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.”

House orders solid base line on border – Washington Times

House orders solid base line on border – Washington Times.

Seeks new measurement for illegal immigration control

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times

 

Former U.S. President George W. Bush in a Bord...

Former U.S. President George W. Bush in a Border Patrol dune buggy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Obama administration scrapped the old definition for measuring border security two years ago, it left the government without any way of measuring how much of the U.S.-Mexico border is under operational control.

On Wednesday, the House pushed back, approving a bill demanding that the Homeland Security Department come up with a good yardstick for measuring border security and produce a concrete plan to get the country closer to that goal.

The bill passed by voice vote and had the support of both Republican and Democratic leaders on homeland security issues, signaling a bipartisan desire for real data on whether the border is secure — a precondition both sides say is necessary before they can talk about legalizing illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

“We just can’t change the rules if we don’t like the results,” said Rep. Candice S. Miller, the Michigan Republican who sponsored Wednesday’s legislation prodding the administration.

Her bill orders Homeland Security to submit a plan within 180 days that would detail how to achieve control of the borders within five years.

Under the Bush administration, the government used a measure called “operational control,” which was defined as areas where the government could adequately detect and respond to illegal crossings.

At last check in 2011, Congress‘ auditors said the administration had just 44 percent of the border with Mexico under operational control, and just 2 percent of the Canadian border met that standard.

Lawmakers said the Obama administration stopped releasing operational control data in 2010. A year ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano announced that her department was working to come up with a new yardstick instead.

In the interim, it has been using apprehensions of illegal immigrants along the border as a measure, but all sides agree that has limitations. For example, nobody knows exactly how many people avoided capture and made it into the U.S., and it doesn’t account for those crossing only to drop off drugs.

A secure Southern border has become a key hurdle for President Obama’s push to legalize the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

The administration argues that it has made dramatic strides in security, but opponents point to the lack of total operational control as evidence that the situation is not resolved.

“Given that the Obama administration has given up reporting the level of operational control on the border, it’s no wonder Congress has to force them to come up with an approved plan to achieve it,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who used to call for legalization but now says it must be put off while the country focuses on border security first.

Neither the Homeland Security Department nor Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the border strategy, replied to requests for comment Wednesday on either the legislation or on progress toward a new measure of security.

But in testimony to the House this month, Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher said the old measures were part of the earlier strategy for a giant boost in manpower and infrastructure as the Border Patrol tried to build its capabilities.

Now with twice the personnel and armed with drones and other new technology, the Border Patrol says it’s ready to start looking at better measures — which it will call the Border Conditions Index — though what those are is still under development.

“The Border Conditions Index is a tool CBP created in response to requests by Congress for metrics to track and communicate conditions at the border,” Mr. Fisher said in a March letter to Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee. “In particular, the Border Conditions Index will be a measurement that attempts to combine various statistics and effects.”

He said the index was “currently undergoing peer review” but said it will try to measure the number of people who got away, as a key component.

Ms. Napolitano has also suggested it should measure border violence and the number of people deterred from trying to cross in the first place.

The index is supposed to be ready for use in fiscal year 2013, which begins in four months.

Frustration at the lack of a good measure spans both parties in Congress.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, approved of Wednesday’s bill, saying it was time to ask for a broad security strategy so Congress could see what kind of financial commitment it will take to get control of the borders.

The House bill also would require the administration to run its new Border Conditions Index by specialists at one of the government’s national laboratories to make sure the measures it chooses are acceptable.

Mrs. Miller said she is open to a new yardstick but that the administration needs to be upfront about what it will measure.

“What does a secure border look like to them? Of course I would think that an accountability matrix would use the miles of fence that have been built, all the various technologies, some of the aerial things — UAVs,” she said in an interview. “If that is what they’re going to be utilizing, then they need to explain it to the Congress.”

