Posts tagged Darrell Issa
By Kurt Nimmo
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa has confirmed that wiretap applications reveal in-depth detail on the Fast and Furious operation, including evidence showing that “agents were well aware that large sums of money were being used to purchase a large number of firearms, many of which were flowing across the border.”
Roll Call reports today that Issa released details concerning the wiretaps in the House. His disclosure is protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech on the floor.
According to Darrell Issa’s letter sent to Maryland Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings on May 24, not only did ATF officials know about the purchases, they oversaw activity by straw purchasers and ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.
“Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers,” Issa’s letter states. “Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy.”
As we noted on June 22, Obama lied to the American people on March 23, 2011, when he said that neither he nor Attorney General Holder authorized the effort to arm the drug cartels in Mexico. Several weeks later, on May 3, Holder lied to Congress. He said he did not know who approved Fast and Furious. He also lied when he said he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”
Issa talks about contempt and criminal case against Holder.
On Thursday, House Republicans held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The House made the historic move after Holder refused to divulge additional documents on the gun-running operation and Obama invoked executive privilege in an attempt to block the request for more information.
By Doug Book
Wiretap applications obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform prove Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant AG Lanny Breuer lied to Committee members when they claimed DOJ personnel knew nothing of the tactics used by the ATF during Operation Fast And Furious.
Wiretap applications are forms that must be filled out and submitted to a judge, asking permission to perform a wiretap. As these requests may only be made if all other information-gathering techniques have been tried and found wanting, the applications are completed in extraordinary detail, listing all prior methods employed by law enforcement to gather existing evidence. In short, the entire history of the efforts put forth by law enforcement during a particular case or investigation are presented in writing to the court.
According to Committee chair Darrell Issa, six wiretap applications are now in Committee possession, all presented to the court between March and June of 2010 and all having been approved by Department of Justice officials. In fact, “each application included a memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer to Paul M. O’Brien, Office of Enforcement Operations, authorizing the wiretap applications on behalf of the Attorney General.” “The memoranda from Breuer are marked specifically for the attention of Emory Hurley, the lead prosecutor for Operation Fast and Furious.”
By TIM MAK
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican lawmakers are demanding to know why one of the main gun trafficking suspects in the Fast and Furious operation was released after being interrogated by an ATF agent in 2010.
Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta was not arrested until February 2011, another eight months after he was first questioned, over which time five straw purchasers the ATF knew to be working with Celis-Acosta illegally acquired more than 284 weapons, say Rep. Darell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a joint letter.
Grassley and Issa demand in their Monday letter to Holder that the Justice Department brief their two committees on why Celis-Acosta was not arrested on the scene in 2010. The two Republicans request that the briefing take place no later than March 26.
Issa and Grassley also asked Holder why a document describing his interrogation and the fact that Celis-Acosta lied to the ATF agent about having ammunition in his vehicle when he was stopped wasn’t previously provided under a subpoena issued last year that requested documents related to Fast and Furious.
“This May 2010 stop was yet another opportunity to apprehend Acosta, put him in jail and most importantly, take him out of commission as a trafficker. The ATF case agent with responsibility for Fast and Furious was on the scene and allowed the trafficking network’s ringleader to leave him a free man,” Becca Watkins, a spokesperson for Issa, told POLITICO. “This new information, obtained by the committee late last week, is further evidence that Fast and Furious, from its inception, was a reckless program that permitted guns and criminals to endanger the public.”
From the start of the Fast and Furious operation, Celis-Acosta was the main target for the ATF, according to the L.A. Times, which first broke the story that he was let go. It remains unclear why he was not arrested at the scene of his May 2010 interview with an ATF agent.
According to a ATF “Report of Investigation” obtained by POLITICO, Celis-Acosta was stopped heading into Mexico from Arizona on May 29, 2010.
Despite his claim that he had no ammunition in his BMW, a Customs and Border Patrol Officer found an AK-type high-capacity drum magazine holding 74 rounds of 7.62 ammunition underneath the spare tire in Celis-Acosta’s trunk.
Later, after the Customs and Border Patrol officers learned that Celis-Acosta was under investigation for firearms trafficking, ATF Special Agent Hope MacAllister arrived at the scene to question him.
After an interview, the special agent wrote her contact information on a 10 dollar bill, and Celis-Acosta promised to cooperate with federal agents and call her upon his return from Mexico. He was then allowed to go free.
The Fast and Furious operation attempted to investigate drug cartels and weapons traffickers but instead ended up supplying them with weapons. Investigators lost thousands of firearms, many of which crossed the border into Mexico. The program drew public attention when firearms linked to the program were found to be involved in the December 2010 shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
One of many related posts:
By: John Ransom
As if Congress didn’t have enough evidence that the Department of Justice has completely lost its mind, the New York Times is reporting that the Drug Enforcement Agency has helped launder “millions of dollars in drug proceeds” on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, a figure much higher than previously estimated.
The Department of Justice has been under investigation by Congress for facilitating gun smuggling during Operation Fast and Furious. Fast and Furious was a gun running scheme on the US-Mexican border that’s resulted in violence and death on both sides of the border including the deaths of federal agents in the line of duty. The operation used illegal weapons purchases with reluctant gun dealers who cooperated with the ATF on the so-called stings.
The problem however is that there has never been a sting, an arrest or results that would justify breaking the law- there were just illegal arms pouring over the border and escalating violence all facilitated by the Department of Justice in an effort, in part to make a case for stricter gun control laws.
One source who was quoted anonymously in the money-laundering story in the Times was concerned about similar negative results saying that the “D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”
Consequently, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, chair of the oversight committee already investigating Fast and Furious has done some fast and furious of his own. Issa has opened a probe into the money-laundering program according to the Houston Chronicle.
He sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder informing him of the probe, drawing “a parallel between the reported money-laundering operation’s tactics and those in Fast and Furious,” according to the Chronicle.
“The existence of such a program again calls your leadership into question,” Issa wrote in a letter to Holder, says the Texas newspaper. “The managerial structure you have implemented lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes. The consequences have been disastrous.”
The DEA denies the charge saying that they have been running money-laundering stings since 1984. “The Drug Enforcement Administration has been working collaboratively with the Mexican government to fight money laundering for years. As a result of this cooperation, DEA has seized illicit transnational criminal organization money all around the world.”
Obviously whoever wrote the press release for the DEA flunked the “irony” portion of their English exam.
The DEA has become the leading money-laundering crime fighter by becoming one of the leading money-launders?
Man, this has become a government that can justify anything it does by whatever tortured logic it chooses.
And that’s what you get when you’re governed by people who think that, as our own Guy Benson pointed out, lying is a complicated concept that revolves around a state of mind as does Mr. Attorney General Holder.
Issa is having none of it, though, since he’s been given the run around on Fast and Furious from the beginning.
He knows what he has to deal with at Justice.
Issa indicated he’s skeptical, particularly after the Justice Department on Friday gave Congress hundreds of pages of documents showing how Justice officials initially provided inaccurate information about Fast and Furious.
“The first answer you get from this Justice Department doesn’t have a high credibility,” Issa said.
And no answer ever will have credibility in the Department of Justice as long as Holder remains at the helm.
[CIM Comment: Eric Holder photo added to the original story.]
Sadly nothing new, well unless you get caught. Whether the guns go to Mexican drug cartels or the Contras and others in years before, there is a need to launder money and profit from the illegal drug trade to finance CIA programs that nobody wants to make public and part of a budget proposal. Theory is, let’s bring the poppy field crop we have the military protecting into the open market via a drug cartel, then stroke a deal playing one cartel against another for profits and favors, such as distribution rights to the US citizens. Just another day at the CIA.
In a conference call this morning with Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, reporters were told the Attorney General in Mexico has confirmed at least 200 murders south of the border happened as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, as the Attorney General in Mexico is so concerned, she’s made the point that at least 200 Mexicans have been killed with these weapons and probably countless more,” Issa said.
Eleven crimes in the United States have been linked to Operation Fast and Furious up to this point. Issa said he expects as the investigation in the operation continues, more crimes connected to Fast and Furious will come to light and be exposed. This is not surprising, considering out of 2500 weapons the Obama Justice Department allowed to “walk,” and that only 600 have been recovered, the rest are lost until they show up at violent crime scenes. The damage from Operation Fast and Furious has only started to be seen. Remember, the Mexican Government and ATF agents working in Mexico were left completely in the dark about the operation.
July 26, 2011
A new report released by Issa’s office shows ATF agents working in Mexico were left in the dark about the details of Operation Fast and Furious. The report shows that in late 2009, ATF officials in Mexico began to see increasing amounts of guns traced to the Phoenix ATF Field Division office showing up at violent crime scenes. Former ATF Attaché to Mexico Darren Gil and ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico Carlos Canino expressed their concerns to officials in the Phoenix Field Office and in Washington D.C. but were ignored. The report shows ATF and DOJ “failed to share crucial details of the of Operation Fast and Furious with either their own employees stationed in Mexico or representatives of the Government of Mexico.” Specifically, personnel in Arizona denied ATF agents working in Mexico information directly related to their jobs and everyday operations.
Issa submitted a request to the White House for information surrounding the operation nearly two weeks ago and that request has not yet been filled. White House Officials have until the end of this week to submit documents requested before Issa takes the next step.
Documentation about what the White House knew about the operation was requested after Special ATF Agent in Charge William Newell admitted in Congressional testimony that he was in contact with White House national security advisers about the operation and after emails surfaced showing at least three White House officials were in contact with the Justice Department about the operation.
Since this scandal came to light in March 2011, the Obama Justice Department has continually stonewalled the investigation from the House Oversight Committee, and not much has changed. Issa said there is an ongoing cover-up of a pattern of ongoing mistakes and that the Justice Department continues to use petty prosecutions to limit information given to the Oversight Committee.
“People are picking their words very carefully,” Issa said.
When asked what the consequences would be for DOJ or ATF officials involved in the operation, Issa said prosecutions may come at the end of this scandal to those who knowingly trafficked weapons across the border and could be held accountable for the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
“This was dumb, it was useless and it was lethal,” Issa said.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that his committee plans to investigate government loan programs to private corporations in light of allegations of improper dealings between the White House and failed energy company Solyndra and wireless start-up LightSquared.
“I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers… it wasn’t because there were large contributions given to them,” the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Tuesday morning on C-SPAN.
Issa said the committee was looking at whether it was improper for members of Congress or White House staff to select companies eligible for subsidized government loans when those companies could give campaign donations. Loan programs have been a popular tool to provide funding for popular industries — like tech, green energy, and American auto companies — at more favorable terms than could be secured privately.
The Obama administration has been defending itself against criticism by Republicans that it exerted improper influence to the aid of both companies.
Solyndra abruptly filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, surprising both employees and the administration, which had secured $535 million in low-interest loans for the company.
posted on July6 and July 10, 2011 by Tina Korbe
Video: Hume: The Obama DOJ reminds me of nothing so much as the Nixon Justice Department
Last week, of course, was a big week in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, the international gunrunning scandal that Obama administration officials still refuse to clear up. Today, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume characterized the ongoing scandal perfectly:
“This Obama Justice Department reminds me of nothing so much as the Nixon Justice Department,” Hume said on Fox News Sunday. “You have the scent of high-level knowledge of serious wrongdoing and you have the smell of cover-up and I think the stench of cover-up on this gun-running operation is very strong indeed.”
Hume’s commentary comes after Kenneth Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, last Monday gave secret and exclusive testimony to congressional investigators Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to the effect that ATF was not the only agency involved in the scandal, taxpayer money was used to finance the gunrunning and Department of Justice officials explicitly instructed ATF officials not to respond to congressional inquiries.
The previous article referenced from July 6 is below.