A Perspective From A Good Reporter Who Continues To Be A Good Reporter

Sharyl Attkisson was part of the Washington bureau for CBS News. She resigned earlier this year when after investigating the Fast and Furious scandal and the Benghazi scandal, she realized that the network was not interested in reporting the stories she was investigating. The major networks have a political agenda, and they do not deviate from that political agenda regardless of how important a scandal is.

The video below is found on YouTube. It is Sharyl Attkisson on ABC This Week explaining how Watergate would be handled today:

More information on Sharyl Attkisson’s reporting can be found on her website.

Another Gun Confiscation And American Citizen Forced To Go To Court To Defend His Constitutional Rights

Today’s National Review posted a story about a soldier in Texas arrested for “rudely displaying” his weapon. Yes, you read that right.

The article describes the incident:

“We live out in the country in Texas, near Temple,” he told me. “My son and I were on a ten-mile hike so that he could earn his hiking merit badge – it’s the last badge he needs to become an Eagle Scout.” But half way into the hike, Grisham said, “a police officer pulled up.” Initially, he was “cordial” and he “asked what we were doing.” Grisham told him. “Then he looked at my rifle. I carry a rifle any time I walk around because there are feral hogs and cougars and things like that.” 

From here, things took a turn for the worse.

“‘Where you going with that rifle?’ he asked me. I said, ‘does it matter? Am I breaking any laws?’” Then, he says, the officer “grabbed the rifle without telling me – but it was attached to me. My immediate reaction as a combat veteran was to grab it back and then take a step back. I asked him what he was doing. So he pulled his gun on me. Then I thought about my son, so I put my hands off my gun and he told me to move over to the car. Luckily my son had the video camera to document the hike for his merit badge. I told him to turn it on.”

There is a video of the incident included in the article. I suggest you watch the whole thing. This is clearly unconstitutional.

The soldier’s concealed-carry permit was taken along with his guns. The article notes that historically what happens next is that the prosecutor will offer to drop the charges if the soldier gives up his guns. It is a very subtle form of gun confiscation.

Evidently this is not an isolated incident. The obvious question here is, “Why are the police wasting their time on legal gun owners when there are so many illegal guns out there?” If the police had been half as diligent in “Fast and Furious” as they are at harassing legal gun owners, a lot a people would be alive today who are no longer with us.

UPDATE: Evidently there are some questions about whether or not Mr. Grisham set up this encounter. However, even if this were the case (and we don’t know if it was), confiscating someone’s guns without proper legal procedure is a serious violation of the Constitution. The fact remains that it will cost Mr. Grisham a lot of time, money, and energy to get those guns (which are rightfully his) back. If I come across further information on this story, I will post it.

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Some Other Aspects Of The Fast And Furious Investigation

I am sure I was not the only person disgusted by the whitewash of the Fast and Furious investigation by the Justice Department. Since they were investigating themselves, it was no surprise that the culprits named did not include either Eric Holder or his top staff. However, Heritage.org pointed out some facts about the investigation that I hadn’t considered.

Today’s Morning Bell at Heritage listed five ways the Justice Department report tarnishes the reputation of Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

The article lists the five ways:

1. The report singles out top Department of Justice officials for wrongdoing.

2. The report appears to contradict sworn testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder.

3. The report faults top Justice Department leadership with failing to adequately respond to the murder of an American border patrol agent.

4. The White House refused to disclose any internal communications to the inspector general.

5. The report fails to consider evidence that a top DOJ official knew the department misled Congress.

Please follow the link and read the entire article for the details on each charge. I suspect that sometime after President Obama leaves office (either in 2012 or 2016), the truth about Operation Fast and Furious will come out. Until then, the facts will continue to get muddied.

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The Foxes Have Reported That There Is No One In The Chicken Coop–Only Us Chickens

Fox News reported yesterday that the Justice Department‘s inspector general has released his report on Operation Fast and Furious. Now stop a minute and reread that sentence. The Justice Department’s inspector general has issued his report on the Justice Department’s actions in Operation Fast and Furious. The inspector general reports to Eric Holder–the head of the Justice Department.

The article at Fox News reports:

The report says Attorney General Eric Holder was not made aware of potential flaws in the program until February of last year. But the report cites 14 other department employees — including Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer — for potential wrongdoing, recommending the department consider disciplinary action against them. 

I suspect that some time after the November election we will find out what actually happened. Right now I refuse to dignify this report with any more words.

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How Much Have You Heard About OCDETF ?

Andrew McCarthy was the man who led the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the “Blind Sheik”) after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. At that time he was the Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. His service as assistant United States attorney in that state gives him a unique and very insightful perspective on some of the more obscure aspects of operation Fast and Furious.

