this reckless and feckless operation to continue for months on end. Then, when things went horribly wrong and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed—the scores of Mexicans who had already been killed or wounded with Fast and Furious guns did not seem to arouse sufficient concern—the implicated individuals decided to circle the wagons and, to prevent the disclosure of embarrassing and possibly criminal information, seemingly began a cover-up that persists to this day.

 

...

 

It was not until after Agent Terry’s murder that Operation Fast and Furious finally came to an end. Thus far, the only people charged have been the straw purchasers, most of whom were known to ATF at the beginning of the case. No charges against drug kingpins have been filed related to Operation Fast and Furious, and it is hard to understand how they might have been, given this operation’s design and the loose controls that surrounded it.

 

 

 

For the record - I think that's an accurate description of the case. And if the NRA described it that way - I wouldn't have criticized them for spouting ridiculous conspiracy theories. Problem is, that's NOT how they're describing it.

 

my thoughts are that this was an attack on the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. That that's what Fast and Furious really was about. [...] This was about putting these guns down there in Mexico and then when they found them at crime scenes going, "Aha, we need more gun laws in the United States."

 

 

Obama’s decision to invoke “executive privilege” to hide these documents from the American people is a tacit admission that what the National Rifle Association has been saying since day one is true. Namely, that the inconceivable crimes committed under operation “Fast and Furious” were designed to support the Obama administration’s gun-control agenda.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no question that the violence in Mexico has been used to call for gun control, including right here on this forum. The original allegation that the Fast and Furious guns were being used to pad statistics came not from the NRA, who were still ignoring this story at the time, but from the ATF whistleblowers who broke the story to gun bloggers.

 

And then there's this...

 

Seen this internal ATF memo yet?

 

Screenshot2011-07-13at114656AM.png

 

 

 

Operation Fast and Furious: Designed to Promote Gun Control "Internal ATF emails seem to suggest that ATF agents were counseled to highlight a link between criminals and certain semi-automatic weapons in order to bolster a case for a rulelike the one the DOJ announced yesterday [Monday]."

 

http://townhall.com/...ote_gun_control

 

 

 

 

That demand letter on long gun sales wound up failing to pass in Congress but was implemented by executive order anyway. The thing is, there was no problem with dealers reporting suspicious sales. They were doing exactly that quite frequently, and voluntarily. They were worried about doing it too frequently, and about what was happening to the guns. Legitimately worried, it turns out.

 

Operation Wide Receiver was stopped and prosecutions stemming from it abandoned because of the gunwalking it involved. Reviving those cases was one of several signals that something had changed with the new administration.

 

The NRA is spinning the story too far in saying the operation was designed to support gun control, but it was certainly being used for that purpose.

 

It's hard to imagine how Newell, McAlister, Voth and the rest thought that walking guns and recovering them from crime scenes would lead to cartel kingpins, and harder to imagine how they missed the fact that the DEA was already listening to the main guy whose identity they were trying to learn. What's most difficult to imagine is that these people were trying to pad statistics to promote a gun control agenda. I don't think they were operating on quite that level. I think they just might be idiots.

Link to post
Share on other sites

2010 ATF Document Lays Out When Gunwalking Would Be OK

 

p. 11: "There are also practical considerations that may require bringing investigations to a conclusion or dictate a change in investigative tactics prior to the identification of persons directly affiliated with the DTOs. Examples include high volume trafficking investigations in which numerous diverted firearms identifiable with one or more purchasers are being used in violent crimes and recovered by law enforcement, and high volume trafficking investigations in which over an extended period ATF cannot reasonably determine where or to whom such firearms are being trafficked. SACs must closely monitor and approve such investigations, assessing the risks associated with prolonged investigation with limited or delayed interdiction. In some instances, the best answer may be to provide actionable intelligence to other law enforcement agencies and/or the Government of Mexico."

 

Essentially admits that guns, perhaps in large volume, will be allowed to go to the cartels (DTOs).

 

...

 

p. 18: "The controlled movement of firearms, ammunition, explosives, explosives devices, and/or components or non-functional “props” of such items across the U.S.-Mexico border from the United States shall be coordinated with and approved in advance by Bureau headquarters and the MCO (Mexico Country Office, the ATF attache').

 

Which was not done -- the attache' was kept in the dark.

