BURTON: Fast and Furious stonewalling looks like guilt – Washington Times

BURTON: Fast and Furious stonewalling looks like guilt – Washington Times.

Congress will persist until truth is uncovered

By Rep. Dan Burton

The Fast and Furious investigation has reached its 17th month, and it’s obvious it has taken on a life of its own. Stonewalling and misdirection from the executive branch in response to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s investigation not only raise suspicions and make a mockery of the idea of due process but also minimize the death of a patriot who served his country valiantly.

I wish I could say the actions of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., his Justice Department and the president were unprecedented, but history proves otherwise. In 1998, while serving as chairman of the House oversight committee, I held a vote recommending contempt for then-Attorney General Janet Reno for her failure to comply with a subpoena issued in connection with the committee’s investigation into campaign finance law violations. Although the committee voted to hold Ms. Reno in contempt, a resolution of contempt of Congress was never voted on by the full House of Representatives. Despite the different outcomes, the parallels between then and now are very similar. In both instances, the accused misled the committee and feigned ignorance throughout the entire investigation. These are not actions commonly attributed to persons with nothing to hide.

Unfortunately, Mr. Holder’s Justice Department and the administration chose a course of action that forced Congress‘ hand. The inability to find closure regarding this congressional investigation rests solely on the executive branch’s determination to obstruct it. This kind of disregard for congressional oversight and the duties of his office must not stand. I am a firm believer in the relevance of the old detective’s query, “What did he know and when did he know it?” Unfortunately, the answers to these simple questions remain unknown to the American people. But when one takes into account the facts that the committee has brought to light, it becomes very clear that the executive branch looks guilty of hiding the truth.

In 2009, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented an operation that allowed criminal suspects to walk away with illegally purchased guns. The purpose was to wait and watch in the hope law enforcement could identify members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case. Tragically, about 2,000 weapons were not tracked, forcing Mr. Holder to formally retract previous claims that he had made to Congress.

Six wiretap applications dating back to 2010 prove this to be true. Those wiretap applications reveal that ATF agents were monitoring suspected gun traffickers for Mexican drug cartels but making no arrests or interdictions. Wiretap applications do not happen on their own — they require authorization at the highest levels. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco, three of Mr. Holder’s most senior aides, authorized those wiretap applications. It defies reason that not one of Mr. Holder’s most senior aides was made aware of the highly controversial and perilous tactics being employed in the Fast and Furious operation.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa’s handling of this investigation has been meticulous. He has been dogged in his pursuit of the truth while also exercising professional courtesy and restraint in his dealings with Mr. Holder and the Justice Department. His professionalism and fortitude were met with the handing over of about 7,600 of the requested 100,000 documents (about 13 percent) of overly redacted material no doubt strategically vetted and hand-selected by senior officials within the department for their lack of detail. Justice’s level of cooperation to this point has been severely lacking. In fact, the evidence is inescapable that the executive branch is going out of its way to ensure that this investigation does not come to an impartial conclusion. We owe it to the American and Mexican people to see this investigation come to its rightful and truthful conclusion.

We must not allow ourselves to become bogged down by the political firestorm that has engulfed the Fast and Furious investigation. Whether one chooses to discuss the contempt of Mr. Holder or whether Mr. Obama has misused executive privilege, the political theater threatens to overshadow the true purpose of this investigation. The heart of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious is to seek answers about the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry as well as hundreds of innocent Mexican citizens, all killed by guns supplied to Mexican drug warlords by our own federal government.

No one is above the law. It is the fundamental duty of Congress to find out why this happened and to ensure that this kind of reckless behavior is not tolerated or allowed ever to happen again. We must get to the bottom of this.

Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Fast and Furious Is Not a D.C. Law Firm – Ann Coulter – Townhall.com

Fast and Furious Is Not a D.C. Law Firm – Ann Coulter – Townhall.com.

Most Americans don’t care about whether Attorney General Eric Holder is hiding Fast and Furious documents because they don’t understand the story.

Until someone can tell us otherwise, there is only one explanation for why President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug dealers: It put guns in their hands to strengthen liberals’ argument for gun control.

Precisely because this is such a jaw-dropping accusation — criminality at the highest level of government to score a political point — Republicans refuse to make it.

But the problem with Republican rectitude in discussing this scandal is that as soon as they start talking about subpoenas and dates and documents, TV channels change across America. They’re never going to get answers unless they first explain to the American people why it matters.

Liberals have been dying to reinstate the so-called “assault weapons” ban, but they haven’t been able to for political reasons. (For more information on this, see the 1994 congressional elections.)

A typically idiotic Democratic scheme, the “assault weapons” ban prohibited the sale of semiautomatics that are operationally indistinguishable from deer rifles, but which looked scary to liberal women.

First, the Democrats tried lying about how American guns were being found in the hands of Mexican drug dealers — while demanding a renewal of the assault weapons ban.

Obama had barely unpacked at the White House, when he and high-level administration officials and Senate Democrats — Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Chuck Schumer — started railing about how our lax gun control laws were putting guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

In 2010, even Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon demanded that the U.S. reinstate the assault weapons ban — on the grounds that Mexican drug violence was directly linked to the law’s repeal.

The claim was preposterous for many reasons, including the fact that the type and quantity of armaments being used by Mexican drug cartels can be obtained only from places such as North Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela and Guatemala.

The notion that most guns used by Mexican drug gangs came from the U.S. was a lie — exposed on about 1 million gun blogs and on Fox News.

So, then the Obama administration did exactly what Democrats had been falsely accusing American gun sellers of doing: They put American guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The only explanation for Fast and Furious is that it was a program to prop up a losing gun control argument. The Waco and Ruby Ridge raids were monstrous, but they at least made sense as simple screw-ups: (1) ATF’s budget was about to be cut and it needed some showy raids; and (2) law enforcement officials detest private gun ownership on principle.

There is no conceivable law enforcement objective to giving Mexican drug dealers thousands of untrackable guns. It’s not even fun for the agents, like an armed raid on a private home. If there’s some other explanation, Holder isn’t telling.

Republicans refuse to state this clearly because they can’t prove it. Instead, they just keep chattering about the documents that haven’t been turned over and subpoenas that haven’t been answered.

Did Democrats wait for a smoking gun to accuse Karl Rove of treason for revealing Valerie Plame‘s identity as a CIA agent? It turned out Rove didn’t reveal it, and it wouldn’t have been a crime if he had.

Did they wait for proof to accuse Sen. John McCain of committing adultery? They had none, and yet that story ran on the front page of The New York Times.

Did they have any evidence before accusing the entire Republican House leadership of complicity in Mark Foley’s creepy emails to young male interns? See if you can guess. Take all the time you need. Feel free to call one of your “lifelines” if necessary.

Liberals just make wild-eyed accusations and demand Republicans prove themselves innocent. (Say, whatever happened to Karl Rove’s trial for treason for outing Valerie Plame? Can somebody call Lawrence O’Donnell and check on that?)

If conservatives were our only source of information about 9/11, no one would care about that, either. Somehow they’d make it about Osama bin Laden not answering a subpoena.

This isn’t just another government program gone bad — a $300 ashtray, stimulus money fraud, Solyndra or Van Jones.

It isn’t just a story about some government official refusing to testify.

It isn’t even a story about an American dying as a result of a government program, as outrageous as that is. Yes, Brian Terry died at the hands of a Mexican using a Holder-provided American gun. Pat Tillman died. Ron Brown died. People sometimes die as a result of government screw-ups. Fast and Furious is worse.

Innocent people dying was the objective of Fast and Furious, not collateral damage.

It would be as if the Bush administration had implemented a covert operation to dump a dangerous abortifacient in Planned Parenthood clinics, resulting in hundreds of women dying — just to give pro-lifers an argument about how dangerous abortion clinics are.

That’s what Fast and Furious is about.

Stand-down orders stymied ‘Fast & Furious’ gun tracking, memo says – Washington Times

Stand-down orders stymied ‘Fast & Furious’ gun tracking, memo says – Washington Times.

By Jerry Seper – The Washington Times

Concerned that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were “too close and would burn the operation,” the lead investigator in a Fast and Furious surveillance operation ordered an ATF team monitoring the pending transfer of weapons to Mexican drug smugglers to “leave the immediate area.”

While the agents were repositioning themselves, the transaction took place and the smugglers took possession of weapons purchased by “straw buyers” at a Phoenix area gun shop — leaving the area without any agents in a position to follow.

