Wintery Knight

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Fast and Furious’ goal was to undermine legal firearm ownership

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Newly obtained documents show that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives discussed using its covert operation Fast and Furious to argue for new rules about gun sales. We told you so.

[...]As CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson reports, emails show ATF officials discussed using the deliberate transfer of weapons to Mexican drug cartels to justify a new gun regulation known as “Demand Letter 3.”

We say deliberate because congressional testimony by ATF agents demonstrates how the tracking of Fast and Furious weapons stopped at the border and that requests to interdict the weapons transfers and arrest the gun traffickers were denied by higher-ups.

Demand Letter 3 was so named because it was the third ATF attempt to have Southwest gun shops report all long-gun (rifle or shotgun) sales to the ATF — even those to law-abiding American citizens with all the proper registration and other forms.

On July 14, 2010, five months before Terry’s murder, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, the ATF’s Phoenix special agent in charge of Fast and Furious: “Bill, can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time? We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long-gun sales. Thanks.”

On Jan. 24, as the ATF was preparing to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, another email showed Newell saw it as an opportunity “to address multiple sales on long guns issue.”

After the press conference, Chait emailed Newell that in “light of our request for Demand Letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of the case.”

You can read the news article from CBS News right here. The headline is “Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations”.

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Obama administration tries to cover up Border Patrol agent’s murder

From Judicial Watch.

Excerpt:

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of more than 1,000 guns which have been used in numerous crimes. In Terry’s case, five illegal immigrants armed with at least two semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and Terry got hit.

We know this only because Washington D.C.’s conservative newspaper , the Washington Times, got ahold of the court documents before the government suddenly made them off limits. The now-sealed federal grand jury indictment tells the frightening story of how Terry was gunned down by Mexican drug smugglers patrolling the rugged desert with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.

You can see why the administration wants to keep this information from the public and the media, considering the smugglers were essentially armed by the U.S. government. Truth is, no one will know the reason for the confiscation of public court records in this case because the judge’s decision to seal it was also sealed, according to the news story. That means the public or media won’t have access to any new or old evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.

My Dad sent me this article about how the people responsible for the Fast and Furious gun smuggling to Mexican drug cartels are being promoted – while the whistleblowers are being punished.

Excerpt:

Here’s what has happened to the managers of the [gun smuggling] operation:

– Acting ATF Chief Ken Melson, who oversaw the operation, is now an adviser in the Office of Legal Affairs. He remains in ATF’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

– Acting Deputy Director Billy Hoover, who knew his agency was walking guns and demanded an “exit strategy” just five months into the program, is now the special agent in charge of the D.C. office. He, too, did not have to relocate.

– Deputy Director for Field Operations William McMahon received detailed briefings about the illegal operation and later admitted he shares “responsibility for mistakes that were made.” Yet, he also stays in D.C., ironically as the No. 2 man at the ATF’s Office of Internal Affairs.

– Special Agent in Charge of Phoenix Bill Newell, the man most responsible for directly overseeing Fast and Furious, was promoted to the Office of Management in Washington.

– Phoenix Deputy Chief George Gillette was also promoted to Washington as ATF’s liaison to the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

– Group Supervisor David Voth managed Fast and Furious on a day-to-day basis and repeatedly stopped field agents from interdicting weapons headed to the border, according to congressional testimony. ATF boosted Voth to chief of the ATF Tobacco Division, where he now supervises more employees in Washington than he ever did in Phoenix.

But what about the whistleblowers?

Case in point, he said, is field agent John Dodson. Dodson uprooted his family from Virginia in 2010 to join a new elite anti-gun trafficking group in Phoenix, known as Group 7. Dodson quickly witnessed what was wrong and loudly voiced his objections to Voth and Newell.

Management reassigned Dodson to weekend duty and the wire room, a relatively boring job monitoring telephone traffic and subordinate to junior agents. Soon thereafter, Dodson was temporarily assigned to another group for an additional menial assignment, until ultimately sent to an FBI Task Force, completely away from the ATF, even turning off his ATF building access pass.

