Attorney General Eric holder speaks to reporters following his meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Holder wants a House panel to drop plans to try to hold him in contempt of Congress, and the panel’s chairman wants more Justice Department documents regarding Operation Fast and Furious, a flawed gun-smuggling probe in Arizona. Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, met in an effort to resolve their dispute over the investigation of Fast and Furious by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Issa chairs. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Contempt is a secondary emotion (not among the original six emotions) and is a mix of the primary emotions disgustand anger. The word originated in 1393, from the Latin word contemptus meaning “scorn.” It is the past participleof contemnere and from com- intens. prefix + temnere ”to slight, scorn.” The origin is uncertain. Contemptuousappeared in 1529.
Lets be crystal clear here America. Today’s actions by Congress Oversight Committee was based on racism and racism only. No other reason. Period. Fact: Fast & furious was started under the Presidency of George Dubbya Bush and HIS Attorney General. Fact: AG Eric Holder stopped Fast & Furious. Fact: AG Holder has supplied over 7K documents and over 140K pieces of paper at the request of the Congressional Oversight Committee. Fact: POTUS Obama has declared other documents requested by this Congressional Oversight Committee to be under his Executive Order protection due to a threat to National Security if revealed.
Those are facts. Now for the bull shit. Congressional Oversight has no reason to investigate AG Holder for Fast & Furious because he is not responsible for Fast & Furious. Drag Dubbya Bush/Prez. Cheney before the committee if you want answers about Fast & Furious.
What this is all about is an attempt to discredit President of The United States Barack Hussein Obama and his administration, weeks before his re-election. Nothing more and nothing less.
WASHINGTON—A Republican-controlled House committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Justice Department documents.
The party-line vote was 23-17. The controversy goes next to the full House, which is to vote next week unless there is some resolution in the meantime.
The vote followed a decision by President Barack Obama earlier in the day to assert executive privilege for the first time in his administration in order to protect the confidentiality of the documents.
The last Cabinet member to be cited by a congressional committee for contempt was Attorney General Janet Reno in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
The recommendation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next will go to the full House for a vote. Speaker John Boehner’s office said that vote would occur next week unless a resolution concerning the documents is worked out before then.
Earlier in the day, in a letter to the committee chairman, Darrell Issa of California, a Justice Department official said the president had invoked executive privilege. The official said the privilege applies to documents that explain how the Justice Department learned there were problems with an investigation in Arizona of gun-running into Mexico, called Operation Fast and Furious.
At the start of a hearing, Issa called the president’s action “an untimely” assertion of privilege.
Technically, if the full House approved a contempt citation, there could be a federal criminal case against Holder, but history strongly suggests the matter won’t get that far.
“The president has asserted executive privilege,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in the letter to Issa. “We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee’s concerns and to accommodate the committee’s legitimate oversight interests.”
ATF gunwalking scandal
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran a series of “gunwalking” sting operations between 2006 and 2011. This was done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. “Gunwalking” or “letting guns walk” was a tactic whereby the ATF knowingly allowed thousands of guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers (“gunrunners”) working through straw purchasers on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.
The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, in theory leading to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers. Operation Fast and Furious, by far the largest “gunwalking” probe, led to the sale of over 2,000 firearms, of which around 700 were recovered as of October 20, 2011. A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures have been arrested.
Firearms “walked” by the ATF have been found at violent crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, including scenes involving the deaths of many Mexicans and at least one U.S. federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder. Dissident ATF agents came forward to Congress in response. As investigations have continued, the operations have become increasingly controversial in both countries, and diplomatic relations have been damaged as a result.
On the evening of December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others were patrolling Peck Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona, 11 miles from the Mexican border. The group came across five suspected illegal immigrants. When they fired non-lethal beanbag guns, the suspects responded with their own weapons, leading to a firefight. Agent Terry was shot and killed; four of the suspects were arrested and two AK-pattern rifles were found nearby. The rifles were traced to Fast and Furious within hours of the shooting, but the bullet that killed Terry was too badly damaged to be linked to either gun.
There have been questions raised over a possible connection between Fast and Furious and the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011. The gun used to kill Zapata was purchased by Otilio Osorio in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas (outside the area of responsibility for the ATF Phoenix field division which conducted Fast and Furious), and then smuggled into Mexico. Congressional investigators have stated that Osorio was known by the ATF to be a straw purchaser months before he purchased the gun used to kill Zapata, leading them to question ATF surveillance tactics and to suspect a Texas-based operation similar to Fast and Furious.
In addition to Otilio Osorio, a Texas-based drug and gun trafficker, Manuel Barba, was involved trafficking another of the guns recovered in the Zapata shooting. The timeline of this case, called “Baytown Crew”, shows guns were allowed to walk during surveillance that began June 7, 2010. On August 20, 2010 Barba received a rifle later recovered in the Zapata ambush and sent it with nine others to Mexico. The warrant for Barba’s arrest was issued February 14, 2011, the day before Zapata was shot. On January 30, 2012, Barba, who claimed to be working with Los Zetas in illegally exporting at least 44 weapons purchased through straw buyers, was sentenced to 100 months in prison.
Investigations and fallout
In the Congress, Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA–49), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been investigating “gunwalking” operations. On January 27, 2011, Grassley wrote a letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson requesting information about the ATF-sanctioned sale of hundreds of firearms to straw purchasers. The letter mentioned a number of allegations that walked guns were used in the fight that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. A second letter from Grassley on January 31 accused the ATF of targeting whistleblowers.
On February 4, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote a letter to Grassley in response to statements by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis K. Burke and others. Weich stated that claims “…that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico [are] false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.” Also in February, Attorney General Eric Holder requested that the Department of Justice‘s Inspector General begin an investigation of Fast and Furious.
Reports on Operation Wide Receiver surfaced in March. On March 23, President Barack Obama appeared on Univision and spoke about the “gunwalking” controversy. He said that neither he nor Attorney General Holder authorized Fast and Furious. He also stated, “There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made, and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”
On May 3, Attorney General Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he did not know who approved Fast and Furious, but that it was being investigated. He also stated that he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,” a claim which would later become controversial.
In June, ATF Agent Vince Cefalu, who helped to publicize Fast and Furious, was served with termination papers, in a move by the agency he described as politically motivated retaliation. He had been at odds with ATF management since he filed a complaint over tactics in an unrelated case in 2005. The ATF denied that the firing was retaliation, and Cefalu’s termination letter noted that he leaked documents to the Internet and showed a “lack of candor” in other operations.
On June 14, 2011, a preliminary joint staff report was released by Representative Issa and Senator Grassley. Among the findings: agents were told to stand down rather than interdict weapons, they complained about the strategy and were ignored, and Fast and Furious led to increased violence and death in Mexico. Agents were panicked, certain that “someone was going to die.”
Representative Issa continued to hold hearings in June and July where ATF officials based in Phoenix and Mexico, and at headquarters in Washington, testified before the committee. ATF agent John Dodson stated that he and other agents were ordered to observe the activities of gun smugglers but not to intervene. He testified:
Over the course of the next 10 months that I was involved in this operation, we monitored as they purchased hand guns, AK-47 variants, and.50 caliber rifles almost daily. Rather than conduct any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals for a short time after their purchases, but nothing more. Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing. …
I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.
A second joint staff report was released by the Republicans on July 26.
In August, three important Fast and Furious supervisors were transferred to new management positions at ATF headquarters in Washington: William Newell and David Voth, field supervisors who oversaw the program from Phoenix, and William McMahon, an ATF deputy director of operations. The transfers were initially reported as promotions by the Los Angeles Times, but the ATF stated that they did not receive raises or take on greater responsibilities. In late August, it was announced that ATF Director Melson had been reassigned to the Justice Department, and U.S. Attorney Burke announced his resignation after being questioned by Congressional investigators earlier that month.
In October, documents were found showing that Attorney General Holder had been sent briefings on Fast and Furious as early as July 2010, contradicting his May statement that he had known about it for only a few weeks. The briefings were from the National Drug Intelligence Center andAssistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. In response, the Justice Department stated that Holder misunderstood the question from the committee; he had known about Fast and Furious, but he didn’t know the details of the tactics being used.
On November 8, Attorney General Holder stated for the first time in Congressional testimony that “gunwalking” was used in Fast and Furious. He remarked that the tactic is unacceptable, and that the operation was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution.” He further stated that his office had inaccurately described the program in previous letters sent to Congress, but that this was unintentional. Reiterating previous testimony, he said that he and other top officials had been unaware that the “gunwalking” tactic was being used. Holder stated that his staff had not showed him memos about the program, and he denied any personal wrongdoing.
In December, documents revealed that some ATF agents discussed using Fast and Furious to provide anecdotal cases to support controversial new gun rules. The regulation, called Demand Letter 3, would require some gun stores to report the sale of multiple rifles.
Investigations by Congress and the DOJ Inspector General continued into 2012. In January, Patrick Cunningham, who was the criminal division chief at the Phoenix office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and has since resigned, asserted his innocence and his constitutional right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying. Cunningham worked directly under Burke during Fast and Furious. He was subpoenaed because of the role he might have played in the operation, and in the letter sent from the DOJ to Senator Grassley in February 2011 that claimed the ATF did not allow weapons to be trafficked to Mexico.
On January 31, Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released their own report, “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona.” The report concluded that there was no evidence of involvement by high-ranking appointees at the Justice Department in “gunwalking.” Rather, “Operation Fast and Furious was the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
The congressional investigation into Attorney General Eric Holder’s handling of Operation Fast and Furious is motivated by racism. If Darrell Issa can humiliate AG Holder and POTUS Obama, he’ll be a big star in the Republican caucus. Holder made the same accusation in December. “This is a way to get at the President because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder told the New York Times, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”
It is an old fashioned 1960′s lynch mob.
Instead of a tree in an empty field on some southern land in the dead of Mississippi, lynching has moved to the GOP controlled Congressional Oversight Committee chambers.
“BARACK” The Vote.
Filed under: 2012 Election, Causes, Court Room/Legal, Crime, Drugs, Gun Control, Gun Violence, Immigration Issues, News, Opinion, Politics, POTUS Obama, Race, Racism, The White House, War & the Military Tagged: | Barack Obama, Contempt of Congress, DarrellIssa, Eric Holder, Fast & Furious, Operation Fast and Furious, racial hatred, Racism, racist, United States Department of Justice, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform