Sunday, October 02, 2011
Document Dump: White House in Heavy Communication About Operation Fast and Furious(Click on the title above to view the original Townhall commentary)
"What did he know, and when did he know it?"
This question has often been asked of Republican administrations, and now it is being asked of this specific Democratic administration.
President Obama has denied any knowledge of "Operation Fast and Furious":
"First of all, I did not authorize it [Operation Fast and Furious]. Eric Holder, the attorney General did not authorize it."
"This is a pretty big government, the United States Government, I've got a lot of moving parts."
"As you know my Attorney General has made clear he certainly would not have ordered gun running to be able to pass through into Mexico."
"The investigation is still pending and I'm not going to comment on a pending investigation"
"It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on the investigation if it is not completed."
But Townhall correspondent Katie Pavlich, in an October 2, 2011 article, suggests that Our President, Commander in Chief and Leader of the Free World might perhaps be less than transparent on this specific issue:
New documents from the White House show extensive communications between for Special Agent in Charge William Newell, who has since been promoted to a cushy position within the Obama Justice Department in Washington D.C., and White House national security team staff about Operation Fast and Furious. In the video above, Obama claims it is his administration's policy to "catch gunrunners and put them into jail," when in fact ATF and DOJ policy under Obama has been exactly the opposite. ATF agents were told by senior officials to allow gunrunners to put high powered weapons into the hands of ruthless cartels, not to arrest them and to allow them to go back into Mexico.
From CBS News:
The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell - who led Fast and Furious - and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O'Reilly are long time friends.
William Newell admitted during testimony on Capitol Hill in July that the White House had in fact been in contact with him about Operation Fast and Furious. Newell even referred to Kevin O'Reilly as, "a good friend." Previous to Newell's admission, the White House denied any knowledge or authorization of Operation Fast and Furious. Once Newell said he was in contact with O'Reilly, the White House then claimed O'Reilly and two other White House national security staffers knew about the program but didn't know "details."
Now, we know that White House National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly was heavily briefed about the details of the operation through emails and phone calls.
I guess it all comes down to whether or not you believe that President Obama has always and ever been entirely candid ... or truthful ... with the American Public.
Perhaps it may be helpful to put the question this way:
Do you recall ANY American President, from FDR (who was the President when I was born) on, who has always been entirely candid ... or truthful ... with the American Public?
Geez, they're all politicians! All they want is to get re-elected, and eventually to be remembered reverently so they can set up their Presidential Libraries and gets lots of speaking engagements which will pay them big bucks.
Like Bill Clinton.
Remember him? Mister "I did not have sexual relations with That Woman .... Monica Lewinski"?
Yeah. I thought so.
IN THE MEANTIME ...
... there are corresponding "fallout" issues which have may have been generally overlooked by Media and Federal Administration authorities:
According to testimony, it has become common practice for retaliation to occur against ATF Agents who spoke out against their supervisor's corruption, even when operations had no logical backing.
[ATF Special Agent Peter] Forcelli [in his testimony] also added that while the ATF was ordering gun dealers to sell to straw buyers under surveillance, gun dealers were taking the heat for it, and being held responsible for violence in Mexico. He stressed gun dealers were not the problem. In fact gun dealers were helpful in pursuing cases against cartel members, making it blatantly clear law abiding gun owners are not at fault, but the government is.
It's never the government, it's never the leaders ... it's always The Little Guy who takes the heat.
It's a Wonderful World, isn't it, where the expression "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you" is automatically interpreted to be an exercise in irony.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Bombshell: DOJ Considering Elimination of ATF
- Katie Pavlich
Multiple sources, including sources from ATF, DOJ and Congressional offices have said there is a white paper circulating within the Department of Justice, outlining the essential elimination of ATF. According to sources, the paper outlines the firing of at least 450 ATF agents in an effort to conduct damage control as Operation Fast and Furious gets uglier and as election day 2012 gets closer. ATF agents wouldn’t be reassigned to other positions, just simply let go. Current duties of ATF, including the enforcement of explosives and gun laws, would be transferred to other agencies, possibly the FBI and the DEA. According to a congressional source, there have been rumblings about the elimination of ATF for quite sometime, but the move would require major political capital to actually happen.In fact, not only were the ATF agents forced to carry out the operation, they were told to go against what they had been taught in training.
“It’s a serious white paper being circulated, how far they’d get with it I don’t know,” a confidential source said.
After a town hall meeting about Operation Fast and Furious in Tucson, Ariz. On Monday, ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu, who has been key in exposing details about Operation Fast and Furious, confirmed the elimination of ATF has been circulating as a serious idea for sometime now and that a white paper outlining the plan does exist.
Sounds great right? Eliminating ATF? But there is more to this story. Remember, low level ATF field agents, like ATF whistleblower John Dodson, were uncomfortable conducting Operation Fast and Furious from the beginning, but were told by high level officials within ATF that if they had a problem with the operation, they could find a job elsewhere.
“Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan. It was so mandated,” ATF Whistleblower John Dodson said in testimony on Capitol Hill on June 15, 2011
“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,” Special Agent Peter Forcelli said in testimony on Capitol hill on June 15, 2011.
(Look for the name "Dennis L. Burke" near the end of this essay .... you may not be entirely displeased by the context.)
In the interest of "full disclosure", I checked the TOWNHALL website, and researched their archives for the correspondent, with no luck. I looked back for three weeks and didn't find the article cited. It's certainly possible that if I had taken my research farther back, I would have found it. [see update at the bottom of this article]
I did, however, find several current and/or recent (as of October 1, 2011) ATF-related articles by Pavlich, which suggests that she is pursuing the ATF-related theme assiduously.
Good on you, Cobber.
[In passing, I note that as of this date (October 1, 2011) the ATF website mentions neither the transition of the ATF director, nor the controversy of the "Fast and Furious" program. However, on August 17, 2o11 it does refute the "... Inacurate news report regarding 'Fast and Furious' personnel' ". The disgrace of the temporary, transitional and FIRED! acting temporary Director has yet to be addressed. Typical.]
You may not find the above-quoted material convincing; since I was unable to find the original article, and the submitted material did not include a publication date, I have no way of convincing either you or myself that it is legitimate. However, I am personally acquainted with "Llago". My own private conclusion is that the correspondent did write the article, and my inability to find it reflects upon my own lapses, rather than the correspondent or the website or the person who sent me the full text (the full text is available to you upon request, as email).
So, is the ATF dead in the water? I don't know.
I do know that, since Prohibition, ATF has been responsible for a LOT of "governmental intervention" in the realm of private activity. Were they more of a help than a hindrance during prohibition, when they prevented a lot of "bathtub gin" from being sold to private citizens? Perhaps ... but if the federal government (in it's wisdom) had not prohibited the legal production of SAFE gin, it might never have been a problem.
In the area of firearms manufacture and sale, what positive influence have they been?
In the 1992 "Ruby Ridge" fiasco, ATF agents entrapped Randy Weaver into cutting the barrel of a shotgun shorter than the ATF found acceptable, and then while trying to arrest Weaver an FBI
"Hostage Rescue Team" sniper (was there ever a more ironic acronym?) shot and killed Weaver's wife "accidentally". Was this an "Accidental Discharge"? No such thing; it's a "Negligent Discharge", to give it it's proper nomenclature.
And in the 1993 "Branch Dividian" massacre, ATF was instrumental in the assault on the Waco compound of David Koresh resulting in the death of over eighty American citizens ... including many children who can never be describe other than as "innocents". As the "Serendipity" website describes the situation:
After the February raid by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) of David Koresh's dissident religious community at Waco, Texas, the FBI and the U.S. Army took over, mounting a 51-day siege. This included such psy-war tactics as sleep deprivation of the inhabitants of the community by means of all-night broadcasts of recordings of the screams of rabbits being slaughtered.(emphasis added by the editor)
Now we see "Operation Fast and Furious", where the ATF deliberately allowed the (questionable) sale, transfer and transportation of American firearms to "straw purchasers" ... which would ordinarily be rejected by the governmentally. audited retailer ... with the final disposition of those firearms to violent Mexican drug traffickers. The ATF has jumped through every hoop it could find to defend it's OFFICIAL "hands off" policy, based upon the concept that allowing such purchases would allow them (the ATF) to track the movement of arms to its ultimate receiver.
The tracking effort usually failed (not least because the "tracking devices" sometimes embedded in the illegal firearms were powered by "Radio Shack" batteries, which had a very limited life ... someone didn't think that through) and the basic fallacy of the policy became tragically (an embarrassingly ... for the ATF) obvious when a U.S. Border Patrollman was killed by one of those same "Fast and Furious" guns. The consequence: the egrigious and controversial "temporary" ATF chief, Kenneth E. Melson ... and his accomplice (the U.S. Attorney in Phoenix, AZ --Dennis L. Burke) were "replaced".
You know the old joke: "What do you call 600 attorneys drowning at the bottom of the ocean? 'A Good Start' "?
Well, this was another "Good Start".
It's not enough, but it's A Good Start.
Neither Burke nor Melson will lose their lives in as a consequence of their horrendous lack of judgement.
Unfortunately, we can't say as much for the innocent-but-dedicated (and now deceased) Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry.
Surely, Brian Terry wasn't the only victim of this ill-conceived and poorly-executed, failed Federal policy. But he is the sacrificial lamb who will inevitably be overlooked by history.
The ATF may be eliminated? Can you say "Goodbye and Good Riddance?" children.
I knew you could.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 2, 2011
This morning I found the original article link on the front page of TOWNHALL. You may read the entire article here. I could not find a date on the original article, but the first of the (over 300) comments was dated September 30, 2011.