The guns were among more than 2,000 weapons purchased that ended up in the hands of drug smugglers during the Fast and Furious investigation, which began in September 2009 and was halted only after the December 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry. Two Fast and Furious-purchased weapons — both AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles — were found at the site of the Terry killing.

The surveillance snafu is outlined in a Feb. 3, 2011, memo by ATF agent Gary M. Styers recounting for agency supervisors what he told two investigators for Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about his experience with Fast and Furious. He said the weapons transfer was to occur at a gas station, and an ATF surveillance team was in place when it was ordered to back off by lead investigator Hope McAllister.

It’s not the only time a surveillance was called off or that field agents questioned the tactics used in Fast and Furious, a risky strategy to allow weapons to flow south into Mexico. The goal was to identify the drug-cartel bosses in Mexico who were paying for the weapons. ATF supervisors had no interest in prosecuting the straw buyers on charges of “lying and buying.”

ATF senior agent Olindo James Casa told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that when surveillance teams did follow weapons purchased by straw buyers, they always were terminated without interdicting or seizing the firearms. He said the stand-down orders came from Ms. McAllister or ATF Group VII Strike Force supervisor David J. Voth, who oversaw the Fast and Furious operation.

Mr. Casa testified that he and other agents “sternly warned” their supervisors of the “consequences of their actions (or lack thereof), but were repeatedly ignored.” He said when he and others asked Ms. McAllister and Mr. Voth if they were prepared to attend the funeral of a slain agent or officer killed by a Fast and Furious weapon, neither answered “or even seemed concerned by the question.”

Mr. Grassley wants to know whether the Styers memo was forwarded to the Justice Department in Washington. Its Feb. 3 date falls one day before the department denied in a letter to him that any weapons had been “walked” to gun smugglers in Mexico.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the veteran Iowa lawmaker said his investigators were told that 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.”

A report by Mr. Grassley and Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Fast and Furious field agents often were told to stand down rather than interdict weapons, and when they complained, they were ignored.

ATF agent John Dodson told Mr. Issa’s committee that he and others were ordered to observe the gun smugglers but not to intervene. He said he and others monitored the purchase of weapons “almost daily,” but rather than interdict them, the agents took notes, recorded observations and tracked the movement of some of those involved for short periods, “but nothing more.”

“Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing,” he said.

The strategy continued until Dec. 14, 2010, when two Fast and Furious AK-47s turned up just north of the Arizona-Mexico border at the site of the Terry killing.

In his memo, Mr. Styers said ATF agents were not permanently assigned to surveillance on Fast and Furious, a practice he described as “unheard of.” Instead, he said, supervisors polled offices for “agents who were available to respond at short notice.”

KEENE: Fast and furious cover-up at Holder’s Justice – Washington Times

KEENE: Fast and furious cover-up at Holder’s Justice – Washington Times.

Team Obama resorts to default excuse: Blame Bush

By David Keene – The Washington Times

Obama administration officials must remind each other daily that they will never have to accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong on their watch as long as they can find some way to blame their troubles on George W. Bush.

So it should surprise no one that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the administration’s surrogates are vociferously claiming that Operation Fast and Furious, the gun-walking scandal run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is all Mr. Bush’s fault. Fast and Furious was a program that resulted in Congress holding Mr. Holder in contempt for lying, put a couple thousand guns into the hands of Mexican drug gangs and led to the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and as many as 200 Mexicans.

Obama spokesmen claim it all began under Mr. Bush and a little-known operation also run out of Phoenix, dubbed Operation Wide Receiver. The Bush-era program involved a few hundred guns and was designed and run by U.S. and Mexican agents who planted electronic tracking devices in the guns so the agents could follow the guns on both sides of the border. The idea was to compile evidence that could be used to prosecute gang kingpins.

A few of the guns vanished, however, as some of the batteries powering the implanted tracking devices failed, and in a few cases, gang members discovered and destroyed the devices. As soon as this was reported to Washington, the whole operation was canceled to prevent more guns from falling into the wrong hands. A vast majority of the guns involved were traced and retrieved; no one was killed; and the project was shelved as a bad idea.

Two years later, many of the same ATF and Justice Department officials in Phoenix came up with and launched a very different program they called Fast and Furious. Straw purchasers were allowed to buy more than 2,000 guns from dealers along our southern border who were pressured by government officials to look the other way. There was no attempt to trace or follow the guns; the Mexican government was not informed of the operation; and even ATF’s own agents in Mexico were kept in the dark.

No actionable criminal evidence against anyone was obtained, and agents who wanted to arrest middlemen before the guns walked were ordered to stand down. The program turned into a pipeline that provided arms to the Sinola drug cartel for use by the gang’s enforcers and drug smugglers.

The media continually refer to Fast and Furious as a botched operation, but the law enforcement purpose of the scheme never made much sense. It was never designed to enable anyone on either side of the border to trace firearms. Guns simply were handed over to criminal gangs so U.S. officials later could see how many of them turned up at crime scenes. For this to happen, they had to hope the guns would actually be used by the cartels. Gang members don’t throw away their guns for no reason, but when they use them in a crime, they discard them so authorities can’t tie them to the crime.

The American guns began showing up all over Mexico as civilians and criminals alike were gunned down. When one was found at the site of a fatal gunbattle that left U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry dead, the agent running the show reportedly dismissed his colleague’s horror at what had happened by observing, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

Whether someone at the Justice Department or deep in the bowels of the ATF dreamed up Fast and Furious is less important than what happened when higher-ups at Justice and the White House learned about it. Among the inquiries congressional investigators have spent 18 months conducting is whether administration officials attempted to use the fact that the guns were showing up at crime scenes as a means of building support for new gun-control laws.

The scheme might have worked but for a few honest agents who went to CBS News and to Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. The Obama administration tried first to deny everything and discredit the whistleblowers; officials blamed it on out-of-control career bureaucrats and criminal gun dealers, and finally, they blamed Mr. Bush as part of a cover-up that continues to this day.

On Nov. 8, 2011, however, when it still looked as if stonewalling alone might work, the attorney general admitted before the Senate Judiciary Committee that there was no relationship between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious, and he claimed he would never try to equate the two programs. That, of course, was then – before all else had failed and it was time once again to blame Mr. Bush for an Obama administration scheme that went bad.

David A. Keene is president of the NRA,former chairman of the American Conservative Union and a member of the board of the ACU, the Constitution Project and the Center for the National Interest.

Holder’s contempt for House now affirmed – Washington Times

Holder’s contempt for House now affirmed – Washington Times.

Fast and Furious stonewall a result of Team Obama arrogance

By Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman – The Washington Times

When the House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress, Mr. Holder and his Justice Department, surprisingly, wasted no time proving that they have nothing but contempt for the lawmakers who undertook that historic measure.

Justice Department officials quickly announced that there would be no prosecution and that as far as they were concerned, no crime had been committed. Mr. Holder, his agency and by proxy, the Obama White House, thumbed its collective nose at Congress, and particularly at the family of a slain Border Patrol agent, who are still waiting for answers about his murder.

How ironic that an administration that rode into office talking about openness and accountability would slam the door of secrecy on the House investigation of Operation Fast and Furious and – at least, so far – not hold anyone accountable for that disastrous misadventure. By invoking executive privilege rather than release an estimated 1,300 subpoenaed documents to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder have claimed full ownership of a scandal for which previously, they had plausibly denied any direct responsibility.

Can it be anything but 100-proof arrogance that now has the attorney general – the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the nation – hiding behind the president’s executive shield and his own department’s indifference to place himself essentially above the law? The Justice Department has treated House Oversight Committee members like lepers, while not removing a single individual responsible for Fast and Furious from the government payroll. Justice took a quick glance at the House vote and blew it off. All these things taken in total reflect a contemptuous indifference toward an equal branch of government that has a job to do.

At the heart of this scandal is an inconvenient truth: Agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) embraced an investigative technique that was disastrous, and they knew it. Had this been a completely private enterprise that was uncovered, those responsible might have already gone before a grand jury, with possible indictments and convictions. Instead, the people most closely associated with Fast and Furious are still receiving paychecks.

Back in 2009, Mr. Holder and others in the Obama administration were sharply critical of “weak” gun laws that they blamed for contributing to Mexico’s mayhem. Gun dealers, gun shows and private citizens making perfectly legal transactions got the blame.

Revelations from the investigation – conducted primarily by online journalists, CBS and Fox News – have vindicated these traditional whipping boys. But gun owners deserve to know who approved this fiasco and then let them take the rap.

When Operation Fast and Furious began disintegrating following the December 2010 slaying of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the Arizona desert, it was revealed that law-abiding gun dealers had raised red flags. They had been told to complete transactions they believed to be linked to gun smuggling. ATF agents were allegedly told to “stand down” rather than interdict weapons.

When Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley began inquiries, the Justice Department lied to him in a letter that has since been retracted because of “inaccuracies.” When the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation, they were stonewalled. Now, after the House contempt vote, Mr. Holder and the Justice Department are telling Capitol Hill and the American people that we have no right to know what has been done in our name, using our tax money.

The people do have a right to know, especially from an administration touting itself as the “most transparent” in our history, and we need to know now, not after the November election.

Alan Gottlieb is founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. Dave Workman is communications director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

MCCUBBIN: Eric Holder spits on Brian Terry’s grave – Washington Times

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

Seal of the United States Department of Justice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MCCUBBIN: Eric Holder spits on Brian Terry’s grave – Washington Times.

Honor obligates attorney general to resign

By George E. McCubbin III

As president of the National Border Patrol Council, I represent more than 17,000 rank-and-file Border Patrol agents. I personally have been an agent for more than 25 years, during which time I have seen my fair share of politics related to the service. We have dealt with overzealous prosecutors and anti-immigration organizations, but never have we had to deal with an attorney general who has complete disregard for one of our own.

Eric H. Holder Jr. is called “America’s top cop” as the attorney general of the United States. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings with Mr. Holder as a witness in order to properly investigate the disaster known as Operation Fast and Furious. Direct questions have been aimed at the attorney general to determine who is at fault and to hold those parties accountable for their involvement in the operation. To date, Mr. Holder has danced around the questions, releasing only a small fraction of the documents that have been requested by Congress. He has not answered all of the questions that the committee has asked him. We are one-and-a-half years into this investigation and are no closer to getting the answers than when we started. It is downright unacceptable. This is why the National Border Patrol Council is calling for the resignation of Mr. Holder. Credibility, honesty, integrity and honor are trademarks that every law enforcement officer brings to work every day. Yet, as America’s top cop, Mr. Holder has failed on every count.

Operation Fast and Furious cost the life of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and was a complete catastrophe. It demonstrated the incompetence of several agency managers. To think that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would allow Mexican citizens to purchase weapons and then take them back to Mexico in order to use them for committing further crimes against their people and the citizens of the United States is unbelievable. But that is exactly what they did, and they accomplished this with the blessing of Mr. Holder.

When this investigation started, we hoped the legal system would reveal answers to questions that so many people had asked: How did this happen? Who allowed it? Who made the decision to continue with this operation? Who knew about this and did not report the facts to the proper authorities? We know Mr. Holder has the answers. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants these answers. The Terry family deserves the answers. Mr. Holder knows the answers, but refuses to provide them. If the attorney general has any respect left for the position he currently holds, then he should do four honorable things:

Apologize to the Terry family.

Deliver all relevant documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Provide thorough and honest answers to all of the questions that he has not answered to date.

Resign immediately.

George E. McCubbin III is President of the National Border Patrol Council.

Border Patrol group calls for Holder’s resignation – Washington Times

Border Patrol group calls for Holder’s resignation – Washington Times.

By Jerry Seper – The Washington Times

The National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 17,000 of the agency’s nonsupervisory agents, called Monday for the resignation of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for his role in the botched “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation that resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Council President George E. McCubbin III, a 25-year Border Patrol veteran, described Mr. Holder’s actions in the case as “a slap in the face to all Border Patrol agents who serve this country,” adding that the attorney general showed “an utter failure of leadership at the highest levels of government.”

Two semi-automatic AK-47 assault weapons found at the scene of the Dec. 15, 2010, killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry were traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to “straw buyers” who bought the weapons as part of the Fast and Furious investigation.

The agent died during a gunfight with heavily-armed Mexican bandits along the U.S.-Mexico border south of Tucson, Ariz.