Dodson continued to challenge Voth, saying the operation was killing people in Mexico and suggested it was only a matter of time before a “border agent or sheriff’s deputy” would be killed by one of the guns they let go.

“If you’re going to make an omelet, you’ve got to scramble some eggs,” Voth replied, according to a congressional report.

Voth moved Dodson out of Group 7 shortly before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot by weapons traced to Fast and Furious. Newell, Gillette and Voth began to cover up their tracks. According to an e-mail 24 hours after Terry was shot, Voth wrote:

“We are charging Avila (Jaime Avila bought the alleged murder weapons) with a stand-alone June 2010 firearms purchase. This way we do not divulge our current case (Fast and Furious) or the Border Patrol shooting case.”

“Great job,” Newell replied.

Dodson first complained internally to the ATF Office of Chief Counsel and Ethics Section, OIG, Office of Special Counsel, and Office of Professional Responsibility. They were unresponsive. Dodson was then contacted by congressional investigators, who began their own investigation.

Because of Dodson, the Terry family hopes to hear the truth about what happened to their son and the American public learned that senior Obama administration officials did nothing to stop guns from reaching an insurgency south of the border.

And what did Dodson get for telling the truth? In Phoenix he was isolated, marginalized and referred to as a “nut job,” “wing-nut” and “disgruntled,” according to sources.

In Washington, ATF command ordered that “Contact with Dodson was detrimental to any ATF career.”

Could this be the issue that sinks Obama in the 2012 election? Or will it be his subsidies for alternative energy companies connected to his Democrat fundraisers? Or will it be his job-destroying stimulus and regulation bills?

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Eric Holder testifies on Fast and Furious gun smuggling to Mexican drug cartels

From Human Events.

Excerpt:

In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about the smuggling of weapons to Mexican gun cartels through Operation Fast and Furious, when he knew about its existence and what he did about it when he learned of it.

Republicans pushed Holder on why it took him nine months to respond to memos sent to the Department of Justice.

“I am eager to hear whether the Attorney General thinks that is acceptable and what he intends to do about it,” said Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa).

While the Fast and Furious gun smuggling scandal was at the top of everyone’s mind, and what conservatives specifically wanted to hear about, only a few Republican senators grilled him on it. Democrats on the committee tried to talk about nearly everything else, including treatment of Muslims by the Department of Justice, bath salt regulations, and anti-bullying measures.

The Republicans that did come out swinging on Fast and Furious got Holder to give stammering and often inconsistent testimony.

[...]Cornyn also had the most intense exchanges with Holder during the entire hearing, asking about the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and whether or not Holder would like to apologize to the family.

“It pains me whenever there is the death of a law enforcement official, especially under the circumstances. It is not fair, however, to assume that the mistakes that happened in Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry,” Holder said.

Cornyn also asked whether or not anyone in the Department of Justice has been made accountable for the errors that have been made.

“Can you name me one person who’s been held accountable for this Fast and Furious Operation? Just one in the Department of Justice?” Cornyn said.

Holder responded: “Well we have made a number of changes with regard to personnel both in the Phoenix U.S. Attorney’s Office, also at the ATF Headquarters here. I will certainly await the report that comes out of the Inspector General. And I will assure you and the American people that people will be held accountable for any mistakes that were made in connection with Fast and Furious.”

Wow… I think the Republicans might be a bit angry about how that Border Patrol agent got murdered because of this gun-smuggling operation, which was administered by the Department of Justice. I think Eric Holder knows more than he is admitting to, based on his evasive, politicized answers.

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Fast and Furious assault weapons seized from drug cartel enforcer’s home

From the L.A. Times.

Excerpt:

High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF’s Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars.

