In a scathing letter to the nation’s top Department of Justice (DOJ) lawman, Eric Holder, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) called the Obama appointed lawyer either a liar, incompetent or worse when it came to overseeing thousands of weapons being trafficked to Mexican drug cartels.
The first paragraph of the letter includes phrases like “DOJ has offered a roving set of ever-changing explanations, undermining the investigation and insisted there was no wrongdoing or gunwalking.”
However after Congressional testimony, whistle-blower statements and investigative reporting by dedicated journalists an avalanche of facts were placed front-and-center. The ill-fated Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Project Gunrunner investigation “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking made the front page of most newspapers.
After months of DOJ denials that the Phoenix-based operation didn’t reached anyone in Washington D.C., the jig was up and honest federal agents released emails proving wiretaps and concerns were indeed approved in the Nation’s Capital.
Issa’s letter continues; “It appears your latest defense has reached a new low. Incredibly, in your letter from Friday you now claim that you were unaware of Fast and Furious because your staff failed to inform you of information contained in memos that were specifically addressed to you. At best, this indicates negligence and incompetence in your duties as Attorney General. At worst, it places your credibility into serious doubt.”
Harsh, but reality-based words for Holder to consider as the 2012 election cycle ramps up. Political insiders are speculating the Attorney General will only lose his job if President Obama’s reelection is at grave risk.
Issa also lambasted Holder of playing politics instead of representing the American people. “Instead of pledging all necessary resources to assist the congressional investigation in discovering the truth behind the fundamentally-flawed Operation Fast and Furious, your letter instead did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the Department’s responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program.”
Congressman Issa also pointed to a speech Holder gave a month after he became DOJ’s leader. “The cartels, you said, ‘are lucrative, they are violent, and they operated with stunning planning and precision.’ You promised that under your leadership ‘these cartels will be destroyed.’ You vowed that the Department of Justice would ‘continue to work with (its) counterparts in Mexico, through information sharing, training and mutual cooperation to jointly fight these cartels, both in Mexico and the United States.’”
Many senior ATF Agents have repeated a new mantra; “Mexican relations have now been set back by 10 years- trust is gone.”
In fact, Issa contends DOJ and some agents at ATF have engaged in a major cover-up of the Fast & Furious unlawful details. “Officials are actively engaged in hiding information about Fast and Furious from not only Mexican officials, but also U.S. law enforcement officials operating in Mexico.”
One of the main beneficiaries of the weapon allotment appears to be the Sinaloa Cartel whose front man, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has moved to the top of the FBI’s most wanted list after the CIA/SEALs team killed Osama bin Laden. (Also, last week the LA Times reported Guzman’s wife crossed the California border to give birth to twins in a Los Angeles County hospital all under the watchful eyes of federal law enforcement. Before the young wife returned to Mexico with El Chapo’s twins, U.S. law gave the FBI’s most wanted criminal’s daughters with American citizenship.)
The Congressional Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ends his six-page letter to Holder with; “Operation Fast and Furious was the Department’s most significant gun trafficking case. It related to two of your major initiatives – destroying the Mexican cartels and reducing gun violence on both sides of the border. On your watch, it went spectacularly wrong.”
To read Issa’s letter to Eric Holder click here. October 11th letter.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Fast and Furious truth seeker Issa slams DOJ’s Holder competence – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/fast-and-furious-truth-seeker-issa-slams-doj-s-holder-competence#ixzz1aRQAQccb
As reported in this column (March story here), Senator Grassley has been investigating ATF gun programs “Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.” His investigations led to the discovery of Department of Justice (DOJ) and ATF misrepresentations the number of “missing or walked” firearms. An internal ATF inspection findings report finds, on average, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) loses track of roughly one million guns per year.
As demand for a special prosecutor rises in this scandal, the prosecutor assigned to litigate “Project Gunrunner” and its investigation companion “Fast and Furious” would find that the internal ATF report provides both statistics and a motive for a cover-up.
The report clearly states that 10, 538 inspections were performed in FY2010 or approximately 9 percent of dealers received a visit from an ATF Agent. (The ATF report also said the agency assigned less than 600 agents to perform dealer inspections around the country.)
