Posts Tagged ‘fast and furious’

The 62-year-old convicted felon who gunned down two firefighters and wounded three first responders on Christmas Eve in Webster, New York used weapons his neighbor illegally purchased for him, according to state and federal authorities.

The neighbor, 24-year-old Dawn Nguyen, was arrested on Friday after police traced the serial numbers on two weapons used by William Spengler, the shooter: a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun, both purchased in 2010.

While this so-called “straw purchasing” is illegal, the U.S. Department of Justice sanctioned the practice between 2006 and 2011.

Read more here.

The speculation surrounding the sudden resignation of CIA Chief General David Petraeus is focusing in large part on his role in an alleged cover-up of the attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi this past September.

Perhaps overlooked is the CIA’s role in purportedly using the Benghazi mission to coordinate U.S. aid to Syrian opposition groups and information those same insurgents include jihadists openly acting under the al-Qaida umbrella.

One week before he was slated to testify before Congress on the Benghazi debacle, Petraeus on Friday night announced his resignation, citing an extramarital affair, and it was reported he will no longer testify.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, charged in an interview with CNN that Petraeus is “at the center of this, and there are answers that only he has.” King was referring to the Benghazi attacks.

Asked if he will still call for Petraeus testify despite his resignation, Rep. King replied, “Absolutely, to me, he’s an absolutely necessary witness.”

Patraeus resigned at a time when the U.S. intelligence community is facing criticism over both its response to the assault in Benghazi and whether it had early warnings of al-Qaida plans to attack the U.S. mission in that country.

The White House and multiple State Department officials had immediately blamed a crude film about the Islamic figure Mohammad for what they claimed were popular protests that preceded the attacks on the U.S. mission.

According to new, vivid accounts provided by the State Department and intelligence officials, no such popular demonstration took place the night of the attack. Instead, video footage from Benghazi reportedly shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, the officials said.

Read more here.

A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.

It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.

The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges.

Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 as long as the intel kept coming.

Read more here.

Now that the politically potent National Rifle Association is keeping score, some Democrats may join House Republicans if there’s a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in a dispute over documents related to a the botched gun-tracking operation “Fast and Furious.”

The chief Democratic House head counter, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, declined to tell reporters how many defections he expected, but acknowledged that some in his party would consider heeding the NRA’s call for a “yes” vote.

One of those Democrats, Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, said, “Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable. It is a vote I will support.”

The gun owners association injected itself last week into the stalemate over Justice Department documents demanded by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The NRA said it supports the contempt resolution and will keep a record of how members vote.

An NRA letter to House members contended that the Obama administration “actively sought information” from Operation Fast and Furious to support its program to require dealers to report multiple rifle sales.

The program, which began last August, imposed the requirement for sales of specifically identified long guns in four border states: Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico. A federal judge upheld the requirement.

Republicans want Eric Holder to become the first attorney general to be cited by the House for contempt, because he has refused to give the Oversight and Government Reform Committee all the documents it wants related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Read more here.

Radio giant Rush Limbaugh is coming down hard on the Obama administration’s “Fast and Furious” operation today, calling it “liberalism on parade” in a misguided attempt to promote stricter gun control in America.

“The whole point of Fast and Furious was to create mayhem in Mexico among drug cartels with American-made weapons easily procured so that you and I would stand up in outrage and demand tighter gun laws,” Limbaugh said.

“It was deceitful. It was sneaky. It was going against the will of the American people. It was liberalism on parade. It’s who these people are. They want tighter gun laws.”

The White House today tried to undercut a congressional investigation of the scandal in which the Department of Justice allowed guns to be sold and delivered to Mexican drug cartels by announcing tens of thousands of documents were covered by executive privilege.

This afternoon, a House panel voted to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena for the documents, defying Obama’s assertion of executive privilege.

All 23 Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted for the contempt resolution, while all 17 Democrats voted against it.

Limbaugh explained Obama and his officials were actually creating crimes.

“There’s no other way to characterize this,” Limbaugh said. “They created, they manufactured crime. They enabled crimes. They saw to it that American guns ended up in Mexican drug cartel hands. And, of course, those people get the guns, they use them. When, in fact, it probably was difficult for the drug cartels to get the guns. It probably was not easy for the drug cartels to get the guns. Certainly not walkng into gun stores in Phoenix and elsewhere, then crossing the border.”

Read more here.

Voting on strictly partisan lines, a House committee recommended Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting operation.

The measure now goes to the full House for consideration, expected next week, of what would be an unprecedented event — Congress holding a sitting attorney general in contempt.

All 23 Republicans on the House Oversight and Goverment Reform Committee supported the measure, while the 17 Democrats opposed it, reflecting the deep political divide on the issue.

The vote ended an extraordinary day-long hearing that took place after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over some documents sought by the panel investigating the Fast and Furious program.

Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, D-California, refused to put off consideration of the measure, saying the White House assertion of executive privilege “falls short” of any reason to delay the hearing.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa has circulated a lengthy pair of documents making the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his “refusal” to cooperate in an investigation of the ill-fated Fast and Furious operation.

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Thursday sent to every member of his committee a 64-page draft contempt order against Holder, as well as a 17-page memo outlining the history of the scandal.

“Operation Fast and Furious’ outrageous tactics, the Justice Department’s refusal to fully cooperate with the investigation and efforts to smear and retaliate against whistleblowers have tainted the institutional integrity of the Justice Department,” Issa wrote.

