Archive for the ‘Department of Justice’ Category

Via Sipsey Street Irregulars, from Sharyl Attkisson at CBS:

Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, CBS News has learned, as the toll from the controversial federal operation grows.

According to Justice Department tracing documents obtained by CBS News, all three guns are WASR-10 762-caliber Romanian rifles. Two were purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino in May and July of 2010. Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in July 2012, purchased a third. The rifles were traced yesterday to the Lone Wolf gun shop in Glendale, Ariz.

During Fast and Furious and similar operations, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged the Lone Wolf and other gun stores to sell massive amounts of weapons to questionable purchasers who allegedly trafficked them Mexican drug cartels.

Patino is said to have purchased 700 guns while under ATF’s watch. Ever since, a steady stream of the guns have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. But the Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and CBS News to provide a full accounting. An estimated 1,400 guns are still on the street or unaccounted for.

This will be going on for years.  The body count from weapons sent to the cartels by Obama and Eric Holder’s DOJ and ATF will continue to go up.

Operation Facetious and Spurious

From HotAir:

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.  Allegations arise of abuses of power and wrongdoing in a subordinate agency of a Cabinet department, which then conducts an investigation that lays the blame on a few low-level staffers and then insists that any further debate on the issue is nothing more than a “phony scandal.” The State Department did that with Benghazi, Treasury (or at least the White House’s spin on the IG report) with the IRS, and the Department of Justice with Operation Fast and Furious. The DoJ will now take a second spin on the Wheel Of Scapegoats by launching its own investigation into the DEA’s alleged widespread spying:

The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into revelations that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses surveillance tactics – including wiretapping and massive databases of telephone records – to arrest Americans, amid growing concerns from lawyers and civil rights groups over its lack of transparency.

In a related story, the Obama Department of Agriculture has now announced that foxes make good guards of henhouses.

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From Wired:

Security researchers tonight are poring over a piece of malicious software that takes advantage of a Firefox security vulnerability to identify some users of the privacy-protecting Tor anonymity network.

The malware showed up Sunday morning on multiple websites hosted by the anonymous hosting company Freedom Hosting. That would normally be considered a blatantly criminal “drive-by” hack attack, but nobody’s calling in the FBI this time. The FBI is the prime suspect.

“It just sends identifying information to some IP in Reston, Virginia,” says reverse-engineer Vlad Tsyrklevich. “It’s pretty clear that it’s FBI or it’s some other law enforcement agency that’s U.S.-based.

TOR has some big problems, because some people who don’t want their activities to come to light aren’t doing so out of concerns of privacy, but criminality.  This story, however, falls in a pattern of spying by the fedgov that keeps looking more and more ominous, like how the DEA is using NSA snooping for their own purposes – from Huffpo:

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

And how the encrypted email service that Snowden used has been shut down:

Lavabit announced today that it would shut down its encrypted email service rather than “become complicit in crimes against the American people.” Lavabit did not say what it had been asked to do, only that it was legally prohibited from sharing the events leading to its decision.

Lavabit was an email provider, apparently used by Edward Snowden along with other privacy sensitive users, with an avowed mission to offer an “e-mail service that never sacrifices privacy for profits” and promised to “only release private information if legally compelled by the courts in accordance with the United States Constitution.”

And how the fedgov is demanding your passwords (from CNET):

The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.

Of course, with the Associated Press being spied on, reporter James Rosen and reporter Sharyl Attkisson being targeted, this isn’t really a surprise.  The Obama administration uses every tool to target opponents, and the Constitution and its protections are meaningless to them.

Via HotAir:

While we’re watching government snooping expand from the NSA to the DEA, don’t forget the FBI.  CNet’s tech reporter Declan McCullough reported on Friday that the FBI has pressured Internet providers to install software that would allow the government to conduct real-time intercepts of Internet activity without notifying users, and claims that the PATRIOT Act requires their compliance:

The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies’ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.

FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams.

Comrade Major, I’d like four cups of tea, please.

For those who’ve missed it, CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson had her computers hacked – and CBS verified this.  She’s been virtually the only journalist in the mainstream media who does her job – and she does it admirably – reporting on stories like Fast and Furious (for which she won an award – even though CBS kept her from receiving it) and Benghazi.

Now, she’s noted more irregularities with the hacking:

“This suspicious activity has been going on for quite some time – both on my CBS computer and my personal computer,” Attkisson said. “CBS then hired its own independent cyber security firm, which has been conducting a thorough forensic exam … they were able to rule out malware, phishing programs, that sort of thing.”

Attkisson described some of the bizarre things that were happening with her computer.

“There were just signs of unusual happenings for many months, odd behavior like the computers just turning themselves on at night and then turning themselves back off again. I was basically able to verify and obtain information from my sources on the suspicious activity and I reported it to CBS News in January because of course it included CBS equipment and systems.”

HotAir notes that she was on Bill “Breathes Heavy At Deborah Norville” O’Reilly the other night and stated she’s pretty sure she knows who did it.

The likely suspect, which when she confirms will be 100%, as the rest of her reporting always is, is probably going to be the US govt.  What branch of the US govt or how is probably the big question – whether it’s Eric Holder’s DOJ or Hillary’s State Department or maybe even the Department of Energy or another agency she offended by reporting the facts.

Regardless, they chose a very poor target for snooping on.

And if those targeting her escalate things, it’s worth noting that her reporting has earned her the respect of some communities of rough men (and women) that provide physical security, and would be willing to do so.

Her reporting on Benghazi got her friends from Little Creek to Coronado, and her reporting on Fast and Furious got her friends from Brownsville to San Diego and Washington state to Maine… state.

Via HotAir, David Brooks at NYT wants so much more government involved in your life, but it’s so sad that sometimes so much more good government that will tell you how to live doesn’t turn out perfect like it should.  Aww.. poor statist tyrant:

Most government workers are amazingly dedicated and talented, and they put in a level of commitment that is far out of proportion to their salaries.

But we’re also seeing government workers, who, far from checking their own desire for control, have taken it out for a romp.

Brooks is an idiot.  At the bottom of the page, it notes that he’s filling in for Paul Krugman, who’s also an idiot, so he must be competing with Paul Krugman for some inter-office idiocy award.

Auditing low-level agents at the IRS do not “take their desire for control out for a romp”.  Doesn’t work that way.  They may agree with the IRS conservative crackdown plans and go along with them, but the guy doing the paperwork does not come up with schemes and machinations.  The mid-level manager gal doing the office paperwork to make sure the guy doing the lower paperwork doesn’t come up with these schemes.  She may go along with them, but they have to be passed down to her from someone with the authority to be able to waive all the concerns about repercussions for IRS personnel doing something wrong and getting fired.  Normal people do not get together to “take their desire for control out for a romp” at the low level, as though there’s some spontaneously generated lust for power in people who double-check math all day.

It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness. It would be one thing if the scandal is just a group of tax people targeting the most antitax groups in the country. That’s just normal, run-of-the-mill partisan antipathy.

Sure, it’s okay if they target people who try to restore the nation to founding priciples.  That’s okay.  It’s fine if you’re tax collectors who target people who want the tax burden reduced through legal means and legislation.  Of course that’s fine.  No problem with that kind of targeted oppression by government whatsoever.

It’s just as okay as if the government targeted any other group that the government didn’t like.  Because after all, the citizen exists solely for the government to deem either worthy or unworthy.

It would be far worse if the senior workers of the I.R.S. have become so isolated by their technocratic task that they didn’t even recognize that using the search term “Tea Party” was going to be a moral and political problem.

Gee, it’s too bad they didn’t come up with a more clever way to target those sniveling teabaggers.  If only they had been smart enough not to outright say they were targeting the Tea Party.  Then they could’ve gotten away with it.

Everyone is treating the I.R.S. issue as a bigger deal, but the Justice Department scandal is worse. This was a sweeping intrusion that makes it hard for the press to do its job. Who is going to call a journalist to report wrongdoing knowing that at some future date, the government might feel perfectly free to track the phone records and hunt you down?

I would have thought a dozen Justice Department officials would have risen up and splashily resigned when they learned of the scope of this invasion. Aren’t there some lawyers in the Justice Department, and, if so, did they go to law schools where the Constitution is left unassigned?

The DOJ smuggled guns to narcoterrorist cartels and hushed it up and you and your reporter friends helped hush it up.  Brooks, when the DOJ decides to make you sign your own confession Soviet-style, you will have earned your statist utopia and all the hard labor it will sentence you to until the end of your days.  Maybe after a few decades in the ground, they’ll even take the time to posthumously rehabilitate you.

We clearly have a values problem in the federal government. We clearly have a few or many agencies where the leaders don’t emphasize that workers need to check themselves, or risk losing what remains of the people’s trust.

There is no “values problem” in the fedgov.  There is a fedgov that is unconstrained by the document that created it.  Men are the same, that’s why we have a Constitution.