More than 2,000 weapons purchased during the ATF-led Fast and Furious operation were “walked” to drug smugglers in Mexico. More than 600 of them still are missing.

Mr. McCubbin said Border Patrol agents are indoctrinated from day one of their training that “integrity is their most important trait and that without it, they have little use to the agency.” He said agents who lie or show a lack of candor are disciplined quickly.

“The standard that applies to these agents should at a minimum be applied to those who lead them,” Mr. McCubbin said. “If Eric Holder were a Border Patrol agent and not the attorney general, he would have long ago been found unsuitable for government employment and terminated.”

“The heroism that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry demonstrated on that cold night in the desert of Arizona was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Border Patrol and will never be forgotten by those who patrol this nation’s borders,” he said.

“We cannot allow our agents to be sacrificed for no gain and not hold accountable those who approved the ill-conceived Operation Fast and Furious,” he said.

Mr. McCubbin said the “political shenanigans” surrounding Fast and Furious and the “passing the blame” must stop.

He noted that a Border Patrol agent cannot accidentally step foot in Mexico without a myriad of U.S. and Mexican government agencies being made aware, so there would have been no possible way that Fast and Furious was conducted without the knowledge and tacit approval of the Justice Department and the Obama administration.

“It is time for Attorney General Holder to show the least shred of responsibility and leadership and resign his post,” Mr. McCubbin said. “Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry deserves nothing less.”

Last week, Mr. Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee he had “no intention” of resigning, adding that he heard the White House press officer say the president has “absolute confidence in me.”

His defiance came after Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and a senior committee member, called on him to quit, saying Mr. Holder had failed “the basic standards of political independence and accountability” in determining who knew about or approved the “walking” of guns into Mexico.

“Americans deserve an attorney general who will be honest with them,” Mr. Cornyn said.

“You have violated the public trust, in my view,” he said. “It is more with sorrow than regret and anger that I would say that you leave me no alternative than to join those who call upon you to resign your office.”

Grassley: Where’s report on ‘Fast and Furious’? – Washington Times

English: Badge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobac...

Image via Wikipedia

Grassley: Where’s report on ‘Fast and Furious’? – Washington Times.

By Chuck Neubauer – The Washington Times

The ranking Republican on the SenateJudiciary Committee says a Justice Department investigation into the botched “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation has taken “an awfully long time to finish” and, as a result, “should meet the highest standards of accuracy and independence.”

Operation Fast and Furious failed to live up to the standards set by the American people, and we need to know how that could ever happen,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who first questioned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation more than a year ago.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asked the inspector general’s office at the Justice Department in February 2011 to investigate the operation after Mr. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, discovered that ATF had allowed more than 2,000 weapons – including AK-47 assault rifles – to be “walked” across the border to drug smugglers in Mexico.

Fast and Furious was an ATF attempt to allow “straw buyers” in Arizona to walk weapons into Mexico with a goal of tracking them to drug cartel leaders. But ATF lost track of hundreds of the weapons, 1,400 of which are still unaccounted for.

Mr. Holder’s request followed harsh challenges by Mr. Grassley and Mr. Issa concerning the operation after Fast and Furious weapons were found at the site of the December 2010 fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, who was killed in a gunfight 10 miles north of the Arizona border town of Nogales. Two Romanian-made AK-47s found at the scene were identified as having been purchased in a Glendale, Ariz., gun shop as part of Fast and Furious.

Jay Lerner, spokesman for the inspector general’s office, said “the review is ongoing,” but declined to elaborate.

Mr. Grassley initially expressed concern that the investigation was being conducted without an independent Senate-confirmed inspector general running the office. Acting Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar has not been through the Senate confirmation process and Mr. Grassley questioned whether she could “challenge senior officials with tough questions.”

President Obama’s nominee as inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is awaiting Senate confirmation.

Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the inspector general’s review has “taken longer than the Warren Commission report on the Kennedy assassination.” He said the inquiry “comes across that it is being stonewalled until after the election.”

Meanwhile, Patrick McGroder, an attorney for the Terry family, said the family was “frustrated” and “impatient” with the pace of the various investigations and proceedings including the inspector general’s review but in the end “just want people to tell the truth, assume responsibility and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“The Terrys feel strongly about not letting Brian’s life become a political football,” he said.