The committee is not citing Holder or holding the attorney general in contempt at this point. However, the documents lay out the case for contempt should members be called to vote.

The documents specifically charge that Holder’s Justice Department has not properly complied with a subpoena sent Oct. 12, 2011, which listed documents requested in 22 categories.

According to the draft contempt order, the department “has yet to provide a single document for 12 out of the 22 categories contained in the subpoena schedule.”

The draft order pointed to three categories in particular. Those categories concerned: who among the department’s top brass should have known about the “reckless tactics” in Fast and Furious; how department leaders ended up figuring out the program was a bad idea; and how a special task force “failed” to share information that could have supposedly led to key gun-trafficking arrests.

U.S. officials had used the Fast and Furious program to allow firearms to “walk” across the U.S.-Mexico border as part of an anti-gunrunning probe. However, they lost track of many of those weapons, which later turned up at crime scenes on both sides of the border — including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Issa noted that “only 567 of the nearly 2,000 weapons from the operation have been recovered.”

It’s unclear when Issa might press for action on the documents, but a source close to the investigation told Fox News he would not have put his cards on the table unless he had sufficient votes to push a contempt citation out of committee as well as the consent of House Speaker John Boehner.

Read more here.

Attorney General Eric Holder castigated an Idaho congressman while testifying before the House Oversight Committee Thursday, accusing him of committing one of the “worst things I think I’ve ever seen in Congress.”

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice dumped documents related to Operation Fast and Furious on congressional officials late Friday night. Central to this document dump is a series of emails showing Holder was informed of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder on the day it happened – December 15, 2010 – and that he was informed the weapons used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious on the same day.

An email from one official, whose name has been redacted from the document, to now-former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke reads: “On December 14, 2010, a BORTAC agent working in the Nogales, AZ AOR was shot. The agent was conducting Border Patrol operations 18 miles north of the international boundary when he encountered [redacted word] unidentified subjects. Shots were exchanged resulting in the agent being shot. At this time, the agent is being transported to an area where he can be air lifted to an emergency medical center.”

That email was sent at 2:31 a.m. on the day Terry was shot. One hour later, a follow-up email read: “Our agent has passed away.”

Burke forwarded those two emails to Holder’s then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson later that morning, adding that the incident was “not good” because it happened “18 miles w/in” the border.

Wilkinson responded to Burke shortly thereafter and said the incident was “tragic.” “I’ve alerted the AG [Holder], the Acting DAG, Lisa, etc.”

Then, later that day, Burke followed up with Wilkinson after Burke discovered from officials whose names are redacted that the guns used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious. “The guns found in the desert near the murder BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store,” Burke wrote to Wilkinson.

“I’ll call tomorrow,” Wilkinson responded.

This is hardly the first time new evidence has come out that directly contradicts Holder’s congressional testimony. These new emails are written evidence that Holder was aware of Fast and Furious about five months before he testified in Congress that he had only learned of the gunwalking program a “few weeks” before a May 3, 2011, House Judiciary Committee appearance.

Holder has since walked back that “few weeks” comment, amending it to more of a “couple months.”

“I did say a ‘few weeks,’” Holder said during a November 8 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, responding to a question from its chairman Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. “I probably could’ve said ‘a couple of months.’ I didn’t think the term I said, ‘few weeks,’ was inaccurate based on what happened.”

There have also been a series of documents containing the intimate details of Fast and Furious that were sent to Holder all throughout 2010 from several of his senior aides. Holder claims he did not read his memos.

Holder will be appearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform next Thursday, Feb. 2. Though Holder has already testified before Congress three times about matters relating to Fast and Furious — twice before the House Judiciary Committee and once before the Senate Judiciary Committee — this is the first time the House oversight committee will have an opportunity to question Holder himself.

“The Judiciary Committee has multiple issues with the Attorney General,” House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller last week. “We have one issue: the issue of breaking the law in order to enforce the law.”

Read more here.

During a House GOP retreat in Baltimore on Friday, press secretaries for Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor balked when asked if their bosses believe Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over Operation Fast and Furious.

Sixty-three congressmen, two senators, two sitting governors and every major Republican presidential candidate have demanded Holder’s ouster over the resulting scandal. And 89 congressmen have signed a House resolution of “no confidence” in Holder as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Between the two lists, which don’t perfectly overlap, 101 members of the House have “no confidence” in Holder, believe he should resign or both.

Though that number — 101 Congressmen — is nearly half of the 242-member Republican caucus in the House, and the surge continues to grow, the press secretaries for Boehner and Cantor refused to answer the question.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel has ignored emails on the subject for months, but when TheDC caught up with him at the retreat and again asked if his boss thinks Holder should resign for the gunrunning operation that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and at least 300 Mexican civilians, Steel replied, “I don’t think he has said anything on that.”

TheDC followed up with Steel in the lobby of the Waterfront Marriott and asked him if he’d just ask Boehner the question. “Yeah, maybe,” Steel replied.

As of 5 p.m. on Sunday, Steel still hasn’t answered whether Boehner agrees with the 101 members in the House GOP caucus about Holder. Instead, Steel said, “The speaker appreciates the hard work that Chairman Issa and many others have done to expose this scandal. President Obama’s Department of Justice needs to be accountable.”

Cantor’s press secretary, Laena Fallon, deflected questions in a similar way, telling TheDC that Cantor “doesn’t sign onto legislation, as a rule, as majority leader”

Read more here.