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.

EDITORIAL: Holder’s contempt and Obama’s privilege – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Holder’s contempt and Obama’s privilege – Washington Times.

Fast and Furious fight heads to the House floor

President Obama’s attempt to invoke executive privilege to forestall contempt-of-Congress proceedings against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. failed. Instead, the claim elevates the dispute between the administration and Capitol Hill to a new and troubling level. The operative question now is, what did the president know and when did he know it?

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted Wednesday to recommend a contempt charge against Mr. Holder. Since October, the Justice Department has refused to respond to a subpoena seeking 1,300 pages of documents related to the botched Fast and Furious Mexican gunrunning operation. Negotiations between the Justice Department and committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, broke down, and the contempt recommendation followed.

Mr. Obama’s last-minute move to extend the umbrella of executive privilege raises the question of whether the president or his staff had extensive prior knowledge of the operation, because this privilege can only be invoked when the chief executive’s office is involved. “Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding Fast and Furious were confined to the Department of Justice,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the Fast and Furious operation or the cover-up that followed.”

Mr. Holder claims the documents in question are internal and deliberative and thus are records that traditionally are removed from congressional oversight. The committee is investigating the role Mr. Holder played in these very deliberations and how much he knew about the operation. He swore under oath that his involvement was limited and came late in the game, but he is withholding evidence that could either support or undercut his testimony. White House intervention gives the appearance that Mr. Holder’s stonewalling was not to protect himself from a perjury charge, but to conceal hitherto unknown Oval Office involvement in Fast and Furious. This also may explain why Mr. Holder said that what should have been a routine investigation could lead to a “constitutional crisis.”

Mr. Obama has an affinity for exerting unilateral power, so the attempt to extend executive privilege ought not to come as a surprise. Former President Bill Clinton made no such effort when his attorney general, Janet Reno, faced a contempt charge from the same committee in 1998. That dispute was resolved eventually without any broad claims of authority even though Mr. Clinton did exercise the privilege on 14 other occasions.

The danger in the administration’s strategy is that congressional investigators may already have obtained documents by other means. Earlier this month, Mr. Issa revealed that an anonymous whistleblower had provided wiretap applications related to Fast and Furious that had been under a federal court seal. Those papers by themselves probably have no bearing on Mr. Holder’s case or on the matter of White House participation, but it is possible that Mr. Issa may yet obtain other material directly contradicting Mr. Holder’s sworn testimony or revealing White House involvement. It remains to be seen whether this investigation will produce a smoking gun.

The Washington Times

Morning Bell: President Obama’s Fast and Furious Scandal Grows – Heritage.org

Morning Bell: President Obama’s Fast and Furious Scandal Grows – Heritage.org.

Rory Cooper

On the night of December 15, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by an untraceable assault weapon that was deliberately handed to Mexican drug lords by U.S. officials via Operation Fast and Furious. Ever since, the Terry family and Americans across the nation have asked how this could have happened.

And ever since, Attorney General Eric Holder has stonewalled Congress in its attempts to find these answers. Yesterday, President Obama joined this stonewalling effort, asserting executive privilege over many of the documents about the operation that Congress had subpoenaed but still had not received.

Executive privilege is legitimate when properly invoked. But even then, the Supreme Court has maintained that it is not absolute. The Department of Justice (DOJ) must provide a compelling rationale for each assertion. Shielding wrongdoing has never been a qualifying rationale.

Heritage legal expert and former Department of Justice counsel Todd Gaziano explains:

First, the Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon (1974) held that executive privilege cannot be invoked at all if the purpose is to shield wrongdoing. The courts held that [President] Nixon’s purported invocation of executive privilege was illegitimate, in part, for that reason. There is reason to suspect that this might be the case in the Fast and Furious cover-up and stonewalling effort. Congress needs to get to the bottom of that question to prevent an illegal invocation of executive privilege and further abuses of power. That will require an index of the withheld documents and an explanation of why each of them is covered by executive privilege—and more.

It is now up to Congress to ascertain the specific reasoning for executive privilege with every withheld document. Even in the unlikely case it is determined that this was a proper invocation of executive privilege, the administration is still not off the hook to inform Congress of what they know.

Gaziano explains further:

[T]he President is required when invoking executive privilege to try to accommodate the other branches’ legitimate information needs in some other way. For example, it does not harm executive power for the President to selectively waive executive privilege in most instances, even if it hurts him politically by exposing a terrible policy failure or wrongdoing among his staff. The history of executive–congressional relations is filled with accommodations and waivers of privilege. In contrast to voluntary waivers of privilege, Watergate demonstrates that wrongful invocations of privilege can seriously damage the office of the presidency when Congress and the courts impose new constraints on the President’s discretion or power (some rightful and some not).

President Obama now owns the Fast and Furious scandal. It is entirely up to him whether he wants to live up to the transparency promises he made four years ago, or further develop a shroud of secrecy that would make President Richard Nixon blush. If the stonewalling continues, and the privilege is not waived, it will be up to the American people and the media to demand the reasoning for the cover-up.

