Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Justice Department’s list of withheld Fast and Furious documents: 1,323 pages long

From intrepid journalist Sharyl Attkisson, the latest on the Obama administration’s operation to run guns to Mexican drug cartels in order to motivate stricter gun regulations here in the USA.

Excerpt:

For the first time, the Department of Justice has provided a detailed description of 15,662 Fast and Furious-related documents it is withholding from Congress, the public and the press under executive privilege exerted by President Obama.

The description comes in the form of a so-called Vaughn index ordered by a federal court in a lawsuit filed against the Justice Department by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. The Justice Department waited to provide the index, due yesterday, until 8:34 p.m.

The number of withheld documents is so extensive, that the list describing them is 1,323 pages long.

[...]Among the withheld communications is a March 8, 2011 email from a Mexico-based Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) official less than one week after federal agent John Dodson blew the whistle on Fast and Furious in an interview with me for CBS News. The email is described as “discussing response to [Mexico].”

Another withheld email sent in the same time period is from then-White House official Kevin O’Reilly. Dated March 10, 2011, it was sent to more than a dozen federal officials and is described as, “discussing draft press statement.”

More withheld emails “forwarding and discussing news items” have Attorney General Holder’s name on them. One series of such exchanges is dated July 26, 2011, the same day I reported the revelation that ATF had shared information about Fast and Furious with the White House.

[...]Other withheld documents are concerning Freedom of Information (FOI) requests I made in May of 2011. It’s unclear as to why the president would exert executive privilege to keep from turning over documents discussing “which office will respond” to my FOI requests. The Justice Department never properly responded to my requests.

Please see below for more on what Fast and Furious was all about. The mid-term elections are coming up. Don’t let Democrats shake this off!

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Judge orders DOJ to release Fast and Furious documents blocked by Obama

Katie Pavlich reports on it for Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

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.

“This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal,” Judicial Watch released in a statement.

The FOIA lawsuit has been ongoing for 16-months and is now proceeding after a lengthy delay. The Justice Department originally asked the court for an indefinite hold on a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, citing executive privilege and an ongoing investigation. That indefinite hold request was shot down more than a year ago.

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.”

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Unfortunately, this is coming too late for Obama’s 2012 re-election contest, and the mainstream media is unlikely to report it, just like they failed to report the IRS scandal. But if we all share this story, it will help people to realize how lawless and corrupt this administration really is. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann said. The crooks are in charge.

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Democrats try to block whistleblower’s Fast and Furious expose

Fox News reports on the latest Democrat cover-up scandal. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

The ATF agent who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious has been denied permission to write a book on the botched anti-gun trafficking sting “because it would have a negative impact on morale,” according to the very agency responsible for the scandal.

After first trying to stop the operation internally, ATF Agent John Dodson went to Congress and eventually the media following the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Two guns found at the murder scene were sold through the ATF operation.

Dodson’s book, titled “The Unarmed Truth,” provides the first inside account of how the federal government permitted and helped sell some 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels, despite evidence the guns killed innocent people.

Dodson, who is working with publisher Simon & Schuster, submitted his manuscript to the department for review, per federal rules. However, it was denied.

Greg Serres, an ATF ethics official, told Dodson that any of his supervisors at any level could disapprove outside employment “for any reason.”

[...]Dodson says “The Unarmed Truth” will come out in January, with or without the ATF’s permission.

I hope this book sells a lot of copies.

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Panama seizes shipment of missile guidance equipment from Cuba bound for North Korea

RSN-75 Radar for SA-2 SAM

RSN-75 Radar for SA-2 SAM

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Cuba, long derided in international policy circles as a basket case and no threat to the U.S., has been caught smuggling weapons of war to North Korea in blatant violation of U.N. sanctions. This is a wake-up call.

Sharp-eyed Panamanian authorities, watching the North Korean freighter Chong Chon Gang since June, received intelligence it might be shipping illegal drugs, something it had been caught doing before.

As the vessel lumbered into the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal from Cuba, Panamanian authorities cornered the 450-foot rust-bucket, battled a maniacally violent crew who slashed ship lines to make it hard to unload the ship, and then watched as the ship’s captain tried to kill himself before having a heart attack.

After subduing the crew, the Panamanians found no drugs buried beneath sloppily packed brown sugar, but did find defensive RSN-75 “Fan Song” fire-control radar equipment for SA-2 surface-to-air missiles.

The discovery, and the crew’s behavior, were signs of something big the North Koreans didn’t want known — weapons smuggling, a violation of both United Nations sanctions prohibiting all sales of weapons to North Korea and Panama’s own laws governing the canal.

“You cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal,” declared Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, a U.S. ally, who tweeted a photo of the illegal shipment for the world to see.

