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Author Topic: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff )  (Read 221979 times)
G M
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« Reply #500 on: February 02, 2011, 01:34:06 PM »


One of the many reasons I love this country!
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G M
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« Reply #501 on: February 06, 2011, 11:53:17 AM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-atf-guns-20110203,0,6169639.story

Guns tracked by firearms bureau found at firefight scene
Two AK-47s bought in Arizona were used in a firefight that left a Border Patrol agent dead last month. The discovery comes amid a growing congressional investigation into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

____________________________________________________________________

http://www.startribune.com/nation/114980294.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUvDEhiaE3miUsZ

PHOENIX - A U.S. senator is examining a claim that two guns sold in purchases sanctioned by federal firearms agents were later used in a December shootout that left a Border Patrol agent dead near the Arizona-Mexico border.

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said in a letter provided Monday to The Associated Press he had received information that appears to partially corroborate the claim received by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the guns.

"Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw buyers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the Southwest border area and into Mexico," reads a letter sent Thursday from Grassley to Kenneth Melson, acting director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The letter does not elaborate on the role possible of federal agents in the sale of the guns, and it could not be determined if the purchases were part of a sting operation.
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bigdog
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« Reply #502 on: February 07, 2011, 01:55:44 PM »

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/article_5e279c3c-3856-54b6-bea8-87de914a45fa.html
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G M
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« Reply #503 on: February 07, 2011, 01:58:36 PM »

But what of the crime-free paradise gun control laws have made in Chicago?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #504 on: February 09, 2011, 07:24:00 AM »



"[A]fter every multiple murder, liberals come up with some crackpot idea to 'do something' that invariably involves infringing on some aspect of our Second Amendment rights. ... In an open society that includes Sheriff Dumbnik and the ACLU, deranged individuals may explode into murder and mayhem now and then. The best we can do is enact policies that will reduce the death toll when these acts of carnage occur. There's only one policy of any kind that has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws. In a comprehensive study of all public, multiple-shooting incidents in America between 1977 and 1999, the highly regarded economists John Lott and Bill Landes found that concealed-carry laws were the only laws that had any beneficial effect. And the effect was not small. States that allowed citizens to carry concealed handguns reduced multiple-shooting attacks by 60 percent and reduced the death and injury from these attacks by nearly 80 percent. When there are no armed citizens to stop mass murderers, the killers are able to shoot unabated, even pausing to reload their weapons, until they get bored and stop. ... Consider just the school shootings -- popular sites for mass murder because so many schools are 'gun-free zones.' Or, as mass murderers call them, 'free-fire zones.'" --columnist Ann Coulter
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ccp
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« Reply #505 on: February 09, 2011, 01:56:49 PM »

One psychiatrist agreed with me on two things:
1)  It is very difficult to predict someone's future behavior with regards to violence.  Like one forensic psychiatrist told me years ago most of the "criminally" insane could be released without them ever being a danger.  Yet determining who is the one that will go on a rampage and hurt someone and the majority who don't is very hard.
2)  People with personality disorders who lack conscious are in general much more dangerous than those who are schizophrenic or delusional.
The latter are usually unable to have the organzied thinking capacity to plan a murder ahead of time - though not impossible.  The former are quite capable of planning to kill someone and appear totally "normal".

****Giffords Shooting Raises Questions About Guns and Mental IllnessJan 11, 2011 – 7:39 PM
Andrea Stone
 Senior Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- It takes a lot to be considered too crazy to own a gun in Arizona.

As authorities investigate the mass shooting that killed six people and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded, it appears clear that a growing list of troubling warning signs would not have prohibited suspect Jared Loughner from buying the Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol he is accused of using in the attack.

Gun-control advocates say the 22-year-old Loughner was technically within his rights to buy the weapon. And that's why they say stricter background checks and a new strategy for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill is needed.

 
Karen Bleier, AFP / Getty Images
Gun-control advocates say the country needs a better way to ensure that mentally disturbed people and drug users cannot buy firearms."He was dangerous enough to get kicked out of algebra class, but that's not enough to get him disqualified from buying a gun," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Something is wrong with that system."

Despite ample warning signs that Loughner may have been mentally ill -- including behavior unsettling enough to get him kicked out of Pima Community College -- the suspect was eligible to buy and possess a gun.

Under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, it is illegal for people to possess a firearm if they have "been adjudicated as a mental defective" or "been committed to a mental institution."

Neither applied to Loughner.

The federal law also bars drug users from owning a gun.

Yet a 2007 charge for possession of drug paraphernalia was expunged from court records after Loughner completed a diversion program. When he later tried to enlist in the Army he was turned down, according to Time magazine, for admitting that he used marijuana frequently.

Those facts did not show up in the federal database that cleared Loughner to buy the handgun at a Tucson, Ariz., store on Nov. 30, authorities say.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, would not answer AOL News' questions about whether existing gun laws provide enough safeguards to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing firearms.

"At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate," he said in an e-mail.

But gun-control advocates say it is past time to speak out.

"Just enforcing the laws on the books isn't enough," Helmke said. "We need a stronger definition that covers somebody like this guy."

What that definition might be is complicated.

"This is a tough problem. It requires balancing of so many competing interests and imperatives," writes Jill Lawrence of Politics Daily. Among them: "gun and privacy rights versus a system that prevents weapons sales to unstable people."

For now, that latter priority is taking center stage. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who heads Mayors Against Illegal Guns, called today for "commonsense fixes to some of our broken gun laws." Among them: tougher background checks to prevent drug abusers from getting around the system.

Other elected officials from New York, home to some of the nation's toughest gun-control laws, also are proposing measures. Republican Rep. Peter King plans to introduce a bill to make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official. Democrat Rep. Carolyn McCarthy wants to restrict the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips like those used in Saturday's deadly shooting.

Yet as the newly revived debate over gun control heats up, advocates say a top priority is to keep weapons out of the hands of the dangerously unbalanced.

"Everyone and his mother knew this kid was severely deranged," said Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, citing Loughner's run-ins with police and school officials.

He noted that a Google search would have been more effective than looking in the federal government's database because it would have turned up Loughner's now-removed MySpace post last month in which he wrote, "I don't feel good: I'm ready to kill a police officer!"

Arizona law allows anyone to petition the court for a psychiatric evaluation of a person who is acting strangely and is suspected of being a danger to himself or others. Despite concerns about Loughner, no one went to court.

The state's weak gun laws require only the most perfunctory background check and no permit. Had Loughner tried to buy a gun in New York, for instance, he would have had to undergo a licensing check by law enforcement officials. That might have uncovered online clues to his mental state as well as his problems at the Army recruiting office and school.

Helmke urged Congress to hold hearings to explore how federal background checks can pick up potentially dangerous people who don't fall within the narrow range of prohibited gun owners. He noted that states improved their reporting systems after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech by a man adjudicated as mentally ill whose record didn't show up in the federal database.

Since 2008, the names of nearly 1.1 million people disqualified from possessing firearms because of mental illness have been added to the federal system. Another 2 million names are still awaiting entry into the database.

At the time of the Virginia Tech shooting, Arizona had not submitted any mental health records to the federal government, according to government records. It has since listed 4,465 Arizonans and estimates there are nearly 122,000 others who still are not in the system.

Sponsored LinksYet even with better record-keeping since Virginia Tech, there have been several cases of accused killers with a history of mental illness who bought their weapons legally.

"Maybe crazy people will do crazy things," Virginia Tech survivor and gun-control activist Colin Goddard writes in a column for AOL News. "But why, I ask my country, my president, my representatives in Congress, why do we make it so damned easy?"

The answers aren't easy, said Michael Stone, a Columbia University forensic psychiatrist unrelated to this writer. Short of "preventive detention" for those who act strangely but don't break any laws, only the "extremely delusional and bizarre" can be stopped from obtaining firearms.

"It's very difficult to prevent a paranoid person from buying a gun who is able to present himself in a rational and coherent manner, as many are able to do," he said.****
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #506 on: February 09, 2011, 09:31:41 PM »

Woof,
 Well, then the answer is obvious, human beings are just too unpredictable to have guns, so all guns should be banned. I mean come on it's plain as day. Actually, since people can kill using almost anything they can get their opposable thumb around, I think the ultimate solution is to just cut off everyone's thumbs at birth. A reasonable law like that shouldn't bother any sane person.
                             P.C.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 09:34:40 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

G M
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« Reply #507 on: February 09, 2011, 09:43:08 PM »

Don't give the left any ideas, P.C.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #508 on: February 09, 2011, 11:16:49 PM »

Woof,
 I guess your right, since they don't think a viable fetus is a human being with a right to life, they'll do me one better and just go snip snip, off with the thumbs in the womb, that way they won't have to hear any crying and they don't have to worry about the second amendment as well. That would be very reasonable by their thinking. tongue
                    P.C.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 11:59:36 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #509 on: February 10, 2011, 10:14:55 AM »

By Scott Stewart

For several years now, STRATFOR has been closely watching developments in Mexico that relate to what we consider the three wars being waged there. Those three wars are the war between the various drug cartels, the war between the government and the cartels and the war being waged against citizens and businesses by criminals.