In all, 100 assault weapons acquired under Fast and Furious were transported 350 miles from Phoenix to El Paso, making that West Texas city a central hub for gun traffickers. Forty of the weapons made it across the border and into the arsenal of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a feared cartel leader in Ciudad Juarez, according to federal court records and trace documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The smugglers’ tactics — quickly moving the weapons far from ATF agents in southern Arizona, where it had been assumed they would circulate — vividly demonstrate that what had been viewed as a local problem was much larger. Six other Fast and Furious guns destined for El Paso were recovered in Columbus, N.M.

“These Fast and Furious guns were going to Sinaloans, and they are killing everyone down there,” said one knowledgeable U.S. government source, who asked for anonymity because of the ongoing investigations. “But that’s only how many we know came through Texas. Hundreds more had to get through.”

Torres Marrufo, also known as “the Jaguar,” has been identified by U.S. authorities as the enforcer for Sinaloa cartel chieftain Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman. The Fast and Furious weapons were found at one of Torres Marrufo’s homes.

I want to see how the media tries to help the Obama administration out of this mess. Be sure and share these stories on Facebook, especially the ones from CBS News, the L.A. Times, etc.

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Republicans call for AG Eric Holder to resign over newly released e-mails

The latest from The Hill describes the new Fast and Furious e-mails released on Friday.

Excerpt:

The fierce battle over a botched gun-tracking operation is intensifying and has put Attorney General Eric Holder on a collision course with his critics in Congress.

Republicans are calling for his resignation in the wake of Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives operation that may have inadvertently contributed to the death of at least one federal agent.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has called for an independent investigation of Holder, and the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants to have Holder testify again before Congress.

[...]The torrent of scrutiny comes after a series of internal Justice Department memos were released this week and show that Holder was informed about the existence of Operation Fast and Furious last year.

Holder testified in May before the House Judiciary Committee that he did not learn about the operation until earlier this year. Officials with the DOJ say Holder was referring to when he learned about the controversial tactics, known as “walking” guns into the hands of known and suspected criminals, that were employed by the operation.

[...]“The Attorney General’s denials of any personal knowledge will have to be tested against all the evidence as the investigation continues, just as the Department’s initial denials were,” Beth Levine, a Grassley spokeswoman, said.

The article also has a nice timeline of events in case you are new to the story.

Arizona sheriffs urge Obama to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the gun-smuggling scandal.

Excerpt:

A majority of Arizona’s county sheriffs on Friday called upon President Obama to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the government’s botched gun-smuggling case known as Operation Fast and Furious.

At a Phoenix news conference, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said the sting operation, which allowed an estimated 2,000 firearms to reach narcotics cartels in Mexico, was a betrayal that should lead to the removal of Attorney General Eric Holder and possible criminal charges against those responsible.

“I believe that this is a much larger scandal than what took place in Watergate,” said Babeu, who is president of the Arizona Sheriff’s Association.

[...]ATF whistleblowers first exposed the practice after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a December shootout with banditos near Nogales, Ariz., involving a pair of semi-automatic rifles that traced back to Operation Fast and Furious. Their revelations led to congressional hearings in which agents and Justice Department officials have been criticized for evasive and dishonest testimony.

To date, the scandal has forced the replacement of ATF administrator Ken Melson; reassignment of the bureau’s top Arizona agent, William Newell; and the resignation of Dennis Burke, former U.S. Attorney for Arizona.

[...]Ten of Arizona’s 15 sheriffs joined in the call for an independent counsel probe. The sheriffs, including Democrats and Republicans, said they were motivated by public-safety concerns, not political partisanship.

“I feel like we’ve been betrayed by our government,” said Tom Sheahan, sheriff of Mohave County.

“We’re in a fight for our country, our constitution and for our very lives,” added Larry Dever, sheriff of Cochise County. “Who really is responsible for helping to arm the people we are fighting every day on the border?”

My prediction? Holder resigns before the end of October. I would like to see Obama put on the stand to testify as well on this issue and on Solyndra. It would nice if Holder and Spinner were both in jail before election day 2012. Like in real jail cells.

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