We have a Constitution, and that creates our government.  The Constitution is what creates the government and limits it – it is the laws by which the government is created and those it must abide by.  When government ignores the Constitution, as it has been doing, it should have no trust – because it is an entity of domination composed of men with power – whether malignant or benign.   When it ceases to be an entity that exists at the behest of the citizen, it becomes oppressive.  A massive, distant power composed of men with power and no constraints are never deserving of any trust.

I generally support the little behavioral nudges that Cass Sunstein describes in his outstanding book “Simpler” — the subtle policy shifts that induce people to save more, or eat healthier.

Ah, David Brooks, lickspittle for tyrants.

I’d trust somebody with a minimalist disposition like Sunstein to implement these policies.

That’s so precious that you want to be dominated, David.  You’re so vanilla.

But I wouldn’t necessarily trust the people at the I.R.S. or Justice Department to implement them.

Guess who you’re going to get?  Guess who’s going to be running your health care?  Guess who’s been hushing up the murders of your Mexican neighbors to the south?

Cass Sunstein is a tyrant wannabe, along with all of his authoritarian ilk.  Revisit his rave review of “Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism”.  They want to coerce you – to force you – into something they think is good for you.  Brooks wants to be coerced – to be forced – into something someone else thinks is good for him – and he wants you forced as well.  Everybody knows what’s best for you, and they’re going to force it on you, because they’ve decided you need to be forced into what they think you should be.  Brooks wants to be dominated and be controlled by government.

Brooks wants a bad government to dominate him, he just wants one that doesn’t spank too hard.

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But I’ll end this with a quote from a tax collector and freedom fighter:

samuel adamsIf ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

I’m going to use the same title that Real Clear Politics did.

This is the same Obama who had Eric Holder’s DOJ and ATF sending guns to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels.  This is the same Obama who hushed Fast and Furious up by exerting executive privilegeHe sent guns to Mexico.

This is not a question of American citizens’ rights, this is a question of the US government purposely arming narcoterrorists in order to have this talking point, claiming the 90% lie over and over.

I can’t think of many things more insulting or downright foul to hear from our President other than his own crimes being blamed on our rights – as was intended.   He is now going international with the demand that our rights go away because he committed crimes… to deny us those rights.

This is like a rapist saying “not only did she deserve it when I did it to her, but that proves my point, we have to keep the world safe from women like her who cause rape”.

First update on the civil suit against the Justice Department, from UT San Diego:

WASHINGTON — A federal judge seemed skeptical Wednesday of the Justice Department’s bid to dismiss a congressional lawsuit seeking records related to Operation Fast and Furious, a bungled federal gun-tracking operation in Arizona.

It was not a gun-tracking operation.  It was not bungled.  It did exactly what it was set out to do, it sent guns to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels, and it forced US gun stores to sell to people who should never have gotten guns.  There was no tracking involved, as whistleblower John Dodson stated – they were not allowed to track guns sent south, and they were intended to be recovered at crime scenes.  People buying guns included felons who could not have passed NICS background checks, except that the government gave them permission to buy guns by letting them pass background checks.

When asked about the breakdown, Stephen Fischer, a spokesman for the NICS System, said the FBI had no comment. However, an ATF agent who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, told Fox News that NICS officials called the ATF in Phoenix whenever their suspects tried to buy a gun. That conversation typically led to a green light for the buyers, when it should have stopped them.

From the UD SD story again, the judge is at least doing her job:

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sharply challenged the department’s claim that federal courts have no jurisdiction in the dispute. Department lawyer Ian Gershengorn said the battle over the documents should be resolved by the checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches.

“I’m a check and balance,” countered Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama. “The third branch exists.”

Well, she seems better than other Obama appointments.  And she seems to understand that there has been no “check and balance” when the Department of Justice and the president have simply claimed executive privilege and hushed everything up – which is the reason for the lawsuit.  She is seeing things up close, so she probably has to acknowledge what’s going on.  She’s being presented with information directly, and can’t just ignore things like the media does.

To some degree, this is also a story of how the media not only gets it wrong, but how the media is carrying water for Obama.

The department has turned over thousands of pages of material on the operation itself. The continuing dispute is over documents describing how the department responded once Congress started investigating.

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

That’s what the Justice Department sent as “documents”.  Page after page after page.

Gershengorn said that if the suit were dismissed, Congress had other powers at its disposal, such as the power of the purse. He said that negotiations and accommodation between the House and the executive branch are messy and contentious, but that the system allows for accountability with voters.

That is absurd, insulting, and the kind of thing that would get Sam Adams heating up the tar and sending somebody to get feathers.  The DOJ is hushing up a the murder of two federal agents and hundreds of mexican citizens, hushing up their program that is the kind of violent criminal conspiracy that would make headlines for years if it were done by organized crime, but instead, is hushed up because the media simply refuses to report it, and refuses to report the truth because they love their great leader.

Saying that Congress can simply use “the power of the purse” to reduce budgets for departments is absurd.  No one is held accountable for this:

fast and furious 2010 massacre teens

People need to go to prison, not have their department funding meddled with.  The DOJ lawyer Gershengorn should be with them as an accomplice after the fact to murders.

House lawyer Kerry Kircher called the notion that there haven’t been meaningful negotiations and accommodations “preposterous.”

“We’ve been negotiating for four months,” Kircher said.

He also said the House was at a disadvantage.

“This is an asymmetrical relationship here,” Kircher said. “They have the documents. We don’t have the documents.”

As to Congress’ powers, such as reducing spending for the executive branch, he said, “All that means is they get less money” – not that the committee gets the documents.

Presented with this kind of thing, I’d like to say the judge won’t just rule in favor of who appointed her, but there’s little telling.

David Codrea at Examiner.com has some info on “Guns Across the Border“, a book that tells the story of Operation Wide Receiver.

Operation Wide Receiver,” a precursor to “Operation Fast and Furious” wherein U.S. guns were bought by straw purchasers and “walked” under the noses of ATF investigators into Mexico, has been the subject of numerous Gun Rights Examiner reports. The central figure in those reports was Mike Detty, a gun writer, a firearms dealer, and the confidential informant who literally risked his life over the course of years to do what he believed was right, only to find the obvious criminals weren’t the only ones he couldn’t trust.

Operation Wide receiver really was a botched sting.  The ATF in Mexico knew that guns were coming, the Mexican authorities knew guns were coming.  The smugglers turned out to be good at smuggling and got a lot of guns past both US and Mexican authorities through a variety of tactics.  Smugglers are good at smuggling?  Who’da thunk it?

Fast and Furious, by contrast, was not a botched sting.  The ATF in Mexico (ATF attache Darren Gil) and the Mexican authorities had no idea guns were coming, and the purpose was to find guns at murder scenes in Mexico, about which ATF supervisors were “almost giddy”.

Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious were two different thingsBob Owens at PJ Media did a solid bit on this explaining it further:

Wide Receiver sought to track and interdict guns being smuggled south using a combination of RFID-tracking devices embedded in the shipments and overheard surveillance aircraft. Wide Receiver failed because of the limitations of the technology used, compounded by the ineptness of its installation and the unexpected resourcefulness of the cartel’s gun smugglers.

As a result of the mistakes made in Wide Receiver, guns were lost: approximately 450 made it into Mexico. As a result, the botched operation launched in 2006 — and in this instance, actually botched — was shut down in 2007.

Compare the mistakes of Wide Receiver to the operations launched under Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, which had the advantages of learning from the postmortem failures of Wide Receiver two years before.

Fast and Furious used neither tracking devices nor aircraft, ran interference for smugglers with local law enforcement on multiple occasions, and federal agents were not allowed to interdict weapons.

Wide Receiver shut down within a year after 450 weapons went missing in a botched law enforcement operation. Fast and Furious purposefully ran at least 2,020 weapons to the Sinaloa cartel without any intention of arresting the straw purchasers and smugglers. Other operations in other states — CBS News’ Attkisson cites allegations of “at least 10 cities in five states” — allow the possibility that (if the other operations were as prolific as Fast and Furious) Holder’s Department of Justice may have intentionally sent more than 12,000 guns into criminal hands in the U.S and Mexico, enough to arm three U.S. Army brigades.

Law enforcement operations sometimes go horribly wrong, and every indication is that Operation Wide Receiver executed by the ATF during the Bush administration while Alberto Gonzales was the attorney general was a “keystone cops” operation of the first magnitude. It was a horrible failure.

But Fast and Furious was no accident.

From Guns.com:

Spanish channel Univision has won a Peabody Award for their Fast and Furious reporting.  Most all American media outlets choose to ignore the ATF’s botched Gun Walking operations where over 2500 guns ended up in Mexican cartels hands.

Univision’s Fast and Furious reporting.

It’s worth noting that they do start out with a lie that 70% of guns in Mexico come from the US, which Stratfor disproved back when the claim was 90%, but beyond that, it’s not too bad.

Katie Pavlich interviewed by Citizen Watchdog – a good review and overall summary for anyone who hasn’t been following it.

This video was a bit before the 2 year mark, a few months back, posted here in HawaiiReporter’s 2-year retrospective.