Four GOP lawmakers hit Holder on guns operation – Washington Times

Four GOP lawmakers hit Holder on guns operation – Washington Times.

By Jerry SeperThe Washington Times

Four senior House Republicans say Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has not fully cooperated with a congressional subpoena seeking information on the botched “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation and suggested the nation’s top prosecutor comply with a 7-month-old subpoena or face the consequences.

“As co-equal branches of the U.S. government, the relationship between the legislative and executive branches must be predicated on honest communications and cannot be clouded by allegations of obstruction,” House Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa said in a letter Friday to Mr. Holder.

“If necessary, the House will act to fulfill our constitutional obligations in the coming weeks. It is our hope that, with your cooperation, this sad chapter in the history of American law enforcement can be put behind us,” they stated.

The four lawmakers told the attorney general the Justice Department has not sufficiently complied with a congressional subpoena seeking answers on the operation, and questioned whether false information that was provided — and later withdrawn — was “part of a broader effort by your department to obstruct a congressional investigation.”

They said the family of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, killed in December in a gunbattle along the Arizona-Mexico border where one of the Operation Fast and Furious-purchased assault rifles was discovered, deserved to “know the truth about the circumstances that led to Agent Terry’s murder.”

“The American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels,” they said.

Mr. Issa’s committee drafted a contempt of Congress resolution against Mr. Holder earlier this month for not responding to an Oct. 21 subpoena for internal Justice Department documents.

In the letter, the lawmakers said two key questions remained unanswered: Who among the Justice Department leadership was informed of the “reckless tactics” used in Fast and Furious prior to Terry’s death, and did Mr. Holder’s leadership team mislead or misinform Congress in response to a congressional subpoena?

“Fast & Furious was a fundamentally flawed operation. It was taken to an extreme that resulted in at least one death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and unknown other consequences, because U.S. law enforcement agencies allowed thousands of firearms to be illegally ‘walked’ into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels,” the lawmakers said.

“It is our hope that, in finding the truth, we can both provide closure to the Terry family, begin to repair our relationship with Mexico, and take steps to make necessary changes at the department,” they said.

The letter also noted that seven wiretaps were approved for the Fast and Furious operation by the department’s leadership between March 2010 and July 2010. It said whether the information used to justify the wiretaps or the information gained from them was used in any ongoing criminal prosecution was “immaterial to the question of who on your leadership team reviewed and approved the wiretaps and was therefore privy to the details of the Fast and Furious operation.”

The lawmakers said Mr. Holder’s assertion that his leadership team could approve wiretaps in 2010 and yet not have any knowledge of the tactics used in Fast and Furious until 2011 “simply cannot be accurate and furthers the perception that the department is not being forthright with Congress.”

The said the Terry family “deserves to know the truth about the circumstances” that led to their son’s death, that the whistle-blowers who brought the operation to light “deserve to be protected, not intimidated, by their government,” and the “American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.”

FARAGO: Unload the ATF – Washington Times

FARAGO: Unload the ATF – Washington Times.

By its own admission, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed dozens of gun smugglers to supply Mexican criminal cartels with thousands of firearms. Drug thugs used one of these weapons to assassinate U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division testified to Congress that the White House and at least four other federal agencies had direct knowledge of “Operation Fast and Furious.” Despite – or because of – the Nixonian cover-up following Terry’s murder, the simmering scandal could topple the Obama administration. Regardless of thepresident’s fate, it’s the ATF that needs to go.

The “Gunwalker” scandal brings the ATF’s ideological corruption into sharp focus. The agency’s motive for creating a program that violated Mexican sovereignty and put innocent lives at risk: inflating the number of American firearms recovered at Mexican crime scenes. The more blood-soaked American guns in Mexico the ATF could identify for its congressional paymasters, the more compelling its case for increased federal funding and new agency-enforced gun-control regulations. In short, Operation Fast and Furious was an anti-gun-running gun-running program.