 

After assessing the risks, Dennis Burke said, "Go for bigger" when asked whether to shut down Fast and Furious or keep watching guns walk and then turn up at crime scenes, apparently hoping one would turn up attached to a cartel kingpin, or something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Federal Judge Should Invalidate Executive Privilege Claim

 

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told The Daily Caller that if a federal judge doesn’t overturn President Barack Obama’s assertion of executive privilege over Operation Fast and Furious documents, it’d be the worst abuse of the presidential secrecy power in its history.

 

...

 

The House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June because of his failure to comply with a subpoena for Fast and Furious documents. As the resolutions to hold Holder in contempt were being considered by the House oversight committee – after more than a year of Obama administration stonewalling – Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents.

 

Since the contempt votes, Holder’s Department of Justice ordered the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney, Ron Machen, to not enforce the criminal contempt resolution. So, House Republicans are pursuing the civil contempt resolution through a lawsuit against the Obama administration.

 

The lawsuit seeks to have a federal judge invalidate Obama’s executive privilege assertion and force him to cough up the Fast and Furious documents.

 

Obama’s executive privilege assertion is flimsy at best. As House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa has pointed out, it “means one of two things”: “Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the attorney general to the committee, or, you are asserting a presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation.”

 

Deliberative process privilege would be unjustified because, as Issa has said, the president can’t legally assert privilege over “deliberative documents between and among department personnel who lack the requisite ‘operational proximity’ to the president” because, according to the Congressional Research Service, courts have determined that privilege over deliberative documents “disappears altogether when there is any reason to believe government misconduct has occurred.”

 

He's right and the privilege claim will collapse, but it will probably take until after the election, so the stonewalling will have served its purpose by that time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Romney Asked To Revoke Executive Privilege On Gunwalking If Elected

 

Denouncing it on the campaign trail is one thing, revoking it in office is another. I doubt he will make this pledge, but don't doubt he would flip flop and fail to act on it if elected. Once you are the Executive, your Privilege doesn't seem so bad after all, and there are NO exceptions to that rule, including the inventor of Executive Privilege, Thomas Jefferson.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The IG report may be delayed

 

And the LA Times' Serrano is at it again:

 

Earlier this year, the GOP-led House found Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress after he refused to turn over certain Fast and Furious material subpoenaed by the committee. In an effort to stave off the contempt citation, Holder’s Justice Department notified the House that President Obama was claiming executive privilege in not releasing the material.

 

The White House, however, never fully explained why the material was protected under executive privilege, and the House went ahead and voted Holder in contempt.

 

...

 

Fast and Furious was run by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from its Phoenix field office. It was designed to permit illegal gun sales on the border so that agents could track the weapons and arrest Mexican drug cartel leaders. Instead, some 2,000 weapons were lost, and more Fast and Furious weapons were recovered from violent crime scenes in Mexico.

 

Saying the Executive Privilege claim was "never fully explained" is charitable, to say the least.

 

The operation was never designed to track guns and had no chance, as designed, to arrest cartel leaders. The agents were ordered to let the guns walk, then guns that turned up at Mexican crime scenes were checked against the "suspect guns database" that was assembled from the walked guns. That's tracing, not tracking.

 

The weapons were not "lost" in the usual sense of that word, as in, "Oops, I lost something." They deliberately watched as straw purchasers transferred the weapons to the actual purchasers, knowing that those weapons would soon show up at a crime scene. The only ones that remain "lost" are the ones that have not yet shown up at a crime scene. Having a weapon show up at a crime scene was considered a "success" by management, one that showed the program was "working" though how all this was supposed to lead to identifying and arresting cartel leaders is a complete mystery that no one can explain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

ATF Document Admits Retaliation and Ethical Violations

 

“Poor management has killed morale,” the document admits, recommending that the concern that “management takes care of management” requires the bureau “Punish managers commensurate with their level of responsibility…higher position + intentional malfeasance = greater discipline and accountability.”

 

Among related problems specified were an “unfair disciplinary system…disparity of discipline between management,” and, significantly, “retaliations.”

 

Inappropriate actions by Chief Counsel are no surprise to long-time readers of this column, who will recall that office advising then-Acting ATF Director Ken Melson of disciplinary actions that could be initiated against a CleanUpATF whistleblower, or another instance where they alerted ATF management to the Gun Rights Examiner article that put Senator Chuck Grassley’s staffers on public notice about the need to provide whistleblower protection for agents wanting to come forward with Operation Fast and Furious information.