In addition to watching tactical developments of the cartel wars on the ground and studying the dynamics of the conflict among the various warring factions, we have also been paying close attention to the ways that both the Mexican and U.S. governments have reacted to these developments. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects to watch has been the way in which the Mexican government has tried to deflect responsibility for the cartel wars away from itself and onto the United States. According to the Mexican government, the cartel wars are not a result of corruption in Mexico or of economic and societal dynamics that leave many Mexicans marginalized and desperate to find a way to make a living. Instead, the cartel wars are due to the insatiable American appetite for narcotics and the endless stream of guns that flows from the United States into Mexico and that results in Mexican violence.

Interestingly, the part of this argument pertaining to guns has been adopted by many politicians and government officials in the United States in recent years. It has now become quite common to hear U.S. officials confidently assert that 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. However, a close examination of the dynamics of the cartel wars in Mexico — and of how the oft-echoed 90 percent number was reached — clearly demonstrates that the number is more political rhetoric than empirical fact.


By the Numbers

As we discussed in a previous analysis, the 90 percent number was derived from a June 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress on U.S. efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico (see external link).

According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.

This means that the 87 percent figure relates to the number of weapons submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF that could be successfully traced and not from the total number of weapons seized by Mexican authorities or even from the total number of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing. In fact, the 3,480 guns positively traced to the United States equals less than 12 percent of the total arms seized in Mexico in 2008 and less than 48 percent of all those submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF for tracing. This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.

The remaining 22,800 firearms seized by Mexican authorities in 2008 were not traced for a variety of reasons. In addition to factors such as bureaucratic barriers and negligence, many of the weapons seized by Mexican authorities either do not bear serial numbers or have had their serial numbers altered or obliterated. It is also important to understand that the Mexican authorities simply don’t bother to submit some classes of weapons to the ATF for tracing. Such weapons include firearms they identify as coming from their own military or police forces, or guns that they can trace back themselves as being sold through the Mexican Defense Department’s Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). Likewise, they do not ask ATF to trace military ordnance from third countries like the South Korean fragmentation grenades commonly used in cartel attacks.

Of course, some or even many of the 22,800 firearms the Mexicans did not submit to ATF for tracing may have originated in the United States. But according to the figures presented by the GAO, there is no evidence to support the assertion that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels come from the United States — especially when not even 50 percent of those that were submitted for tracing were ultimately found to be of U.S. origin.

This point leads us to consider the types of weapons being used by the Mexican cartels and where they come from.


Types and Sources of Guns

To gain an understanding of the dynamics of the gun flow inside Mexico, it helps if one divides the guns seized by Mexican authorities from criminals into three broad categories — which, incidentally, just happen to represent three different sources.


Type 1: Guns Legally Available in Mexico

The first category of weapons encountered in Mexico is weapons available legally for sale in Mexico through UCAM. These include handguns smaller than a .357 magnum such as .380, .38 Super and .38 Special.

A large portion of this first type of guns used by criminals is purchased in Mexico, or stolen from their legitimate owners. While UCAM does have very strict regulations for civilians to purchase guns, criminals will use straw purchasers to obtain firearms from UCAM or obtain them from corrupt officials. It is not uncommon to see .38 Super pistols seized from cartel figures (a caliber that is not popular in the United States), and many of these pistols are of Mexican origin. Likewise, cartel hit men in Mexico commonly use .380 pistols equipped with sound suppressors in their assassinations. In many cases, these pistols are purchased in Mexico, the suppressors are locally manufactured and the guns are adapted to receive the suppressors by Mexican gunsmiths.

It must be noted, though, that because of the cost and hassle of purchasing guns in Mexico, many of the guns in this category are purchased in the United States and smuggled into the country. There are a lot of cheap guns available on the U.S. market, and they can be sold at a premium in Mexico. Indeed, guns in this category, such as .380 pistols and .22-caliber rifles and pistols, are among the guns most commonly traced back to the United States. Still, the numbers do not indicate that 90 percent of guns in this category come from the United States.

Additionally, most of the explosives the cartels have been using in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Mexico over the past year have used commercially available Tovex, so we consider these explosives to fall in this first category. Mexican IEDs are another area where the rhetoric has been interesting to analyze, but we will explore this topic another time.


Type 2: Guns Legally Available in the U.S. but Not in Mexico

Many popular handgun calibers, such as 9 mm, .45 and .40, are reserved for the military and police and are not available for sale to civilians in Mexico. These guns, which are legally sold and very popular in the United States, comprise our second category, which also includes .50-caliber rifles, semiautomatic versions of assault rifles like the AK-47 and M16 and the FN Five-Seven pistol.

When we consider this second type of guns, a large number of them encountered in Mexico are likely purchased in the United States. Indeed, the GAO report notes that many of the guns most commonly traced back to the United States fall into this category. There are also many .45-caliber and 9 mm semiautomatic pistols and .357 revolvers obtained from deserters from the Mexican military and police, purchased from corrupt Mexican authorities or even brought in from South America (guns made by manufacturers such as Taurus and Bersa). This category also includes semiautomatic variants of assault rifles and main battle rifles, which are often converted by Mexican gunsmiths to be capable of fully automatic fire.

One can buy these types of weapons on the international arms market, but one pays a premium for such guns and it is cheaper and easier to simply buy them in the United States or South America and smuggle them into Mexico. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry that has developed to smuggle such weapons, and not all the customers are cartel hit men. There are many Mexican citizens who own guns in calibers such as .45, 9 mm, .40 and .44 magnum for self-defense — even though such guns are illegal in Mexico.


Type 3: Guns Not Available for Civilian Purchase in Mexico or the U.S.

The third category of weapons encountered in Mexico is military grade ordnance not generally available for sale in the United States or Mexico. This category includes hand grenades, 40 mm grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, automatic assault rifles and main battle rifles and light machine guns.

This third type of weapon is fairly difficult and very expensive to obtain in the United States (especially in the large numbers in which the cartels are employing them). They are also dangerous to obtain in the United States due to heavy law-enforcement scrutiny. Therefore, most of the military ordnance used by the Mexican cartels comes from other sources, such as the international arms market (increasingly from China via the same networks that furnish precursor chemicals for narcotics manufacturing), or from corrupt elements in the Mexican military or even deserters who take their weapons with them. Besides, items such as South Korean fragmentation grenades and RPG-7s, often used by the cartels, simply are not in the U.S. arsenal. This means that very few of the weapons in this category come from the United States.

In recent years the cartels (especially their enforcer groups such as Los Zetas, Gente Nueva and La Linea) have been increasingly using military weaponry instead of sporting arms. A close examination of the arms seized from the enforcer groups and their training camps clearly demonstrates this trend toward military ordnance, including many weapons not readily available in the United States. Some of these seizures have included M60 machine guns and hundreds of 40 mm grenades obtained from the military arsenals of countries like Guatemala.

But Guatemala is not the only source of such weapons. Latin America is awash in weapons that were shipped there over the past several decades to supply the various insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in the region. When these military-grade weapons are combined with the rampant corruption in the region, they quickly find their way into the black arms market. The Mexican cartels have supply-chain contacts that help move narcotics to Mexico from South America and they are able to use this same network to obtain guns from the black market in South and Central America and then smuggle them into Mexico. While there are many weapons in this category that were manufactured in the United States, the overwhelming majority of the U.S.-manufactured weapons of this third type encountered in Mexico — like LAW rockets and M60 machine guns — come into Mexico from third countries and not directly from the United States.

There are also some cases of overlap between classes of weapons. For example, the FN Five-Seven pistol is available for commercial purchase in the United States, but the 5.7x28 armor-piercing ammunition for the pistol favored by the cartels is not — it is a restricted item. However, some of the special operations forces units in the Mexican military are issued the Five-Seven as well as the FN P90 personal defense weapon, which also shoots the 5.7x28 round, and the cartels are obtaining some of these weapons and the armor-piercing ammunition from them and not from the United States. Conversely, we see bulk 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition bought in the United States and smuggled into Mexico, where it is used in fully-automatic AK-47s and M16s purchased elsewhere. As noted above, China has become an increasingly common source for military weapons like grenades and fully automatic assault rifles in recent years.

To really understand Mexico’s gun problem, however, it is necessary to recognize that the same economic law of supply and demand that fuels drug smuggling into the United States also fuels gun smuggling into Mexico. Black-market guns in Mexico can fetch up to 300 percent of their normal purchase price — a profit margin rivaling the narcotics the cartels sell. Even if it were somehow possible to hermetically seal the U.S.-Mexico border and shut off all the guns coming from the United States, the cartels would still be able to obtain weapons elsewhere — just as narcotics would continue to flow into the United States from other places. The United States does provide cheap and easy access to certain types of weapons and ammunition, but as demonstrated by groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, weapons can be easily obtained from other sources via the black arms market — albeit at a higher price.

There has clearly been a long and well-documented history of arms smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border, but it is important to recognize that, while the United States is a significant source of certain classes of weapons and ammunition, it is by no means the source of 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican cartels, as is commonly asserted.

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G M
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« Reply #510 on: February 10, 2011, 10:20:40 AM »

Nice. Scott Stewart does outstanding work.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #511 on: February 10, 2011, 01:02:23 PM »

Ann Coulter has one thing right.  The Tucson shooting needed one conceal carry citizen to emerge sooner.  Concealed carry was legal there which is why the shooter was saying good bye before he started.  A suicidal, certifiable nut, whatever the medical or legal term may be. 

Concealed carry resurgence has been a great trend both for safety and a symbol of retaining one founding right and a seriousness about keeping the rest.
---
PC wrote previously: "It's already illegal for a confirmed nut to buy or own a gun."

What I want is for that one safeguard only to happen. If you qualify for the insanity plea for example, we need to know that sooner whenever possible.

I oppose fetal thumb or trigger finger removal.  smiley
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 01:09:53 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #512 on: March 04, 2011, 10:16:07 AM »



http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/03/eveningnews/main20039031.shtml
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #513 on: March 04, 2011, 10:00:50 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7357550n&tag=related;photovideo

BATF let 2,500 guns "walk" into Mexico, including many AKs and some 50 calibers!  shocked shocked shocked  The cynical amongst us might even wonder if at some level there were Machiavellian machinations involved with an eye towards restricting US gun rights.
=====================


The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I appreciate the staff briefing that Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) officials provided on February 10, 2011. However, the briefers focused on general issues related to challenges in successfully prosecuting gun trafficking cases. They refused to answer specific questions about the facts and circumstances that led me to request the briefing.

Specifically, they refused to say whether the approximately 103 weapons seized according to the Jaime Avila indictment were the only seizures related to the nearly 770 weapons mentioned in the indictment. They refused to say whether the third assault rifle purchased by Avila in January 2010—the one not found at the scene of CBP Agent Brian Terry’s shooting—has been recovered elsewhere. When asked whether ATF had encouraged any gun dealer to proceed with sales to known or suspected traffickers such as Avila, the briefers said only that they did not have any “personal knowledge” of that.

Therefore, please provide the following documents to the Committee:

1) All records relating to communications between the ATF and the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) who sold the weapons to Avila, including any Report of Investigation (ROI) or other records relating to the December 17, 2009 meeting “to discuss his role as an FFL during this investigation.”

2) All records relating to communications between ATF headquarters and Phoenix Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell from December 1, 2010 to the present, including a memorandum, approximately 30 pages long, from SAC Newell to ATF headquarters following the arrest of Jaime Avila and the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.

3) A copy of the presentation, approximately 200 pages long, that the Group 7 Supervisor made to officials at ATF Headquarters in the Spring of 2010.

PAGE 2

4) Copies of all e-mails related to Operation Fast and Furious, the Jaime Avila case, or the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry sent to or from SAC Newell, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) George Gillette, Group 7 Supervisor, or the Case Agent between November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2011.

Please provide documents in batches on a rolling basis as they are identified and located. Also, please prioritize your search for documents and produce them in the following order: (1) documents in response to requests one through three, (2) documents in response to request four dated between December 13, 2010 and January 31, 2011, and (3) documents in response to request four dated between November 1, 2009 and December 13, 2010.

I look forward to receiving your response. Please provide the first set of requested documentation by no later than February 23, 2011. If you have any questions please contact Jason Foster or Brian Downey at ..... All formal correspondence should be sent electronically in PDF format to Brian_Downey@judiciary-rep.senate.gov or via facsimile to.....

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member

cc: The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Kenneth E. Melson, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
The Honorable Alan D. Bersin, Commissioner, United States Customs and Border Protection
==================
Public Information Officers:

Please make every effort for the next two weeks to maximize coverage of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and regional level. Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week and upcoming events this week, the bureau should look for every opportunity to push coverage of good stories. Fortunately, the CBS story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and seems to have fizzled.

It was shoddy reporting, as CBS failed to air on-the-record interviews by former ATF officials and HQ statements for attribution that expressed opposing views and explained the law and difficulties of firearm trafficking investigations. The CBS producer for the story made only a feigned effort at the 11th hour to reach ATF HQ for comment.

This week (To 3/1/2011), Attorney General Holder testifies on the Hill and likely will get questions about the allegations in the story. Also (The 3/3/2011), Mexico President Calderon will visit the White House and likely will testify on the Hill. He will probably draw attention to the lack of political support for demand letter 3 and Project Gunrunner.

ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF. The more time we spend highlighting the great work of the agents through press releases and various media outreaches in the coming days and weeks, the better off we will be.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any significant operations that should get national media coverage, please reach out to the Public Affairs Division for support, coordination and clearance.

Thank you,

Scot L. Thomasson

Chief, ATF Public Affairs Division

Washington, DC

Desk 202-648-7089

Cell 206-730-0005
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 10:28:58 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #514 on: March 05, 2011, 11:43:37 AM »

http://tucsoncitizen.com/view-from-baja-arizona/2011/02/24/more-calls-for-an-investigation-into-atfs-project-gunrunner-scandal/

BTW, amongst the many questions raised here, I wonder why the gun in question was dropped at the scene? Isn't that rather odd?  Why were the illegals arrested at the scene of Agent Terry's killing deported instead of being held as material witnesses or more serious charges?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #515 on: March 09, 2011, 05:46:46 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/08/eveningnews/main20040803.shtml

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20040189-503544.html
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 05:48:28 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #516 on: March 09, 2011, 07:19:32 PM »

This makes no sense. Exactly what intel would be gained from an extended operation like this???
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #517 on: March 09, 2011, 08:38:05 PM »

Well, those of who believe in the will of Baraq and his minions to Machiavellian machinations, might suspect they are looking to create a crisis from which they can take advantage; that they will seek to leverage their campaign against American gun rights by creating a treaty with Mexico and/or the UN.  OTOH others of us might simply believe in the remarkable capabilities of government, espeically the BATFE, for stupidity.

Both sides have ample raw material for their suspicions.
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« Reply #518 on: March 10, 2011, 04:58:35 PM »



Grassley Requests Investigation of ATF’s Fast and Furious Policy be Removed from the Justice Department Inspector General

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said that he did not have confidence that the Justice Department Inspector General’s office could produce a report that the public would view as frank and unbiased in its investigation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) policy of letting guns “walk” along the Southwest border—a policy that may have contributed to the death of a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent.


In a letter today to Kevin Perkins, the head of the Integrity Committee of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, Grassley cited several conflicts that lead him to believe that the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice cannot be seen as completely disinterested and independent.

“There are certainly better and more independent ways to conduct this investigation. To have an acting Inspector General’s office lead an investigation like this one just won’t pass the smell test,” Grassley said. “The fact that the Inspector General did not take this whistleblower’s allegations seriously enough to even call him back raises a lot of red flags for me.”

Grassley’s concerns outlined in his letter are:


1. The Inspector General position at the Justice Department is currently vacant. Any acting Inspector General is ill-equipped to take on an entrenched bureaucracy and challenge senior officials with tough questions.


2. The Justice Department Inspector General’s office was made aware of the allegations brought forward by ATF Agent John Dodson shortly after Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death. The Inspector General failed to respond to Dodson’s numerous attempts to contact the office until Grassley’s staff notified the office.

3. ATF officials have cited an Office of the Inspector General report as one of the factors that prompted the shift to a riskier strategy of letting guns be trafficked rather than arresting straw buyers.


Grassley began looking into allegations brought forward by Dodson, and more than a dozen other ATF agents, after the Justice Department Inspector General failed to investigate. The agents indicated that their supervisors kept them from stopping gun traffickers with the normal techniques that had been successfully used for years. They instead were ordered to only watch and continue gathering information on traffickers instead of arresting them as soon as they could. In the meantime, the guns were allowed to fall into the hands of the bad guys even as agents told supervisors that it could not end well. Many of the guns have subsequently been found in firefights along the border, including a December 14, 2010 firefight where Terry was killed.


Grassley’s requests for information have gone unanswered about what transpired at the ATF and the Department of Justice during the time when Terry was killed and the policies instituted during Project Gunrunner that allowed guns to be sold to known straw purchasers and moved across the border without intervention.
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G M
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« Reply #519 on: March 10, 2011, 05:04:03 PM »

There is a law enforcement technique called "controlled delivery", but, as one might guess from the name, you maintain a degree of control of the contraband and then arrest the recipients. You don't just facilitate the flow of contraband for years with no arrests.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #520 on: March 10, 2011, 08:15:48 PM »

Exactly so, expecially when the contraband is 50 caliber and the recipient is in another country spiral into narco-anarchy/war.
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« Reply #521 on: March 10, 2011, 11:32:54 PM »


Anyone familiar with this issue?

http://capwiz.com/gunowners/utr/2/?a=34260501&i=95921896&c=
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G M
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« Reply #522 on: March 11, 2011, 05:27:09 AM »

More PATRIOT act paranoia.  rolleyes
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« Reply #523 on: March 17, 2011, 01:40:06 PM »

http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/2976/?utm_source=publicintegrity&utm_medium=social_media&utm_campaign=twitter

ATF let hundreds of U.S. weapons fall into hands of suspected Mexican gunrunners
Whistleblower Says Agents Strongly Objected to Risky Strategy
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« Reply #524 on: March 18, 2011, 07:25:43 AM »

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2011/03/25_atf_agents_w.php

25 ATF Agents write letter outlining scandals
Posted by David Hardy · 17 March 2011 07:37 PM

The contents of their letter are pretty stunning. A few samples:

"The Bureaus second most powerful manager Deputy Director Edgar Domenech, himself filed a whistleblower complaint and publicly stated that the Bureau of ATF has a propensity for reprisal and he “knew” such actions would result in career suicide."

"A Special Agent attempts to resist an investigation using unlawful wiretaps. The Special Agent openly challenges and reports it to superiors. After 20 + years of exemplary service, the next 1 ½ years results in the Special Agent and his family being transferred 5 times, suspended for 3 days, attempts made to have a psyche evaluation conducted, 2 letters of reprimand, and ultimately a termination."

"Complainants or those who would challenge unethical and/or illegal acts by Special Agents in Charge or senior managers are often threatened with collecting their next pay check in Fargo, North Dakota or Anchorage, Alaska."

"An anonymous letter was sent to the Department of Justice OIG from Las Vegas, Nevada alleging government Fraud waste and abuse. The OIG provided the letter to ATF Internal affairs for follow up investigation into the allegations contained in the anonymous letter. One of the primary objectives by ATF Internal Affairs investigators was to identify the author of the anonymous letter. During theInternal Affairs investigation, ATF identified an Agent who ATF had perceived to have been the whistleblower. This Agent became the recipient of vindictive personnel actions that ranged from a letter of reprimand to a notice of proposed removal from Federal service. Further investigation identified the true author of the letter and he/she admitted to being the author of the letter. ATF management then directed their attack on the actual whistleblower. ATF continued their attack on the perceived whistleblower and terminated him from Federal service. The Agent was later reinstated by ATF after appealing his removal to the MSPB [Merit Systems Protection Board]."
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #525 on: March 29, 2011, 11:25:52 AM »

The whole "we need more laws to enforce the laws we have already" argument inspires major cognitive dissonance.

Predictable spin on "Operation Gunwalker"
POSTED BY DAVID HARDY · 24 MARCH 2011 05:48 PM
Spin: the fact that the agency allowed 1,700 guns to go to drug cartels proves they need more money and more laws to enforce.

"America’s frontline agencies aren’t always coordinated fully and often feel powerless to arrest suspected gun runners in the absence of tougher federal laws. As a result, weapons from an ATF sting in Arizona called “Fast and Furious” unwittingly ended up in the possession of a trafficking ring in a neighboring state while other guns crossed the border and at least one showed up at a murder scene in Mexico."

"James Cavanaugh, a former ATF commander, said stemming the flow of guns to Mexico is a Herculean task given the lack of law-enforcement resources and political will.

“I don’t see how it’s realistically going to slow down if we don’t make changes in resources, laws and policies,” he said. “It’s important because people are being slaughtered.”

Agents and prosecutors have been especially passionate in pleading for Congress to pass a specific law banning gun trafficking, and have repeatedly watched as courts threw out cases against straw buyers who made purchases that were technically legal."

1) ATF is saying that straw purchases are "technically" legal? Interesting news to folks who were prosecuted for them.

2) If they didn't have the resources to investigate, or the laws to enforce, why did they let the sales go through? Is this "we're going to keep on doing it and if you don't give us money it'll happen again." ?

3) Let's see... the 4473 form has a box asking if the buyer is purchasing for himself. Lying on the form is a felony. Transferring a gun with reasonable cause to believe that it will be used to commit a felony is another violation, punished by up to ten years' imprisonment.

And then there's 22 U.S. Code §2778, giving the President broad power to restrict export of "defense articles.' and requiring registration of any exporting the same (violations punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment) and 18 U.S. Code §554:

"Whoever fraudulently or knowingly exports or sends from the United States, or attempts to export or send from the United States, any merchandise, article, or object contrary to any law or regulation of the United States, or receives, conceals, buys, sells, or in any manner facilitates the transportation, concealment, or sale of such merchandise, article or object, prior to exportation, knowing the same to be intended for exportation contrary to any law or regulation of the United States, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."

And here's an ATF press release announcing indictments for illegally exporting firearms to Columbia. I bet the defendants would be surprised to hear that ATF says there are no laws against exporting arms!

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2011/03/predictable_spi.php
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #526 on: March 29, 2011, 12:49:52 PM »

The thing that grates most on me about Gunwalker/Fast and Furious is how congruent those methods were with the ends of the AG/POTUS. Just before this pot boiled over BHO and the Mexican prez were holding hands and warbling about "assault weapons" sneaking across the border, and lo and behold the BATFE just happened to be working on a major investigative effort that conveniently provided sundry kinds of ammunition for those who would impinge on American second amendment freedoms. A wee bit too coincidental for me, as this editorial touches on:

Mexican Criminals, American Guns by David Rittgers
from Cato Recent Op-eds
Did the ATF help create its own crisis?

The next time gun-control advocates point to violence in Mexico and call for more restrictions on gun sales or a revived assault-weapons ban, they should consider that the problem may not be with the laws on the books, but with those who enforce them.

A number of outlets — among them CBS News, the L.A. Times, and the Center for Public Integrity — have alleged scandalous behavior at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) is investigating allegations that ATF supervisors ordered agents to let gun runners ship arms across the border. Two of those guns turned up in a gunfight that killed a Border Patrol agent.

ATF special agent John Dodson says that agents in the Phoenix office were ordered to let known gun traffickers purchase firearms. The plan, Operation Fast and Furious, was intended to help investigators follow low-level gunrunners to cartel leadership. That may justify letting a few illegal sales slip by, but agents say the number soon climbed into the hundreds and thousands.

Agents raised warnings to their superiors about the quantity of sales and the rising violence across the border, but were told that the operation had been approved at ATF headquarters. They were also told that if they didn't like it, they were welcome to seek employment at the Maricopa County jail as detention officers making $30,000 a year.

Dodson came forward after hearing that two of the guns showed up at a crime scene, a remote valley where Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in an exchange of fire. Dodson gave an emotional on-camera interview to CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, clearly disturbed by Terry's murder.

The ATF's alleged malfeasance is all the more disturbing when considered in the context of the Mexican drug war. The problem, however, is not legal U.S. gun dealers.

The media — for example, Reuters — have widely reported that "nine out of ten guns" found at Mexican crime scenes came from U.S. gun dealers, but this claim has been debunked: The statistic takes into account only guns traced by the FBI. Such tracing is possible only if the Mexican authorities submit a weapon to the FBI, and they submit only weapons designed for the U.S. civilian market (the only kind of gun the FBI is equipped to trace). Once all guns retrieved in Mexico are included, only 17 percent come from U.S. gun dealers.

There are plenty of places for the cartels to buy guns other than the U.S. retail market. A goodly portion of weapons trotted out for the press cannot be legally purchased in the U.S. without the ATF's say-so and approval from the local chief law-enforcement officer (short-barreled rifles, for example). Rocket-propelled grenades and newly manufactured machine guns are not available at gun shows. Further gun control imposed on typical American buyers would have no effect on the ability of the cartels to purchase these military-grade weapons.

To acquire such weapons, the cartels put up recruiting billboards to persuade Mexican soldiers and police officers to leave their posts, and thousands have done so with weapons in hand. Past wars in Latin America have also created a healthy black market that the cartels can tap into. There remains the question of U.S. arms exports, but these, when legal, are monitored by the State Department.

Congress should be able to assume that the gun-control laws already on the books are being enforced. That does not seem to be the case. Congress should find out why, and the public should bear it in mind next time Attorney General Holder or Mexican president Felipe Calderón says that a new assault-weapons ban is necessary.

David Rittgers is an attorney and a legal-policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12894
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« Reply #527 on: March 30, 2011, 07:49:33 AM »

March 30, 2011
Barack Obama's 'I am not a Crook' Moment

By T.L. Davis
The Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics Affairs might get a little more heated than usual on March 31, 2011. Among the panel members is Kenneth Melson, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

The hearing will be the first opportunity for senators to question the Acting Director of the ATF about events surrounding Customs Agent Brian Terry's death and the Gunwalker Scandal. Gunwalker, also called "Fast and Furious," was a deviation from Project Gunrunner that only tracked guns being purchased for use in the drug war raging in Mexico. Gunwalker/Fast and Furious actually allowed the guns to "walk" south of the Mexican border without the knowledge or permission of the Mexican government.

Nearly a week after Sharyl Atkisson presented the first major network report of Project Gunwalker on CBS Evening News, all three major political parties in Mexico asked for a clarification of the events surrounding the project. On March 8th, the Associated Press reported that "Congressman Humberto Trevino estimated Tuesday that 150 shooting injuries or deaths have been linked to guns that were allowed to proceed into Mexico as part of a U.S. effort to build cases against traffickers."

On March 13th Univision, a Spanish language network, broadcast two interviews, one with John Dodson, the subject of Sharyl Atkisson's first report on the growing scandal. The other interview was with Rene Jaquez, the former ATF attaché to Mexico. Both men reported knowledge of the operation and Dodson claimed that it had been ongoing since at least the end of 2009. Yet, when asked about the scandal, President Obama could only say that he had not authorized it.

Earlier this week Barack Obama sat down with Univision's star anchor Jorge Ramos and was asked the direct question: "The Mexican Government complains that they were not informed about the 'Fast and Furious' operation (Gunwalker). Did you authorize this operation and was President Calderon properly informed about it?"

President Obama responded quickly and firmly stating that neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the operation. This was Barack Obama's equivalent to "I'm not a crook" statement. The question is not whether the President authorized it; it is when he knew about it. Did the President of the United States know about Project Gunwalker when he slapped the back of President Calderon and told him that they were working to stop the flow of guns, when in fact the operation was engaged in just the opposite?

In the Univision interview Obama revealed more than he would have liked. At one moment he tried to claim that the American government has "too many moving parts" for him to keep up with things like Project Gunwalker. It was a thinly veiled attempt to divert the conversation, but it left Obama looking as if the injuries and deaths of at least 150 Mexican nationals didn't rate his attention.  However, that fact is getting a lot of attention in Mexico where the PGR, or the Mexican Attorney General's office is seeking information on U.S. agents who might have committed crimes by facilitating the movement of arms into Mexico.

Alberto Morales of El Universal, a Mexican national newspaper closely following the developing scandal, has subsequently written an article based on the CBS report by Sharyl Attkisson that featured Darren Gil, former ATF attaché to Mexico. In the interview Gil revealed that he had on numerous occasions requested permission to inform the Mexican government about "Fast and Furious." This would seem to be in direct conflict with the impression left by President Obama only hours before that high-level officials had no knowledge of the operation.

In the interview, Darren Gil revealed that when he asked his supervisor about Fast and Furious he was told that "not only is the director (of the ATF) aware of it, but the Department of Justice is aware of it."  Sharyl Attkisson asks: "They didn't want you to inform your Mexican counterparts?"  Gil: "That's correct."

When the scandal first broke on CleanUpATF.org and was brought to light by the strident efforts of David Codrea of Examiner.com and Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars, there was a flurry of activity between Washington and the Phoenix office of the ATF. A serious effort to cover up the scandal took place, evidenced by a letter from Scot L. Thomasson, Chief of the ATF Public Affairs Division wherein Thomasson directs other public information officers to "proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF."

Kenneth Melson as the Acting Director must have some of the answers that Eric Holder and boss Barack Obama refuse to address. Among the sitting committee members are Republican Marco Rubio of Florida as Ranking Member and Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico, either one of whom are in a position to ask some tough questions. While New Mexico has not been featured in the border violence, it is doubtless that some of the estimated 2,500 weapons allowed to "walk" into Mexico have impacted the state that shares a border with Mexico and is only miles from the cartel hotspot of Ciudad Juarez. Marco Rubio as a rising force in the Republican Party could seize this opportunity to strengthen his brand and expose the cynical nature of the Obama Administration.

Should either Tom Udall or Marco Rubio choose to take an active role in discovering the truth behind Project Gunwalker, they might ask a few important questions at the hearing. Since the president has disavowed the authorization of Fast and Furious for himself and Eric Holder who then authorized the project? With millions of taxpayer funds going into this project for the past two years, when was its existence revealed to the President and the Attorney General? Is it typical for the Director of the BATFE to engage in international activity without the knowledge of the Attorney General,the President of the United States or the Secretary of State? In a letter dated February 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich responded to a question put to him by Senator Charles Grassley by stating that straw purchases of weapons had never been "sanctioned" by the ATF, is that a true statement?

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/barack_obamas_i_am_not_a_crook.html
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« Reply #528 on: March 30, 2011, 11:09:22 AM »

The decision making chaos on Libya puts new curiosity on this.  It struck me at the time that the only answer worse than 'I knew and approved this' was to say 'I am Commander in Chief and I had no idea we were arming cross border criminal rebels to undermine a fragile, sovereign, friendly, neighboring country'.  As it looks more and more like war, a guy might want to consult with congress on that.  As disengaged as he is, it is actually believable that he did not know.  Golf and home brew and fund raisers, he has a young family at a home, a mother in law in the White House, just bought a boatload of new suits, date night night in NY, Madrid, Rio, b-ball picks - it is march madness season... Whoever really is in charge - it ain't Joe Biden - probably knew he wouldn't want to know.  Can we at least put him under oath and ask him who really is in charge of the executive branch?  Maybe the mayor of Chicago approved the operation, or the campaign manager.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #529 on: March 30, 2011, 11:33:53 AM »

Although given the political convenience of this operation to the gun control objectives of Team Obama it is not impossible that some word from on high was whispered into someone's ear at BATF (and this would be an impeachable offense if it did happen IMHO) what makes sense to me is that operations such as this stay within the bureaucracy and do not reach the White House.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #530 on: March 30, 2011, 12:17:21 PM »

How 'bout the DOJ? Looks to me like the trail gets pretty muddy there, and Eric Holder has a very partisan/activist history.
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G M
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« Reply #531 on: March 30, 2011, 12:21:44 PM »

It's my understanding that every federal operation like this has an AUSA monitoring/advising on it, so it can reasonably be assumed that the DOJ was aware/signed off on this.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #532 on: March 30, 2011, 12:40:30 PM »

What is AUSA?

Would the sign-off necessarily be something Holder would know about?  Would it request for approval be apparent on its face as the clusterfcuk it was destined to be?
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G M
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« Reply #533 on: March 30, 2011, 12:55:10 PM »

AUSA=Assistant US Attorney

The federal version of an assistant/deputy DA.

It would go up the chain of command. How far? We'll need to subpoena the paper trail and people answering questions under oath to determine this.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #534 on: March 30, 2011, 01:26:18 PM »

Which won't be forthcoming. The stonewalling continues:

March 29, 2011 12:02 PM
ATF chief won't appear at Senate hearing in wake of "gunwalking" scandal
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson 4 comments
0digg ShareE-mailPrintFont
ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson (Credit: AP)
Updated 1:57 p.m. ET

So far, Congress and the media haven't had much luck getting answers on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' ongoing "gunwalking" controversy.

The Department of Justice and ATF have missed repeated deadlines to turn over information and documents to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who's investigating. ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson (at left) was scheduled to appear before a Senate hearing Thursday, in which he would likely have been asked questions about the scandal. However, CBS News has confirmed Melson has now been pulled from the hearing witness list.

We contacted the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ask why Melson is no longer scheduled to appear. They referred us to the office of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who chairs the subcommittee holding the hearing. A press spokeswoman at the senator's office said it was Melson's decision not to testify, and that the subcommittee doesn't have jurisdiction over ATF.

Later, a spokesman told us in an email, "The Subcommittee had invited, but not confirmed, Mr. Melson as well as other officials from ATF to testify at the hearing this week. In the end, ATF declined to send a representative."

The gunwalking investigation may also have derailed any chance for Andrew Traver, President Obama's nominee to be the permanent head of the ATF, to have confirmation hearings anytime soon. Mr. Obama made Melson, a former Justice Department attorney, acting director in April 2009. Sources on the Senate Judiciary Committee believed confirmation hearings for Traver were about to be scheduled before the gunwalking scandal broke. Now, they believe confirmation hearings for Traver will not happen in the near future.

Correction: A former version of this post incorrectly stated that the confirmation hearings would be for Melson instead of Traver.

All of Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson's reports, videos and articles can be found in one place at cbsnews.com/sharylattkisson.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20048331-10391695.html
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G M
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« Reply #535 on: March 30, 2011, 03:23:44 PM »

http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/03/30/u-s-admits-that-mexican-cartels-get-military-weaponry-from-central-america/

U.S. admits that Mexican cartels get military weaponry from Central America
Here’s a breaking story that’s only reported by Central American media and Fox.

“The most fearsome weapons wielded by Mexico’s drug cartels enter the country from Central America, not the United States, according to U.S. diplomatic cables disseminated by WikiLeaks and published here Tuesday by La Jornada newspaper.”

Inventory includes grenades and rocket launchers, necessary items for beating the Mexican army.

This corroborates an LA Times report from early 2009, which catalogued “hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets…”

The U.S. still blames American gun owners, by asserting that American guns “fuel” Mexico’s drug war. Even President Obama asserts: “More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States.”

In statistics, “sampling error” essentially means that a small subset isn’t representative of the entire group.

In 2008, Mexico confiscated 30,000 firearms from drug cartels. Out of this, they selected 24% (7,200) to send to the U.S. for tracing. Of these, the ATF was able to trace 4,000. Of the 4,000, 3,480 (87%) were American.

**I wonder how many of those came from US, thanks to "Gunwalker"?**

Actually, 90% of all cartel guns are not American. (For more, read here.)

Why would cartels spend over $1,000–plus a background check and smuggling risks–for a decent American semi-automatic rifle, when they can buy 4-5 fully automatic AK-47s for the same price on the black market?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #536 on: April 01, 2011, 07:54:36 PM »

53 page examination of the future of the second amendment in light of Heller. Abstract follows:

The Constitutionality of Social Cost

Josh Blackman
Penn State Dickinson School of Law

Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 34, 2011

Abstract:     
During the Passover Seder, it is customary in the Jewish faith for the youngest child at the table to ask a series of four questions that begins with, “why is this night different from all other nights?” In order to understand the future of the Second Amendment, one must ask, “why is this right different from all other rights?” In District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, while the majority and dissenting opinions wildly differed over the historical pedigree of the individual right to keep and bear arms, they agreed that the governmental interest in reducing the risk of danger from firearms should play some role in the constitutional calculus, and that the Second Amendment should be treated differently.

At first blush, this makes sense. Guns can be dangerous. As Justice Breyer noted, “the carrying of arms . . . often puts others lives at risk.” Since a “primary concern of every government [is a] a concern for the safety and indeed the lives of its citizens,” when construing the Second Amendment, it would seem straightforward that courts take into consideration the social cost, or negative externalities, of private ownership of firearms. So obvious in fact, that courts and pundits perfunctorily gloss over the constitutionality of limiting liberty in order to minimize social costs. This judicial oversight is glaring, and has contributed in no small part to the current disjointed state of Second Amendment jurisprudence.

While the Second Amendment has been singled out from its brethren in the Bill of Rights as the most dangerous right, it is not the only dangerous right. The Supreme Court has developed over a century of jurisprudence to deal with forms of liberty that that yield negative externalities. The right to speak freely is balanced with the possible harm that can result from people preaching hate, violence, intolerance, and even fomenting revolution. The freedom of the press permits the media to report on matters that may harm national security. The freedom of association allows people to congregate, and advocate for certain types of violence. The freedom to be secure in one’s persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searched and seizures permits people to possess the fruits and instrumentalities of crime with impunity. Inculpatory evidence seized in violation of this right is generally inadmissible during trial, permitting crimes to go unpunished. Likewise, a violation of a person’s Miranda rights renders any confessions – even an uncoerced inculpatory confession – inadmissible. Procedural rights during the criminal trial – including the right to grand jury indictment, the right against self-incrimination, the right against double jeopardy, the right of compulsory process, the right of confrontation, the right of a speedy and public trial, the right of trial by jury – all make the prosecution of culpable defendants significantly harder. The due process clause, which imposes limitations on all government actions, places the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on the prosecution. The right to non-excessive bail and reasonable fines make it easier for suspects to avoid prison during prosecutions, and perhaps, allows them to abscond before trial. The right against cruel and unusual punishments removes certain forms of retribution from the quiver of the state, thereby limiting the ability to punish those found guilty of a crime. The right of habeas corpus ensures that a person – however dangerous – cannot be indefinitely detained without proper procedures. Liberty’s harm to society takes many forms – not just loaded weapons.

These precedents show how the Court balances freedom and the harm that may result from its exercise. While a “primary concern of every government [is a] a concern for the safety and indeed the lives of its citizens,” this concern is not constitutionally sacrosanct.

This article proceeds in five parts. Part I introduces a Coasean view of freedom that balances liberties and externalities, and the concept of the constitutionality of social cost. Part II provides an overview of the competing views of social cost in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, focusing on Justice Breyer’s balancing beam and Justice Scalia’s devastating dicta. Part III considers the loneliness of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and confronts many of the arguments of the dissenting Justices that the Majority did not refute. While the majority prevailed with respect to the historical narrative, it remains to be seen whether the majority’s dicta-cum-pragmatism, or the dissenter’s pragmatism – which can be easily blurred together – will prevail. Part IV views the Second Amendment through the prism of the constitutionality of social cost, and considers the “wide variety of constitutional contexts [in which the Court] found public-safety concerns sufficiently forceful to justify restrictions on individual liberties.” Building on Parts I-IV, Part V provides a roadmap for the development of Second Amendment jurisprudence going forward.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1763830
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« Reply #537 on: April 05, 2011, 02:25:56 PM »

http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/04/robert-farago/calderons-silence-on-atf-gunwalker-scandal-explained/

Calderon’s Silence on ATF Gunwalker Scandal Explained

Posted on April 4, 2011 by Robert Farago

 
Mystery surrounds the ATF Gunwalker scandal. Who authorized the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ stingless sting operation that allowed, indeed enabled thousands of U.S. guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels? Why is the Obama administration stonewalling the Congressional investigation of Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious? What else are they hiding? And here’s another one: why has Mexican President Felipe Calderon remained on the sidelines of this story, continuing to cozy-up to President Obama when it’s clear that Uncle Sam supplied weapons to the narco-terrorists plaguing his country? Well, it looks like we might have an answer via eldiariodechihuahua.com [warning Google translation] . . .
 



The security strategy deployed by the federal government in Mexico and particularly in Ciudad Juárez to fight drug trafficking is a lie because the government of Felipe Calderón protects the Sinaloa cartel and its leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, claims Anabel Hernandez, Mexican journalist.
 
The author of “The Lords of Narco” said the U.S. action in the midst of this “war” has not been very clear. Information is surfacing that indicates that Sinaloa Cartel operations in Mexico have the concurrence of bodies like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
 
“For the federal government priority is only the enemies of ‘El Chapo’ and that’s why we have the slaughter, so Ciudad Juárez is as it is,” says the journalist from Italy, where she teaches a series of conferences on the issue of organized crime.
 
Anabel Hernández has made quite the charge: the Sinaloa cartel has bought the Mexican government lock, stock and Calderon. What’s more, the DEA knows about the corruption and plays ball with Calderon to catch other cartels, giving the Sinaloas a pass. Which would account for Calderon’s lack of indignation on the whole Gunwalker deal.
 
This could blow up big, and not only in the halls of Congress . . .
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #538 on: April 06, 2011, 02:41:54 PM »

CHAIRMAN ISSA SUBPOENAS ATF FOR 'PROJECT GUNRUNNER' DOCUMENTS
Subpoena comes after ATF fails to meet earlier deadline

WASHINGTON. D.C. – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today announced the issuance of a subpoena to the Department of Justices' Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for documents related to the highly controversial "Project Gunrunner."

"The unwillingness of this Administration – most specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms – to answer questions about this deadly serious matter is deeply troubling," said Chairman Issa. "Allegations surrounding this program are serious and the ability of the Justice Department to conduct an impartial investigation is in question. Congressional oversight is necessary to get the truth about what is really happening."

On March 16, 2011, Chairman Issa wrote a letter to Acting Director Kenneth Melson of the ATF requesting specific documents related to Project Gunrunner, its "Fast and Furious" component, and records related to the death of Border Agent Brian Terry. ATF failed to meet the March 30th deadline for producing these documents and furthermore refused to voluntarily commit to any date for producing them.

Media reports have raised questions about the handling of operations involving gun trafficking into Mexico – specifically the allegation that ATF has had a policy of permitting – and even encouraging – the movement of guns into Mexico by straw purchasers. This practice may have contributed to the deaths of hundreds on both sides of the border, including federal law enforcement agents. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who has also been pursuing the matter, recently stated, "I'm still asking questions and we're still getting the runaround from the Justice Department, [t]hey're stonewalling."

President Obama recently stated that neither he nor Attorney General Holder authorized this operation. His statement did not specify whether Attorney General Holder was aware of this policy or who did authorize it. The Committee's investigation seeks answers to these questions and the true nature of Project Gunrunner.

Documents subpoenaed and due to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by April 13, 2011, include:

Documents and communications relating to the genesis of Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, and any memoranda or reports involving any changes to either program at or near the time of the release of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General report about Project Gunrunner in November 2010.

Documents and communications relating to individuals responsible for authorizing the decision to "walk" guns to Mexico in order to follow them and capture a "bigger fish."

Documents and communications relating to any investigations conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) or any other DOJ component following the fatal shooting of Agent Brian Terry, including information pertaining to two guns found at the crime scene that may have been connected to Project Gunrunner.

Documents and communications relating to any weapons recovered at the crime scene or during the investigation into the death of Agent Brian Terry.

Documents and communications between ATF and the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) who sold weapons to Jaime Avila, including any Report of Investigation (ROI) or other records relating to a December 17, 2009 meeting "to discuss his role as an FFL during this investigation."

A copy of the presentation, approximately 200 pages long, that the Group 7 Supervisor made to officials at ATF headquarters in the spring of 2010.

Documents and communications relating to Operation Fast and Furious between and among ATF headquarters and Special Agent in Charge William D. Newell, Assistant Special Agents in Charge Jim Needles and George Gillette, Group Supervisor David Voth, or any Case Agent from November 1, 2009 to the present. The response to this component of the subpoena shall include a memorandum, approximately 30 pages long, from SAC Newell to ATF headquarters following the arrest of Jaime Avila and the death of Agent Brian Terry.

Documents and communications relating to complaints or objections by ATF agents about: (1) encouraging, sanctioning, or otherwise allowing FFLs to sell firearms to known or suspected straw buyers, (2) failure to maintain surveillance on known or suspected straw buyers, (3) failure to maintain operational control over weapons purchased by known or suspected straw buyers, or (4) letting known or suspected straw buyers with American guns enter Mexico.

http://thurly.net/1944
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #539 on: April 09, 2011, 08:45:03 AM »

Grassley says emails suggest ATF blocking Senate gun probe

By Jerry Seper


The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican, who has questioned whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed suspected gun smugglers to purchase assault rifles that later may have been used in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, wants to know if ATF has ordered its agents not to cooperate in his investigation of the shooting.

In a letter Friday to ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson, Sen. Charles E. Grassley said emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act "appear to contain proposed guidance" on how to respond to questions from the senator's office, including instructions that agents were "in no way obligated to respond" and should refer inquiries in the matter to ATF's office of congressional affairs.

The Iowa Republican described the emails as "further attempts to prevent direct communications with my office" by telling agents they were "not authorized to disclose non-public information.

"It is of grave concern because, as you know, such attempts to prevent direct communications with Congress are not a lawfully authorized activity of any officer or employee of the United States whose salary is paid with appropriated funds," he wrote.

Mr. Grassley has raised questions on whether ATF allowed suspected gun smugglers to purchase and keep assault rifles that later were used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, and if the agency allowed the sale of the weapons to "known and suspected straw purchasers for an illegal trafficking ring near the Southwest border." He said two of those weapons reportedly were recovered at the site of the Terry shooting.

The senator said ATF agents told his staff the agency, as part of "Project Gunrunner" and its "Fast and Furious" component, allowed guns to "walk" across the border, despite warnings from agents in the field that the policy would result in somebody getting killed. "Fast and Furious" was a gunrunning sting set up by ATF that funneled more than 1,700 smuggled weapons from Arizona to Mexico.

Terry, 40, was attempting to arrest bandits who prey on illegal aliens when he was fatally shot about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mr. Grassley said ATF had been tracking the gun purchases of one of those arrested in the shooting, Jaime Avila, since November 2009 when he made his first buys at a Glendale, Ariz., gun shop. He said Avila bought three more weapons at the same dealer on Jan. 9, 2010, and three AK-47 assault rifles on Jan. 16. Over the next several months, he said ATF continued to track his multiple firearms purchases, including two purchases of .50-caliber rifles in June 2010.

While at least one Arizona gun dealer wanted to stop participating in sales "like those to Avila," he said ATF encouraged the dealer to continue selling to suspected traffickers.

After the Terry shooting, law enforcement officials recovered from the scene two assault rifles that were traced by the agency and matched two of the three rifles purchased by Avila "and tracked by ATF nearly a year earlier."

The Justice Department has denied that guns sold in purchases sanctioned by federal firearms agents were later used in the shootout that left Terry dead. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ronald Weich said in a letter to Mr. Grassley that the claim was false.

In his letter, Mr. Grassley said that for Congress to exercise its oversight authority and act as a check on executive power, it was "crucial" that agency employees were free to communicate directly with members of Congress and their committee staffs. He said without such unfiltered communications, "Congress would still be unaware of and unable to inquire about the serious allegations involving the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the sales of weapons to known and suspected gun traffickers."

Among the emails noted by Mr. Grassley was one to ATF Deputy Director Billy Hoover regarding suggestions on how agents should be directed to respond to congressional requests.

"Since our investigation began, I've continued to be contacted by agents and others within ATF about wrongdoing regarding Fast and Furious at the ATF and the Justice Department," Mr. Grassley said. "If people have concerns they should be able to express themselves without feeling pressure from their bosses."

He said one agent who contacted him was George Gillett, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF's Phoenix field division, who chose to disclose to the agency that he had protected contacts with Congress. Mr. Grassley said the contact was "an essential component of our inquiry," noting that the high-ranking ATF agent had participated in two meetings with staffs from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
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G M
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« Reply #540 on: April 09, 2011, 08:52:03 AM »

This is why people need to be questioned under oath and documents subpoena'ed.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #541 on: April 15, 2011, 12:36:03 PM »

latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-guns-20110415,0,132336.story

U.S. urged dealer to continue gun sales despite concerns, inquiry finds

The Arizona gun dealer repeatedly raised red flags about weapons ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels as part of Project Gunrunner, but his concerns were brushed aside, congressional investigators say.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

April 15, 2011

The investigation into a federal operation that allowed Mexican drug cartels to acquire U.S. weapons escalated Thursday with new revelations that an Arizona gun dealer repeatedly expressed fears that his guns were falling into the "hands of the bad guys" but was encouraged by federal agents to continue the sales.

A series of emails released by congressional investigators showed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encouraged the gun dealer against his better judgment to sell high-powered weapons to buyers he believed were agents for the drug cartels.

Employees of the dealer videotaped gun buyers — suspected "straw purchasers" who could legally buy the guns, though cartel members could not — exchanging money with other individuals on the dealer's premises.

The aim of the ATF program, called Project Gunrunner, was to gather intelligence on suspicious weapons sales and arrest senior members of international trafficking chains.

In an eerie case of premonition, the gun dealer expressed fears that the guns he was selling could be used against U.S. border agents.

"I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys," the dealer, who has not been named, wrote in June 2010 to David Voth, the lead ATF case agent in Phoenix. "I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents' safety, because I have some very close friends that are U.S. Border Patrol agents in southern AZ."

Three guns sold to suspects who were part of Project Gunrunner have since turned up at the scenes of the deaths of two U.S. agents — in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi and near the Mexican border in Arizona.

"Not only were the ATF agents who later blew the whistle [on the investigation] predicting that this operation would end in tragedy, so were the gun dealers — even as ATF urged them to make the sales," Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a letter with the new emails to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.

The Justice Department in its only official response to the congressional inquiry denied that the ATF "sanctioned" or "otherwise knowingly allowed" the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers, who then transported them to Mexico.

The new emails suggest that the Arizona gun dealer was seeking assurances from the ATF and the U.S. attorney's office that the company would not be held responsible if someone got hurt with guns that ended up in the hands of gunrunners.

Voth, the ATF agent, wrote to the dealer: "I understand that the frequency with which some individuals under investigation by our office have been purchasing firearms from your business has caused concerns for you. … However, if it helps put you at ease we (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into [in] detail."

News reports in June 2010 that guns purchased in the U.S. were being found at Mexican crime scenes prompted the dealer to again express concerns.

"I shared my concerns with you guys that I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys," the dealer wrote, adding that the reports are "disturbing."

On "one or two" occasions when the dealer's employees videotaped a suspected straw purchaser exchanging money with another person, the ATF urged that the sale go forward, but the employees refused, Grassley said in his letter.

"In light of this new evidence, the Justice Department's claim that the ATF never knowingly sanctioned or allowed the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers is simply not credible," Grassley wrote.

Thousands of guns were sold to straw purchasers under Project Gunrunner. The ATF has acknowledged that at least 195 U.S. firearms sold to suspected straw purchasers have been recovered in Mexico, but agents have said thousands slipped outside ATF oversight.

kim.murphy@latimes.com
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #542 on: April 15, 2011, 01:22:02 PM »

2nd post. Jaw dropping letter and source material from Sen. Grassley's office:

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/gunwalking_emails_041411.pdf
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G M
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« Reply #543 on: April 15, 2011, 03:00:21 PM »

I'm amazed that CBS is actually covering the story.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #544 on: April 22, 2011, 01:11:17 PM »

Issa Steps Up Fight over ATF Documents

By Louise Radnofsky

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa threatened to hold the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in contempt of Congress for its refusal to produce documents. The agency says releasing them will compromise ongoing criminal cases.

The fight involves the bureau’s Project Gunrunner, in which law enforcement officers may have watched as guns were sold to U.S. buyers planning to smuggle them into Mexico. The idea was to intercepting guns later. Mr. Issa, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and others believe that some of the guns may have been used in fatal shootings of law enforcement officials, including U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

In a letter Wednesday to Bureau Director Kenneth Melson, Mr. Issa said he intends to enforce the a March 31 subpoena because “Congress is legally entitled to all of these documents.”

“If you do not comply with the subpoena, the committee will be forced to commence contempt proceedings,” Mr. Issa warned.

Attached to the letter were ATF documents that Mr. Issa said were obtained without the help of Justice Department officials. He said they show ATF agents allowed the transfer of guns to suspected criminals, and that some of these weapons had later turned up at crime scenes. In addition, email messages from an ATF group supervisor responded to apparent concerns over the program from a gun store owner and from other federal agents he manages.

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, repeated his call for Mr. Issa to join him to sit down with the Justice Department to come to an agreement over the documents.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said that Mr. Issa’s latest letter was being reviewed.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/04/20/issa-steps-up-fight-over-atf-documents/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #545 on: April 22, 2011, 02:05:35 PM »

Sic'em Darrell!!!  evil

And coincidentally enough, the Mexicans have announced that they have retained counsel to look into suing American gun manufacturers.
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G M
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« Reply #546 on: April 22, 2011, 02:11:13 PM »

Perhaps we can deduct that from the bill we need to send them for all the costs of illegal immigration.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #547 on: April 22, 2011, 02:49:25 PM »

Tabling in this piece would be hard to reproduce hence a link only:

http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/249/

Nutshell: firearm prosecutions have fallen on BHO's/Holder's watch, yet they want more laws they can then not prosecute?
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #548 on: April 26, 2011, 02:28:25 AM »

Woof,
     Concerning a ban on imported shotguns!!!!

  www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=6576          
  
 Send your comment to shotgunstudy@atf.gov OR FAX 202 648-9601 both must contain your name and address. Please be respectful but let them know the Second amendment wasn't intended for sporting purposes only and arbitrary bans like this one make no sense at all other than to harass law abiding citizens that want to legally purchase firearms that are legal for them to own.

                    P.C.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 05:32:21 AM by prentice crawford » Logged

Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #549 on: April 28, 2011, 02:21:19 PM »

Wow, if a Republican administration had embarked on this kind of stonewalling campaign the breast rending would be deafening. . . .

Investigators land in Arizona for "Gunwalker" probe
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson 5 comments
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(Credit: CBS)

CBS News has learned that House and Senate investigators have descended upon Arizona for their probe into the so-called "Gunwalker" scandal. They're gathering interviews from witnesses, including ATF insiders and area gun shop owners. Sources tell CBS News the congressional investigators are frustrated by what they view as across-the-board stonewalling by government agencies which have refused to provide information in the investigation. Government officials have said they won't provide information while their own investigations are ongoing.

Gunrunning scandal uncovered at the ATF

"They're investigating themselves," says one source on Capitol Hill, "and then claiming the open investigations preclude them from giving Congress information it needs for independent oversight. It's highly improper."

ATF insiders being interviewed in Arizona are among those who told CBS News that their own agency employed a controversial strategy beginning in late 2009 called "letting guns walk," to try to gather intelligence. In that strategy, used in an operation ATF called "Fast and Furious," ATF allegedly allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons cross the Mexican border into the hands of drug cartels. Many of the guns later turned up at Mexican crime scenes, and ATF was notified; but documents show the agency continued to encourage local gun shop owners to sell more guns to the same suspects.

Sharyl Attkisson's original "gunwalking" report
ATF agent cooperates in gunwalking investigation ATF gunwalking: Who knew, and how high up? Agent: I was ordered to let U.S. guns into Mexico
ATF gunwalking scandal: Second agent speaks out

Sources and documents indicate the prosecutor who advised the "Fast and Furious" case in Phoenix was Asst. U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley. His boss, Arizona's US Attorney Dennis Burke, was a longtime chief of staff for Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano when she served as Arizona governor. In brief questioning from Congress in March, Napolitano said it was "premature" to comment on details of the Fast and Furious controversies. She also said she was "not aware" that an agent under Homeland Security was on the ATF Fast and Furious task force in Phoenix. Speaking of herself in the third person, Napolitano stated that "no concerns were expressed to the Secretary."

ATF's former lead agent in Mexico, Attache Darren Gil, told CBS News in an exclusive interview that he believes senior Justice Dept. official Lanny Breuer and several of his deputies who visited Mexico amid the controversy last summer knew all about the alleged gunwalking, as did ATF's Acting Director Kenneth Melson. None of those officials would speak to CBS News. Federal agencies have refused Congressional requests to turn over documents related to the official's Mexico trips.

In another development, the Assistant Special Agent in charge of ATF's Phoenix Division, George Gillett, continues to provide information to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) who's investigating. Of the top managers possibly implicated in the gunwalking strategy, Gillett is the only one who's hired an attorney and is voluntarily providing information to Grassley's office.

WATCH: Issa demands info on ATF "gunwalking" scandal from State Dept.
WATCH: ATF "Gunrunner" program may be years old
WATCH: Obama on "gunwalking": Serious mistake may have been made

According to interviews and documents, a number of ATF agents objected to what they saw as an unprecedented and dangerous approach to gathering intelligence. Objections also came from ATF supervisors and gun shop owners enlisted by the ATF to make the sales. Those who expressed concerns say they were punished, ostracized and even threatened with their jobs by managers.

An internal email from Feb. 3, 2011 indicates ATF officials may have improperly guided employees not to answer Congressional inquires in the gunwalking scandal.

"As always, you are in no way obligated to respond to congressional contacts or requests for information and generally, consistent with ATF policy, you should refer congressional staff who seek information from you to ATF's office of congressional affairs. You are not authorized to disclose non-public information about law enforcement matters... to anyone including congressional staff.." reads the email, in part.

When Sen. Grassley learned of the email and also of alleged retaliation attempts against whistleblowers, he fired off a letter April 8 to ATF Acting Director Melson. The letter states that it is "unlawful" for ATF to "inappropriately intimidate employees to discourage from speaking with Congress."



Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20057548-10391695.html#ixzz1KqaRlxe6
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