Doug Book, FloydReports.com
Doug Book, FloydReports.com
Ben Johnson, The White House Watch
The chief congressional investigators of Operation Fast and Furious released explosive testimony from the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that they say indicates the Obama administration tried to stonewall Congress, deny witnesses the ability to testify freely, and fire employees who refused to conceal damning information. According to acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson not only did the Justice Department play fast-and-loose with Fast and Furious, but other government agencies may have known – and funded – the straw purchasers the ATF program was designed to catch. The agency’s investigation, which has resulted in at least two deaths, may have been entirely unnecessary.
Scorn on the Fourth of July
Congressman Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley sent a joint letter to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday, revealing that Melson gave a transcribed interview on the Fourth of July, with only his personal lawyer present. The news must have come as a shock to Holder. Melson’s testimony had been scheduled to take place July 13, with Melson’s counsel and Obama administration lawyers from the DoJ and ATF taking part.
According to the letter, Melson testified that the administration had not informed him of his legal right “to attend a voluntary interview with [his] own lawyer… rather than participate with counsel representing the Department’s interests.”
“We are disappointed that no one had previously informed him of that provision of the agreement,” they wrote. “Instead, Justice Department officials sought to limit and control his communications with Congress. This is yet another example of why direct communications with Congress are so important and are protected by law.”
(Obstruction of) Justice Department
The Congressmen’s recounting of Melson’s testimony includes mistakes he admitted making, including not personally reviewing hundreds of documents relating to Fast and Furious until March of this year. “By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story,” they write.
In the most stinging passage of the letter, Issa and Grassley accuse the administration of a concerted cover-up….
Doug Book, FloydReports.com
Like most of the American media, Pinch Sulzberger’s New York Times has ignored the ATF’s Fast and Furious and Gunrunner scandals for months. The fact that one or more Obama Regime members at the Justice Department encouraged other Obama Regime members at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to sell thousands of weapons to illegal straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels and then assist in transporting the guns across the border…well these just aren’t the sort of stories that grace the Times’ front page.
After all, Pinch’s pride and joy isn’t known for reporting that its favorite political party is responsible for the deaths of countless Mexicans and at least two American federal employees.
Sure, back in February the Times wrote, “the Obama administration must awake to the urgent need to combat the illegal trafficking of assault weapons across the border.” But then, the “Paper of Record” probably didn’t know it was the Obama administration itself that was doing the trafficking!
But Pinch has finally broken silence on the scandals, mainly because congressional committees of Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa have used testimony from ATF whistleblowers to publicly barbecue some of his favorite Obama apparatchiks. And that means the Times must ride to the rescue to straighten out the reading public.
So with its usual attention to fact and detail, the Times has reported that the deliberate, Regime-initiated sale of more than 2,000 weapons to known straw purchasers is actually the result of….
Jonathan Strong, The Daily Caller
Four Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents in transcribed interviews with top GOP oversight official Darrell Issa’s office are contradicting the Justice Department’s account of “Operation Fast and Furious,” saying hundreds of weapons -– including assault rifles and military-grade sniper weapons -– were allowed to escape into the clutches of Mexican drug cartels in an apparently reckless investigative strategy.
Their testimony raises the question of whether Ronald Weich, a deputy to Attorney General Eric Holder, lied to congressional investigators in a Feb. 4 letter denying the allegations. Weich is testifying before Issa’s committee Wednesday.
The four ATF agents describe how the weapons were tracked from sales at U.S. gun shops but not seized as is normal practice. The goal of the operation was to track the weapons as they progressed from the purchasers through criminal networks.
But two rifles involved in “Fast and Furious” were found at the scene of Border Agent Brian Terry’s murder Dec. 14, 2010, apparently provoking the Justice Department to halt the operation in the aftermath of the murder. Jaime Avila, the purchaser of the guns, had been under surveillance for over a year as he illegally purchased weapons.
The ATF agents’ testimony, from John Dodson, Olindo James Casa, Lawrence Alt and Peter Forceilli, adds additional context and detail to “Fast and Furious” not previously known. The testimony is excerpted in a report from Issa released on the eve of the hearing where Weich is testifying.
Top-ranking Justice Department officials have previously denied the allegations, saying ATF agents made “every effort” to seize weapons purchased illegally. Since earlier blanket denials,
Katie Pavlich, Townhall.com
Presidential administration officials have been held in contempt only 12 times since Watergate in the 1970s, but number 13 may be on its way. Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to supply the House Oversight Committee with requested documents surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, the lethal and botched operation in which thousands of semi-automatic weapons were illegally sent over the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The operation resulted in the death of thousands of Mexican citizens and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and involved the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (a division of Holder’s Justice Department.)
Yesterday, during a hearing on Capitol Hill examining whether the DOJ must respond to a lawfully issued and valid Congressional subpoena, multiple witnesses confirmed that the DOJ is not above the law and must, in fact, comply with the subpoena. The witnesses, which included Commissioner on Wartime Contracting Professor Charles Tiefer, American Public Law Specialist at the Library of Congress Morton Rosenberg, and Legislative Attorney Todd Tatelman, confirmed it is a Constitutional duty for Congress to oversee and question executive branch activities.
“The Justice Department is not immune from these investigations,” Rosenberg said.