Looking deeper into the ATF-shaped moral abyss, it’s easy to see why the agency became involved with Mexican gun smuggling in the first place. Ironically enough, international arms smuggling falls under the purview of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose agent was killed by an ATF-enabled firearm. Not to put too fine a point on it, the federal agency that costs U.S. taxpayers $1.25 billion per year – not including $40 million in “emergency” funding allocated to the ATF’s ill-conceived, ill-fated “southwest border enhancement” activities – doesn’t have anything to do.

With some extremely rare exceptions, the American gun dealers and alcohol, tobacco and explosives companies that the ATF is paid to police are law-abiding corporate citizens. For example, a hugely expensive anti-gun-smuggling sweep of thousands of Southwestern gun dealers turned up – nothing. In fact, some of the gun dealers at the Mexican border called the ATF to alert the agency about shady firearms buyers who looked as if they were heading south. As part of Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF told the dealers to “let the sales go through.”

Be that as it is, nothing the ATF does to justify its bloated bureaucracy and law-unto-themselves agents couldn’t be done by any one of a worryingly large number of local, county, state, tribal and federal agencies – strike that – is already done by other law enforcement agencies. The ATF is always barging in on busts and stepping on someone’s toes. In 2009, an inspector general’s audit said the conflict between the ATF and the FBI “led to confusion at crime sites, arguments in front of state and local investigators, tit-for-tat recrimination, and even a threat from the FBI to arrest an ATF agent.”

Yet the ATF still relies on “joint operations” and “stings” (a generous description of its latest extralegal escapade) to generate positive publicity and plump up its feathers. To that end, the agency has rebranded ATF to stand for “At the Frontline of Violent Crime.” Truth be told, the operation – formerly a division of the Internal Revenue Service – ain’t got game.

But it does have an attitude: anti-gun. Setting aside the horrors of Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, the ATF has a long, ignoble history of running roughshod over Americans’ Second Amendment rights. In 1982, a Senate subcommittee report called the ATF’s enforcement tactics “constitutionally, legally and practically reprehensible.” In the interim, nothing has changed.

Displaying its ongoing antipathy to the right to keep and bear arms, the ATF has just pushed through an executive order creating an unconstitutional long-gun registry. The agency says the new regulations will help it catch smugglers trying to secrete American weapons into Mexico – the same crime it enabled and encouraged under Operation Fast and Furious.

In light of the ATF’s history, culture and practices, it should come as no surprise that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has worked diligently to cap the ATF’s budget. Clearly, that’s not good enough. In the interests of justice and fiscal responsibility, the ATF must be disbanded. Its budget should be zeroed out, its buildings sold, its employees transferred or fired and its work parceled out to appropriate authorities.

Eliminate an entire federal agency? Yes. The ATF is a prime example that big government is, inherently, bad government. It’s expensive, unnecessary and, as our forefathers knew well enough, dangerous. There is nothing to stop the American people from cutting their government down to size.

Despite what the ATF and its Fast and Furious co-conspirators believe, we live in a country based on democracy and the rule of law. If we have the will, we have the way. Call the NRA and your elected representatives. It’s time to drop the dime on the ATF.

Robert Farago is managing editor of thetruthaboutguns.com.

Treason on the Southern Border – Tea Party Nation

A Border Patrol Jeep stands watch over the U.S...

Image via Wikipedia

Treason on the Southern Border – Tea Party Nation.

On June 21st, Jose Alfredo Yanez Reyes decided to attack agents of the United States Border Patrol.  He attacked with sticks and cinderblocks that had nails sticking out of them.  For anyone who misses the point, those are deadly weapons.  An unidentified Border Patrol Agent, who was under attack by Reyes, did what he was trained to do.  When someone using deadly force attacks on an officer, the officer draws his weapon and fires.

 On June 22nd, in San Diego, a rally was held.  You would think that it would be in support of this unidentified Border Patrol Agent.  You would be wrong.

