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Author Topic: We the Well-armed People (gun and knife rights stuff )  (Read 541471 times)
prentice crawford
« Reply #850 on: December 20, 2011, 04:15:26 AM »

 Holder's record on gun control:

Tags: holder | gun | control Eric Holder Was a Gun Control Nightmare
Friday, 21 Nov 2008 11:03 AM

By Jim Meyers

  Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Holder for attorney general will not sit well with advocates of Second Amendment rights — Holder has consistently championed stronger gun-control measures.

As deputy attorney general in the Bill Clinton administration from 1997 to 2001, Holder “was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control,” according to The Volokh Conspiracy, a Web site that focuses on the legal system and the courts.

He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three-day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" by anyone under age 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, and national gun registration.

“He also promoted the factoid that ‘Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence’ — a statistic that is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as ‘children,’” noted the Web site, founded by law professor Alexander Volokh.

After the 9/11 attacks, Holder wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post arguing that a new law should give "the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a record of every firearm sale." He also said prospective gun buyers should be checked against the secret "watch lists" compiled by various government entities.

Earlier this year, Holder — who would become the first African-American attorney general — co-signed an amicus brief in support of the District of Columbia’s ban on all handguns and on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home.

Holder also played a key role in the snatching of 6-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives’ home in April 2000, according to the Web site. Gonzalez was to be sent to Cuba where his father lived.

Although a photo clearly showed a federal agent pointing a gun at the man who was holding the terrified child, Holder claimed that the federal agents sent to capture Gonzalez had acted "very sensitively."

David Kopel, author of the Volokh Conspiracy report, observed: “If Mr. Holder believes that breaking down a door with a battering ram, pointing guns at children (not just Elian), and yelling ‘Get down, get down, we'll shoot’ is an example of acting ‘very sensitively,’ his judgment about the responsible use of firearms is not as acute as would be desirable for a cabinet officer who would be in charge of thousands and thousands of armed federal agents, many of them paramilitary agents with machine guns.”


                            Eric Holder: Gun GrabberBy: John Lott
                 | Tuesday, January 13, 2009

  Despite a huge Democratic Senate majority, Eric Holder’s confirmation hearings are going to be difficult. He has a long record to defend. Whether it is his involvement and inconsistent statements about Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich’s or his pushing Clinton’s clemency of the FALN terrorists or his failure to disclose his work for troubled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after Blagojevich's legal problems surfaced, he faces tough questions.

But Holder’s nomination raises other questions about what President-elect Barack Obama claimed he believed during the campaign. Numerous times he promised that he supported an individual’s right to own guns and that he wouldn’t do anything to take away people’s guns.

Just last year in a brief to the Supreme Court, Holder argued that “the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms,” that it only protected government militias’ rights to guns. He claimed that the Second Amendment posed no obstacle to implementing gun bans.

I can’t find even one gun control law that Holder has opposed. On every gun control regulation he has discussed, he has been supportive, including: bans, raising the age that someone can possess a gun, registration and licensing, one-gun-a-month limit on purchases, and mandatory waiting periods.

Even more troubling, while Holder served in the Clinton Justice Department, he oversaw the background check system, but he has never been asked to explain why the system broke down so consistently while he ran it.

The constant breakdowns of "instant" background-check systems during the Clinton administration halted gun sales for hours or even days at a time, costing stores untold sales and additional costs. Even by the end of the Clinton administration, from September 1999 to December 2000, the system was down about one hour for every 16.7 hours of operation. The breakdowns often came in big blocks of time, the worst during a period covering 60 business hours during two weeks in the middle of May 2000. During his tenure, gun shows sometimes found that they couldn’t sell guns during the entire weekend that they were open.

Try running a business where you face random shutdowns and neither customers nor sellers are ever informed of how long outages are expected to last. In addition to the government-imposed fees on gun sellers and the regulatory harassment of gun sellers with no evidence that these policies have reduce crime, it is not surprising that the number of gun dealers has plummeted by over 80 percent since 1992.

The breakdown in background checks, which had been a problem for years under the Clinton administration, magically fixed itself within weeks of President Bush assuming office in 2001, and the problems have not recurred.

What few realize is the huge power that the attorney general has to make legitimate gun selling very difficult without any new laws or regulations having to be passed. This is even more important now than it was under the Clinton administration, as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has recently moved from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department.

I always questioned Obama’s claims and argued that up until the presidential campaign his whole career had supported gun bans, but there was no lack of politicians and advisers who attested to Obama’s sincerity on the issue. Obama and his campaign constantly tried to explain away his past support for gun control as being mistakes by subordinates who had incorrectly explained his positions.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, promised reporters last August about Obama: “He ain't going to take your gun away. He ain't ever going to take your gun away.” Joe Biden made similar statements while campaigning in places such as rural southwest Virginia. An Obama adviser, Stanford law professor Larry Lessig, said on Hugh Hewitt's national radio show last fall that "I think that he has always been an individual rights person on the Second Amendment." Another adviser, Professor Cass Sunstein at Harvard, told Time Magazine in June: "Obama has always expressed a belief that the Second Amendment guarantees a private right to bear arms." The list goes on. It was a constant theme of the campaign.

Just before the November election, the Los Angeles Times questioned the honesty of those who questioned Obama’s stand on guns, because "Obama does not oppose gun rights. He has made a point of pounding this home to rural audiences, telling them he has no intention of taking their guns away: not their shotguns, not their handguns, not anything."

There are few such issues that the Obama campaign promised over and over again during the campaign.

Holder’s nomination suggests this promise was not serious. And it also suggests that Obama won’t appoint judges who believe it either. With Appeals Courts around the country already facing Second Amendment cases and a very closely divided Supreme Court likely to rehear the issue, the judges Obama will appoint could easily reverse last year’s Supreme Court decision striking down the D.C. gun, a decision that he claims to support.


« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 04:19:42 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
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« Reply #851 on: December 20, 2011, 06:21:13 AM »

Dennis Burke And Gun Control

The fallout from Operation Fast and Furious cost Dennis Burke his position as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona back in August.

More recently, in the Friday e-mail dump that preceded Attorney General Eric Holder's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, an email from Burke expressed his anger at Sen. Chuck Grassley and his staff over their investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. He called them "willing stooges for the Gun Lobby." His e-mail went on to say:

No commentary by Grassley on the lax laws, nor greedy gun shop owners, nor careless straw purchasers, and not boo about the evil gun traffickers for the Cartels. Nope. Just demonize ATF w/ a strategically-timed repulsive letter e-mailed to the entire press world before we ever saw it. 

Burke later issued a groveling apology over his comments.

It should be noted that Burke is not a newcomer to the business of gun control. In an article in the Arizona Republic about the political ramifications on Arizona politicians for supporting gun control, former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), a supporter of the Clinton "Assault Weapons Ban", had this to say about Dennis Burke:

DeConcini credits Judiciary Committee staff aide Dennis Burke, now the U.S. attorney for Arizona, for much of the work in developing the ban, which became law during DeConcini's final year in the Senate but expired after 10 years. 

Burke also was Senior Policy Analyst for the White House's Domestic Policy Council from 1995 to 1997. This time overlaps with when Elena Kagan - now Justice Kagan - served as its Deputy Director. It was during this time that Executive Orders were used to further extend the ban on so-called assault weapons and to implement the Brady Act. Given his prior work on the Assault Weapons Ban in the Senate, it would not surprise me that Burke assisted in this effort.

Looking at Burke's background and his attitude towards gun rights and those who support them, I see this as even further confirmation that the intent of Operation Fast and Furious from the very beginning was to build support for another so-called assault weapons ban. I just don't think it was coincidental that Operation Fast and Furious was centered in Arizona as opposed to New Mexico or west Texas where the U.S. Attorneys have long careers as prosecutors. 
« Reply #852 on: December 21, 2011, 09:11:41 AM »

Hmm, very interesting memo that was written the day before the DOJ withdrew its false letter to Grassley. JDN's equivocations aside (by the way, dude, quit citing me as the source when in fact you are [inaccurately] referring to source material I posted) the "no surveillance teams" info strikes me as incredibly damning:

U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,Firearms and Explosives
February 3, 2011

MEMORANDUM TO: Special Agent in Charge, Dallas Field Division
THRU: Resident Agent in Charge , Lubbock Field Office
FROM: Gary M. Styers, Special Agent, Lubbock Field Office
SUBJECT: Contact with Congressional Investigators

On February 2, 2011, at approximately 1500 hours, ATF Special Agent Gary Styers was contacted telephonically by Robert Donovan and Brian Downey, representing United States Senator Chuck Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Downey and Donovan after identifying themselves asked Special Agent Styers if he would be willing to answer some questions regarding the time Special Agent Styers spent on a detail to the Phoenix Field Division, Phoenix Group VII Office. Special Agent Styers said he would be willing to answer questions to the best of his knowledge.

Special Agent Styers was asked if he was familiar with the large firearms trafficking case in Phoenix Group VII and Special Agent Styers said he was. Downey and Donovan asked if Special Agent Styers knew the name of the case and he responded that it was "Fast and Furious". Downey and Donovan then asked if Special Agent Styers knew who the case agent was and Special Agent Styers said it was Special Agent Hope McAllister. Special Agent Styers was also asked who the supervisor of the group was and Special Agent Styers said it was Group Supervisor David Voth. Downey and Donovan also asked who helped Special Agent McAllister, Special Agent Styers said that Special Agent McAllister had a CoCase Agent from hnmigration and Customs Enforcement CICE) as well as an agent from Group VII. Downey and Donovan asked who was the Agent from ICE and Special Agent Styers told them it was Lane France.

Downey and Donovan asked Special Agent Styers ifhe knew what the agents were assigned to do on the investigation. Special Agent Styers explained that a group of agents were assigned to the case and that since the case was in the stage of an active wiretap, some agents were working within the group and others were working at various functions related to the wire. Special Agent Styers further said that he did not specifically know the role of each individual agent.

Downey and Donovan inquired as to the role that Special Agent Styers had in this case and Special Agent Styers advised that he had assisted with some surveillance operations with the case. Special Agent Styers was asked to describe the operations and relayed that one of the operations was a suspected transaction that was to occur at a gas station and detailed agents were asked to cover the transaction. While positioning to observe the suspects, Special Agent Styers and other detailed agents were told by Special Agent McAllister that agents were too close and would burn the operation. Special Agent McAllister told all the agents to leave the immediate area. While the agents were repositioning, the transaction between the suspects took place and the vehicle that took possession of the firearms eventually left the area without agents following it.

Downey and Donovan asked Special Agent Styers ifhe ever saw guns actually go into Mexico. Special Agent Styers said he did not see any firearms cross the border to Mexico. They also asked if Special Agent Styers had worked with any agencies in Mexico, Special Agent Styers relayed that he had not, but had knowledge that other agents within Group VII spoke of communication with other ATF Special Agents assigned in Mexico.

Downey and Donovan then asked if Special Agent Styers had any knowledge that Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) were reporting suspected straw purchasers. Special Agent Styers explained that FFLs were indeed reporting such situations and that Special Agent Styers had numerous contacts with FFLs in the Phoenix area and had also worked inside of an FFL in an undercover capacity, while an individual attempted a large scale straw purchase. Special Agent Styers told Downey and Donovan that in speaking with the FFL holder and owner of the gun shop, he told Special Agent Styers that he had asked ATF to install cameras inside his shop and to have an undercover agent inside on a more regular basis. Downey and Donovan inquired as to what the procedures were and who handled the calls from the FFLs when they reported such suspected transactions. Special Agent Styers told them that he had no knowledge of any special procedures. If the FFLs called during normal business hours, Special Agent Styers assumed that, if they called the office number, their call was handled by the Group Supervisor.

Special Agent Styers also told Downey and Donovan that if the FFLs were calling individual agents within the group, he had no direct knowledge of those calls and what the ATF response was to those reports. However, Special Agent Styers did tell Downey and Donovan that he had heard from within the group that FFLs were calling case agents.

With regards to statistics and reporting, Downey and Donovan, questioned Special Agent Styers as to whether he had any knowledge of "padding of statistics or inconsistent reporting". Special Agent Styers advised them that he had no knowledge of a wide scale effort to skew statistics. However, Special Agent Styers relayed that he did question the Group Supervisor as to why he wanted Special Agent Styers to trace firearms that had not been recovered. Special Agent Styers was assigned to the investigation and provided the ATF Form 4473s, the Firearms Transaction Record, and told to trace said frrearms. Special Agent Styers asked as to why, when ATF has the Suspect Gun Database, which is designed for such firearms that have yet to be recovered by law enforcement. Group Supervisor Voth said he wanted them traced so that if someone else traced the firearms, they would know the firearms were connected to the case Special Agent Styers was assigned. Special Agent Styers relayed that even though he disagreed with the requested procedures, he follow the request of Group Supervisor Voth. Special Agent Styers also informed Donovan and Downey that he asked several agents also assigned to Group VII if they had to submit similar firearms traces and they replied that they in fact also were told to trace all firearms in a similar fashion.

Special Agent Styers was then asked about his general impression of the Fast and Furious case. Special Agent Styers stated that the case had systematically divided and isolated agents from the group. The case agent had solicited the advice of numerous experienced agents, inclucding Special Agent Styers, regarding how to conduct and end the wiretap operations and case overall. Special Agent Styers gave the case agent his honest opinion and advice since Special Agent Styers had worked two wiretap investigations in his career. Special Agent Styers felt that his advice and opinions, as well as other agents' advice and opinions were widely disregarded. Along with other agents within the group, Special Agent Styers explained that he was no longer asked to assist with Fast and Furious and concentrated on his assigned cases and provided necessary assistance to fellow agents within the detail and group.

Downey and Donovan asked Special Agent Styers what he felt was incorrect about the way the Fast and Furious case was conducted. Special Agent Styers explained that first and foremost, it is unheard of to have an active wiretap investigation without full time dedicated surveillance units on the ground. Special Agent Styers relayed that no agents in the group were assigned to surveillance on the Fast and Furious case. Special Agent Styers said that other agencies or task force officers may have been used to conduct surveillance and respond to calls of FFLs, but it seemed that either the case agent or Group Supervisor would poll the office for agents who were available to respond at short notice.

Secondly, Special Agent Styers said that it appeared odd to have a majority of ATF Agents working on a wiretap investigation, who had never worked such a case. Especially, when numerous, permanent Group VII agents and detailers had previous wiretap experience.

Special Agent Styers was provided with contact information for Downey and Donovan and the conversation was ended. Special Agent Styers contacted the Lubbock Resident Agent in Charge, Jim Luera at 1545 hours after the conversation with Downey and Donovan ended, to inform him of the contact. Special Agent Styers was later asked to document the conversation herein and attempted to do so to the fullest extent possible.


Gary M. Styers
Special Agent, ATF

Original here:
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #853 on: December 21, 2011, 09:50:28 AM »

JDN's equivocations aside (by the way, dude, quit citing me as the source when in fact you are [inaccurately] referring to source material I posted)

Hey, he's doing the best he can with the DNC/LA Times talking points. What else could could be done except for repeating "It's a sting gone wrong"?

