The Smoking Gun In Fast And Furious

Roll Call has the full story on this, but since the story is the headline on the DRUDGE REPORT, it is pretty near impossible to get onto their site. I am hoping to be able to do that later tonight.

However, the Washington Times has just posted a related story.

The article at the Washington Times reports:

Rep. Darrell Issa managed to push the details of a secret wiretap application from the botched “Fast and Furious” gunwalking operation into the public domain this week when he entered summaries into the Congressional Record, apparently using Congress‘ protection under the speech and debate clause to get around legal boundaries.

The summary of a March 2010 wiretap application shows that federal agents repeatedly lost track of guns they knew were being trafficked back to cartels in Mexico — a violation of Justice Department policy that should have raised red flags with top department officials who signed off on the wiretaps, said Mr. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the oversight committee that is looking into the operation.

Meanwhile, Fox News is reporting today:

The contempt vote technically opened the door for the House to call on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the case before a grand jury. But because U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen works for Holder and because President Obama has already asserted executive privilege over the documents in question, some expected Holder’s Justice Department to balk. 

Deputy Attorney General James Cole confirmed in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner that the department in fact would not pursue prosecution. The attorney general’s withholding of documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, he wrote, “does not constitute a crime.” 

“Therefore the department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general,” Cole wrote, in the letter obtained by Fox News

The fix is in. The goal is to keep the investigation from going anywhere until after November. The only way the American people will ever get the facts on this is to make known to Congress that they feel that Congress should take its oversight responsibilities seriously. Fast and Furious was a government program that killed people. This is not politics–it is about the honesty and transparency of our Department of Justice.


This is a quote from the Roll Call article:

It also described how ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.

In at least one instance, the guns were recovered at a police stop at the U.S.-Mexico border the next day.

The application included financial details for four suspected straw purchasers showing they had purchased $373,000 worth of guns in cash but reported almost no income for the previous year, the letter says.

“Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy,” the letter says.

Holder declined to discuss the contents of the applications at a House Judiciary Committee hearing June 7 but said the applications were narrowly reviewed for whether there was probable cause to obtain a wiretap application.

This operation should have ended before it began.

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The Letter Behind The Contempt Of Congress Charge

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a story explaining exactly what document Congress is seeking from Attorney General Eric Holder that he is unwilling to give them.

The article reports:

During the June 24 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa cited the email as a “good example” of a specific document his committee knows Holder is hiding from Congress.

“The ATF director, Kenneth Melson, sent an e-mail. And he had said to us in sworn testimony that, in fact, he had concerns,” Issa said. “And we want to see that e-mail because that’s an example where he was saying, if we believe his sworn testimony, that guns walked. And he said it shortly after February 4, and [on] July 4. When he told us that, we began asking for that document.”

But the details of it surfaced first when Grassley mentioned it for the first time publicly during a June 12 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where Holder was testifying.

“He [Melson] immediately sent an email warning others, ‘back off the letter to Sen. Grassley in light of the information in the affidavits,’” Grassley explained.

It seems as if there has been some serious untruth telling before Congress during the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. Congress is well within its authority and responsibility to investigate what happened in Operation Fast and Furious that resulted in the deaths of two Border Patrol agents and many Mexicans. It would be nice if the Justice Department would co-operate with the investigation. Obviously, they will not. A contempt citation may be the only logical next step for the Congressional committee investigating Fast and Furious. The Executive Branch does not seem to be willing to provide the information requested when asked nicely.


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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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Why Is This Taking So Long ?

Lying before Congress is a serious matter. We were just treated to the spectacle of Roger Clemens being dragged before Congress because he was accused of lying. If lying about drug use is important enough for Congress to challenge, why isn’t lying about matters that impact international relations and result in the death of Americans important?

The investigation into Operation Fast and Furious is not a witch hunt. It is not, as Nancy Pelosi says, about voting rights (hotair) or about racism–it is about lying to Congress. In October of 2011, The Heritage Foundation quoted a CBS report showing Department of Justice memos indicating that Attorney General Holder was briefed on Fast and Furious in July 2010. In May 2011, Eric Holder testified to Congress that he had just learned about Fast and Furious “in the past few weeks.”

On June 20, The Blaze reported:

In a second major retraction over its version of the the gun-walking scandal, the Justice Department has retracted Attorney General Eric Holder’s charge in a hearing last week that his Bush administration predecessor had been briefed on the affair.

In a memo just released by Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa senator reveals that Holder also didn’t apologize to former Attorney General Michael Mukasey for dragging him into the Fast & Furious scandal that is headed for a major legal clash and likely contempt of Congress charge against Holder.

According to Grassley’s memo, Justice said that Holder “inadvertently” made the charge against Mukasey in a hearing.

A few obvious facts in this entire mess. Executive privilege is somewhat like the Fifth Amendment–you can’t testify a little bit and then claim it–it needs to be claimed at the beginning of the testimony. Executive privilege does not apply unless the ‘executive’ was involved in some way.