 Protestors came out in support of Reyes.    Reyes was not just some kid, at the wrong place and the wrong time.  He was an experience criminal.  According to media reports, Reyes has been arrested at least 19 times for smuggling and assault cases. 

 None of this matters to the open borders crowd.   The fact this drug smuggler was trying to kill an American is irrelevant to them.  They came and shouted this was murder.  Of course, they immediately turned around and said we should have amnesty because of this incident.

Okay, we have a drug smuggler killed and because of that we should have amnesty?  That type of logic will make your head spin around faster than Linda Blair’s head in “The Exorcist!”

 Unfortunately for this unnamed Border Patrol Agent, the government of Mexico is demanding that he be prosecuted.   Hopefully he has a good lawyer, because he will need one. 

 Unfortunately, for this unnamed Border Patrol Agent, the Party of Treason controls the government and they not only do not want enforcement, they do not even want a border and are quite happy to make war on the officers of the Border Patrol. 

 In fairness to the Party of Treason, they are not the only one’s who have done this.   When George Bush was President, if the Mexican government told him to jump, he asked, “how high?”

 Under Bush, the tactic of prosecuting the Border Patrol became vogue.  Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos were prosecuted for returning fire against a drug smuggler who was given a visa, and a free pass for his cooperation and eventually caught smuggling drugs again.  Unfortunately for him, one more smuggling trip and he would have qualified for his frequent smuggler miles.    Compean and Ramos eventually had their sentences commuted by Bush, leaving them convicted felons and unable to work.

 Jesus Diaz is another Border Patrol Agent prosecuted at the behest of Mexico.  His crime?  Using his handcuffs, just as he was trained, to restrain a drug smuggler who fought with him.  He is facing sentencing in Federal Court where he will be looking at a minimum of five years.

 Now, as the Obama Regime is effectively destroying our southern border by telling the Border Patrol not to arrest anyone and refusing to deport anyone caught illegally in this country, there is word of an even more alarming development. 

 Hezbollah, the radical Islamic terrorist group, is increasing its presence in Latin America and Mexico.   With the open border and the lack of any attempt by the Obama regime to close it, it almost defies logic to think that some of these radical terrorist groups have not crossed the border already.

 In September of 2010, they tried.  The hacker group LulzSec hit the Tucson Police Department’s computer system and released a memo that neither the Tucson Police nor the Department of Homeland Security thought Americans should know about.

 “In April of last year, the arrest of Jamal Yousef – in New York City – exposed a weapons cache of 100 M-16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 hand grenades, C4 explosives and antitank munitions. According to Yousef, the weapons, which were being stored in Mexico, had been stolen from Iraq with the help of his cousin who was a member of Hezbollah.”

 How much damage could Hezbollah do with this?  Remember, before 9/11, it was Hezbollah, not Al-Qaeda that had killed more Americans. 

 Meanwhile, the Presidential campaign goes on.  Obama tries to raise one billion dollars for his reelection campaign, which will shatter all prior fundraising records.  He is also trying to shatter the records for the number of illegal aliens and dead people voting for him too.

 Unfortunately, none of the major candidates are talking about one of the more serious issues.  None of them are talking about sealing the border.  None of them are talking about removing the ten to twenty million illegals who are currently in this country.  In fact, many of the Republicans are in favor of some form of amnesty.  Remember, when you hear a Republican say we should have a path to citizenship, it means amnesty. We have a path to citizenship, it simply involves following the law.

 What will it take to get their attention?  Another 9/11, but this time with terrorists and equipment brought in over the southern border?

 Meanwhile, in San Diego, there is a very worried Border Patrol Agent.   As well he should be.  Given the regime’s willingness to kowtow to the Mexican government, he should expect to see his name on an indictment.

 We can only hope that after 2013, some of those responsible for what the regime is doing on our southern border and who are responsible for the war on Border Patrol Agents find themselves indicted.

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