It’s significant that the enabler of this violation of international law was none other than Cuba, which has worked hard to convince the Obama administration to drop all travel and trade sanctions against it — and which is currently negotiating a migration pact with the U.S. It’s time to stop that right now, and sanction Cuba further.

The brazen shipment of Russian-made weapons through Panama signaled that little has changed in Cuba — a state sponsor of global terror that has in fact been trying to destroy the U.S. since 1962.

“This is a serious and alarming incident that reminds us that the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic programs, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit,” said House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “It also illustrates that the Castro tyranny continues to aid and abet America’s enemies and continues to pose a national security threat to the United States so long as the Castro apparatchik holds control over the island.”

It’s also the work of a rogue state. And at just 90 miles away, one that is as chillingly close to our shores as it is warm and friendly to North Korea.

[...]Although it’s unknown why North Korea, a major weapons exporter, is importing weapons from Cuba right now, defense analysts speculate that the weapons may be making their way back to Pyongyang for an upgrade and return to Cuba.

That would be worrisome given that North Korea has said it means to strike the U.S. on its own home turf. What better launching pad could it ask for than Cuba?

Two weeks ago, North Korea’s military commander visited Cuba to a red-carpet welcome. The visit raises questions as to what the two discussed — and, given the threat we see now, whether U.S. intelligence was aware of it.

If there is one thing that the United States definitely should not do, it’s dropping sanctions against Cuba.

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We should not be ignoring the continued threat of radical Islam

I was surprised to find a strongly-worded article like this at the Christian web site Breakpoint, of all places.

Excerpt:

Overnight, following the inauguration of Barack Obama, problematic phrasing such as the “global war on terror” (itself a euphemism) and “Muslim extremism” were expunged from the national lexicon in favor of generic terms such as “man-caused disasters.” Explained Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, “We want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”

[...][E]vents on the ground continue to belie the administration’s euphemisms, parsings, and happy talk. The grisly murder of a British soldier in broad daylight by two machete- and knife-wielding Muslims in London came within mere days. Yet the Obama administration remains committed to its narrative, which it knows to be untrue, and is more than willing to twist the facts to keep it going. Worse, the administration has done all this at the risk of American lives and security. Let’s go down the short list:

Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in his 2009 rampage. Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) during the attack against his unarmed fellow soldiers, now says he was defending the Taliban. U.S. prosecutors are treating the bloodletting as an incident of “workplace violence,” denying victims both Purple Hearts and certain combat-related medical benefits. Hasan, meanwhile, is preparing to defend himself in a court of law.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled a message on the boat in which he was captured that said the Americans killed were collateral damage in U.S. wars in Muslim lands, and that an attack on one Muslim is an attack on all. The FBI, of course, failed to prevent his butchery, which killed three people and wounded 275, even after a warning from Russian intelligence about the Tsarnaev brothers.

Then of course there is Benghazi. Seeking to maintain the pre-election fiction that the drone-happy President Obama had al Qaeda on the run (“The tide of war is receding,” the president told the U.N.), the administration ignored months of warnings from Ambassador Chris Stevens and others about inadequate security at the U.S. consulate and the strengthening of Islamist forces in Libya. On September 11, Islamists linked to al Qaeda launched a coordinated assault on the consulate, killing four Americans, including Stevens. (Many more would have died if two former Navy SEALs had not disobeyed orders and rescued consulate staff.) Despite repeated calls to Washington for help and a rescue team that was ready to intervene, that night administration officials did nothing.

And in the following weeks, they promulgated the lie that the assault was not an attack of Islamist terror but a “spontaneous demonstration” in response to a YouTube video. Adding insult to injury, Barack Obama has just selected the discredited U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, who repeated the administration lie on numerous Sunday morning talk shows, to be his next national security adviser. Why not, since the bigger lie about the threat we face from radicalized Islam continues?

I was surprised to see so direct an article posted on Breakpoint. It shocked me more than when the Gospel Coalition interviewed old-Earth design theorist Stephen C. Meyer about his new book on the Cambrian explosion. It’s just so encouraging to see Christians rolling up their sleeves and applying their worldview to areas like science and foreign policy. The fact is, we do have to care about this issues, because Christian applies to every area of our lives. It’s not about feeling comfortable in our own hearts by having a private notion of Christianity that is just for our benefit. We should be letting Christian truth claims seep into every area of our lives, so that we continue to promote the good in every area, for everyone. Naturally, we have to study more in order to know how to achieve the good in every area. Some areas like economics and foreign policy are complicated, and not much fun for us, if our goal is personal happiness and comfort. But I think that’s what were are supposed to be doing – learning the truth about God, and then applying it out there in the real world. It’s OK for Christians to study up on these areas and have an informed opinion about them. It’s OK to speak out on these issues, too. We need more of that.

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