Nevertheless, in FY2010 the ATF report draws attention to the initial-missing and final-missing firearms at those 9 percent of dealers are 87,225 and 21,041 respectively. “This means that roughly 1 million firearms are lost each year in the United States,” said a veteran ATF Agent.
The sheer volume of missing weapons could certainly cause any agency to stonewall outside investigations as well as members of Congress.
A July 4 meeting between the ATF front man Kenneth Melson and Congressional investigators revealed the Department of Justice has actively engaged in a “cover-up” and “remain silent” campaign concerning the controversial firearm program that allowed U.S. weapons to cross into Mexico in the hands of criminals.
The hush, hush meeting revealed a couple of things, first, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knew a lot more about this operation than he has previously admitted and Melson, will not be the Obama Administration fall guy. This point was driven home when Melson brought his own attorney and didn’t inform AG Holder about the July 4 meeting until it was over.
Furthermore, Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA) chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a letter last week to AG Eric Holder. “If his (Melson’s) account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand. That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation.”
The ATF’s Fog of War approach to recordkeeping can be found in a November 2010 a Department of Justice report where the Office of Inspector General highlighted ATF’s incompetence regarding record keeping. “Discrepancies were caused by incomplete data in ATF’s N-Force and N-Spect databases, inconsistent coding of work activities by ATF, errors in ATF’s description of the data, unsupportable data entries by ATF, and variations in the time frame covered by ATF’s data.”
These conflicting reports only lead to more questions. Is the ATF flat out incompetent or is DOJ orchestrating a major cover-up? If it’s the latter, the misinformation campaign waged by the Obama Administration regarding “Project Gunrunner” would postdate the Bush Administration.
However, the internal ATF January 2011 report does tie the lack of inspections of firearm businesses to understaffing. Another ATF Agent points to a severely under-staffed agency as a key component to ATF’s failure to effectively monitor gun sales in the country. Currently there are approximately 119,556 firearm dealers in America and less than 2,600 ATF Agents to staff all American offices as well as overseas operations.
Typically the ATF Agents find a broad stroke of infractions at firearm businesses and in 2010 there were 1,366 store violations and additional 1,408 received a warning letter from ATF. Of those dealers in violation only one-half of one percent saw their licenses revoked or denied renewal.
However, ATF officials said in most cases business owners corrected the paperwork while the remaining few dealers transferred the firearm company ownership to a friend or family member– making the closure of a gun store violator a rarity.
The most frequently cited firearm violations are failure to record sales information either accurately or in a timely fashion. This may be due to the complexity of the dealer paperwork involved (federal, state and local) that results in a greater number of administrative violations. Examples of these include a transferee that doesn’t properly complete the application or a licensee that fails to obtain or document the purchaser’s identification information. The use of abbreviations also plays a key role in paperwork that the ATF sends back to a dealer in the form of violations.
Inconsistence application of ATF rules have also led to a large number of violations. For example; An inside industry source says “ATF reporting parallels that of the IRS in as much as you could ask three ATF inspectors about three similar situations and receive three different answers. Often it is the firearm dealer/manufacturer that is more knowledgeable about ATF rules and regulations.”
Another little-known fact about ATF is the number of agents employed remains similar to the agency’s 1920s Prohibition era, yet the number of duties tasked to ATF Agents has increased exponentially to include tobacco, firearms and post- 9/11, explosives.
Nowhere is ATF’s job more important than on the nation’s southern border where the cartel violence continues to explode with nearly 40,000 murders in the past four years.
This past weekend in Mexico at least 40 murders were recorded in a 24-hour period. This escalating violence highlights the need for the American government to control firearms and money that are trafficked south of the border into the hands of cartels, gangs or terrorists. (Not ownership by law-abiding private American citizens).
The number of inconsistencies also confirms that ATF does not know where the thousands of missing guns end up. Even if ATF wanted to intensify their gun inspections, they don’t have the manpower to locate such a large cache of missing weapons.
However, one thing is clear; ATF requires a heavy-dose of housecleaning.