JDN explanation of "Fast and Furious":

1. Illegally send guns to Mexican drug cartels, resulting in the deaths of Mexican nationals and US law enforcement.

2. ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

3. "Sting gone wrong."
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 10:02:44 AM by G M » Logged
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Posts: 15533

« Reply #854 on: December 21, 2011, 10:02:08 AM »

DOJ indicts gundealer for Fast&Furious-like sales

by Joel Gehrke Commentary Staff Writer

What rhymes with "pot" and "kettle"? How about "Fast and Furious"?
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a complaint requesting "forfeiture of property" belonging to a New Mexico gun dealer charged with knowingly selling weapons to straw purchasers operating on behalf of Mexican drug cartels. This crime occurred during the same time frame in which DOJ conducted its own gunwalking scheme, Operation Fast and Furious, encouraging other gun dealers to do exactly the same thing.
Rick Reese of New Deal Shooting Sports, according to DOJ, "sold firearms and ammunition to individuals, knowing that these firearms and the ammunition were being illegally sent to Mexico." DOJ claims that "the Reeses sold firearms and ammunition to confidential sources who were working with law enforcement and to undercover law enforcement agents posing as straw purchasers, believing that the confidential sources and agents intended to illegally smuggle the firearms and ammunition to Mexico."
"I hope my guns go to Mexico," DOJ quotes Reese -- who was arrested August 30th -- as saying in the complaint requesting a forfeiture judgement. "I hope they use them to shoot those [Mexican police officers]."
The Mexican Attorney General, Marisela Morales, has offered strong criticism for the traffic of weapons from the United States to Mexican drug cartels. "It is an attack on the safety of Mexicans," said Morales. But she wasn't talking about Reese's alleged crime.
Morales was referring to the now-infamous gunwalking scheme conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which instructed American gun dealers to sell weapons to straw purchasers, in the hopes that those guns could later be traced to drug cartels. U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered just over one year ago by someone who had a weapon purchased through Operation Fast and Furious.
"I have no intention of resigning," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress last week during testimony about the program run under his watch, and about which he received memos throughout 2010.
Reese, who also allegedly sold weapons he believed would go to cartels, faces 60 years in prison if he is convicted.
The Washington Examiner has asked DOJ if Reese was ever involved in Fast and Furious gun sales, and whether DOJ is considering prosecutions against gundealers who participated in the program.
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Posts: 2004

« Reply #855 on: December 21, 2011, 10:05:02 AM »

"It's a sting gone wrong".  I repeat it since in addition to the LA Times, that is what it said in the article posted by BbyG.
"The purpose was to track the guns all the way to the ultimate buyer—a Mexican drug trafficking organization."

I haven't seen any proof to the contrary.  So far is all conjecture, innuendo, and hyperbole.  It makes for good politics.

That said, if there was a political motivation, i.e. gun control, I'm all for bringing the facts to light. But I'm still waiting...
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #856 on: December 21, 2011, 10:06:42 AM »

"The purpose was to track the guns all the way to the ultimate buyer—a Mexican drug trafficking organization"

How were the guns to be tracked? Answer, they were not tracked.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #857 on: December 21, 2011, 10:20:53 AM »

"The purpose was to track the guns all the way to the ultimate buyer—a Mexican drug trafficking organization"

How were the guns to be tracked? Answer, they were not tracked.

Now THAT'S what I call a sting gone wrong!   smiley

Incompetence?  Absolutely.   sad   

But illegal?  Criminal?  a "Declaration of war".  So far, except for conjecture and hyperbole, no... 

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #858 on: December 21, 2011, 10:21:12 AM »

Operation Fast and Furious: The ATF Gunrunning Scandal

Rory Cooper

June 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm

The U.S. government intentionally sells assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels. Those cartels use those weapons to kill, among others, a U.S. law enforcement officer. The White House deflects questions on the subject. The director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), who watched the gun sales on video in his office, stonewalls Congress. So does the Justice Department. The whistleblower that exposed it all is fired.
Paperback novel or real-life Obama Administration scandal? Time’s up.
Just last week, Vince Cefalu, a special agent in the ATF for 24 years, was dismissed from his job after helping expose an operation code named “Operation Fast and Furious,” which was designed to purposefully put assault weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels so they could then be tracked to collect intelligence.
The operation itself is an exhausting series of unbelievable mistakes and lapses of judgment, but the Administration’s response is even more disturbing, as is the subdued media reaction.
According to the written testimony of Supervisory Special Agent Peter Forcelli: “ATF agents assigned to the Phoenix Field Division, with the concurrence of their local chain of command, ‘walked’ guns. ATF agents allowed weapons to be provided to individuals whom they knew would traffic them to members of Mexican drug trafficking organizations.”

The goal was to uncover larger criminal conspiracies across the border. Without informing Mexican authorities, the ATF facilitated over 2,500 assault weapons entering Mexico illegally. The only modern “tracking” method was a rigged-up GPS from Radio Shack that Forcelli took it upon himself to install, since the only other tracking method would be serial numbers on the guns. That device failed.

ATF agent John Dodson, who feared that this operation would cost lives, was told to stand down and “fall in line” by supervisors. Dodson testified to Congress: “Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest.”
ATF agent Olindo James Casa agreed. Casa testified:

On several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms.
Later, guns sold in this operation were discovered at the scene of a shootout in Arizona in December 2010 in which Customs and Border Protection agent Brian Terry was killed. As Forcelli testified: “To allow a gun to walk is idiotic.… This was a catastrophic disaster.”

Since then, we have learned that this operation had support in Washington and that its tactics were not a secret. Forcelli testified that Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley helped orchestrate the operation and that U.S. Attorney Dennis Burk “agreed with the direction of the case.” E-mails show that Deputy Assistant Director for ATF Field Operations William McMahon was “so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix.”
Acting ATF director Kenneth Melson actually watched—yes, watched—live video surveillance of the operations from his office in Washington. He and his deputy were briefed weekly on the operation.
President Obama said in a press conference today: “My Attorney General has made clear that he wouldn’t have ordered gun running into Mexico.… That would not be an appropriate step by the ATF.” He then deflected further questions by citing an “ongoing investigation.” Press Secretary Jay Carney had previously said that the President “did not know about or authorize this operation.”
If that’s the case, how could neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder not know about an operation that everyone else at the Department of Justice seemed to be actively involved in, including the Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Attorney and head of the ATF? Melson has finally agreed to testify in the Senate in July, and hopefully that will answer some of those questions.
And it’s about time that Melson was finally authorized by Holder to testify. The Administration’s stonewalling on this subject has been embarrassing. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote to Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA) in February that “the allegation described in your January 27 letter—that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico—is false.” We now know that this is not true.
Weich went on:

I also want to assure you that ATF has made no attempt to retaliate against any of its agents regarding this matter. We recognize the important of protecting employees from retaliation to their disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse. ATF employees receive annual training on their rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Of course, last week, Cefalu was dismissed, allegedly as retaliation for his disclosure of waste, fraud, and abuse.
Grassley then responded with a letter to Holder with the specifics of the operation that he had previously delivered. The Department of Justice continued to ignore Congress’s requests for information. Only recently, when Congressman Darrell Issa (R–CA) held a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, did details begin to emerge and the media begin to take notice.
However, even as stories have been written, and some broadcast outlets, including Fox and ABC, have run some stories on it, the attention this story merits is not matched by the attention it is getting. ABC’s Jake Tapper asked the White House: “What is the exact date that the President learned about the Justice Department ATF operation?” Carney deflected the question.
An anonymous Justice Department source had been circulating a false story last week that Issa had been briefed on the operation in April 2010. The Washington Post published the claim despite clear evidence to the contrary and only anonymous sources. More credible and transparent reporting on the operation is vital.
As of today, the only person punished for Operation Fast and Furious has been someone who helped expose the details. Accountability for this massive operational failure is essential, and it will come only with more media attention.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #859 on: December 21, 2011, 10:32:06 AM »

Fast forward to “Operation Fast and Furious” itself. ATF agents assigned to the Phoenix Field Division, with the concurrence of their local chain of command, “walked” guns. ATF agents allowed weapons to be provided to individuals whom they knew would traffic them to members of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). They did so by failing to lawfully interdict weapons that they knew were going to be delivered to members of DTOs, and they did so by encouraging federal firearms licensees to continue selling weapons that were destined for delivery to members of the DTOs where no interdiction efforts were planned.
When I voiced surprise and concern with this tactic to SAC William Newell and ASAC George Gillett, my concerns were dismissed. SAC Newell referred to the case as “groundbreaking” and bragged that “we’re the only people in the country doing this”. My other ASAC, Jim Needles, merely said “Pete, You know that if you or I were running the case, it wouldn’t be run this way”
This operation, which in my opinion endangered the American public, was orchestrated in conjunction with Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley. [Emory Hurley is the same Assistant U.S. Attorney who previously prevented agents from using some of the common and accepted law enforcement techniques that are employed elsewhere in the United States to investigate and prosecute gun crimes.] I have read documents that indicate that his boss, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, also agreed with the direction of the case.
Allowing firearms to be trafficked to criminals is a dangerous and deadly strategy. The thought that the techniques used in the “Fast and Furious” investigation would result in “taking down a cartel” given the toothless nature of the “straw purchasing law” and the lack of a “firearms trafficking statute” is, in my opinion, delusional.
Based upon my conversations with agents who assisted in this case, surveillance on individuals who had acquired weapons was often terminated far from the Mexican border. Therefore, while the case agents and others believed that the weapons were destined for Mexico, the potential exists that many were sent with cartel drugs to other points within the United States. As a career law enforcement officer, who has had to investigate the deaths of police officers, children and others at the hands of armed criminals, I was and continue to be horrified. I believe that these firearms will continue to turn up at crime scenes, on both sides of the border, for years to come.
In closing, I want the members of the committee and all Americans to know: This is not how ATF agents conduct business. I am very proud of some of the incredible work done by ATF agents around the country every day. Many ATF agents have given their lives in the performance of their duties. On my last trip to New York City, I participated in a homicide trial on a case that I initiated in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York. Three other separate homicide trials were also being conducted in that courthouse. Each was the result of work done by outstanding ATF case agents, who solved those murders through conducting complex criminal investigations, while working hand in hand with dedicated prosecutors. Like myself and the members of the Committee, they too want the truth to come out, and those who acted irresponsibly held accountable. They deserve it, the family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry deserves it, and the American people demand it.
« Reply #860 on: December 21, 2011, 11:13:27 AM »

Sigh. Arming the most violent and criminal gangs in the hemisphere resulting in hundreds of deaths with no rational means of interdiction available = nothing to see here, move along in JDN land. Agent testimony that they were specifically instructed to ignore standard investigatory procedures for this case and no other = a random case of directed incompetence in JDN land. Moving all the supervisors into into cushy, high paying desk jobs while firing or harassing all the whistle blowers and others who testified off the talking points = some sort of crazy coincidence in JDN land. Arming foreign entities engaged in hostilities against your nation that then kill your citizens and law enforcement officers with those arms would be construed as an act of war by numerous nations and leaders going back thousands of years, except in JDN land where it is no doubt an invitation to engage in meaningful dialog or some other twaddle.

You, sir, are a troll. There is no point in engaging you. Quote that in a manner that turns it's meaning around 180 degrees and insert my moniker in it to cement your trolling credentials.
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Posts: 2004

« Reply #861 on: December 21, 2011, 11:24:57 AM »

There is no point in engaging you. 

Then don't.   

Sigh....   FINALLY we agree - I have no desire to engage you either.  It's a waste of my time...
Power User
Posts: 42490

« Reply #862 on: December 21, 2011, 02:44:38 PM »

As John Meynard Keynes once said in a rare moment of lucidity  cheesy when asked what he did when the facts proved him wrong: "I change my mind sir.  What do you do?"

JDN, stating the matter simply here, you're getting your assed kicked on the merits.  Time to change your mind.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #863 on: December 21, 2011, 03:15:03 PM »

As John Meynard Keynes once said in a rare moment of lucidity  cheesy when asked what he did when the facts proved him wrong: "I change my mind sir.  What do you do?"

JDN, stating the matter simply here, you're getting your assed kicked on the merits.  Time to change your mind.

Actually, I agree with Keynes, if facts prove me wrong, I will be happy to change my mind.   smiley

However, so far, regarding the FnF operation itself, no evidence or proof has come out of illegal activity; the "merits" indicate only truly gross incompetence, not illegal activity. 

Conjecture, hyperbole, and political posturing don't really matter a whole lot - you know that.  I'm still waiting for the arrests or even indictments stating criminal wrongdoing.  Until them, it remains a "sting", poorly planned and executed, but not in and of itself, illegal.

That said, although of have seen no evidence of the sting itself being illegal, if there has been systematic coverup of this sting that went horribly wrong, Holder and his aides may be guilty of high crimes including perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.  If true, I have no sympathy for them.

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« Reply #864 on: December 21, 2011, 03:28:47 PM »

"Move to strike you honor as non-responsive!" 


While certainly you are entitled to your opinion JDN, right now it is not measuring up to the standards around here.  Please cease posting on OFF on this thread.

Thank you,
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« Reply #865 on: December 21, 2011, 05:43:06 PM »

It's dead! No it's not!
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« Reply #866 on: December 21, 2011, 10:01:30 PM »


While the meme "It was just a sting gone wrong" certainly remains fair game, a gentle reminder that there is no need for personally snarky commentary directed towards JDN, who cannot defend himself. 

Thank you.


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« Reply #867 on: December 22, 2011, 09:40:14 AM »

Controlling Guns, Controlling People
A new history shows how gun control goes hand in hand with fear of black people—and The People.

Thaddeus Russell from the January 2012 issue

Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, by Adam Winkler, W.W. Norton, 361 pages, $27.95

I first learned about the contradictions of gun politics when I was about 10 years old, growing up in the radical milieu of 1970s Berkeley. My mother and stepfather were members of a revolutionary organization called the International Socialists. Although the group’s members were mostly bookish nerds with little taste for violence, their inspiration was Leon Trotsky, who led the Bolsheviks’ armed insurrection in 1917 and then headed up the Red Army, which killed hundreds of thousands of the Soviet regime’s opponents in the ensuing civil war. Because my parents’ politics were primarily an exercise in middle-class intellectual fantasy, I was never exposed to real violence or even violent rhetoric, and they never owned a gun.

My stepfather’s best friend, Jeff, who lived in a cottage behind ours, was a member of the Spartacist League, a rival Trotskyist organization that was less shy about the violent implications of its rhetoric. The Spartacists were known for physically attacking strikebreakers and Klansmen and for rumbling with Maoists over the imagined turf of the Bay Area’s revolutionary working class. One day I happened upon Jeff cleaning a pistol at his kitchen table. Despite the fact that his and my parents’ hero was one of the greatest perpetrators of gun violence in the 20th century, I somehow saw guns as not only scary but also right-wing and politically “bad.” I told Jeff I hated guns and wished they all would be rounded up and melted down. “But we can’t have a revolution without them,” he said with a sanguine smile.

As an adult I continued to fear and hate guns and to generally align myself with the gun control cause, but Jeff’s suggestion that the regulation of people’s access to guns is essentially conservative nagged at me, unresolved, until I read UCLA law professor Adam Winkler’s stunning new book Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. At the heart of his narrative, Winkler convincingly argues that the people who began the movement against gun control operated not out of the National Rifle Association’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., but out of a nondescript two-story brick building three blocks from where I sat staring at that pistol: 3106 Shattuck Avenue, in the heart of radical Berkeley. It was there, in 1967, at the headquarters of the Black Panther Party, that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale planned an armed march into the California State Capitol that “launched the modern gun-rights movement.”

Despite my feelings about guns, even as a child I admired that the Panthers made their name shortly after their founding in 1966 by patrolling West Oakland streets with rifles and shotguns and confronting police officers who were detaining blacks. It seemed to me that there was no more effective means of curbing the daily police brutality being meted out to the residents of Oakland’s ghetto. But I did not know until reading Gunfight that the Panthers’ armed patrols provoked the drafting of legislation that established today’s gun regulation apparatus, or that the champions of that legislation were as conservative as apple pie.

In 1967 Don Mulford, the Republican state assemblyman who represented the Panthers’ patrol zone and who had once famously denounced the Free Speech Movement and anti-war demonstrations at the University of California at Berkeley, introduced a bill inspired by the Panthers that prohibited the public carrying of loaded firearms, open and concealed. As Winkler puts it, the text of what became the Mulford Act “all but pointed a finger at the Panthers when it said, ‘The State of California has witnessed, in recent years, the increasing incidence of organized groups and individuals publicly arming themselves for purposes inimical to the peace and safety of the people of California.’ ” The law made California the first state to ban the open carrying of loaded firearms.

Shortly after Mulford introduced his bill, a contingent of 30 Black Panthers arrived in a convoy of cars in front of the Capitol in Sacramento. They loaded ammunition into .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns, and .45-caliber pistols, then brought the guns up the steps of the statehouse, where Bobby Seale read a statement denouncing the Assembly’s attempt “at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless at the very same time that racist police agencies throughout the country are intensifying the terror and repression of black people.” Seale concluded that “the time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late. The pending Mulford Act brings the hour of doom one step nearer.” With that, the Panthers marched with their weapons through the front doors of the statehouse and into the viewing area of the Assembly chamber. Carrying loaded guns into the Capitol building was perfectly legal—until three months later, when Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford bill into law.