 

Likewise the chilling effects of whistleblower retaliation have been documented and noted, by this column and by Congressional investigators.

 

 

Just another example of bloggers in pajamas serving the essential function of "the press" in this country. Perhaps this is being covered by mainstream sources. Someone check the Washington Post. :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites

And those "crooked as a dog's hind leg" Mexican authorities we heard about early in this thread seem to have arrested a suspect in the murder of Brian Terry, which is the kind of thing they might have done with various people illegally bringing guns into their country.

 

If we had bothered to tell them we were allowing that activity.

 

Mexican federal police announced Friday that they have arrested a suspect in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the slaying at the center of the scandal over the botched U.S. gun-smuggling probe known as Operation Fast and Furious.

 

That one contains another popular propaganda myth: that the operation was "botched" somehow. It was not. It was proceeding exactly as planned and supervisors were quite happy when guns showed up at crime scenes, right up until Brian Terry was killed.

 

The problem was that the plan itself was, as Issa said, "Felony stupid." The other problem was that it was NOT botched at all, but carried out as planned for many months.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The IG report will be along any day now. Pieces are already out.

 

"We found no evidence in Operation Fast and Furious that the ATF or the (U.S. attorney's office) attempted at any point during the investigation to balance the risks to the public safety against the long-term benefits of identifying trafficking networks and participants," the draft report says.

...

 

While the report blames Newell and Voth for poor judgment, attorneys for the two say higher-ups and the entire ATF chain of command were aware of everything they did.

 

Both men recall a detailed briefing Voth delivered to senior ATF and DOJ staff in Washington on March 5, 2010. In a Power Point presentation, attended by at least two deputy attorneys general, Voth explained how the operation was run and how almost two-dozen largely unemployed men bought 1,026 assault weapons with $650,000 in just over four months, then smuggled the guns to Mexico while under surveillance.

 

"Following the briefing ... Mr. Voth received accolades from his superiors. No one in ATF leadership or at Main Justice raised any concerns with Mr. Voth about the direction of the investigation. If anything, they were encouraging him," Voth attorney Joshua Levy said.

 

Attorneys for the three contend that the report's conclusion that the strategy for Fast and Furious was hatched in Phoenix is not true. MacAllister's attorney claims that it was "part of the overall ATF Southwest Border strategy to deal with an international criminal enterprise engaged in firearms trafficking."

 

Horowitz said late last week that he expects the full report to be released later this week or early next. He is currently scheduled to testify in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next Wednesday.

 

 

In other words, some agents lost track of some guns, indicating a need to spend more money on agents and possibly a need for much more strict gun control, but certainly nothing about this indicates a failure of management or policy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sentencing Reset for Two in Fast and Furious

 

Joshua David Moore's sentencing is set for Oct. 15.

 

Kenneth James Thompson will be sentenced Dec. 10.

 

Moore pleaded guilty to conspiracy and dealing guns without a license and faces up to 10 years in prison.

 

...

 

Authorities have faced criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers to walk away from gun shops with weapons, rather than arrest the suspects and seize the guns there.

 

I guess the first guy will find out in a month just how toothless our straw buyer laws are. It will be interesting to see how much time he actually gets.

 

This is an AP article that I found on the SF Gate, both of whom get at least a nod if not a hat tip for that last sentence. It at least begins to describe what happened and does not attempt to mislead like the ones who say the problem was that "agents lost track of guns."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Emails Show White House Cooperation with Media Matters to Spin Gunwalking

 

The Freedom of Information Act (slowly) at work...

 

In a Jan. 31, 2012, email chain titled “per our conversation,” Schmaler and Gertz are seen cooperating on an article attacking House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. At 12:18 p.m. that day, Schmaler sent Gertz two paragraphs of text from Issa’s comments during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Dec. 8, 2011. Schmaler underlined a portion of the text in those paragraphs in which Issa discussed the differences between Fast and Furious and similar — but different in crucial respects — programs from the George W. Bush administration.

 

“The difference in the previous administration is there was coordination with the Mexican government,” Schmaler quoted Issa as saying in her email to Gertz. “They made a real effort under [Operation] Wide Receiver [in the George W. Bush administration] to pass off a small amount of weapons and track them. This program [Fast and Furious], just the opposite. Even knowing the drug cartels that were going to receive them, they simply allowed them to go to the stash house.”