Mr. McCarthy posted an article today at the National Review Online with some insight into one aspect of the Fast and Furious operation that I had not been aware of.

The article reports:

OCDETF stands for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. It was created during the Reagan administration to throw the coordinated muscle of Justice’s component investigative agencies — especially the FBI and the DEA — at domestic and international organized crime, a scourge that had been dramatically exacerbated by unprecedented drug-trafficking millions.

I was working at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan at the dawn of OCDETF — which at DOJ is referred to as if it were a word, “Osedef.” In those days, with New York City both the notorious capital of La Cosa Nostra and the target market of Colombian drug cartels, I was fortunate to be assigned to some of the original “Osedef cases.”

The reason Mr. McCarthy brought up the existence of OCDETF is to illustrate how OCDETF cases (of which Operation Fast and Furious would have to be one for reasons explained in his article) involve a degree of communication and authorization in the Executive Branch of our government that ordinary Justice Department operations do not have.

Please read the entire article at National Review. It clearly explains the implications of Fast and Furious in relation to OCDETF.

Mr. McCarthy points out:

In fact, Fast and Furious was an OCDETF case. That made it a Main Justice case, not the orphan Arizona debacle of media portrayal.

…The website (DOJ Website) goes on to explain that the “OCDETF strategy” is implemented “under the direction of the Deputy Attorney General” — second in command to Holder at DOJ (and, in fact, the position Holder himself occupied in the Clinton/Reno Justice Department). With the coordinated effort of numerous investigative agencies and U.S. attorneys under Main Justice’s leadership, OCDETF is depicted as not only “disrupt[ing] the drug market” but “bolster[ing] law enforcement efforts in the fight against those terrorist groups supported by the drug trade.” Main Justice annually develops a “Regional Strategic Plan” for the country by requiring OCDETF participants to “identify major Regional Priority Organizational Targets.” And it has established an “OCDETF Fusion Center” as “the cornerstone” of its “intelligence-driven law enforcement, an essential component to the OCDETF program.”

The Fast and Furious controversy is not political–this operation was clearly well outside the authority of the Justice Department. Aside from the number of people who have died as a result of this operation, the risk of an international incident caused by this operation also has to be considered.


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Sometimes It’s What They Don’t Say

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted in a post today that Patrick J. Cunningham, the chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, has said that he will seek Fifth Amendment protection when testifying before Congress.

Representative Darrell Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee conducting the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, made the following statement in response to Mr. Cunningham’s claim that he would plead the Fifth Amendment:

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

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

Unfortunately, Chicago politics has come to Washington, D. C. The investigation into Fast and Furious is moving ahead–but very slowly. President Obama’s Department of Justice is a political tool being wielded by the administration. The only way to end that is to vote this administration out of office.

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The Smoking Gun In Operation Fast And Furious

The Corner at National Review Online posted a story yesterday about some recent information that has come to light about Operation Fast and Furious. It seems that a lot of the testimony given to Congress disagrees with the documents given to Congress. National Review commented on the latest example.

The following email shows from ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait in July 2010 to Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.” 

This email and other information was posted at CBS News yesterday.

The article at The Corner shows that Mark Chait attended a meeting about Operation Fast and Furious in January 2010 and was probably briefed on the Operation before that. So what is the point of all this?

The Corner reports:

According to an August 2011 press release from Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democratic member of the House Oversight Committee, in testimony Chait “stated that [he] did not learn about the tactics used in [Fast and Furious] or about the specific concerns of the line agents until earlier this year.”

Mr. Chait’s memory (at least according to the information given) is off by a year.

The CBS News article concludes:

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is investigating Fast and Furious, as well as the alleged use of the case to advance gun regulations. “There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we’ve learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements.”

 On July 12, 2011, Sen. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees ATF. They asked Holder whether officials in his agency discussed how “Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities.” So far, they have not received a response. CBS News asked the Justice Department for comment and context on ATF emails about Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3, but officials declined to speak with us.

 “In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Issa told CBS News.

Has anyone really thought through what limits on who can own guns would accomplish? Has it occurred to the government bureaucrats that even if guns were totally illegal criminals would still find a way to get them. That would leave criminals armed and innocent people unarmed. Do we really want to do that?

The guns that were sold in Operation Fast and Furious were sold because of the intervention of the ATF. The article at CBS News cites gun dealers who were uncomfortable with being asked to sell the guns, but were told by the ATF to continue to sell them. Frankly, I think the gun dealers were more conscientious than the government in attempting to protect American citizens.


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