There are a number of possible outcomes of this scandal. The White House (and Justice Department) could suddenly decide to release everything and show that there is no smoking gun–it was all a political ploy to make the Republicans look bad. Or, what I consider the more likely scenario, the stonewalling continues until after the election and when the smoking gun is revealed, it is a moot point.

The Eric Holder Justice Department is a political organization–it’s not supposed to be, but it is. This was shown in the New Black Panther case on voter intimidation early in the Obama Administration. There were YouTube videos showing voter intimidation, and the case was dropped. This Justice Department has set a very bad precedent for the future of America. If the Justice Department is not forced to obey the laws it is supposed to enforce, then Americans are no longer equal in the eyes of the law. Some Americans are now more equal than others.


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Sometimes It Takes A Lot Of Digging To Find The Truth

There are two sources for this article–Andrew McCarthy today at PJMedia  and a Washington Times article also posted today.

Yesterday President Obama asserted executive privilege in refusing to allow the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to see the documents they have requested regarding Operation Fast and Furious.

The article at PJMedia quotes the Wall Street Journal‘s description of the Obama Administration’s narrative on Fast and Furious:

 The gun-walking tactics in Fast and Furious turned up in earlier ATF cases, during the Bush administration. When they were uncovered by Justice officials in the Obama administration, a top Justice official raised concerns with ATF officials, according to Justice documents released last year. But the officials never alerted Mr. Holder, didn’t do enough to prevent similar cases and weren’t aware the operation was under way until months later, according to Justice documents.

Mr. Holder, in a letter last week to Mr. Issa, said, “The record in this matter reflects that until allegations about the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious were made public, department leadership was unaware of those tactics.”

I’m waiting for someone to stand up and say, “I didn’t know the guns were loaded.” Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s narrative has a few problems–Andrew McCarthy points out that there were wiretaps involved in Fast and Furious. Under law, wiretaps have to approved directly by the Attorney General or his appointee. If the Attorney General approved the wiretaps, how come he didn’t know anything about Fast and Furious?

The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Boehner’s press secretary, Brendan Buck, said that until now “everyone believed that the decisions regarding Fast and Furious were confined to the Department of Justice. The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the Fast and Furious operation or the cover-up that followed.

“The administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” he asked.

“This is a very sad day for the United States of America,” said Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican, concerning the president’s assertion of executive privilege. “There is no way this committee is not entitled to these documents.”

As in most Washington scandals, it seems as if one of the major problems with Operation Fast and Furious is going to be the cover-up. A border patrol officer was killed with a weapon that Fast and Furious allowed to be sold and send to Mexico. That alone should be enough for Congress to get any information it asks for in order to ascertain exactly what happened.

I strongly suggest that you follow the links above to PJMedia and the Washington Times to read the entire stories. This is a serious scandal that has been misreported and under-reported in the major media.

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Why It Matters Where You Get Your News

Yesterday YouTube posted a video giving a general summary of Fast and Furious as it now stands. The video was produced and posted by the American Future Fund.

The video gives a short explanation of what Fast and Furious was and how the Obama Administration has successfully blocked (as of now) any serious inquiry into the origin and supervision of the program.

Meanwhile, Fox News posted a story remarking that NBC first reported on Operation Fast and Furious on Tuesday night. Brian Terry was killed in December of 2010 with a weapon traced to Fast and Furious. There have been questions about his death since then. Where has the major media been? The network slanted the story as a partisan battle between the Republicans and Attorney General Holder. This is not a political battle–it is a battle about a government agency out of control.

The article at Fox News reports:

Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell then took over, repeating the Williams theme that this was all about a Republican ax to grind. — And certainly never about an American border agent being killed by guns that Holder did everything but Fed-Ex to Mexican drug lords. — Williams and O’Donnell mentioned Republicans seven times and Democrats just twice because this was a “long simmering conflict between Republicans and Attorney General Eric Holder.”
It’s time the major media started reporting the news accurately and completely. The bias of the network is indicated not only in how they slant the story, but in the stories they cover. If American voters want to be informed, they are going to have to look past the major media.






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This Sort Of Logic Almost Earned Me An F In Geometry

The Daily Caller posted an article on some of the recent testimony of  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Mr. Holder was testifying on the subject of Operation Fast and Furious, but his testimony included the following statement:

This administration has consistently favored the reinstitution of the assault weapons ban. It is something that we think was useful in the past with regard to the reduction that we’ve seen in crime, and certainly would have a positive impact on our relationship and the crime situation in Mexico.

This is an amazing statement. It is becoming very obvious that the Obama Administration (including Eric Holder) purposely allowed large numbers of guns to flow into Mexico illegally. Now the Attorney General is saying that stricter gun laws would help our relationship with Mexico and reduce crime in Mexico. Wait a minute! The guns that went into Mexico went in illegally–more laws won’t do any good if no one is willing to follow them (particularly the government). The problem with gun laws is that only law-abiding citizens follow them–criminals don’t. Adding more gun laws simply disarms the general population making them more vulnerable to assault by those with illegal guns. Maybe the answer is better enforcement of the laws we currently have.
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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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