 

Just hours after Schmaler sent Gertz that highlighted Issa quote, it appeared in a Media Matters article titled “Rep. Issa Ties Himself In Fast And Furious Knots.” Gertz wrote the piece for Media Matters Action Network’s “Political Correction” blog.

 

In his article, Gertz referenced a just-released Democratic House oversight committee staff report that he said concluded “there is no evidence that senior officials in the Obama Department of Justice authorized gunwalking in that case.”

 

Gertz chastised Issa, who had pointed out that morning on Fox News how DOJ and congressional Democrats were inconsistent about how Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer “was still a believer in Fast and Furious and programs like it” on Feb. 4, 2011.

 

Issa pointed out that that date was the same day the DOJ sent a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley falsely denying gunwalking was going on — a letter the DOJ withdrew months later.

 

“Note Issa’s very slippery use of the phrase ‘Fast and Furious and programs like it,’” Gertz told his readers.

 

...

 

TheDC filed its FOIA request on Dec. 4, 2011 and the Department of Justice acknowledged receiving it a day later. The request, however, was not fulfilled until Aug. 30, 2012 — far outside the 20-business-day limit to fulfill a FOIA request under the law. TheDC was not given any notification of a time extension in the months this request sat before DOJ acted on it.

 

 

Hah! That's "slippery" only because Lanny Breuer was the only American who saw no connection whatsoever between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious. :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another failed investigation from the government. You'd think by now they'd be a little more effective at this.

 

A long-awaited report on the U.S. government’s controversial gun-trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious” released Wednesday found no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder knew of the botched effort to trace the flow of guns to Mexico’s drug cartels prior to its public unraveling in January 2011.

 

The report by the Justice Department’s inspector general said there "no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed about Operation Fast and Furious, or learned about the tactics employed by ATF in the investigation" before Congress began pressing him for information about it in early 2011.

 

The inspector general did determine that the acting deputy attorney general, Gary Grindler, received a briefing about the ill-fated gun-tracing operation in March 2010, but that the briefing "failed to alert Grindler to problems in the investigation."

 

Read more: http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/19/13966068-investigation-finds-no-evidence-ag-eric-holder-knew-of-fast-and-furious-gun-running-sting?lite

Link to post
Share on other sites

I still have not read the report. It looks long is all I can say.

 

I wonder whether anyone reacting to it has read it in full? It appears Issa has not, nor has Grassley, but they skimmed it and joined the spin cycle. ;)

 

My initial reaction is: the IG didn't get to talk to Kevin O'Reilly? WTF? The one person at the White House who we know got emails from Gunwalker Bill Newell, and still no one has talked to this guy? Has he got a cloaking device, or what?

 

One Congressman's reaction: Holder lied to my face. The IG report appears to confirm this, but we won't really know unless we see the super-Executive-secret wiretap applications in question.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How Eric Holder and the Justice Dept Failed Each Other

 

In the end, the much-heralded, much-maligned Office of the Inspector General's report on the "Fast and Furious" gun scandal tells us what we already know: Attorney General Eric Holder should resign if President Barack Obama wins another term. Even viewing the documents and investigation in a light most favorable to the current head of the Justice Department, even discounting the conspiracy theories offered by the Administration's most ardent critics, the Inspector General's report tells us that Holder ultimately failed to do what he absolutely had to do at Justice when he succeeded caretaker Attorney General Michael Mukasey in early 2009.

 

...

 

The OIG Report concludes that Holder didn't know about Fast and Furious until February 2011, and that is likely enough to protect the Attorney General from any further legal recriminations. But avoiding perjury or obstruction of justice, or being ignorant of your department's biggest scandal, is no cause for relief. His rabid detractors will never accept the idea that Holder could have been ignorant of the program. But whether he knew or not there's no dispute that he should have known. In an exemplary Justice Department, someone, anyone, should have stepped up and said to the boss: "There's something screwy going on in Arizona."

Which brings us to Lanny Breuer, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. The OIG report confirms that Breuer knew about the program in 2010 and yet failed to tell his boss about it. Never mind what Breuer then said to Congress; this initial failure to report the critical information up the line is inexcusable and unacceptable.