This investigation is evolving on a daily basis and this reporter encourages readers to check back for new stories as information warrants.
For more information on ATF; http://www.atf.gov/
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com A 2011 ATF internal report confirms 1 million guns go missing each year – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/a-2011-atf-internal-report-confirms-1-million-guns-go-missing-each-year#ixzz1Rukj82qW
Oceanside California couldn’t have been any more picturesque a warm breeze, serene sunset and a ruckus-Patriot crowd fired-up let Washington D.C. know what’s really on their mind.
Local-legend, radio talk show host Rick Roberts got the party started with the Pledge of Allegiance. “One more time,” the crowd chanted. So they said it again – this time louder.
Up first on the docket was Congressman Darrell Issa-R-Calif. “Tort reform would save taxpayers a lot of money, but it’s not in HR3200,” he said. This comment got the crowd really going and it hit home with Dr. Gary Gonsalves, co-founder of the group Stop Taxing Us, who organized the rally.
“I didn’t want the politicians to talk at our first rally on April 15 because I wanted them to listen to ‘we the people.’ But now they need to talk and explain their actions to us,” Gonsalves said regarding the Congressman’s surprise address at the rally.
After Issa left the stage he talked to supporter Mercedes Garcia who was over the moon that Issa gave her a hug and posed for a photo. “I’m so happy to hear him speak because he gives people like me a voice.”
The Congressman hung around the event to listen, shake hands and pose for photos with his constituents.
Dr. Gonsalves, who is a practicing physician, spoke to the “mob” from a doctor’s perspective. “Government has cut prices and continues to promise more. Only $1 in $5 goes to the doctors and who do you think they cut funds to first? Doctors.”
He explained to the crowd that the Safeway Corporation figured out a way to provide a better delivery of care while bringing costs down. Gonsalves challenged the audience to look the Safeway group up online and examine what they were successful in doing in five years that the government has been unable to do in 50 years.
“Reward a healthy lifestyle, reward saving money. Safeway saved $550 billion in just five years,” Gonsalves said.
Other topics of concern for the rally goers was the hour-long speech President Obama is going to direct to our nations’ children in a couple of days, complete with lesson plans and topics of discussions before, during and after the speech.
“Stay away from my children,” one mother shouted so loud that Roberts had her come to the stage and repeat for the crowd. The Patriots went absolutely nuts.
Another gubernatorial candidate, Chalene Nightingale was asked to make a short speech. Nightingale who is a political rookie revved up the crowd with Patriot red-meat topics like; the President’s address to the school kids, Second Amendment rights, the White House using the National Endowment of the Arts for propaganda and illegal immigration.
“It’s up to us to take our government back. ‘We the people’ need to run for office. We can’t keep voting the lesser of two evils,” she said. “We need to be country loyal.”
Once the question portion of the rally commenced, attendees vied to get their questions asked. This portion would only last 20 minutes, due to time constraints by the city of Oceanside.
One of the first concerned participants had more of a warning story to tell. “I was in Shanghai, China in 1943 when the Japanese invasion began. I was 12-years old when they took me to a concentration camp,” she explained. “I lost my freedom and I feel like I’m losing my freedom again.” Again the crowd erupted in cheers.
The immigration invasion from the southern border is always a hot topic with Patriot groups and this rally was no different. Californians are looking to get the ‘California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2010 on the ballot for next year’s election.
There is such an outcry from Californian’s regarding illegal border crossers who come to the state to have children. This garners them a ticket to the promise land as California grants every birth in the state with automatic citizenship.
The ballot initiative would change all that and require parents to prove their legal status and cut the payments California provides for this problem that some say has caused the state to run in the red for years.
After the rally, organizer, Gonsalves said the event was hugely successful and felt the lawmakers needed to hear from the 3,000 or so voters before they head back to Washington D.C.
“I invited Congressman Issa to the event because at least he has been fiscally responsible and is consistent,” he said. “Our first event was a shut up and listen message to our politicians.”
Listening was definitely a theme for the rally, as the sun faded into the ocean; the message was clear to those in office ‘we the people are watching.’
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner