The National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention in Pittsburgh this weekend and the group's CEO, Wayne LaPierre called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over an operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in which guns were allowed to 'walk' into Mexico.
Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), who attended the convention, sees LaPierre's words as a positive step but insists that so much more needs to be done.
Holder's official stance since whistleblowers within the ATF came forward after two of those guns were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, has been that he was unaware of the operation. LaPierre's response to that is hard to argue with. If Holder didn't know about Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to 'walk' into Mexico, he should have.
“He’s the attorney general of the United States of America — the highest law-enforcement officer in our land,” LaPierre said. “Who’s in charge? If he didn’t know, then who’s minding the store? If Holder didn’t know, Holder has got to go.”
A much more diabolical reality may actually be more likely. Thanks to whistleblowers and congressional committee investigations, it's been learned that gun shop dealers may have been set up by ATF officials. Emails show that store owners expressed concerns about selling weapons to 'bad guys' and were told by those officials to keep selling them.
Despite all of the facts that have come out to this point, the Mexican government has actually retained an American law firm with plans to sue American gun manufacturers.
At this point, Mexico appears to be targeting the wrong people. It was the manufactures and the dealers who acted responsibly. It was the ATF, which is overseen by Holder's Justice Deapartment, that acted irresponsibly.
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAY BE HELPFUL DURING SHOW PREP:
Alan is the Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, serves on the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union, President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, President of the American Political Action Committee and President of NoInternetTax.org. Alan is also President of radio stations KBNP in Portland, Oregon, KITZ in Seattle, Washington, KGTK in Olympia, Washington, and KSBN in Spokane, Washington and former Chairman of the Talk America Radio Network and former President of the Universal Talk Network.
May 3, 2011 - Darrel Issa questions Eric Holder on Gunnruner
This is a clip 9 minutes in length. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Darrel Issa questions Eric Holder on Project Gunrunner.
Video: Senator Talks About Eric Holder’s Stonewalling on Project Gunrunner
Ginny Simone talks to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) about his exchange with Attorney General Eric Holder at today's Senate Judiciary Committee on "Oversight of the United States Department of Justice" - NRA News - May 4, 2011 - http://www.NRANews.co
Will a Gillette Cause Heads to Roll in Project Gunrunner?
Several months ago, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley began an investigation of Project Gunrunner, the disgraceful ATF program of deliberately “walking” guns across the southern border and into the waiting hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
The senator was alerted by ATF whistleblowers, who became fed up after weapons traced to the Project were found at the scene of the December 2010 killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
And how has Acting ATF Director, Kenneth Melson, a vehement gun-grabber, answered Senator Grassley’s requests for information about Project Gunrunner? He has informed agents that they “are in no way obligated to respond” to questions from Congress.
In an e-mail to ATF Deputy Director Billy Hoover acquired through an FOIA request, Grassley discovered that agents were also told to “refer congressional staff who seek information…to the ATF’s office of Congressional Affairs” as agents are, after all, “not authorized to disclose non-public information.”
In an April 8th letter to Melson, Senator Grassley made it quite clear that no one at the ATF “may attempt to prohibit or prevent ‘any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from having…communication…with any Member [or] committee…of the Congress.’”
Thus, any retaliation against agents who assisted the Grassley investigation must stop immediately, under threat of legal action.
But further along in the Grassley letter comes the bit which had to make Melson hit the speed dial to Eric Holder. “George Gillette, through and in conjunction with his legal counsel, is cooperating with this investigation.”
As Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix ATF field office, Gillette ran the Arizona portion of Project Gunrunner. He knows where all of the bodies are buried. His testimony will reveal much which has so far been withheld from Grassley’s committee, including the names of the ATF or Justice Department officials who authorized Gunrunner along with those who have engineered the Bureau’s cover-up.
Among some ATF agents and insiders, George Gillette is considered a weasel, cheat, snitch, and rat “who only came forward with information after his own ass was on the line.”
So far, Ken Melson has been providing cover for Holder, Obama, and anyone else who could have had knowledge of Project Gunrunner. But now that his days might be numbered, it will be interesting to see if he begins squealing in hopes of saving his own hide, as well.
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This article originally appeared on CoachIsRight.com.
DOJ deflects Gunrunner, Fast and Furious blame to local officials
By Matthew Boyle
The Daily Caller
Published: 10:41 AM 05/09/2011 | Updated: 12:16 AM 05/10/2011
President Obama’s Justice Department is trying to deflect responsibility over decisions in the Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious investigations, which are being spearheaded by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. Last Wednesday, Issa released new Project Gunrunner documents, including an approved wiretap application bearing Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s name. Though Breuer didn’t sign it, his Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG), Kenneth Blanc, did.
Now the DOJ says Blanc’s signature and Breuer’s name doesn’t imply any federal-level responsibility. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told The Daily Caller that the Obama administration’s DOJ officials routinely approve thousands of wiretap applications without knowing the specifics of the cases they’re signing off on.
“The review process for wiretap applications is a narrow assessment of whether a legal basis exists to support a surveillance request that ultimately goes before a judge for decision,” Schmaler said in an email. “These reviews are not approval of the underlying investigations or operations.”
House Oversight Committee spokesman Frederick Hill told TheDC he thinks it’s disturbing that the DOJ is routinely approving wiretap applications like this one. “The assertion that the Justice Department has a robo-signing process for wiretap applications is a deeply troubling defense,” Hill said in an email. “Applications for wiretaps generally include detailed descriptions of law enforcement activities, sworn statements and explanations for why invasive wiretaps are crucial to an investigation. Claiming ignorance on an operation where wiretaps were approved by high level officials raises even more concerns about irresponsible and reckless decisions by Justice officials that contributed to the deaths of two federal agents.”
Former federal prosecutor and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Center for Law and Counterterrorism co-chair Andrew McCarthy told TheDC Schmaler is right in that Justice Department officials don’t have time to review facts and details of every wiretap application they sign. But, McCarthy said, that doesn’t absolve top officials of responsibility when something goes awry.
“Nobody would expect the Deputy Attorney General to know the details like the prosecutor on the case, but if your name is on something and it’s a screw-up, you’re going to end up being responsible for it not in the sense that anyone expects you to know all the facts, but if you’ve been relying on someone who isn’t doing a good job to vet these things, then that is your responsibility,” McCarthy said. “The reason that Congress put this requirement in the statute is because they wanted Justice Department oversight on the district offices because wiretaps are so invasive.”
Schmaler said the applications still have to go before a judge for final approval. But, Schmaler shifts any DOJ responsibility down the chain to local officials, even though Obama’s politically appointed U.S. attorney Dennis Burke, who oversees the U.S. Attorney’s Arizona District, has made decisions on the gun “walking” programs, along with several local officials. “As the department has stated, the Fast and Furious operation was approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and the ATF Phoenix Field Office,” Schmaler told TheDC. “The investigation was subsequently approved by the multi-agency Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program.”
The approved wiretap application bearing Breuer’s name and Blanc’s signature was one of three documents Issa released Wednesday. It’s a part of investigations he and Grassley conducting on the Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious programs from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Through Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, ATF essentially allowed American guns to be “walked,” or trafficked via “straw purchasers,” into Mexico. The guns then ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels and, apparently, the programs’ ultimate goal was to track the larger weapons trafficking market.
Another twist in the storyline is that two dead Border Patrol agents were likely shot with weapons ATF allowed into Mexican drug cartels’ hands. Justice officials were tracking two AK47s found at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s death. Federal officials charged three Mexican nationals with Terry’s murder late last week, but Issa said the good news doesn’t lift Attorney General Eric Holder and the rest of the DOJ off the hook.
“The Justice Department hasn’t said how and why guns purportedly being tracked and monitored by federal law enforcement officials as part of Operation Fast and Furious ended up in the hands of Agent Terry’s killers,” Issa said in a statement. “It angers me to think that this death might not have occurred had it not been for reckless decisions made by officials at the Department of Justice who authorized and supported an operation that knowingly put guns in the hands of criminals. For these officials to imagine that this operation would result in anything other than a tragic outcome was naive and negligent.”
Three Men Charged In Murder Of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry; Questions Over U.S. Program Linger
by Mike Levine
May 06, 2011
by Doug Book