The Panthers weren’t the only black people using guns for political purposes. Two months after the invasion of Sacramento, riots erupted in response to instances of police brutality in the black sections of Detroit and Newark. From rooftops, windows, and doorways, gunmen fired on police, National Guardsmen, and Army troops sent to quash the rebellions. Congress responded by passing the Gun Control Act of 1968 and its companion bill, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Although Winkler chastises “extremists” on both sides of the current gun control debate who characterize their opponents as totalitarians, he does note that while drafting the 1968 bills, Sen. Thomas Dodd (D-Conn.) had the Library of Congress provide him with an English translation of the gun control regulations that the Nazis used to disarm Jews and political dissidents.

The 1968 legislation, which underlies the modern system of federal gun regulation, prohibited interstate sales except among licensed dealers and collectors. It also banned gun sales to “prohibited persons,” including felons, the mentally “defective,” illicit drug users, and anyone who, like many black radicals at the time, “has renounced his citizenship.” These laws “marked Congress’s first attempts at serious gun regulation since the 1930s,” Winkler writes, “and, like California’s law, they also represented a backlash against armed blacks who were seen to be undermining social order.”

Winkler shows that Mulford, Reagan, and Dodd weren’t the first political elites to attempt to quell popular resistance through the regulation of guns. The Founding Fathers advocated the forcible disarmament of not only slaves, free blacks, and people of mixed race but also of whites who refused to swear allegiance to the cause of independence. The Loyalists whose guns were confiscated during the War of Independence “weren’t criminals or traitors who took up arms on behalf of the British,” Winkler writes. “They were ordinary citizens exercising their fundamental right to freedom of conscience.” More important, despite their reputation as freedom lovers, the Founders proved to be “perfectly willing to confiscate weapons from anyone deemed untrustworthy—a category so broadly defined that it included a majority of the people.”

Although contemporary gun control moralists such as Michael Moore portray their cause as being on the right side of history, Gunfight establishes that the first gun control organizations in the United States were the posses that terrorized freed slaves after the Civil War. Many freedmen came into possession of guns that were confiscated from former masters and Confederate soldiers. But organizations with names like the Men of Justice, the Knights of the White Camellia, and the Knights of the Rising Sun roamed on horseback across the South, shooting, hanging, and disarming blacks. “The most infamous of these,” Winkler reports, “was the Ku Klux Klan.”

Winkler found that in the allegedly gun-loving outposts of the wild West, gun confiscation was commonplace. “Frontier towns handled guns the way a Boston restaurant today handles overcoats in winter,” he writes. “New arrivals were required to turn in their guns to authorities in exchange for something like a metal token. Certain places required people to check their guns at one of the major entry points to town or leave their weapons with their horses at the livery stables.” Further confounding the notion that gun control is a people’s cause, Winkler reports that guns were taken away not just in the interest of public safety but also to promote what leftists now call corporatism. Because the political leaders of frontier towns wanted to attract business investors who would spur economic development, they chose to follow the dictum of a newspaper editor in the cattle town of Caldwell, Kansas: “People who have money to invest go where they are protected by law, and where good society and order reign.”

The next surge of gun control legislation accompanied the progressive movement of the early 20th century, when New York state adopted the Sullivan Act of 1911, the first law in the United States requiring a permit for the possession of a firearm. Winkler notes that “enhancing public safety by regulating guns was of a piece with the progressive ferment that pushed for minimum-wage laws, child labor laws, and food quality legislation.” He does not mention that—at least according to many historians of progressivism—gun control and minimum wage laws were also of a piece with the progressives’ overarching desire for social control.

Similarly, Winkler fails to connect his argument that gun control historically served the interests of political elites with his analysis of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who as president launched a massive campaign against the right to bear arms through the Bureau of Investigation. According to Winkler, “the New Deal for Crime” was designed merely to protect innocent citizens from gangsters and their guns. Yet his main source for this section of the book is Claire Bond Potter’s War on Crime, which presents a scholarly case that Roosevelt’s Bureau of Investigation helped establish the supremacy of centralized government over individual rights and social movements in mid-20th-century American culture.

Despite Winkler’s apparent fondness for modern liberalism and consequent blind spots, he presents a history that turns on its head the modern liberal’s conceit that those who side with gun control necessarily side with the people.

Thaddeus Russell is the author of A Renegade History of the United States (Free Press).
« Reply #868 on: December 22, 2011, 04:07:31 PM »

Lieberman directs staff to examine Fast and Furious coordination
By Matthew Boyle - The Daily Caller   12:13 AM 12/22/2011

Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman has directed the staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which he chairs, to examine miscommunication between law enforcement agencies related to the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious.

A spokesperson told The Daily Caller Wednesday that Lieberman “believe(s) that the lack of interagency coordination along the border merits further examination, and as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he has directed his staff to follow up with the relevant federal agencies on that topic.”

Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchase guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.

Some reports suggest that the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were also involved in some manner or another with the operation.

For instance, Pajamas Media reported that the night Terry was killed, an FBI informant was in the drug cartel rip crew that used Fast and Furious weapons to murder him. Rip crews are armed groups of bandits who work for specific drug cartels and try to rob rival cartel shipments and illegal immigrants as they’re crossing the border.

Pajamas reports that the DEA also had some knowledge of that drug cartel rip crew’s whereabouts. Assuming the reports are true, the DEA and the FBI failed to “deconflict,” or warn other agencies including the Border Patrol about potentially deadly risks.

With Lieberman’s committee now examining Fast and Furious details, that means two Senate committees are probing the matter — the homeland security committee and the judiciary committee.

On the House side, the oversight and judiciary committees are investigating the DOJ’s role in Fast and Furious and the homeland security committee’s subcommittee on oversight has launched an investigation into the Department of Homeland Security’s role in Fast and Furious, a spokesperson for subcommittee chairman and Texas Rep. Michael McCaul confirmed for TheDC.

Sixty-one congressmen, two U.S. senators and two sitting governors have called for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over Fast and Furious.  Lieberman has not called on Holder to resign.
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« Reply #869 on: December 23, 2011, 01:27:22 PM »

This is what we are up against:

Historians have long debated who was the first person to call the U.S. Senate the "world's greatest deliberative body." Soon we may ask who was the last person to believe it. Our dysfunctional Congress has repeatedly failed to perform its duties under the Constitution to pass a budget, to advise and consent on presidential nominations, and, perhaps most tragically, to curb illegal handgun violence.

In New York, we've recently seen only too dramatically the consequences of this dysfunction. Just this month, a New York City police officer was shot and killed by a fugitive from North Carolina wielding an illegal handgun. And in November, a New York judge sentenced violent drug gang members on gun charges and other crimes committed in a neighborhood where 244 shootings, 34 of them fatal, had been perpetrated in the past two years.

That judge, Edward McLaughlin, was frustrated that nearly all of those shootings remained unsolved. He used the occasion of his sentencing remarks to challenge the local community to take responsibility for ending the insanity. He called on families to search their homes for guns, to oppose violence in their neighborhoods, and to cooperate with local law enforcement.

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 .In the same spirit, we might issue a challenge to Congress to do its job. An essential function of the federal government, delineated by the Constitution, is to "insure domestic Tranquility." This does not authorize the government to act as a national police force, but it does require the federal government to protect us from international terrorists and criminals who transport illegal weapons across state lines.

For a while, it seemed that the federal government got the message. Shortly after 9/11, President George W. Bush, as part of the Homeland Security Act, reorganized the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), placed it under the Department of Justice, and focused the agency on stopping illegal sales and transportation of firearms and explosives.

And indeed, immediately after 9/11, ATF dramatically increased its enforcement. But before long, attention waned and congressional dysfunction took over. For nearly six years now, Congress, responding to pressure from the gun lobby, has denied the ATF a permanent director. And for each of those six years, federal prosecutions initiated by ATF have declined—from a peak of 10,715 in fiscal year 2005 to fewer than 7,300 in the first 10 months of fiscal 2011.

This level of enforcement is indefensible when measured by the dimensions of gun violence in America. According to the FBI, over two-thirds of murders nationwide are committed by criminals using handguns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for African-Americans aged 25 to 34 is homicide committed by firearm.

Where are all these guns coming from? According to statistics from the ATF itself, of those handguns recovered in crimes nationwide, three in 10—about 42,000 handguns every year—have crossed state lines before being recovered. For New York state, the figures are even more dramatic—two-thirds of the guns recovered in crimes were traced to other states. Starkest of all are the figures for New York City—85% of the firearms recovered there come here from other states.

The story of gang violence is largely the story of crimes committed with illegal guns—often stolen guns—that have crossed state lines. Without federal enforcement, states and localities have little hope of eliminating gang violence.

This is not an issue of curbing gun rights. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Second Amendment protects law-abiding gun owners, and for good reason. I know from firsthand experience the virtues of responsible gun ownership: I received my first rifle when I was 6, and my first pistol, a .22 Colt revolver, for my 16th birthday.

Nor is this a matter of ceding to the federal government law-enforcement functions properly left to the states and localities. When I was Manhattan district attorney, I was not afraid to challenge the local U.S attorney when that office brought a case that I believed exceeded the appropriate bounds of its jurisdiction. Local law enforcement must be entrusted to local prosecutors.

But that still leaves the federal government with an indispensable role in preventing firearms and explosives from crossing state lines and reaching the hands of criminals.

As long as federal authorities bring fewer gun prosecutions year after year—so long as the flood of illegal handguns into our communities continues unabated—calling on local families and law enforcement to eliminate gun violence is like telling them to make bricks without straw.

In his impassioned sentencing speech last month, Judge McLaughlin said to families in violence-plagued neighborhoods, "If you do nothing, you are complicit." We might say the same thing to the Congress. Our Founding Fathers were right: Within our system of limited government, Congress and the president have a duty to insure domestic tranquility. Washington needs to set politics aside and focus on proven policies that stop the illegal flow of handguns—and make our neighborhoods safer.

Mr. Morgenthau, of counsel at the New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, was Manhattan district attorney from 1975 to 2009.

prentice crawford
« Reply #870 on: December 23, 2011, 04:28:15 PM »

 Just one good gun control law could put an end to the gangs? Where do I sign up! tongue What an unmitigated piece of sh#t work that was.
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« Reply #871 on: December 27, 2011, 08:31:21 AM »

Alan Simons was enjoying a Sunday morning bicycle ride with his family in Asheville, N.C., two years ago when a man in a sport utility vehicle suddenly pulled alongside him and started berating him for riding on the highway.  Mr. Simons, his 4-year-old son strapped in behind him, slowed to a halt. The driver, Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter, stopped as well. When Mr. Simons walked over, he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

“Go ahead, I’ll shoot you,” Mr. Diez said, according to Mr. Simons. “I’ll kill you.”

Mr. Simons turned to leave but heard a deafening bang. A bullet had passed through his bike helmet just above his left ear, barely missing him.

Mr. Diez, as it turned out, was one of more than 240,000 people in North Carolina with a permit to carry a concealed handgun. If not for that gun, Mr. Simons is convinced, the confrontation would have ended harmlessly. “I bet it would have been a bunch of mouthing,” he said.

Mr. Diez, then 42, eventually pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
Across the country, it is easier than ever to carry a handgun in public. Prodded by the gun lobby, most states, including North Carolina, now require only a basic background check, and perhaps a safety class, to obtain a permit.

In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states’ concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.

The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. “These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” the federal legislation’s author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.

To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.

More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.

Among them was Bobby Ray Bordeaux Jr., who had a concealed handgun permit despite a history of alcoholism, major depression and suicide attempts. In 2008, he shot two men with a .22-caliber revolver, killing one of them, during a fight outside a bar.

More than 200 permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults.
In addition, nearly 900 permit holders were convicted of drunken driving, a potentially volatile circumstance given the link between drinking and violence.

The review also raises concerns about how well government officials police the permit process. In about half of the felony convictions, the authorities failed to revoke or suspend the holder’s permit, including for cases of murder, rape and kidnapping. The apparent oversights are especially worrisome in North Carolina, one of about 20 states where anyone with a valid concealed handgun permit can buy firearms without the federally mandated criminal background check. (Under federal law, felons lose the right to own guns.)

Ricky Wills, 59, kept his permit after recently spending several months behind bars for terrorizing his estranged wife and their daughter with a pair of guns and then shooting at their house while they, along with a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a 911 call, were inside. “That’s crazy, absolutely crazy,” his wife, Debra Wills, said in an interview when told that her husband could most likely still buy a gun at any store in the state.

Mr. Wills’s permit was revoked this month, after The Times informed the local sheriff’s office.
Growing National Trend
Page 2 of 3)

Gun laws vary across the country, but in most states, people do not need a license to keep firearms at home. Although some states allow guns to be carried in public in plain sight, gun rights advocates have mostly focused their efforts on expanding the right to carry concealed handguns.

The national movement toward more expansive concealed handgun laws began in earnest in 1987, when Florida instituted a “shall issue” permit process, in which law enforcement officials are required to grant the permits as long as applicants satisfy certain basic legal requirements.

The authorities in shall-issue states deny permits to certain applicants, like convicted felons and people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution, unless their gun rights have been restored. North Carolina, which enacted its shall-issue law in 1995, also bars applicants who have committed violent misdemeanors and has a variety of other disqualifiers; it also requires enrollment in a gun safety class.

Today, 39 states either have a shall-issue permit process or do not require a permit at all to carry a concealed handgun. Ten others are “may issue,” meaning law enforcement agencies have discretion to conduct more in-depth investigations and exercise their judgment. For example, the authorities might turn down someone who has no criminal record but appears to pose a risk or does not make a convincing case about needing to carry a gun. Gun rights advocates argue, however, that such processes are rife with the potential for abuse.

For now, the permits are good only in the holder’s home state, as well as others that recognize them. The bill under consideration in Congress would require that permits be recognized everywhere, even in jurisdictions that might bar the holder from owning a gun in the first place.

In recent years, a succession of state legislatures have also struck down restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in all sorts of public places. North Carolina this year began allowing concealed handguns in local parks, and next year the legislature is expected to consider permitting guns in restaurants.

Efforts to evaluate the impact of concealed carry laws on crime rates have produced contradictory results.

Researchers acknowledge that those who fit the demographic profile of a typical permit holder — middle-age white men — are not usually major drivers of violent crime. At the same time, several states have produced statistical reports showing, as in North Carolina, that a small segment does end up on the wrong side of the law. As a result, the question becomes whether allowing more people to carry guns actually deters crime, as gun rights advocates contend, and whether that outweighs the risks posed by the minority who commit crimes.

Gun rights advocates invariably point to the work of John R. Lott, an economist who concluded in the late 1990s that the laws had substantially reduced violent crime. Subsequent studies, however, have found serious flaws in his data and methodology.

A few independent researchers using different data have come to similar conclusions, but many other studies have found no net effect of concealed carry laws or have come to the opposite conclusion. Most notably, Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue, economists and law professors, concluded that the best available data and modeling showed that permissive right-to-carry laws, at a minimum, increased aggravated assaults. Their data also showed that robberies and homicides went up, but the findings were not statistically significant.

In the end, most researchers say the scattershot results are not unexpected, because the laws, in all likelihood, have not significantly increased the number of people carrying concealed weapons among those most likely to commit crimes or to be victimized.

Crimes by Permit Holders

Gun advocates are quick to cite anecdotes of permit holders who stopped crimes with their guns. It is virtually impossible, however, to track these episodes in a systematic way. By contrast, crimes committed by permit holders can be.

The shooting at the Hogs Pen Pub in Macclesville in August 2008, happened when two men, Cliff Jackson and Eddie Bordeaux, got into a scuffle outside the bar. John Warlick, who was there with his wife, helped separate them, only to see Eddie’s brother, Bobby Ray, fatally shoot Mr. Jackson in the back of the head. Mr. Bordeaux then shot Mr. Warlick in the upper torso, wounding him.

Bobby Ray Bordeaux had obtained a concealed carry permit in 2004 and used to take a handgun everywhere. He was also an alcoholic and heavy user of marijuana with a long history of depression, according to court records. He had been hospitalized repeatedly for episodes related to his drinking, including about a year before, when he shot himself in the chest with a pistol while drunk in an apparent suicide attempt. Mr. Bordeaux, then 48, started drinking heavily at age 13. He had been taking medication for depression but had not taken it the day of the shooting, he later told the police. He also said he had 15 beers and smoked marijuana that night and claimed to have no memory of what occurred. He was eventually convicted of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

John K. Gallaher III, a permit holder since 2006, was also an alcoholic with serious mental health issues, said David Hall, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted him for murder. In May 2008, Mr. Gallaher, then 24, shot and killed a friend, Sean Gallagher, and a woman, Lori Fioravanti, with a .25-caliber Beretta after an argument at his grandfather’s home. The police found 22 guns, including an assault rifle, at his home. Mr. Gallaher pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder last year.

Among the other killings: three months after receiving his permit in July 2006, Mark Stephen Thomas killed Christopher Brynarsky with a handgun after an argument at Mr. Brynarsky’s custom detail shop. In 2007, Jamez Mellion, a permit holder since 2004, killed Capt. Paul Burton Miner III of the Army by shooting him 10 times with two handguns after finding him with his estranged wife. William Littleton, who obtained a permit in 1998 and was well known to the police because of complaints about him, shot his neighbor to death with a rifle in 2008 over a legal dispute.

Page 3 of 3)

More common were less serious gun-related episodes like these: in July 2008, Scotty L. Durham, who got his permit in 2006, confronted his soon-to-be ex-wife and another man in the parking lot of Coffee World in Durham and fired two shots in the air with a .45-caliber Glock. Antoine Cornelius Whitted, a permit holder since 2009, discharged his semiautomatic handgun during a street fight in Durham last year. Jerry Maurice Thomas, a permit holder since 2009 whose drinking problems were well known to the authorities, held a gun to his girlfriend’s head at his house in Asheville last year, prompting a standoff with the police.

Falling Through the Cracks

Gun rights advocates in North Carolina, as well as elsewhere, often point to the low numbers of permit revocations as evidence of how few permit holders break the law. Yet permits were often not suspended or revoked in North Carolina when they should have been.

Charles Dowdle of Franklin was convicted of multiple felonies in 2006 for threatening to kill his girlfriend and chasing her to her sister’s house, where he fired a shotgun round through a closed door. He then pointed the gun at the sister, who knocked it away, causing it to fire again. Mr. Dowdle was sentenced to probation, but his concealed handgun permit remained active until it expired in 2009.

Mr. Dowdle, 63, said in a telephone interview that although he gave away his guns after his conviction, no one had ever done anything about his permit. He said he “could probably have purchased” a gun with it but had not done so because federal law forbade it.

Besides felons like Mr. Dowdle, The Times also found scores of people who kept their permits after convictions for violent misdemeanors. They included more than half of the roughly 40 permit holders convicted in the last five years of assault by pointing gun and nearly two-thirds of the more than 70 convicted of a common domestic violence charge, assault on a female.

Precisely how these failures of oversight occurred is not clear. The normal protocol would be for the local sheriff’s office to suspend and eventually revoke a permit after a holder is arrested and convicted of a disqualifying crime, the authorities said. The State Bureau of Investigation, which maintains a computerized database of permits, also tries to notify individual sheriffs when it discovers that a holder has been arrested for a serious crime, according to a spokeswoman, but the process is not formalized.

In Ricky Wills’s case, he not only threatened his wife and daughter last May with a handgun and a rifle, but he shot at their house while a Union County sheriff’s deputy was inside. It led to convictions on two charges: assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and assault on a police officer.
Soon after the shooting, Mr. Wills’s wife obtained a restraining order, which also should have led to his permit being suspended.

Sgt. Lori Pierce, who handles concealed handgun permits in Union County, said no one ever notified her about Mr. Wills, who was released from prison in November. And as the sole person handling permits in her county, she said, she does not have time to conduct regular criminal checks on permit holders, unless they are up for a five-year renewal.

As it is, she said, she can barely keep up with issuing permits. She has granted about 1,300 this year.
prentice crawford
« Reply #872 on: December 27, 2011, 11:07:10 AM »

 My, what a FAIR AND BALANCED piece of crap journalism that was. In their defense however, if they had given the number of lives saved and crimes prevented by conceal carry permit holder's it would have been a very one sided story the other way. cheesy
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 11:11:26 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
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« Reply #873 on: December 27, 2011, 11:15:32 AM »

Other than that  cheesy the point about following up on felony convictions and removing guns does seem fair though , , ,
prentice crawford
« Reply #874 on: December 27, 2011, 12:03:12 PM »

 And that's exactly what most people miss when these idiot's call for more gun control; they don't enforce the one's we already have. tongue They are actually making the case for why citizens need conceal carry permits!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 12:20:53 PM by prentice crawford » Logged
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« Reply #875 on: December 29, 2011, 11:18:09 AM »

President Obama's Anti-Gun Agenda Shows No Sign of Stopping

By John Lott

Published December 28, 2011 |

President Obama keeps pushing for gun control. "I just want you to know that we are working on [gun control]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar,” President Obama told Sarah Brady, the former president of the Brady Campaign, this past spring.

His push as been quiet but relentless.

Just this past week Obama signaled that he was going to just ignore two new parts of the 2012 Omnibus Spending bill. Although he signed the spending bill into law, he simultaneously issued a so-called "signing statement," a note that presidents have started attaching to legislation stating how they interpret the law they are signing or whether they believe part of it is unconstitutional.

Obama’s statement claimed that Congress couldn’t put restrictions on how he wanted to spend to fund lobbying for gun control and the National Institute of Health studies of gun control.

But why should the federal government use taxpayer dollars to pay for lobbying?

Obama has had numerous false starts on gun control. Just in November, his administration moved to ban target practice on public lands, but the opposition was so swift and strong they immediately backtracked.

A couple of weeks ago the Obama administration suffered another embarrassment. It was discovered that the Obama administration oversaw the sale of guns to Mexican drug gangs in its Fast & Furious program to bolster statistics of guns crossing over to the border to these very drug gangs.

This scandal is quite incredible as the Obama administration ordered gun dealers to make sales to Mexican drug gangs against their wishes to help the administration’s push for more gun control. And this follows the revelation in July that the Obama administration had pushed federal agents involved in the Fast & Furious scandal to support gun control regulations during their congressional testimony.

It doesn’t help that the Obama administration started pushing these sales at the same time they wanted to bolster their case that America was supply illegal guns to Mexico backfired. All this undercut any justification for new regulations and destroyed any support that they might have had.

With 90 congressmen signing a "no confidence" resolution in Attorney General Eric Holder’s handling of “Fast & Furious,” last week Holder lashed out against his critics. “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American,” Holder told the New York Times. Holder seems unwilling to recognize the genuine outrages the administration’s gun-control agenda has produced.

Still the administration has successfully manage to push through gun control regulations in many, less visible ways: -- The Obama administration instituted a ban on importing "historic" semi-automatic rifles into the US. -- In sharp contrast to the Bush administration, President Obama strongly supports the UN Arms Trade Treaty even though he knows that any such treaty are unlikely to obtain the two-thirds vote in the Senate needed for ratification. What the regulations will do is lead to severe restrictions on private gun ownership around the world.

The administration instituted new rules on selling "high-powered rifles," defined as a caliber of greater than .22. -- The administration nominated Andrew Traver, someone who supports gun bans, as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Obama has stuck by Traver despite his nomination being stalled in the Senate for a year and the fierce opposition it has generated.

Obama’s most lasting impact on gun control is likely to be through the federal court judges he appoints. His most visible appointments have been the gun-control advocates he has made to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan headed up President Clinton’s push for gun control when she worked for his White House during the 1990s. And Justice Sonia Sotomayor has signed on to a Supreme Court opinion stating that there is no individual right to "private self-defense" with guns.

The pro-gun control views of Obama’s nominees have played a role the Senate filibustering of two Appeals Court nominees. Caitlin Joan Halligan was particularly controversial when nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because she opposes an individual’s right to self defense and – even more damning -- she was one of the trial lawyers who had sued gun makers. Thus in New York v. Sturm & Ruger, she argued that gun makers should be liable for the criminal acts of third parties but not given any credit for the benefits from self-defense.

If elected to a second term, Obama will end up appointing over half the federal judges. That sure can make a big difference.

Most importantly, the Supreme Court is only one vote away from reversing the 5 to 4 decisions that so narrowly struck down the handgun bans in Chicago and the District of Columbia.

Two of the Justices who voted to strike down the bans, conservative Antonin Scalia and moderate Anthony Kennedy, will be well into their 80s during the next administration.

While a couple of Justices have made it to 90 while serving on the court, remember the rare glimpse into Obama’s views during the 2008 campaign when he referred to those “bitter” Americans who “cling to their guns, cling to their religion.”

It surely fits his earlier statement: “I don’t believe that people should be able to own guns.”

Yet, despite all this evidence of an anti-gun agenda, recent articles by the Associated Press and other news media paint Obama as a moderate on guns and as somebody who wants to "protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens” and merely support so-called “gun safety” measures.

Of course, they are wrong. Unfortunately, Obama’s patient “under the radar” campaign seems to be working. He is fundamentally changing the courts and leaving them much more hostile to gun ownership. If Americans catch on, this could still be a major issue in the 2012.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a contributor. He is an economist and author of the third edition of "More Guns, Less Crime" (University of Chicago Press, 2010).
« Reply #876 on: January 04, 2012, 09:17:34 PM »

Hmm, so it looks like the next act will have the DOJ treating Gunwalker as a personnel issue rather than a criminal one. Be interesting to see if the sacrificed take issue with the coming passion play:

Breaking: ATF reportedly relieves Fast and Furious managers prior to OIG report

David Codrea, Gun Rights Examiner
January 4, 2012 - Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.

Gun Rights Examiner and Sipsey Street Irregulars  received information this evening that three of the prime Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives players in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal have been relieved of duties.

William Hoover, ATF's Deputy Director during Fast and Furious, who was recently reassigned as Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office, Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations Mark Chait, likewise reassigned as head of the Baltimore Field Office, and Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations William McMahon have reportedly been sidelined pending the outcome of the anticipated report from the Office of Inspector General. Debbie Bullock a mid-level manager has reportedly been advised that she is now the acting SAC for Baltimore, and will assume Chait's functions.

These three were the recipients of a January 20, 2011 email from ATF Associate Chief Counsel Barry Orlow, advising them and other Bureau attorneys of Gun Rights Examiner's “Open Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee staff on 'Project Gunwalker',” which put Senator Chuck Grassley's office on notice that ATF employees want d to come forward to provide testimony and documentation about gunwalking to Mexico. They were also prominent in a position issued by the CleanUpATF webmaster:

Whereas overwhelming evidence establishes that substantial acts of wrongdoing may have been committed by senior Officials of the United States Government, including persons such as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Ronald H. Weich, Dennis Burke, and others acting for or on behalf of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Kenneth E. Melson, William J. Hoover, Mark Chait, William G. McMahon, William D. Newell, George Gillett Jr., and others of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and possibly other officials within the Obama Administration, hereby respectfully requests that Congress should enact and empower, on behalf of the American people and pursuant to 28 C.F.R. PART 600, one or more Special Prosecutors...

Disciplinary actions could take momentum away from that. Sources tell Gun Rights Examiner and Sipsey Street Irregulars that "ATF is going to follow the long-awaited OIG report to a 't':  If OIG says XX gets terminated, they are going to terminate." That this would be treated as a personnel matter, subject to disciplinary procedures, as opposed to a criminal matter, subject to prosecution was the topic of a recent post in this column.

Left unsaid is why these three have been singled out prior to the OIG report being submitted, particularly since their sharing findings with the Department of Justice and ATF subjects of their investigation would violate all principles of independence from influence. If that did not happen, a fair conclusion to assume would be that the process of the investigation itself led those answering questions and providing documentation to an inevitable conclusion. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa wrote a December 7 column claiming Attorney General Eric Holder, scheduled to testify again on February 2, was "protecting staff over 'Fast and Furious'."

This latest reported development lends itself to the observation that Holder is protecting something else, and that this is a tactical move in anticipation of the report's release and his next trip to the Hill.
Power User
Posts: 42490

« Reply #877 on: January 06, 2012, 01:41:07 PM »

                *Fast and Furious Defense Strategy: Keep Them Quiet*

An overlooked detail of the personnel shuffling  that has occurred in the wake of Operation Fast and Furious: current  Acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones was in a position to be as culpable  regarding the gunwalking plot as was the removed director, Kenneth  Melson.

 Before taking over for Melson in a DOJ push to appear to have done  “something,” Jones was the chairman of the attorney general’s Advisory  Committee. He sat in on Fast and Furious calls as early as October 26,  2009 ( [1] — a meeting Melson also attended.

 With the personnel move to Jones, control merely shifted from one  possible co-conspirator to another, though the administration assured  that they still held a tight rein over the new acting director with the  choice of Jones.
 In a Christmas Eve article in the Los Angeles Times, reporter Richard Serrano revealed that Melson had blamed ATF staff ( [2] for Operation Fast and Furious during confidential testimony with congressional investigators:The deposition, which was taken in July and was recently  obtained by the Washington bureau, shows that Kenneth E. Melson was  irate. Even his chief intelligence officer at ATF headquarters was upset  with the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious, but did little to shut it  down, Melson complained. “He didn’t come in and tell me, either,” Melson  said. “And he’s on the same damn floor as I am.”

Perhaps the most vital information in Serrano’s article is how the  DOJ is apparently intending to handle the inspector general’s  investigation:At Holder’s request, the Justice Department’s inspector  general began investigating Fast and Furious in February, a month after  the controversial operation in the ATF’s Phoenix field office came to  light.
 Jones expects the inspector general’s report early next year. He said  he will immediately refer it to the ATF’s Office of Professional  Responsibility for recommendations on job terminations or suspensions.  “We sure will” be making some quick personnel decisions, he said.

In response to a gunwalking operation that put more than 2,000  firearms into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and which led to the  death of at least one U.S. law enforcement agent and more than 300  people in Mexico, the ATF will look for “recommendations on job  terminations or suspensions.”

 Numerous felonies were committed by government employees of Barack  Obama’s administration. These felonies include violations of the Arms  Export Control Act, violations of the Kingpin Act, possible RICO  violations, violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act, felonies  related to the cover-up of Brian Terry’s death at the hands of an FBI  criminal informant, including the hiding of the informant’s SKS rifle,  and other crimes. Eric Holder’s apparent perjury in front of Congress  about when he know of Operation Fast and Furious is the least of the  administration’s problems.

 This points to a possible DOJ defense tactic: in exchange for  suspensions and resignations, those responsible will be thrilled to have  the option of not talking about the criminality of their actions. Those  in the position to “tell all” to reduce their sentence length with a  plea bargain in a criminal trial have no reason whatsoever to talk if  their continued silence can be bought for such a cheap price.

 If Inspector General Cynthia Schnedar really does allow the  conspirators off without any criminal charges being filed, you can be  assured that the fix is in.
Power User
Posts: 42490

« Reply #878 on: January 09, 2012, 05:30:27 PM »

Dear Marc F.,

Thanks to the action of tens of thousands of National Association for Gun Rights’ members, New Jersey gun owner Brian Aitken was able to spend Christmas 2010 with his family.

But for a long time this story looked like it would have a grim ending...

Mr. Aitken was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in New Jersey for never actually committing a crime.

After moving from Colorado, Aitken was careful to follow every absurd gun law in New Jersey to a “T”.

His efforts were in vain as he was promptly imprisoned for violating those same laws after a judge threw out most of the evidence proving Aitken’s innocence.

In prompt response, I launched a series of e-mails asking National Association for Gun Rights members to sign a petition demanding Governor Christie pardon and release Mr. Aitken.

National Association for Gun Rights’ members answered the call and unleashed an avalanche of real political pressure.

Volunteers on the ground in New Jersey personally delivered more than 25,000 petitions to Governor Christie’s office.

As Senator Everett Dirkson once said "when I feel the heat, I see the light."

And pro-gun Americans lit the fire that forced a spotlight of attention on Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.


It's tough for any politician not to notice that many signatures.

And the Monday after delivery, Mr. Aitken's sentence was fully commuted and he was released from prison to spend the holidays with his family.

You read that correctly: Governor Christie felt the pressure of Second Amendment supporters like you and freed Brian Aitken from prison.

That's the kind of fight you can expect as a member of the National Association for Gun Rights.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a full pardon, and that's why I am keeping my eye on New Jersey.

Governor Christie shows all the signs of a man who could attempt to secure the Republican nomination for a White House run, and you and I must get him on the record as saying that the gun laws in places like New Jersey are a slap in the face to its citizens.

Simply commuting the sentence of an innocent man isn't enough by itself.

Political insiders are keenly aware of how much the votes of Second Amendment supporters can make a difference in a national election.

But people like Governor Christie have spent their political careers in places like New Jersey where they've tried to play both sides of the fence.

He needs to be aware of the fact that the rest of this country will not tolerate offenses to our Constitutional liberties.

Nor will they allow Gestapo-style kangaroo courts where law-abiding citizens go to prison with stiffer sentences than drug dealers and rapists for exercising their basic freedoms.

Members and activists from the National Association for Gun Rights are driving this point home by holding Governor Christie's feet to the fire with petitions from across the country.

He now has to contend with the simple fact that, in less than a week, you and other members of the National Association for Gun Rights were able to blast out 25,000 petition signatures as well as print them and deliver them directly to his office.

Applying political pressure does make a difference, especially when the pressure is crate after crate of petitions dumped on a governor's desk.

And Mr. Aitken spent his Christmas with his family instead of behind bars.

If you want to get involved in the next battle for the Second Amendment, stay connected and look for alerts from the National Association for Gun Rights.

Yours in Freedom,

Dudley Brown
Executive Director
National Association for Gun Rights

P.S. Click here to help the National Association for Gun Rights continue to fight for people like Brian Aitken by making a donation.
prentice crawford
« Reply #879 on: January 14, 2012, 08:24:40 AM »

 The payoff for sacrificing a Border Patrol Agent.

   U.S. judge backs multiple rifle sales reporting
By Jeremy Pelofsky | Reuters – 15 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday refused to block new federal rules requiring gun dealers in four states bordering Mexico to report the sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles, a victory for the Obama administration.
The administration issued the reporting requirements last year despite opposition from the gun industry as part of a stepped-up effort to clamp down on the weapons flowing across the border to violent drug cartels in Mexico.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ordered more than 8,000 gun dealers in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to report the sale within five business days of two or more semiautomatic rifles to the same person.
That also includes rifles with a caliber greater than .22 and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
Mexican officials have complained bitterly about guns illegally coming from the United States. Tens of thousands of Mexicans have died in the drug wars since 2006 when the government there decided to take on the cartels.
Judge Rosemary Collyer, appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush, found that the ATF's requirement was sufficiently narrowly tailored and that it was rational by focusing on the states that border Mexico.
"Congress has effected a delicate balance between ATF's regulation of firearms and the right to privacy held by lawful firearms owners," Collyer wrote in a 21-page ruling. The ATF's reporting requirement "did not disturb that balance."
Gun dealers backed by the National Rifle Association, a powerful lobbying organization, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation challenged the requirements arguing that it would effectively require national registration of firearms sales, which they said the ATF was not authorized to do.
The gun industry has also said that the rules will have no impact on the cartels but rather burden law-abiding retailers and that the reporting requirement was overly burdensome.
"If President (Barack) Obama gets a second term, I think law-abiding gun owners are going to see a lot more of it," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, told Reuters.
"These drug cartels ... rape, they rob, they murder they throw people into lions' pits, they're not going to be deterred by a form. That must be some form," he said. The groups plan to appeal the ruling.
Some 36,000 reports of multiple handgun sales were made from the four border states in fiscal 2010, according to the ATF.
The decision came as the ATF has been under scrutiny in recent months after a sting operation to track guns being smuggled to Mexican cartels went awry.
(Reporting By Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Will Dunham)

Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #880 on: January 14, 2012, 09:39:33 AM »

I'm all for gun rights; I own a few guns and I was given my first rifle when I was 6 years old, but why is it wrong to require gun dealers on the border, or for that matter anywhere in America, to
report the sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles? 
« Reply #881 on: January 19, 2012, 08:36:51 AM »

Inside President Obama's War On The Fast & Furious Whistleblowers

Image by Getty Images Europe via @daylife

Legal Dictionary: Whistleblower: an employee who brings wrongdoing by an employer or other employees to the attention of a government or law-enforcement agency and who is commonly vested by statute with rights and remedies for retaliation

Slang Dictionary: Whistleblower: n. 
someone who calls a halt to something; an informer; an enforcer; a stool (pigeon): I don’t know who the whistle-blower was, but a good time was really ruined.

The synonyms gives for “whistleblower” are even less charitable than the word’s definition: canary, nark, rat, snake, snitch, squealer, stoolie, tattletale, weasel…. But none of these labels seem harsh enough to federal bureaucrats. They’ve left whistleblowers in legal limbo; they’ve barred whistleblowers from offices and forced others to transfer to backwater districts; they’ve mined records to publically disparage at least one recently (more on him in a moment); they’ve deemed a few to be “traitors” and had them shunned by colleagues … and this is just the beginning of what they’ve been doing to the few courageous squealers who exposed Operation Fast and Furious, the once-secret operation that, by design mind you, let thousands of guns “walk” from U.S. gun stores to the arsenals of Mexican drug cartels.

To find what is being done to protect these and other government whistleblowers, I sat down with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). He’s the Obama administration’s gadfly on this topic. Grassley was one of the original authors of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. Thanks to this legislation, if authorities in a federal agency take (or threaten to take) retaliatory action against a whistleblower, then they’ve broken the law. Nevertheless, the bureaucrats who often make life difficult for whistleblowers have had little to fear from this law.

The quasi-judicial agency that adjudicates government whistleblower complaints (called the Merit Systems Protection Board) uses appointed judges to hear whistleblower cases. These judges have more often than not sided with the government; in fact, since 2000, this board has ruled in favor of whistleblowers only about 5 percent of the time (just three times in 56 cases) according to a Government Accountability Project study.

Senator Grassley has criticized this board for allowing the federal bureaucracy to have its revenge on those who uncover corruption. More recently, he’s been working to update the Whistleblower Protection Act and he’s written multiple letters to Attorney General Eric Holder telling him not to punish whistleblowers.

As Senator Grassley is clearly passionate about this topic, I said, “Just speak your mind Senator Grassley. Don’t let me stop you.”

He smiled warmly and leaned over his Capitol Hill desk as he said, “Whistleblowing ruins people professionally. I’d say there’s more retaliation out there than you and I know about. Because of this, though people want to do right, by golly they can’t because they know they’re going to get hurt. This is why I’ve always advised presidents, going back to President Ronald Reagan, that we need a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating a whistleblower now and then. That way they’d know there is some support for standing up against corruption.”

Senator Grassley then pointed out that the first whistleblower to come forward about Fast and Furious (ATF Agent John Dodson) had recently been attacked by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). According to Senator Grassley, “Someone in the Justice Department leaked a document to the press along with talking points in an attempt to smear [Dodson.]” The letter insinuated that Dodson went rogue and started a gun-walking operation on his own. This was easy to prove false; however, if Republicans hadn’t taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 election (meaning an opposing political party wouldn’t have had the power to do an investigation) then Dodson would have been left dangling in these political winds, as records giving the complete picture would likely not have been available.

Senator Grassley pointed out that the documents DOJ released to smear Dodson were actually supposed to be so sensitive that the DOJ wouldn’t provide them to congressional investigators. But then, to harm a whistleblower, someone from the DOJ provided these specifically selected documents to the press. In fact, the name of the criminal suspect in the documents was redacted, but Agent Dodson’s name was left for all to see. “This looks like a clear and intentional violation of the Privacy Act as well as an attempt at whistleblower retaliation,” said Grassley.

In a subsequent letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Grassley said, “In a private phone conversation with me, you already told me that someone has been held accountable for this. But your staff refused to provide my staff with any details. Who was held accountable and how?”

No one at DOJ is known to have been held accountable for this attack on Dodson. Meanwhile, the whistleblowers who blew the top off Fast and Furious are paying the price.

Agent John Dodson, after nearly a year of harassment, including being given menial assignments and being barred from areas of the ATF building in Phoenix, is in the process of trying to sell his home in Arizona so he can transfer to South Carolina.
Agent Larry Alt transferred to Florida. He still has unresolved legal claims against the ATF.
Agent Pete Forcelli was demoted to a desk job after he testified before Congress. He has requested an internal investigation to address retaliation targeting him.
Agent James Casa took a transfer to Florida.
Agent Carlos Canino, who was a deputy attache in Mexico City, was moved to Tucson.
Meanwhile the officials who went along with the operation and its subsequent cover up have mostly been rewarded. “These transfers/reassignments have never been described as promotions in any of the documents announcing them,” said an ATF statement after journalists noted that those who didn’t become whistleblowers profited from their silence. The ATF says that because these officials pay didn’t go up they weren’t promoted; however, in many cases their titles and positions have inarguably been enhanced.

Former Acting ATF Chief Ken Melson, after refusing to be a scapegoat for this operation, became an adviser in the Office of Legal Affairs in Washington, D.C.
Acting Deputy Director Billy Hoover is now the special agent in charge of the D.C. office.
Deputy Director for Field Operations William McMahon—he’d received detailed briefings Fast and Furious—is now at the ATF’s Office of Internal Affairs.
Former Special Agent in Charge of Phoenix William Newell—he oversaw Fast and Furious and lied by saying guns hadn’t been allowed to go south of the border—is now at the Office of Management in Washington, D.C.
Phoenix Deputy Chief George Gillette is now in to Washington, D.C., as ATF’s liaison to the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
ATF Group Supervisor David Voth—he managed Fast and Furious out of the Phoenix office—is now in a management position in Washington, D.C.
Agent Hope McCallister—she had management duties on the team that ran Fast and Furious—was given a “Lifesaving Award” after it came to light she’d ordered agents to stop tailing suspects who the ATF had allowed to buy guns.
In light of all of this, Senator Grassley pivoted and said, “With regards to Operation Fast and Furious, we want the person at the highest level of government who approved Fast and Furious to be fired. We want justice for Brian Terry’s family—they still don’t know what happened that night when Brian was killed. And we want to know that this stupid program will never happen again.”

Then Senator Grassley highlighted a related issue that hasn’t made the headlines. This issue puts the politics behind the cover up of Fast and Furious in perspective. In November internal documents showed that the DOJ was considering changing existing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations (this is a process that allows citizens to seek and obtain unclassified documents) to allow agencies responding to a FOIA request to answer the person by saying “no records exist,” even if the records do, in fact, exist. This way when someone makes a request for government documents, the agency would be able to fib and thereby work to discourage other such requests. The idea was that agencies could do this whenever someone requested a document that the law allows the government to keep from the public, such one that has a “top-secret” rating.

“They were giving themselves a license to legally lie,” Senator Grassley deadpanned. “This was supposed to be the most transparent administration we’ve ever seen. Well, they’re not.”

After Senator Grassley’s staff made this attempt to give themselves a “license to legally lie” public the DOJ was “so embarrassed they withdrew the proposal right away,” said Senator Grassley.

So whistleblowers who’d been ordered to let guns “walk” in Operation Fast and Furious—and those federal employees who find themselves in other misguided programs or corruption—either can keep their mouths shut or they can come forward and be crushed by the bureaucracy as they attempt to reform the system. This isn’t a decision citizens in a country with the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Bill of Rights should have to contend with.

Just when did the federal bureaucracy get so strong that it lost its fear of the people? Just when did the people become more afraid of the bureaucracy? Given the gauntlet whistleblowers now face, it isn’t surprising that Americans have become cynical about Washington; however, perhaps instead of deciding all politicians are tainted, we should instead realize it’s the growing bureaucratic swamp that needs to be drained.

In fact, saying all of Washington’s politicians are corrupt is too convenient a philosophy; such fashionable cynicism can even be self-fulfilling, as deciding all politicians are crooked doesn’t allow a Senator Grassley, for example, to now and then be a shining example of what a statesman should be.

This article is available online at:
Power User
Posts: 42490

« Reply #882 on: January 20, 2012, 12:18:34 AM »

Issa issues another subpoena in probe of 'Fast and Furious'
By Jordy Yager - 01/19/12 01:22 PM ET

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has subpoenaed a senior official from the U.S. Attorney's Office in his investigation of the botched gun-tracking operation "Fast and Furious."

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a subpoena for Patrick Cunningham, the chief of the Phoenix office’s criminal division within the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona.

In a letter to Cunningham sent on Wednesday, Issa said Justice Department (DOJ) officials have suggested that Cunningham is “the most appropriate person to interview from the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”

“Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the department in preparation for its initial response to Congress,” said Issa in the letter, which was made public on Thursday.

Though Issa does not specify what “initial response to Congress” he is referring to, he is likely talking about a letter from DOJ sent last year to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that contained false statements about the operation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One Republican lawmaker, Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner, has suggested impeaching Attorney General Eric Holder for lying to Congress.

In that February letter, which has since been rescinded, DOJ stated that it did everything in its power to make sure that firearms do not cross the border into Mexico.

Later, it came to light that Operation Fast and Furious oversaw the sale of nearly 2,000 guns to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels. Officials did not provide surveillance for the weapons — a highly controversial and frowned upon tactic known as letting guns “walk” — which has caused many of the firearms to go missing.

In late 2010, two of the guns sold under the operation were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona miles from the border.

Issa said that Cunningham insisted that “no unacceptable tactics were used” in Fast and Furious even after the “initial response” to Congress.

Issa has been investigating the operation and the tactics it used since March of last year. Holder and President Obama have denied ever approving or knowing about the tactics used in Fast and Furious. A separate inspector general investigation has been ongoing since March 2011 as well.

Holder is scheduled to appear before Issa's committee in two weeks.

The committee has been working with Cunningham’s lawyer since August to try and arrange an interview, and one had been scheduled for Thursday, according to Issa’s letter. But Cunningham canceled on Tuesday, leading the chairman to issue a subpoena.

“As a result of your recalcitrance and inflexible positions, the committee is now forced to engage in compulsory process to obtain your testimony,” Issa stated.

Cunningham was named once before in a subpoena Issa issued in October that sought email communications between top DOJ officials. In the subpoena was a request for correspondence sent to or from Cunningham between the dates of Dec. 16 and Dec. 18, 2009, Dec. 15 and Dec. 17, 2010, and March 9 and March 14, 2011.

Cunningham joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona in late 2009 and worked directly under former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke. Burke, who oversaw much of the legal advice given during Operation Fast and Furious, resigned in August.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment. Requests for comment from the U.S. Attorney's office in Arizona were not immediately returned.

This story has been updated to clarify that a senior official for the U.S. Attorney's Office was subpoenaed.
Power User
Posts: 42490

« Reply #883 on: January 21, 2012, 08:01:53 PM »

This from Gun Owners of America.  GOA's emails have started appearing in my email box, but I am not really familiar with them.

Well, this past Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a setback to gun owners. The issue involved a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s illegal multiple sales regulations. [NSSF v. Jones, Acting Director, BATFE.]
Through those regulations, Obama has demanded, by regulatory fiat, that firearms licensees in four southwestern states report multiple sales of certain long guns to the federal government.   
In upholding this action, Judge Rosemary Collyer -– a Bush appointee! –- ignored the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case, and the clear language of federal law.
Of course, this once again underscores the danger of putting all our eggs in the “court basket.” It’s not a bad idea to challenge unconstitutional measures in the courts, but it’s problematic if we look to them as being the ultimate defenders of our gun rights. Clearly, they are not.
Among other things, Judge Collyer ignored the obvious language of the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act, which prohibits the ATF from demanding any information on gun owners other than information explicitly allowed by statute.
Specifically, the section states: “Such [licensees] shall not be required to submit to the Attorney General reports and information with respect to such records and the contents thereof, except as expressly required by this section.” (18 U.S.C. 923(g)(1))
Paragraph (g)(5) allows the Attorney General to demand information by issuing a “demand letter,” but participants in the drafting of McClure-Volkmer affirm that this was not intended to trump the paragraph (1) limitation, in order to statutorily mandate reporting requirements.
To interpret paragraph (g)(5), as Obama and Attorney General Holder have interpreted it, is to say that there are NO limits on the information the Attorney General can demand -– up to and including every 4473 in the country.
In opening this door, Collyer cited much narrower decisions in the Fourth and the liberal Ninth Circuit, but expanded them beyond any judicial precedent. Citing a test that looked at whether the ATF’s action constituted a “clear error of judgment” or was “arbitrary or capricious,” Collyer gave all of the benefit of the doubt to Obama -– and none to the Second Amendment, which wasn’t even considered in her 21-page opinion.
The decision will presumably be appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -– a supposedly “conservative” circuit that nevertheless upheld ObamaCare.   
But the larger issue is this: Congress can block these regulations by simply cutting off the money to implement them. Last fall, we demanded that the House include such a prohibition in its giant money bill. But congressional leaders ignored the Second Amendment community on this and a variety of other pro-gun issues, including defunding ObamaCare.
It is late in the game. But there is still an opportunity to prohibit funding for the multiple sales regulations on the annual Department of Justice Appropriations bill and the “continuing resolution” which will inevitably follow around September 30.
True, a lot of damage will have been done by that point. But we cannot allow to stand the precedent that the Attorney General can seize any and all gun-related information, simply by saying he wants it.
ACTION: Click here to ontact your representative. Tell him Congress must act to block funding for the unlawful, anti-gun Obama multiple sales regulations.
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« Reply #884 on: January 21, 2012, 08:11:47 PM »

second post:

Federal official in Arizona to plead the fifth and not answer questions on 'furious'

By William La Jeunesse

Published January 20, 2012

The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona is refusing to testify before Congress regarding Operation Fast and Furious, the federal gun-running scandal that sent U.S. weapons to Mexico.

Patrick J. Cunningham informed the House Oversight Committee late Thursday through his attorney that he will use the Fifth Amendment protection.

Cunningham was ordered Wednesday to appear before Chairman Darrell Issa and the House Oversight Committee regarding his role in the operation that sent more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa Cartel. Guns from the failed operation were found at the murder scene of Border Agent Brian Terry.

The letter from Cunningham’s Washington DC attorney stunned congressional staff. Last week, Cunningham, the second highest ranking U.S. Attorney in Arizona, was scheduled to appear before Issa‘s committee voluntarily. Then, he declined and Issa issued a subpoena.

Cunningham is represented by Tobin Romero of Williams and Connolly who is a specialist in white collar crime. In the letter, he suggests witnesses from the Department of Justice in Washington, who have spoken in support of Attorney General Eric Holder, are wrong or lying.

“Department of Justice officials have reported to the Committee that my client relayed inaccurate information to the Department upon which it relied in preparing its initial response to Congress. If, as you claim, Department officials have blamed my client, they have blamed him unfairly,” the letter to Issa says.

Romero claims Cunningham did nothing wrong and acted in good faith, but the Department of Justice in Washington is making him the fall guy, claiming he failed to accurately provide the Oversight Committee with information on the execution of Fast and Furious.

"To avoid needless preparation by the Committee and its staff for a deposition next week, I am writing to advise you that my client is going to assert his constitutional privilege not to be compelled to be a witness against himself." Romero told Issa.

This schism is the first big break in what has been a unified front in the government’s defense of itself in the gun-running scandal. Cunningham claims he is a victim of a conflict between two branches of government and will not be compelled to be a witnesses against himself, and make a statement that could be later used by a grand jury or special prosecutor to indict him on criminal charges.

Arizona's state legislature will open its own investigation into the Obama administration's disgraced gun-running program, known as "Fast and Furious," the speaker of the state House said Friday.

Speaker Andy Tobin created the committee, and charged it with looking at whether the program broke any state laws — raising the possibility of state penalties against those responsible for the operation.

It's a turnaround from the rest of the immigration issue, where the federal government has sued to block the state's own set of laws.
A law requiring businesses to check new workers' legal status was upheld by the Supreme Court last year, and the court has agreed to hear the case of Arizona's crackdown law that makes being an illegal immigrant a state crime and gives state and local police the power to enforce that law.

Fast and Furious was a straw-purchase program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal was to try to trace guns sold in Arizona shops and then trafficked across the Mexican border, where they landed in the hands of drug cartels.

As part of the operation, however, agents let the guns "walk" — meaning they lost track of them. At least two of the guns ended up at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits along a smuggling corridor in Arizona.

Mr. Tobin will announce the committee's jurisdiction at a press conference in Phoenix on Monday. The committee is charged with looking into the facts about the program, what impact it had on Arizona and whether any of the state's laws were broken.

A report is due back by March 30.
Arizona's investigation into Fast and Furious comes on top of an investigation by Republicans in Congress.
On Friday the chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona told a House committee he will decline to answer their questions next week, citing his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
The official's lawyer, in a letter to the committee, said his client is innocent but is "ensnared by the unfortunate circumstances in which he now stands between two branches of government."
By Stephen Dinan
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« Reply #885 on: January 28, 2012, 11:52:39 PM »

*Ariz. attorney who pleaded 5th in Fast and Furious investigation leaves job* (
by Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The head of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona if officially leaving his job.

Patrick Cunningham is one of several who have been under fire since the botched gun-trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious came to light. Those investigating Fast and Furious believe Cunningham had a significant hand in the decisions made during the controversial operation.

According to a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder from House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Department of Justice had "identified Patrick Cunningham as the best person in the U.S. Attorney's Office to provide information about Fast and Furious to the Committee."

When Cunningham summoned to go before the House Oversight committee last week to be deposed about his role in the operation, he invoked the Fifth Amendment, which is the right to not implicate oneself in a crime.

In his letter to Holder, Issa said Cunningham's decision to plead the Fifth "suggests that the Department has jeopardized public safety and the public trust by allowing individuals with potential criminal culpability to remain in positions of authority."

It's believed that Cunningham and his office allowed more than 2,000 guns purchased in Arizona to be taken into Mexico. The intent was to follow the guns from small-time buyers to the big players in the drug cartels. The guns, however, vanished, many turning up later at crimes scene in both Mexico and the U.S. Two of those guns were recovered from the scene of the December 2010 shooting that killed border agent Brian Terry on the U.S. side of the border.

More than 1,400 of the Fast and Furious weapons are still missing.

Holder is slated to testify again on Tuesday. While many have called for Holder's resignation, both he and President Barack Obama have denied responsibility for the failed operation.

After Cunningham invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege, Issa requested that Holder make an assistant U.S. attorney who was under Cunnigham's direct supervision available for testimony.

Appointed by former U.S Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, Cunningham had been the chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona since Jan. 11, 2010.

On Friday, Cunningham left the U.S. Attorney's Office for a job in the private sector.
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« Reply #886 on: January 29, 2012, 02:27:10 PM »

Holder informed of Fast & Furious five months before testimony?

posted at 3:15 pm on January 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

When Eric Holder testified about his knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious on May 3, 2011, he told the House Judiciary Committee that he had only been informed of the operation “a few weeks ago.”  Later, Holder amended that to say that it would have been more accurate to call the time period “a couple of months.”
Does five months qualify as “a couple” or “a few weeks”?

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice dumped documents related to Operation Fast and Furious on congressional officials late Friday night. Central to this document dump is a series of emails showing Holder was informed of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder on the day it happened – December 15, 2010 – and that he was informed the weapons used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious on the same day.
An email from one official, whose name has been redacted from the document, to now-former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke reads: “On December 14, 2010, a BORTAC agent working in the Nogales, AZ AOR was shot. The agent was conducting Border Patrol operations 18 miles north of the international boundary when he encountered [redacted word] unidentified subjects. Shots were exchanged resulting in the agent being shot. At this time, the agent is being transported to an area where he can be air lifted to an emergency medical center.”
That email was sent at 2:31 a.m. on the day Terry was shot. One hour later, a follow-up email read: “Our agent has passed away.”
Burke forwarded those two emails to Holder’s then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson later that morning, adding that the incident was “not good” because it happened “18 miles w/in” the border.
Wilkinson responded to Burke shortly thereafter and said the incident was “tragic.” “I’ve alerted the AG [Holder], the Acting DAG, Lisa, etc.”
So far, it just sounds like a normal notification of an agent death — until one reads an e-mail from later in the same day:

Then, later that day, Burke followed up with Wilkinson after Burke discovered from officials whose names are redacted that the guns used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious. “The guns found in the desert near the murder BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store,” Burke wrote to Wilkinson.
“I’ll call tomorrow,” Wilkinson responded.
It’s amazing what one can find in Friday night document dumps, isn’t it?  Small wonder that the DoJ didn’t want this released during the week, when the newspapers and media could draw more eyes to it.  This e-mail utterly negates the notion that Holder had no idea about Fast and Furious when Terry was murdered with weapons sent over the border by the ATF.
Could this open another line of Fast and Furious investigation, this time into potential perjury charges against Holder?  Holder was probably vague enough to avoid a legal finding of perjury in his initial testimony, but he clearly intended to deceive Congress in that testimony.  Either he knew about F&F when notified of Terry’s death, or didn’t bother to check with his own deputy chief of staff to follow up on the matter.
Holder will appear on Tuesday to testify before the House Oversight Committee and its chair, Rep. Darrell Issa.  The only thing that might overshadow this new revelation would be Issa demanding to know why a senior DoJ official planned to take the 5th before the committee.
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« Reply #887 on: January 29, 2012, 03:52:43 PM »


The career path of former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke can be charted through an ascending string of jobs from Arizona's Supreme Court to the U.S. Senate, White House, Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department.
It is a resume that spans more than two decades in three branches of government.

Then, suddenly, it nose-dives on Aug. 30, 2011, when Burke resigned as U.S. attorney amid a scandal over a gun-smuggling case known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Since that day, the gregarious public servant has gone silent, and nearly invisible, except that his name appears prominently in Justice Department documents, congressional hearings and news reports.

Burke's political downfall may have been shocking, but an Arizona Republic analysis of his career suggests that the cause -- firearm politics -- has been a pet theme through most of his 23 years in government.
The end came after federal records and testimony revealed that Burke last year pressed colleagues and superiors to deny that the Justice Department knowingly allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico under his watch, and that two of those weapons wound up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
In e-mail exchanges with DOJ officials, Burke incorrectly described allegations about Fast and Furious by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, as "categorically false." He also reviled congressional investigators as "stooges" for gun-rights zealots.

Burke finally quit his post after testifying in secret to congressional investigators about the case.
He was not the only federal official to suffer fallout. At the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, national Director Kenneth Melson was reassigned and Arizona's top agent, William Newell, was transferred. On Capitol Hill, Grassley called for the removal of Lanny Breuer, second in command of the Justice Department, and many in Congress have said Attorney General Eric Holder should be fired.

But, of all the officials caught up in America's so-called "gun-walking" scandal, Dennis Kiernan Burke is the only one to lose his job.
A resignation letter to President Barack Obama said simply, "It is the right time to move on to pursue other aspects of my career and my life."
The question: Has he hit bottom yet, and can he rise again?
'A stand-up guy'

Since leaving his skyscraper office in downtown Phoenix, Burke has turned down all interview requests, leaving his lawyers to describe him as a "stand-up guy" who didn't intentionally mislead Congress or the public.
An inspector general probe is still under way, as well as congressional investigations.

Friends say Burke, who had been touted as a possible candidate for governor or Congress, is lying low, volunteering full time with a rape-crisis network and playing golf. All of them speak of him with glowing adjectives: articulate, positive, hardworking, decent, funny, loyal.

"He doesn't have enemies," said Robbie Aiken, a longtime friend and vice president for federal affairs with Pinnacle West Capital Corp. "All the things he's done, yet I've never really heard anybody say anything negative about him."
But there are critics, especially among staunch Second Amendment advocates, who paint Burke as a liberal apparatchik who was willing to let criminals move weapons to Mexican cartels if it would help justify new firearms restrictions.
"It's no coincidence that Dennis Burke, a longtime anti-gun policy person, was made U.S. Attorney in mid-2009 ... the same month (sic) that Fast and Furious begins," said Mike Vanderboegh, a gun-rights blogger. "They picked precisely the right guy to run a clandestine program." (The operation began a month after Burke's appointment was confirmed.)

Curiously, the supporters and detractors agree on one point: They say Burke became a scapegoat to protect higher officials in the Justice Department or White House. Dave Workman, a gun-rights blogger, described Burke as "the chief sacrificial lamb."
Sen. Grassley, in an October statement, said: "Mr. Burke is to be commended, to some extent, for being the only person to resign and take responsibility for the failed operation. Of course, I do not believe he should feel obligated to be the only fall guy."

Phoenix attorney Andy Gordon, a close friend for nearly two decades, said Burke may be loyal to a fault, protecting higher-ups in the Justice Department. "DOJ threw him under the bus. That's my view," Gordon said.
Another friend, attorney Tim Nelson, said: "I don't know the workings of the Obama administration, whether they were looking for a fall guy or what. But it certainly looks that way."

Whether those evaluations are valid or not, associates agree Burke was devastated to lose a dream job and see his reputation tainted by scandal.
Kevin Burke, an older brother who serves as a county judge in Minnesota, said Dennis is focused on defending himself as investigations continue.
"He's certainly bummed," Judge Burke said. "You want people to understand what you did and why you did it." Asked if Dennis privately admits to making mistakes, Kevin answered, "I can categorically deny that. The idea that he is going around saying, 'Boy, I really screwed up'? He's never told me that."

Strong work ethic and ambition
Since Dennis Burke got his law degree at the University of Arizona in 1988, he has flourished in high-profile government jobs, handling politicians, journalists, lobbyists and lawyers with aplomb.
Born in 1962 in Chicago, the last of five children in an Irish-Catholic home, Burke once credited his immigrant grandfather with instilling a work ethic to match ambitions. When Dennis was just a boy, the family moved to Phoenix, where he attended Catholic schools. (As an adult, he once said his life motto was "Love your neighbor as you do yourself" because "several nuns beat that into my head in grade school.")

After graduation from Brophy College Preparatory, Burke earned a bachelor's degree at Georgetown University and got an early taste of national politics by serving as an intern for U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn.
"He was kind of bitten by the Hill bug," said Kevin Burke, who is president of the American Judges Association.
Former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D
-Ariz., who hired Burke from law school as a congressional intern, said the student stood out for legal smarts and people skills. "Just really bright," DeConcini said, "and he was good with Republicans."
Fresh out of law school, Burke won a coveted position as clerk with the Arizona Supreme Court under Justice James Moeller.

Then, in 1989, he was hired as a low-level staff lawyer at the U.S. Senate. Within a year -- at age 27 -- Burke was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, eventually playing a behind-the-scenes role in confirmation proceedings for three Supreme Court justices.

And he began working on gun control. DeConcini said Burke helped draft the Anti-Drug Assault Weapons Limitation Act of 1989. A five-year battle ensued, ending with President Bill Clinton signing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it a federal offense to possess certain semiautomatic rifles manufactured after the law's passage.

DeConcini said Burke fostered the measure in concert with a key figure in the White House, policy analyst Rahm Emanuel, who years later would become chief of staff for President Obama. Emanuel now is mayor of Chicago.
"Dennis was the one who worked with everyone on the Judiciary Committee to line up these members and votes," DeConcini said. "Dennis had all these pictures of these guns -- the Streetsweepers and the AK-47s. And it passed by one vote. A lot of it was not my eloquence on the bill, it was stuff that Dennis had done."

The law was adopted shortly before Burke left his Senate job for a position in the Clinton White House as a senior policy analyst for law enforcement and drug issues, again working with Emanuel.
According to preserved e-mails, Burke continued handling firearm issues, discussing whether executive orders could be used to extend the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act requirement for background checks.
In 1997, Burke became a federal prosecutor under U.S. Attorney Janet Napolitano, getting firsthand experience with Mexican syndicates that were smuggling narcotics and firearms. In an interview that year with the Arizona Business Gazette, he identified earlier gun-regulation efforts as the most fulfilling professional assignment he'd undertaken.

Over the next decade, he served as a chief deputy to Napolitano as she became Arizona attorney general, governor and then director of Homeland Security, where he again dealt with gun-running into Mexico.
Fast and Furious launched

On July 10, 2009, President Obama named Burke as his nominee for U.S. attorney for Arizona. He was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate on Sept. 15 of that year.

From the beginning, there were huge controversies: Senate Bill 1070, Arizona's anti-immigration law, was under challenge in court. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was being investigated for alleged civil-rights violations. Border security had become a political firefight, with Arizona as a funnel point for smuggling amid growing fear that Mexican violence would spill onto U.S. soil.
Authorities in both nations were blaming liberal U.S. gun laws for arming the cartels. The assault-weapons law had expired in 2004. Restoration of the statute had been on Obama's platform, and Burke was among the public adherents.
During a news conference in 2010, Burke complained that scores of guns from Arizona were being recovered in Mexico. "We have a huge problem here. We have now become the gun locker of the Mexican drug cartels." What Burke did not mention was that his prosecutors had allegedly instructed ATF agents to let some of those weapons "walk" across the border.

In fact, just one month after Burke's appointment as U.S. attorney was confirmed by the Senate, Operation Fast and Furious was secretly launched in Arizona.
According to congressional testimony and DOJ records, the idea was to follow the firearms south so that drug lords who received them could be identified and prosecuted. Over a two-year period, smugglers moved as many as 1,400 weapons across the border. The problem: Those AK-47s and .50-caliber rifles were being used for mayhem in Mexico, and U.S. investigators had not devised a successful way to track them.
Agent Terry's death

Burke's supporters question whether he understood that the ATF strategy knowingly let guns into Mexico, but critics say e-mails and other Justice Department records indicate he knew exactly what was going on.
For example, an ATF memo in January 2010 says Burke was briefed in detail on Fast and Furious and expressed "full agreement" with a strategy allowing "the transfer of firearms to continue to take place ... in order to further the investigation and allow for the identification of additional co-conspirators."
In an April 2010 e-mail to a colleague, Burke predicted that the operation would have a huge public impact: "It's going to bring a lot of attention to straw purchasers of assault weapons," he wrote. "Some of these weapons bought by these clowns in Arizona have been directly traced to murders of elected officials in Mexico by the cartels, so Katie-bar-the-door when we unveil this baby."
However, available Justice Department documents do not include any record where Burke explicitly acknowledged an awareness of the gun-walking strategy, and it is unclear whether he believed a furor would result because of the investigative tactic, or because so many U.S. firearms were responsible for Mexico's cartel bloodshed.

At least some ATF agents bristled at the ATF operation, warning of potentially fatal consequences. Those predictions proved true on Dec. 14, 2010, when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a midnight shootout with bandits near Nogales. Within hours, Burke was notified that two guns found at the scene were linked to Fast and Furious.

A man, who bought them 11 months earlier at a Glendale firearms store, was promptly arrested on suspicion of illegal-weapons purchases, along with other gun-buy suspects. Yet, at a news conference announcing the busts, federal officials failed to reveal the link with Terry's death and denied that guns had been allowed to "walk" as part of the case.

ATF agents, horrified at what happened, became whistle-blowers, leaking information to Congress. Last January, Sen. Grassley sent letters to ATF, alleging that the bureau had knowingly allowed guns into the hands of Mexican criminals and that two of those weapons were tied to Terry's murder. Burke reacted by sending e-mails to DOJ colleagues denouncing the senator's assertions as "categorical falsehoods."

In early messages to DOJ superiors, he incorrectly claimed weapons found at the murder scene were purchased before Fast and Furious started. Later, he clarified that although Fast and Furious was under way, the buyer was not being surveilled at the time he bought them.
Bitter denunciations

On Feb. 1,The Republic published the first mainstream news story on the gun-running scandal and about a congressional inquiry into Fast and Furious.
Burke e-mailed a top Justice Department official, complaining about the bad publicity and about Grassley's letter. "They (ATF) got smoked today in the Arizona Republic. Just smoked," he wrote. "They punted going on the record to deny completely fabricated assertions that cut at the heart of their agency and the mission of law enforcement."

ATF and Justice officials spent three days arguing over language for a rebuttal to Grassley's letter. Burke, who wanted a hard-line denial, complained bitterly to colleagues: "What is so offensive about this whole project is that Grassley's staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling SWB (Southwest Border) gun trafficking operations," he wrote. "Not uttering one word of rightful praise or thanks to ATF -- but, instead, lobbing this reckless, despicable accusation that ATF is complicit in the murder of a federal law enforcement officer."
In another missive, Burke wrote, "I am so personally outraged by Senator Grassley's falsehoods. It is one of the lowest acts I have ever seen in politics."
DOJ eventually issued a letter denouncing Grassley's allegations about Fast and Furious as "false."

Holder has since acknowledged that the senator's assertions were true, and that Fast and Furious was a flawed operation. Spurred by those admissions, congressional investigators redoubled their efforts, digging up more records and questioning witnesses under oath. This past summer, Burke was called before congressional investigators for two closed-door interviews.
According to subsequently released excerpts, Burke acknowledged mistakes and accepted blame. "It should not have been done the way it was done," he said, "and I want to take responsibility for that. And I'm not falling on my sword or trying to cover for anyone else."
Motives debated

Attorneys Lee Stein and Chuck Rosenberg, who represent Burke, said their client did not intentionally provide false information to colleagues and superiors in the Justice Department.
"Dennis has cooperated with congressional investigators and the (Justice) Department's inquiry into this matter," Stein said. "He takes his public service seriously."

Critics say the constellation of facts points to Burke as a ramrod behind Fast and Furious, working to provide political powder for more firearm regulations.
In a Dec. 18 post, Second Amendment blogger John Richardson wrote: "Looking at Burke's background and his attitude towards gun rights and those who support them, I see this as even further confirmation that the intent of Operation Fast and Furious from the very beginning was to build support for another so-called assault-weapons ban. I just don't think it was coincidental that Operation Fast and Furious was centered in Arizona."

DeConcini, who has sought to help Burke behind the scenes with members of Congress, said such inferences are "totally unfair," and he insisted that Burke did not learn of the gun-walking strategy until after Brian Terry's death.
Kevin Burke said it is absurd to suggest that his brother came up with some "Machiavellian plan" to justify gun-control measures. He said Dennis was dedicated to stopping firearm deaths -- not adding to them -- and he would never have risked lives or his career on such a gambit.

David Steele, a political consultant and friend, agreed: "The Dennis Burke I know doesn't engage in that kind of political triangulation," he said. "The whole notion that he did this as a conspiracy for gun control is laughable."

Investigations by Congress and the inspector general are ongoing.
Guns from Fast and Furious continue to surface at crimes scenes in Mexico and the United States.
The case against those accused of killing Brian Terry is sealed in federal court.
And Dennis Burke remains under a cloud.
His attorney Stein said the experience has been "sobering," but Burke keeps busy volunteering with a rape-crisis network. "He's really been using this time to reconnect with family and friends, and to try to get through all this and decide what he'll do with the rest of his life," Stein said.
Other friends say he understands how scandals work in the nation's capital. "It's a tough town," said Aiken, who worked in the Reagan administration. "Dennis knows that. He's a tough guy. And I suspect he'll come out of this A-OK. (But) I don't think he was treated altogether fairly."

by Dennis Wagner - Jan. 28, 2012 10:21 PM
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Posts: 42490

« Reply #888 on: February 01, 2012, 07:47:36 PM »

The family of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry has filed a  $25 million wrongful death suit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,  Firearms and Explosives claiming Terry was killed with AK-47s that were  knowingly sold under the Fast and Furious gunrunning probe to a straw  purchaser for drug cartels.
  In a 65-page complaint, filed in Arizona state court on Wednesday,  attorneys for the family claim ATF "wrongdoing" in Operation Fast and  Furious.
  “ATF's failures were not only negligent but in violation of ATF's own policies and procedures," the complaint claims.

  The family has also filed a suit against the Lone Wolf Trading  Company seeking unspecified damages for negligence in selling the  weapons to the purchaser and aiding and abetting in Mexican drug  cartels’ conduct.
  The suit says Lone Wolf knowingly sold "hundreds of weapons" to  various straw purchasers and in turn realized "hundreds of thousands of  dollars in profits from these sales."

  The suit alleges that "but for defendants' negligent and illegal  sales ... Brian Terry would not have been murdered in the Arizona desert  on Dec. 14, 2010."
  The family is seeking a jury trial.
  The government now has 60 days to respond or the Terry family will file the suit for the $25 million.

  According to the claim, agent Terry was patrolling near Rio Rico on  the night of Dec. 14, 2010 when he was shot and killed by criminals  yielding assault rifles. Those rifles were traced to a straw purchaser  for Mexican drug cartels in Arizona who the ATF knew about and allowed  to deliver the weapons to the cartels.
  “The murder of agent Terry and other acts of violent crimes were the  natural consequence of ATF's decision to let dangerous weapons designed  to kill human beings 'walk' into the hands of violent drug-trafficking  gangs,” the complaint reads.

  The claim also contends that the circumstances that led to Terry’s  murder were not isolated events, but rather there were thousands of guns  purchased under occasional ATF surveillance with no way of tracking all  the weapons from straw purchases.

  In a second claim filed against Lone Wolf Trading Company, the Terrys  say the company should have recognized the illegal and risky nature of  the purchases, but it instead ignored its legal obligation under federal  and state law to refuse illegal firearm sales.

  The company was not only aware that the purchases were illegal and  part of the Fast and Furious operation, but it also knew the ATF did not  arrest the purchasers and let the straw buyers continue to make illegal  buys, according to the claim.

  Both the ATF and Lone Wolf were unavailable for comment on Wednesday.
  The family stated in their claim against the ATF that Christmas 2010  was to be the first the family was to spend together in three years  because of Brian’s ATF duties. Brian was killed two days before he was  to fly home to Michigan.
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« Reply #889 on: February 01, 2012, 09:32:07 PM »

My heart goes out to the family, but this sounds like a frivolous lawsuit.  Better legal minds on this forum than mine can correct me, but suing the U.S. Government (ATF) seems like a losing
proposition - immunity, etc. overall a waste of time and money, albeit great publicity.
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Posts: 15533

« Reply #890 on: February 01, 2012, 09:37:14 PM »

I'm sure there is a motive for seeking publicity, as much of the state media has tried to bury the story, but it's also about the discovery, and qualified immunity is indeed not absolute, especially when gov't officials act outside the scope of their authority and break state and federal laws.
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« Reply #891 on: February 01, 2012, 11:52:24 PM »

My legal instincts, hazy as they may be, go in the general direction of GM's comments.  I'm not seeing any simple ways of knocking it out of the box off the top of my head.  Restating GM in my own words, the immunities of which you think are not a grant of the right to deliberately commit felonies.
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« Reply #892 on: February 07, 2012, 07:37:45 AM »

Fast and Furious: Three Questions Not Asked

A competent media would relentlessly pursue the three answers.

Bob Owens


February 6, 2012 - 12:01 am

Attorney General Eric Holder provided a sixth unsatisfactory performance in front of Congress this past week, dodging questions about the nation’s deadly gunrunning scandal.
To date, the media has largely buried the story of the Department of Justice scheme that contributed to the deaths of a federal agent and more than 300 Mexican citizens. Such a story would have held front-page, top-of-the-hour focus until answers were provided and officials had been hounded out of office or imprisoned had it occurred under a Republican administration.
But Barack Obama is a Democrat, and black. Also, Eric Holder is a Democrat, and black. It is inconceivable for the mainstream media to grill the decisions, motives, or goals of black Democrats for fear of being “racist” according to their own definition of the term, which is criticism of a minority member who professes the “correct” political ideology. Radically different rules apply for minority Republicans.


Whether Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation, as the Department of Justice claims, or was part of a plot to impose gun control, it was radically different from all other border gun operations in one crucial way. Operation Fast and Furious was the only border gun operation that was undertaken with the full intention of the straw-purchased guns leaving the control of law enforcement officers and reaching the armories of drug cartel murderers. That fact alone should lead to the impeachment or administrative removal of everyone, from field agents to political appointees and elected officials that knew or should have known about the plot.
But that is only half of the horror story.
Operation Fast and Furious was specifically conceived so that “walked” guns would be recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Their serial numbers would be provided to the ATF by Mexican authorities for tracing. Regardless of motive, the entire operation was premised on weapons being recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, and law enforcement agencies are well aware that criminals primarily abandon weapons only after they’ve been used in serious felony crimes such as murder or attempted murder.
Operation Fast and Furious was conceived knowing that Mexican nationals would be sacrificed in significant numbers if the tracing operation had any chance of working.
Operation Fast and Furious allowed more than 2,000 weapons to “walk,” indicating that those in charge of the operation were willing to let thousands of Mexican nationals die in an effort to identify the ringleaders of a cartel’s weapon acquisition team.
The Department of Justice claims that they did this so that they could trace the weapons to higher-ups in the cartels and take down entire gun-smuggling networks. Decent people can disagree on many aspects of crime fighting and the amount of risk we should be willing to absorb to fight crime, but we should all agree that no criminal network is worth sacrificing the lives of hundreds or thousands of victims.  Yet that is precisely the way Operation Fast and Furious was designed to work.
The first question is obvious, and yet remains unasked by the media and unanswered by the Obama administration and Department of Justice:
1.Who conceived this radical departure from normal law enforcement practices? Who conceived an operation that depended upon the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Mexican nationals for its success?
But as disturbing as the conception of the plot was, it was merely an idea, if one that most would agree is objectively evil in design. It should have died stillborn on the proverbial drawing board. Somehow, this idea was not just allowed, but someone with significant political and operational clout within the Justice Department was able to shepherd this high-risk and inarguably lethal program from idea through planning and budgeting into execution. This strongly suggests high-level sponsorship within the Department of Justice. This demands answers to a second question:
2.Which Department of Justice officials saw that Operation Fast and Furious was dependent on hundreds or thousands of firearms being given to the cartels and recovered at the scenes of crimes, knew that the crimes in question were likely to be murders of Mexican nationals or U.S. citizens along the Mexican border where the cartels operate, and approved the operation anyway?
We know that Operation Fast and Furious depended entirely upon hundred or thousands of walked weapons being recovered at crime scenes so that weapons could be traced, and that those crime scenes would almost certainly be murders. We know that such a high-risk, low-reward program could not have be conceived or approved at a local level, and that it must have had high-level sponsorship within Justice. It is reasonable to make the assumption, unless proven otherwise, that such approval could only come from the level of a deputy attorney general or higher.
President Barack Obama is the very definition of a “political creature,” vaulting through local and state politics to the U.S. Senate and into the presidency at phenomenal speed. He knows that liabilities are to be relentlessly purged, and he did so repeatedly to separate himself from old allies and even mentors in his 2008 political campaign. Sentimental he is not.
He is also well aware that an ongoing, long-term political scandal is just the kind of public relations nightmare he does not need as he enters his reelection campaign season in earnest. Once the Republican primary battle is over and the stage is set for the general election battle, the political and legal spectacle of Operation Fast and Furious will be brought to the forefront by the Republican challenger or by one of the super PACs. Operation Fast and Furious is a serious and unresolved problem that endangers his second term as seriously as a problematic economy.
Any competent political operative within the Obama campaign would want the scandal surrounding Operation Fast and Furious resolved as quickly as possible to remove it as a weapon against Obama’s election. Fair or foul, cutting your losses is how the game is played, and it is miraculous that Attorney General Eric Holder still retains the president’s support after the allegations of Operation Fast and Furious and various other scandals that are emerging at precisely the wrong time.
This leads us to a third question:
3. Knowing that Operation Fast and Furious could be the political and criminal albatross that drives away moderates and Latino voters and destroys his chances of winning a second term, why does President Obama refuse to appoint a special prosecutor or, at the very least, call for Eric Holder and his direct reports to resign?
Considering the president’s close relationship with the attorney general, it is possible that Mr. Obama simply does not want to turn on a friend and political ally. There is also the possibility, however, that Mr. Holder is quite well below the person who approved the operation and was aware of it. Evidence suggests that White House officials may have been briefed on the operation. It is conceivable that the attorney general holds evidence that assures he will not be forced out.
These are intriguing questions, and each demands a thorough explanation.
If the media were interested in some sort of objective view of reality that most non-ideologues could easily confuse with something akin to truth, they would only need to relentlessly seek the answers to these three questions on which a presidency may indeed turn.
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« Reply #893 on: February 07, 2012, 10:51:56 AM »

West Allis (City in Wisc.) pays $30,000 to man arrested for wearing gun

(He was planting a tree in his back yard! In America! "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."??)

The city of West Allis has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit prompted by one of the first tests of Wisconsin residents' right to openly carry guns.

Brad Krause was planting a tree in his backyard in August 2008 -- while wearing a holstered handgun -- when police arrived, drew their weapons and arrested him.

In February 2009, a municipal judge found Krause not guilty of disorderly conduct, and in April of that year state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a memo advising law enforcement agencies that the mere fact of wearing a gun, by itself, would not support a charge of disorderly conduct.

Krause sued the city in federal court in 2010.

"This is a clear victory for Mr. Krause and Wisconsin residents who wish to assert their rights under the state and federal Constitution to bear arms lawfully," said his attorney, John Schiro.
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« Reply #894 on: February 07, 2012, 12:38:17 PM »

That is a very good article GM and would serve well for introducing people to this subject.

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« Reply #895 on: February 08, 2012, 07:16:05 PM »

In what appears to be an exclusive for border issues-focused Fronteras,  Michel Marizco reveals information that seems to directly undermine the  Department of Justice’s insistence that Operation Fast and Furious was a  localized and compartmentalized plot within the Phoenix ATF and Phoenix  U.S. Attorney’s Office.
 In sworn testimony in front of the House Committee on Oversight and  Government Reform last week, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder continued with  this stance. Holder was supported by congressional Democrats who cited a  lack of evidence of corruption — corruption that the Oversight majority  speculated was a result of the DOJ refusing to hand over the majority  of the documents and witnesses requested.
 Retired DEA official Tony Coulson was in charge of DEA-Tucson during  Operation Fast and Furious. He now states that his agency and  Immigration and Customs Enforcement were not only aware of the  gunwalking plot, but that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  agents were actively interdicting the plot, confiscating weapons the ATF was walking to Mexican narco-terrorists ( [1]:“In 2009, 2010, I became aware that ATF was walking guns  into Mexico,” Coulson said. “I also learned that Homeland Security  Investigations, then ICE, actually interceded on more than one occasion  where they seized weapons at the ports of entry when they were heading  southbound contrary to ATF’s plans.”
 There was serious friction, Coulson claims, between ICE (Immigration  and Customs Enforcement) and the ATF in Phoenix. When Coulson took the  gun walking to his bosses in Phoenix, he was told the lead law  enforcement official in Arizona — U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke — was  already aware of it.

Coulson reveals not just the extent of how widely Operation Fast and  Furious was known of within federal law enforcement, but that the  gunwalking plot was actively opposed by Immigration and Customs  Enforcement agents that interdicted the ATF-run weapons shipments on  multiple occasions.
 Coulson’s information opens up an entirely new group of federal law  enforcement officers for interviews by congressional investigators.  Investigators could get an idea from interviews with DEA and ICE agents  just how widely Operation Fast and Furious was known of among the  branches of the Obama administration.
 Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller followed up with Coulson in an interview ( [2] that seems to seriously undermine the position Attorney General Holder has taken that he did not know gunwalking was occurring:Contrary to the picture Holder has tried to paint during  his congressional hearing appearances, Coulson said that “yeah,  absolutely” law enforcement officials were widely aware the ATF was  using gun-walking tactics in Arizona. Coulson went so far as to say he  suspects Holder himself was aware of the tactic, or was willfully  unaware — meaning he didn’t want to know and made sure he wasn’t  informed of gun-walking.

Depending on where the evidence takes them, Congress may very well  have good reason to put DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart under oath to  determine what her chain of command knew about Operation Fast and  Furious. Leonhart had previously claimed that her department played only a support role ( [3], which is vastly different than the ATF’s Bill Newell’s position under oath when he claimed ( [4] that ATF, DEA, ICE, and the Internal Revenue Service were all “full partners” in the gun-walking operation.
 Investigators may also find cause to have Department of Homeland  Security (DHS) personnel testify, and to issue subpoenas for relevant  documents from both the DEA and DHS. Interviews with ICE agents and  supervisors in Arizona could investigate the alleged interdictions of  Fast and Furious weapons, the disposal of those firearms, and precisely  what occurred as a result of the “serious friction” between ICE and ATF  due to the latter organization’s plot to arm the Sinaloa cartel.
 Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke ran Operation Fast and  Furious according to the Department of Justice’s current position.  Burke’s history is interesting in the context of the gunwalking plot: he  has long been a gun-ban architect for the Democratic Party and was  behind the ineffectual 1994 “assault weapon” ban that sunset in 2004.  Burke was the former Chief of Staff for former Governor Janet Napolitano  for a number of years before she became the Secretary of Homeland  Security. Considering their long-term relationship, his role running the  plot on Napolitano’s home turf, and the ICE/DHS intercepts of Fast and  Furious weapons, investigators may find a legitimate reason to request  that Secretary Napolitano testify under oath in front of Congress about  what she or other DHS officials may have known about the “widely known”  plot.
 Marizco’s discussion with Coulson also lends credence to the theory  that Operation Fast and Furious was not a legitimate law enforcement  operation, but was instead conducted to manufacture evidence to support  the Obama administration’s desire for more restrictive gun-control laws:Burke has since resigned, as a result of the public scandal resulting from Operation Fast and Furious.
 Coulson also claims politics played a role in how Fast and Furious  unfolded. The ATF officials who supervised the gun walking out of  Phoenix were telling the news media as early as 2008 that 90 percent of  the guns seized in Mexico came from the U.S. In other words, the same  agency that was waging a public battle against gun smuggling was  facilitating gun walking at the same time.
 “Among federal law enforcement, that became somewhat of a joke,”  Coulson said. “We all knew that was whatever weapons the Mexican  government decided to follow or trace back to the U.S. And never took  into account the weapons that come in from Central America, from other  countries around the world.”

The weapons that the ATF “walked” to the Sinaloa cartel were not  necessarily the firearms that would be most useful for narco-terrorists,  but were instead firearms that U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and his  Democratic sponsors have attempted to ban in the past ( [5].  It wasn’t remotely cost-effective to buy semi-automatic (one shot per  trigger pull) AR-15 and AK-47 pattern rifles in the United States when  the selective-fire military variants (real assault rifles) were both  much less expensive to acquire and easier to acquire in bulk in many of  the same countries from which they obtained their drugs.
 In the Daily Caller article, Coulson leaves no doubt that Fast and Furious was a gun-control plot ( [6]:Coulson also said most other law enforcement officials in  Arizona knew Newell had a gun control agenda behind his actions with  Fast and Furious and other operations. “Whenever Bill would make those  [anti-gun rights] statements [with inflated gun trafficking statistics],  everyone would roll their eyes and say, ‘when is someone going to call  him on this?’” Coulson said. “That’s because it was only weapons which  the Mexican government seized which they chose to trace back to the  United States.”
 “[Newell] is trying to make this political statement that there is  this river of guns, which then the Mexican government picked up on, and  said ‘it’s your guns, that’s why we’re having all this violence here,”‘  Coulson added. “And there’s never any accounting for the fact that  probably a majority of the guns, in terms of what law enforcement  generally knows, are coming up through Central America and they’re  coming from other countries. The 90 percent figure has been debunked as  you go along the way. It’s actually something considerably less. …  They’re just picking a figure and saying 90 percent of the weapons they  seized come from the U.S. Well, really, it’s 90 percent of the weapons  that they choose to do a search on results in it originating from the  U.S.”

These weapons were apparently purchased at the explicit direction of FBI informants ( [7] in an effort to support the 90-percent lie ( [8]  that was pushed so hard by the Obama administration in 2009 as  justification for increased gun-control efforts along the border states.  That effort became reality even after Fast and Furious was exposed,  when the ATF unilaterally directed dealers to report multiple long-gun  sales even as the plot was publicly falling apart.
 Every Friday afternoon document dump seems to indicate that Operation  Fast and Furious may have been nothing more than an elaborate  gun-control plot. Evidence and testimony collected so far suggest that  the Obama administration’s law enforcement assets supplied weapons to  generate gun violence in Mexico to justify a crackdown on Second  Amendment freedoms for Americans.
 The body count attributed to Operation Fast and Furious is over 300  and growing as the Obama administration continues to deny the mountain  of evidence growing against them.
                                      Article printed from PJ Media: **
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« Reply #896 on: February 14, 2012, 10:00:13 AM »

*Mexico’s gun problem isn’t traceable to the U.S.*
Published: February 11

Regarding the Feb. 5 editorial “The gun flow to Mexico”:

The Post’s assertion that 70 to 80 percent of traceable guns can be traced to the United States has long been discredited. Mexican police trace only a fraction of the guns they seize, and they are specifically trained not to request U.S. traces on guns without U.S. markings,  according to Sen. Charles E. Grassley ( (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Furthermore, according to  federal data released in June (, 78 percent of firearms submitted for tracing in 2009 and 66 percent of firearms submitted in 2010 were not traced back to final sales by U.S. licensed dealers.

The Calderon and Obama administrations need every possible diversion from the real problems that cause and exacerbate this drug war.

The Mexicans need to take the spotlight away from the rampant corruption that plagues their government, judiciary, law enforcement agencies and military.

President Obama desperately needs distractions from the criminal culpability and gross incompetence of his Justice Department and his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., with regard to the deadly Fast and Furious tragedy.

Regrettably, it appears that both administrations have found a willing collaborator in The Post.

Chris W. Cox, Fairfax

The writer is executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
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« Reply #897 on: February 14, 2012, 01:09:19 PM »

second post of day

Huge Issue Looming Under the Surface of Presidential Politics

Dear Friend of the Second Amendment,
While most people would rate the economy and jobs as the most important issues in the 2012 Presidential campaign, another issue of overwhelming importance would be the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
Many Americans have never heard of this treaty. But President Obama and Hillary Clinton reversed the position of President Bush and are pushing a UN treaty that could ban large classes of firearms (such as semi-automatic firearms) and license everything else. 
In secretive, behind-closed-door meetings, the UN committee charged with drafting the Arms Trade Treaty language has covered lots of ground. From deciding how to force the US to reduce its military strength, to deciding if every American should give up our guns, these folks have every intention of weakening our ability to protect our nation. 
If this treaty were to be ratified by the United States Senate, every American citizen's Second Amendment rights would be threatened by the United Nations. If that doesn't scare every freedom-loving American, nothing will!
This is one of the biggest reasons why Gun Owners of America believes the most important elections in 2012 after the Presidential race are in the United States Senate, where we must take the gavel away from left-wing dictator Senator Harry Reid.
There is only one Republican candidate running for President who has not committed to reversing the Obama/Clinton position on the Arms Trade Treaty -- Mitt Romney.
While every other candidate still in the running for the Republican Presidential nomination has said they would oppose this treaty, Mitt Romney has refused to state his position, refusing to answer the Gun Owners of America questionnaire on this and many other gun-related issues.
Many in the media have tried to coronate Mitt Romney as the eventual nominee, but we think the nomination is still up for grabs. This is why we want to get every Republican on record. 
There is too much at stake to allow Mitt Romney a "pass" on this issue. With the field getting smaller--we need an answer from Romney. 
Gun Owners of America is asking every person who reads this alert to contact the Romney campaign and ask why he is ducking our Questionnaire, especially on the question of the UN Arms Trade Treaty. 
You can email the Romney headquarters at, or call 857-288-3500. Let him know what you think and tell him you would like an answer.
Time is running out. It's time to get EVERY candidate to answer the tough questions. Stop dodging, Mitt . . . start answering.
Tim Macy
Vice Chairman
PS Of the four Republican candidates remaining in the race, only Mitt Romney has refused to take a stand on important issues such as opposing a UN gun control treaty. Please contact the Romney campaign at, or call 857-288-3500 and urge him to return the Gun Owners of America Presidential Questionnaire.
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« Reply #898 on: February 15, 2012, 09:52:47 AM »

**This could go many places, as it demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of the left, like a multimillionaire Noam Chomsky getting rich preaching marxism.

Media Matters took $600K for gun control while carrying?

posted at 10:25 am on February 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Daily Caller continues its series on Media Matters for America, this time looking at its tax returns and its tax exemption as a political organization.  The tax returns don’t reveal anything shocking, except for one point of hypocrisy.  In the first report, The DC revealed that the personal assistant to founder David Brock carries a concealed Glock when Brock goes out in public to protect him from attackers, either real or imaginary.  That is a defensible action to take as political debate sometimes brings out the fringe crazies, as I can personally attest, except for two things.  First, if he’s carrying in Washington DC, it’s probably not legal.  And the reason it’s not legal is because of organizations like Media Matters for America, whose tax returns show a hefty amount of cash earmarked for gun-control activism:

Media Matters reported at the end of 2010 that $612,500 of its assets were “restricted” by donors to be applied to “gun and public safety issues.” During this time, The Daily Caller has already reported, Brock’s personal assistant was carrying a holstered and concealed Glock handgun when he accompanied Brock to events.
That’s hardly the only example of hypocrisy in the gun-control movement.  A while back, I wrote about the difficulties in California over open carry; when researching that post, I ran across an article that reported on the difficulties in getting a concealed-carry permit in the state, thanks to the overwhelming power of the sheriffs to make arbitrary decisions on who should get them.  In the county of Los Angeles, few permits get issued, but one went to an attorney who conducts activism for — you guessed it — gun-control legislation.  I can’t find the link at the moment, but I’ll add it if I come across it.
On the matter of MMFA’s tax exemption, The DC reports that Congress may open an investigation into their status:

Congressional Republicans are now interested in examining the Media Matters For America‘s tax-exempt status, The Daily Caller has learned. Doing so would cause the GOP to wade into the complex world of tax laws that govern “exempt organizations” such as Media Matters and more than 1 million other charitable organizations that are exempt from federal income tax.
Media Matters’ critics have questioned its tax-exempt status for some time. The Internal Revenue Service has a series of requirements that must be met before organizations can qualify. Successful applicants pay no federal income tax because the government presumes such charities perform services that benefit the public. Donors also may deduct their charitable contributions.
One central requirement before an organization like Media Matters can achieve the gold-standard nonprofit status — known by its place in the tax code, Section 501(c)(3) – is that it may not “attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities” or “participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”
But the law, and how it is implemented, is complex.
I think this is a mistake.  Setting a precedent of opening tax investigations on the basis of partisan grudges is one that Republicans and their allied political organizations will regret, and probably sooner rather than later.
What we should be doing is ending tax exemptions for political organizations entirely, along with the forty years of campaign finance laws that ended up with super-PACs running elections.  Eliminate the tax deductions for all political contributions, or perhaps all but those going to a specific candidate, although I’d prefer to make it absolute.  Taxpayers don’t need to subsidize the contributions of others through the tax code.
At the same, eliminate the contribution limits to candidates and instead impose requirements for immediate and continuous disclosure on the Internet through the FEC.  The technology to accomplish this has existed for well over a decade, and should be put into use for true transparency.  Taking those two steps would put the cash back into the hands of the candidates, who would be held accountable for the messaging conducted in the campaigns.
Let’s fix the real problem, rather than attack the symptoms, or the minor players.
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« Reply #899 on: February 17, 2012, 11:27:19 PM »
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