Posts Tagged ‘Fast & Furious’

From Politico:

Four years after asserting executive privilege to block Congress from obtaining documents relating to a controversial federal gun trafficking investigation, President Barack Obama relented Friday, turning over to lawmakers thousands of pages of records that led to unusual House votes holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in 2012.

In January, a federal district court judge rejected Obama’s executive privilege claim over records detailing the Justice Department and White House’s response to Operation Fast and Furious, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation that may have allowed as many as 2,000 firearms to pass into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not turn down Obama’s privilege assertion on the merits. Instead, she said authorized public disclosures about the operation in a Justice Department inspector general report essentially mooted the administration’s drive to keep the records secret.

Telling the truth slowly.

All the things he needed to hide stayed hidden, and when they were slowly uncovered elsewhere, he can now say that he’s all about “transparency” after 4 years of hiding things.

“In light of the passage of time and other considerations, such as the Department’s interest in moving past this litigation and building upon our cooperative working relationship with the Committee and other Congressional committees, the Department has decided that it is not in the Executive Branch’s interest to continue litigating this issue at this time,” Justice Deparment legislative liaison Peter Kadzik wrote in a letter Friday to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

That’s a lie, but I’m not sure if the translation is “we think we’ve stalled long enough to cool out the mark” or “we’ve managed to cover everything up so you’ll find nothing” or “we’ve broken the opposition and they won’t ask any more questions”.

“As we’ve long asserted, the Committee requires and is entitled to these documents,” Chaffetz said in a statement. “They are critical to the Committee’s efforts to complete meaningful oversight. The Committee has a duty to understand and shine light on what was happening inside DOJ during the time of this irresponsible operation. Yet DOJ has obstructed our investigative work for years.”

After getting word that the Justice Department was turning over records, Chaffetz updated his statement, indicating that the House plans to press its appeal to get records beyond the ones the administration is providing.

“Today, under court order, DOJ turned over some of the subpoenaed documents. The Committee, however, is entitled to the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit. Accordingly, we have appealed the District Court’s ruling in order to secure those additional documents,” Chaffetz said.

Well go find the rest then, Chaffetz.

The June 2012 claim in the Fast and Furious case was the only formal assertion of executive privilege by Obama to try to defeat a congressional demand for records or testimony, though the administration has raised executive privilege concerns when declining to comply with other congressional inquiries. Most of those were resolved through negotiations. The administration has also asserted executive privilege in response to a variety of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.

Much of the claim was that “it was part of an ongoing investigation” which is a wonderful way to make things go away forever.  Never close the case, and never answer.  Investigate yourself, never find wrongdoing, silence whistleblowers, and keep the investigation ongoing so you never have to reveal anything.

Just put “top men” to work on it.

top men raiders

From the ATF’s facebook page (click comments on the link to open it up):

atf facebook & furious 160106

Screenshots and assorted shenanigans here, including an ATF agent telling people to “get off this page”:

atf facebook & furious 160106 get off this page

In for a penny, in for a pound:

atf facebook & furious 160106 cartels

Nice.

From Katie Pavlich:

Five years ago today, Marine and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a firefight by Mexican bandits. The firearms used by the criminals who killed him were part of the Obama Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious. As a reminder, ATF agents allowed more than 2500 AK-47s and other firearms to be purchased and trafficked by known Mexican cartel members through Fast and Furious. Hundreds of people have been killed as a result of the program, which was secret until ATF whistleblower John Dodson exposed it after Terry’s death in 2010.

“Five years later. We have celebrated Brian so many times that it warms my heart. This is a little something of past friends and ones we met along the way at events held to honor Brian. I thank all of you with every ounce of my being! We will keep fighting. 11:08pm tonight is when a deadly gunfight happened and took Brian. Please also pray for his team that was there when he took his last breathe and The Border Patrol family,” Terry’s sister, Kelly Terry-Willis, posted to her Facebook page late yesterday.

Today, not a single ATF agent has been fired as a result of the operation.  Terry’s killers have been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on a variety of different charges, including first degree murder.

Holder nor Obama are in prison.  There’s a Border Patrol station named after Brian Terry.  Sharyl Atkisson left CBS.  Hundreds to thousands of Mexicans and Americans are now dead because of Obama/Holder’s ATF’s actions.  But aside from a lot of people who won’t forget the wrongs done by Obama/Holder’s DOJ and ATF, to most of the US, it’s almost like nothing ever happened.  The media succeeded in carrying the water for Obama to the point he can still make claims for the need for gun control after a terrorist attack and not get laughed out of office – despite having been responsible for arming narcoterrorist cartels.

Hell, assholes from the ATF are still called on by the media for gun control pieces as though they aren’t an agency composed of criminals and thugs that doesn’t care about either the rights or lives of Americans or our Mexican neighbors.

It’s a sad indicator of the times we’re living in.

From a little while back, something I’m reminded of due to Paris, via HotAir:

The gun used during the attempted terror attack on the “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas may have been bought from the Arizona store linked to Fast and Furious. Los Angeles Timesbroke the news yesterday which also included the nugget that Nadir Soofi’s purchase was known by the federal government (emphasis mine).

Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

The terrorist bought his gun from Lone Wolf Trading Co. in Arizona.  Lone Wolf was one of the gun dealers the ATF instructed to sell guns to the cartels.

The tapes Issa and Grassley refer to were recorded by Andre Howard, owner of the Lone Wolf Trading Co., after he suspected the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was lying to him about the guns they recruited him to sell to buyers of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Papers reporting this story still refuse to get Fast and Furious right.  The ATF told gun store owners to sell guns to people they knew were illegal buyers – illegal buyers they knew would send guns to Mexico.  The ATF did not have anyone in Mexico to intercept the guns (they did during Operation Wide Receiver in 2007), they simply sent guns south.

But at least the papers are getting the same answers that greeted actual reporters before:

The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.

Among other things, Johnson is demanding to know whether federal authorities have recovered the gun Soofi bought in 2010, where it was recovered and whether it had been discharged, according to the letter. He also demanded an explanation about why the initial seven-day hold was placed on the 2010 pistol purchase and why it was lifted after 24 hours.

Asked recently for an update on the Garland shooting, FBI Director James B. Comey earlier this month declined to comment. “We’re still sorting that out,” he said.

“We’re still sorting that out” is the same answer as “it’s still under investigation so we can’t talk about it and the investigation will remain open forever so we will never talk about it”, which was the standard claim the DOJ used to avoid answering any questions about Fast and Furious, except for the ones covered up by the use of Obama’s executive privilege.

Wonder why he got to purchase guns that he shouldn’t have?  Look no further than the FBI’s involvement assisting the ATF in Fast and Furious, where people who would’ve been denied under NICS (National Instant Check System) and now allowed to buy a firearm were allowed:

In the latest chapter of the gunrunning scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, federal officials won’t say how two suspects obtained more than 360 weapons despite criminal records that should have prevented them from buying even one gun. …

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.

The ATF was greenlighting criminals to buy guns.  Not something new, but with the terrorist Soofi, it’s a new twist.

Of course it’s a new twist that will result with “no comment” and “ongoing investigation” stonewalling.

It seems I have to do this every time a gunwalker story comes up, but Fast and Furious wasn’t botched.  It did exactly what it set out to do.  It sent guns to the cartels, it “proved” the “Iron River” lie, and it implicated US gun culture as something that needed to be targeted (mind you there are additional reporting requirements now for gun purchases in CA, AZ, NM and TX).

Again:

Operation Wide Receiver used the common law enforcement tactic of “controlled delivery” in which the illegal sales of weapons were allowed to take place, the movements of the weapons were closely monitored and the end purchasers were then apprehended. It involved gun-tracing, not gun-walking.

Under the “controlled delivery” of Wide Receiver, agents didn’t just write down the serial numbers and let the guns disappear as in Fast and Furious. They closely and physically followed the guns from American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.

Most importantly, Wide Receiver was run in close cooperation with Mexican authorities, who were kept in the dark on Fast and Furious.

In contrast ATF agents involved in Fast and Furious have testified that they were ordered not to track the weapons and in cases where interdiction was possible they were ordered to stand down and actually watch the weapons walk.

ATF Special Agent John Dodson has testified how in one instance guns were sold to known illegal buyers who took them to a stash house. Against orders from his superiors, Dodson kept the stash house under surveillance and when a vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons to their ultimate destination, he called for an interdiction team to move in, seize the weapons and arrest the traffickers. His superiors refused, and the guns disappeared without surveillance.

Fast and Furious, the gift from Obama and Holder’s ATF that keeps on giving.

Sharyl Attkisson, for those who don’t know of her, is an old-school journalist.  She finds a story and she pursues it, and no amount of political rhetoric and denials will dissuade her if she has a story.

She pursued Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, just to name a few – and all because there are stories there that a good reporter would want exposed.  And they’re also stories that the Obama administration does not want exposed, because despite most of the media acting as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party, ultimately some people will hear and listen when they hear the truth – especially in contrast with handwaving and absurd denials.

sharyl attkisson

Her computers were hacked by some shadowy most-likely-government entity a while back.  I remember it coming up last year and writing about it thenTwice last year, in fact.

Now she’s got a book out and she’s elaborating.  The people in her story are mostly written about under pseudonyms for their own safety.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

That “laying the groundwork for possible charges” is because someone buried classified documents deep in her computer.

Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

Media meta-reporter Erik Wemple (who’s so impressively attuned to everything news about news that he even asked me a few questions once) wrote several pieces on Attkisson’s encounters with electronic surveillance.