It is also time for the media to begin responsibly covering this scandal. For more than 16 months, only a handful of reporters have appropriately researched the facts and sought answers. Most members of the national media would not even acknowledge the existence of the scandal. Reportedly, NBC Nightly News ran its first story on the scandal just this past Tuesday.

The national media must now follow the lead of their colleagues CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson or Townhall’s Katie Pavlich and investigate the specific facts and details of the operation and administration involvement. Attkisson, as you may remember, was screamed and cussed at by White House spokesman Eric Schultz in October for asking questions about Operation Fast and Furious.

Answers must be demanded. When was the first time President Obama was briefed on this operation? Given his previous conflicting testimony, when in fact did Attorney General Eric Holder become involved? What exactly did he know and when did he know it?

Despite the fact that Mexico was left in the dark by the Obama administration, this was still an international operation. If Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must approve the Keystone pipeline, wouldn’t she also be consulted on this cross-border operation?

Liberals will try and pretend this operation that began in mid-2009 is connected to former President George W. Bush’s administration. The media should challenge this false assertion. Operation Wide Receiver in 2006 did not remotely resemble Fast and Furious, as National Review’s Andrew McCarthy has ably examined. Mexico helped coordinate it, and there was traceable controlled delivery. Even Holder admitted in testimony that you cannot “equate the two.”

We will also hear that this is “election-year politics.” The problem with that refrain is that this investigation has been ongoing since early 2011, well before campaign season started. It has been Attorney General Holder’s evasiveness that has dragged this process closer to Election Day.

If it were not for conservative media outlets, bloggers, a few dogged reporters and the steadfastness of House Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), this troubling scandal would have been buried long ago.

A brave American border agent is dead. At least 200 Mexicans have been slaughtered with these weapons. Drug violence on the border remains unabated. Now, President Obama is attempting to conceal the facts of what happened. This is an opportunity for Congress and the media to demand sunlight.

Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal – Katie Pavlich – Townhall Conservative Columnists

Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal – Katie Pavlich – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

Katie Pavlich

Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal - Katie Pavlich - Townhall Conservative ColumnistsOperation Fast and Furious is the deadliest and most sinister scandal in American history. A scandal so big, it’s worse than Iran-Contra and makes Watergate look like a high school prank gone wrong.

In the early days of the Obama Administration, President Obama claimed his goal was to stop the trafficking of guns from the United States into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels. He claimed gun dealers in the United States were responsible for sending guns to Mexico. Both of his claims were lies.

In order to push his lies and policies built around them, with a goal of implementing harsher gun control laws and reinstating the assault weapons ban, President Obama packed his administration full of anti-Second Amendment zealots. After all, personnel is policy.

In my new book, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Coverup, I document the conspiracy of senior Obama officials to subvert the Second Amendment, which led directly to the murders of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, I.C.E. Agent Jaime Zapata and countless, faceless lives in Mexico. It debunks the Obama administration’s lies, denials and excuses. This administration was willing to use humans as collateral damage to push a political agenda, and had no shame in doing so. Now, the administration has no shame in covering up their reckless actions.

Since just moments after Brian Terry was killed in the Arizona desert on December 15, 2010 by Mexican cartel thugs, carrying AK-47s provided to them by the Obama Justice Department through Operation Fast and Furious, the FBI, Homeland Security, ATF, Justice Department and the White House have been engaged in a full scale cover-up.  These are simply names of government agencies, but who are the people behind the cover-up?

I unravel a tangled web connecting President Obama, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano and a number of advisors and political appointees behind Fast and Furious. These officials have deep loyalties to each other and their anti-Second Amendment ideology dating as far back as the Clinton Administration. In fact, many key Fast and Furious players  have deep ties to Chicago and helped craft the 1994 Clinton assault weapons ban legislation. 

If the majority of American people knew Fast and Furious like they know Solyndra or the GSA scandal, they would be outraged. Despite very few exceptions, the media has been complicit in the cover-up of Obama’s bloodiest scandal by ignoring and refusing to report about it. Why? To protect the President. This scandal, one that has left hundreds of bodies in its wake, would be deadly to the administration. This is the scandal that will bring President Obama down in November, so long as the American people know its details.

Over the weekend, GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney officially made Fast and Furious a general election issue. His advisors are now directly pointing to the scandal as an example of how the Obama Administration used in its first term to “provide cover for potential efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights.” In the book, I provide the documents and interviews to prove it.

The Obama administration is acting guilty, not innocent, in its actions to continually stonewall and deny the truth. Any American who believes the President, the Attorney General of the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and a long list of other government officials responsible for this reckless program are not above the law, need this book.

Operation Fast and Furious wasn’t a “botched” program. It was a calculated and lethal decision to purposely place thousand of guns into the hands of ruthless criminals. The operation was a coordinated and planned effort not to track guns, but to arm thugs south of the border for political gain. Eric Holder should be removed from office for incompetence, dishonesty and charged with perjury. My sources, documented in the book, say Janet Napolitano may also face charges of perjury and potentially obstruction of justice. It is time for President Obama to take responsibility, denounce the operation and fire those involved.

You can buy a copy at Amazon.

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