Operation Fast and Furious has drawn widespread criticism, sparking questions of who inside ATF and at the Justice Department knew that weapons were being purchased by straw buyers in Arizona and delivered to drug dealers in Mexico. Mr. Obama has said he did not authorize the program and Mr. Holder has pleaded ignorance.

NUGENT: Fast and Furious stinks – Washington Times

NUGENT: Fast and Furious stinks – Washington Times.

Gun-smuggling scheme another reason to distrust government

By Ted NugentThe Washington Times

The United States of America has turned into bizarro land. Think of this: Our very own Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), under the direct guidance of the attorney general of the United States – America’s top cop, mind you – not only allowed, but encouraged American gun dealers to sell about 2,000 guns to known punks involved in the drug trade in order to trace the guns to Mexican drug cartels. If you think that’s unbelievably nuts, get a load of this: The suspected goons who bought the guns were not even placed under law enforcement surveillance.

This is analogous to the Drug Enforcement Administration knowingly allowing international dope pushers to sell heroin on American streets without placing the dope dealers under surveillance in hopes that somehow, some way, the dope pushers would enable the DEA to trace the heroin back to some dirty, cave-dwelling Afghan opium poppy farmer so we could then poison the farmer’s poppy fields. Wait a minute, let’s not give this crackpot administration any more loony ideas.

In all of its bureaucratic buffoonery, the ATF lost control of the weapons. Of course it did, as there were no electronic tracing components on the guns. Our less-than-esteemed attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., to whom the ATF reports, claimed not to know a thing about this brain-dead operation.

What kind of inebriated idiot would hatch an evil scheme such as this and then believe that, somehow, the guns could be traced to Mexican drug cartels without an electronic tracing component? This isn’t some low-ranking bureaucratic village idiot but a high-ranking government bureaucratic idiot who is paid by U.S. taxpayers.

It’s not as if the drug cartels needed any more guns. An estimated 35,000 Mexicans have been slaughtered in recent years in drug-related violence. What could an additional 2,000 guns provide the already heavily armed drug cartels, which get all the fully automatic machine guns they could possibly want from their own military and Central American gunrunners? Are you kidding me?

We should be given the names of the bureaucratic idiots at ATF who hatched this criminal idea and the bureaucratic punks who authorized it. They shouldn’t just be fired. They should be prosecuted and put in a cage with other gunrunning thugs. That’s what this was: a U.S. government-sanctioned gun-smuggling scheme.

Meanwhile, because the bureaucratic punks in Washington who hatched and approved this terminally brain-dead gunrunning idea have not been charged with a crime, all across America, law-abiding citizens must comply with onerous gun restrictions that make them victims. Great. Punish the good guys. That seems to be standard operating procedure in Barack Obama’s and Eric Holder’s America.

More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens ultimately ensures more dead bad guys – not more guns in the hands of violent dope dealers. I want an attorney general who declares open season on the recidivistic, violent punks who victimize law-abiding Americans.

Americans addicted to common sense have always had a healthy disdain for government bureaucrats addicted to power. Our instinctual distrust for government is further fueled by Mr. Holder’s ATF Operation Fast and Furious. At its core it was stupid, sinister, evil and criminal.

The only thing fast and furious that ought to happen is a full-on murder investigation by the FBI of the government goons who hatched, authorized and now are covering up this brain-dead, criminal scheme, which ended up costing the life of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Fast and Furious stinks. It smells just like Watergate did, only worse.

Ted Nugent is an American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is the author of “Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns & Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).

KUHNER: Obama’s Watergate – Washington Times

KUHNER: Obama’s Watergate – Washington Times.

Officials cover up culpability for gun smuggling and murder

By Jeffrey T. Kuhner – The Washington Times

A year ago this week, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered. He died protecting his country from brutal Mexican gangsters. Two AK-47 assault rifles were found at his death site. We now know the horrifying truth: Agent Terry was killed by weapons that were part of an illegal Obama administration operation to smuggle arms to the dangerous drug cartels. He was a victim of his own government. This is not only a major scandal; it is a high crime that potentially reaches all the way to the White House, implicating senior officials. It is President Obama’s Watergate.