The first discusses computer intrusions as “worse than anything Nixon ever did”, and introduces us to “Jeff”, “Number One” and “Jerry Patel”, all of which are pseudonyms for various computer experts.  And in the first and into the second, we’re introduced to Don Allison of KoreLogic, who also diagnosed Attkisson’s computer, and is not protected by a pseudonym, but is behind a nondisclosure agreement for the time being.

And then there’s Wemple’s third piece, which talks about the strange case of a “spare” wire.

…By November 2012, writes Attkisson, disruptions on her home phone line were so frequent as to render it unusable: “I call home from my mobile phone and it rings on my end, but not at the house. Or it rings at home once but when my husband or daughter answers, they just hear a dial tone. At the same time, on my end, it keeps ringing and then connects somewhere, just not at my house. Sometimes, when my call connects to that mystery-place-that’s-not-my-house, I hear an electronic sounding buzz,” reads one passage in “Stonewalled.” She also alleges that her television set “spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames.” The home alarm, too, “sounds at a different time every night” and when she checks with the alarm system, it indicates that there’s “trouble with the phone line.”

Phone, TV and computer service chez Attkisson all run on Verizon’s FiOS service. “Jeff” asks to inspect the exterior of the house in a check for anything suspicious. He finds a “stray cable dangling from the FiOS box attached to the brick wall on the outside of my house. It doesn’t belong.” “Jeff” says the cable in question is an “extra” fiber-optic line that could be used to download data and then send it off to another spot.

Attkisson takes a picture of the cable. Then she calls Verizon, which tells her that it’s not something they would have installed; they refer her to law enforcement. Attkisson doesn’t feel its a matter for the cops, and in any case Verizon calls back to say that they want to have a look for themselves as soon as possible — on New Year’s Day, no less. “Yeah, that shouldn’t be there,” the Verizon technician tells Attkisson.

Attkisson is a sensible, common sense reporter who follows leads to write reports of real life events.  She is neither Kolchak nor Mulder.

At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:

Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”

That’s the kind of thing that would make other reporters at least a tad intimidated, if not a bit paranoid.  Of course, if she lives in a neighborhood full of cops and retired spooks, this might be the amateur hour Obama G-men trainees trying to stake out people whose lives are Tom Clancy novels.

Jazz Shaw and Mary Katherine Ham have been following the story at HotAir as well, with their own opinions on the hacking and journalistic intimidation, as well as reminding us of James Rosen’s encounter with the Obama administration.

My feelings remain much the same as they did last time.

Maybe it’s as a result of too much X-Files, Shadowrun and Project Twilight in the 90s, but I find this government spying stuff is damn creepy.  From the NSA’s massive computer and phone data mining to electronically targeting reporters, it’s like 90s conspiracy-themed entertainment has become 2009-present reality.

I’m sure there’s a pop-culture scholarly way to compare Nowhere Man and The Net to current events, but it’s less fun than it is disturbing when you think about it for too long – even if Attkisson and her three-letter agency neighbors are precisely the kind of people who are adept at navigating that kind of world.

Eric Holder’s calling it quits.

And congress is still proceeding with looking into Fast and Furious, now years later.

The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.

Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.

“I don’t think it’s any coincidence he’s resigning as the courts are ruling the Fast and Furious information has to be released,” Mr. Fitton told The Washington Times.

It’s not a coincidence.  He’s quitting so he can dodge criminal charges that would stick.

Last month’s news:

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide Congress with a list of documents that are at the center of a long-running battle over a failed law enforcement program called Operation Fast and Furious.

In a court proceeding Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set an Oct. 1 deadline for producing the list to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He’s quitting so the Democrat-held senate can force a successor through, just in case the Democrats lose the senate in the mid-term elections.

He’s also quitting so that he won’t be in office and thus will be eligible for presidential pardons.

holder fucks

He stonewalled long enough to slither out of office, but no doubt his successor will be a miserable leftist as well and Holder will be back as a consultant or advisor or in some other role where he can continue his schemes.

From Katie Pavlich:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

It’s been a very long road to this point, but now there’s an order to comply.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

Of course, the problem is going to be that the documents will all be “lost”.  The DOJ will simply have gone through a dozen hard drive crashes and documents will never be returned or found and will all be “accidentally” destroyed somehow.

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner’s probably already working over at DOJ.

The Obama DOJ has already shown it will murder people and arm narcoterrorist cartels.  The Obama administration has destroyed evidence over much less than an international conspiracy to murder.  Why would they follow a judge’s order?  And why would any incriminating documents still exist?  They’ve had years now to cover up their crimes and destroy evidence because those seeking the truth are limited to legal means, while the criminals in the White House and DOJ are totally free to commit crimes free of all repercussions.

But they’re still the most transparent administration ever.  Sort of like how Michael Moore is the world’s fittest man.

I guess the blacked-out stacks of pages DOJ sent to the House Oversight & Reform committee will be the closest we’ll probably see, but reminds us again of the thugs in the adminstration we’re dealing with:

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