 

I have not forgotten what Lanny Breuer said to Congress, nor have I forgotten that in May 2011, Holder testified to Congress that he learned of Fast and Furious "a few weeks" earlier through media reports. He damn well should have learned it in December of 2010, if not before, through his own department.

 

I take no joy in writing this. I don't for a moment think that Eric Holder is another Alberto Gonzales. But even if you take the politics out of this scandal -- even if you strip it down to the bare essence of governance -- the central truth of the story is that the Justice Department failed to stop something stupid (and dangerous and, ultimately, tragic) from happening. And then, when the scandal came, the Department didn't move quickly enough to confront the truth, to reveal it, and then to take responsibility for what had happened. That wasn't good enough when the hapless Gonzales was running the show, and it's not good enough now.

 

Ten months to retract the lie from Lanny Breuer's team was indeed too long. I'm not sure how he knows when they will take responsibility for what happened, but whenever that does occur, I agree it will have been too long.

 

In other news, a central gun dealer informant from Project Gunrunner speaks out:

 

Wide Receiver "Good Samaritan" Clarifies Role in OIG Gunwalking Report

 

"I can tell you this with certainty [Tucson Resident Agent in Charge Chuck] Higman [who refused to speak with the IG] did not make a move without approval from the SAC in Phoenix. Every time my bad guys ordered a serious number of guns Chuck always wrung his hands and told me that he'd have to get approval from the SAC. Yet each time [William] Newell would give his OK. Chuck was very close to retirement and in my estimation did not want to do anything that might compromise his timeline or benefits."

 

"The IG report made mention of unsupervised sales to the bad guys," Detty continued. "It sounds almost as if I did this without the knowledge of the case agent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every ‘buy’ was reported to Garcia before it happened. If he had a reason for me not to sell the bad guys I would put them off saying I was out of town or had other plans-no big deal. But with only seven agents available, sometimes they couldn't get enough guys together for surveillance. People get sick, have school events with their kids, vacations, etc. In the event of an unmonitored buy I would bring a recording of the meeting along synopsis to the case agent the following day. These buys always made me nervous-these were some pretty serious s***heads I was dealing with and to have them in my home with no help outside was just ridiculous."

 

...

 

"I lay blame on SAC Newell," Detty asserted. "He was on OWR from June 2006 through its end as well as another case I brought them that is rarely publicized and accounted for another 100 or so guns going to the Sinaloan cartel. No one at DOJ rebuked him for OWR. Even though some AUSA's showed concern about the guns going to Mexico no one stopped Newell. Why wouldn't he do it on a grander scale with Burke as his US Attorney? He was unstoppable!"

 

That tells me blame is more properly blamed on Burke, who was allowed to just walk away from the whole mess a while back. No responsibility.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it absolutely amazing that Holder still has his job after all this. Regardless of whether he actually knew or not, the head of an organization this poorly run is accountable.

 

Here is a very recent parallel that went the other way...... as it probably should have:

 

 

AUSTIN, Texas — The fallout from a sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base widened Friday, when the military ousted the top commander over the basic training unit where investigators say dozens of female recruits were sexually assaulted or harassed by their male instructors.

 

"But Col. Palmer did not create the environment that created the misconduct," McGee said.

 

Palmer isn't the first Lackland commander removed since the scandal unfolded. Axelbank in June relieved Col. Mike Paquette, commander of the 331st Training Squadron, for what a military attorney described as a loss of confidence in Paquette's leadership.

 

This exactly what you do when something this serious happens under a leader's watch. Its called accountability. Was it either of those Col's faults that women got harrassed? No, but do you think they would have survived by simply saying "sorry, I didn't know about it".

 

Sorry, ITS YOUR FUCKING JOB TO KNOW ABOUT IT, MR HOLDER!

 

He should have known about it while the operation was ongoing, but it's a big government and people did not tell him.

 

He did not fire those people, instead putting them in charge of the response when Senator Grassley personally handed him letters inquiring about the allegations being made by whistleblowers. They lied to Congress.

 

He did not fire those people for this second failure, which tells me those lies were OK with Holder.

 

Holder had a choice to make in January 2011 when Grassley handed him those letters. He chose to continue the coverup, ultimately causing the bipartisan votes holding him in contempt of Congress.

Link to post
Share on other sites