Operation Fast and Furious was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and overseen by the Justice Department. It started under the leadership of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Fast and Furious enabled straw gun purchases from licensed dealers in Arizona, in which more than 2,000 weapons were smuggled to Mexican drug kingpins. ATF claims it was seeking to track the weapons as part of a larger crackdown on the growing violence in the Southwest. Instead, ATF effectively has armed murderous gangs. About 300 Mexicans have been killed by Fast and Furious weapons. More than 1,400 guns remain lost. Agent Terry likely will not be the last U.S. casualty.

Mr. Holder insists he was unaware of what took place until after media reports of the scandal appeared in early 2011. This is false. Such a vast operation only could have occurred with the full knowledge and consent of senior administration officials. Massive gun-running and smuggling is not carried out by low-level ATF bureaucrats unless there is authorization from the top. There is a systematic cover-up.

Congressional Republicans, however, are beginning to shed light on the scandal. Led by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rep. Darrell Issa of California, a congressional probe is exposing the Justice Department’s rampant criminality and deliberate stonewalling. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the department’s criminal division, helped craft a February letter to Congress that denied ATF had ever walked guns into Mexico. Yet, under pressure from congressional investigators, the department later admitted that Mr. Breuer knew about ATF gun-smuggling as far back as April 2010. In other words, Mr. Breuer has been misleading Congress. He should resign – or be fired.

Instead, Mr. Holder tenaciously insists that Mr. Breuer will keep his job. He needs to keep his friends close and potential witnesses even closer. Another example is former acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson. Internal documents show Mr. Melson directly oversaw Fast and Furious, including monitoring numerous straw purchases of AK-47s. He has admitted to congressional investigators that he, along with high-ranking ATF leaders, reassigned every “manager involved in Fast and Furious” after the scandal surfaced on Capitol Hill and in the press. Mr. Melson said he was ordered by senior Justice officials to be silent regarding the reassignments. Hence, ATF managers who possess intimate and damaging information – especially on the role of the Justice Department – essentially have been promoted to cushy bureaucratic jobs. Their silence has been bought, their complicity swept under the rug. Mr. Melson has been transferred to Justice’s main office, where he serves as a “senior adviser” on forensic science in the department’s Office of Legal Policy. Rather than being punished, Mr. Melson has been rewarded for his incompetence and criminal negligence.

Mr. Holder and his aides have given misleading, false and contradictory testimony on Capitol Hill. Perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power – these are high crimes and misdemeanors. Mr. Holder should be impeached. Like most liberals, he is playing the victim card, claiming Mr. Issa is a modern-day Joseph McCarthy conducting a judicial witch hunt. Regardless of this petty smear, Mr. Holder must be held responsible and accountable – not only for the botched operation, but for his flagrant attempts to deflect blame from the administration.

Mr. Holder is a shameless careerist and a ruthless Beltway operative. For years, his out-of-control Justice Department has violated the fundamental principle of our democracy, the rule of law. He has refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for blatant voter intimidation that took place in the 2008 election. Career Justice lawyers have confessed publicly that Mr. Holder will not pursue cases in which the perpetrators are black and the victims white. States such as Arizona and Alabama are being sued for simply attempting to enforce federal immigration laws. Mr. Holder also opposes voter identification cards, thereby enabling fraud and vote-stealing at the ballot box. What else can we expect from one who, during the Clinton administration, helped pardon notorious tax cheat Marc Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists?

Mr. Holder clearly knew about Fast and Furious and did nothing to stop it. This is because the administration wanted to use the excuse of increased violence on the border and weapons-smuggling into Mexico to justify tighter gun-control legislation. Mr. Holder is fighting ferociously to prevent important internal Justice documents from falling into the hands of congressional investigators. If the full nature of his involvement is discovered, the Obama presidency will be in peril.

Fast and Furious is even worse than Watergate for one simple reason: No one died because of President Nixon’s political dirty tricks and abuse of government power. But Brian Terry is dead; and there are still 1,500 missing guns threatening still more lives.

What did Mr. Obama know? Massive gun-smuggling by the U.S. government into a foreign country does not happen without the explicit knowledge and approval of leading administration officials. It’s too big, too risky and too costly. Mr. Holder may not be protecting just himself and his cronies. Is he protecting the president?

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,559 other followers