Fast and Furious document dump: Shocking lawlessness exposed
by Jim Kouri
Newly released documents on Operation Fast and Furious met with little media comment on Friday. The latest document dump by the Justice Department reveals how top DOJ officials hesitated and struggled to respond to questions asked by members of House and Senate committees probing the law enforcement-firearms snafu.
The documents also revealed that Justice Department officials provided faulty data and inaccurate information to U.S. lawmakers such as Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA).
More than 1,000 pages of documents and emails sent to lawmakers detail how top Justice Department officials debated the subject of Fast and Furious and how to best defend the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The ATF examination by both Rep. Issa and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) began after they were informed of a gun-trafficking operation that allowed firearms to be sold in the United States to criminals. The operation's strategy was to follow the guns into Mexico and capturing the buyers and sellers.
But the operation got out of control. The ATF lost track of the weapons and later two of the ATF guns were discovered at the crime scene of a shootout in which a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was shot to death by Mexican suspects.
In addition, an ambush of two ICE agents traveling in Mexico by members of Los Zetas -- in which one special agent, Jaime Zapata, was killed -- was allegedly accomplished using ATF "walked" guns.
In a letter sent to Grassley in February 2011, Justice Department officials claimed that the accusations against the ATF and Justice Department involvement in "gun-walking" were untrue. But Friday's document dump confirms the suspicions of many in law enforcement: that a politically-motivated gun smuggling investigation turned into a government snafu of immense proportions.
On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, 'I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.'"
Yet the new documents show Eric Holder was sent briefings on Fast and Furious as far back at July 2010, more than a year ago.
The Justice Department documents show that at least ten months before the May 3 hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing Fast and Furious.
ROVING SET OF EVER-CHANGING EXPLANATIONS
From the beginning of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice has offered a roving set of ever-changing explanations to justify its involvement in this reckless and deadly program, according to GOP lawmakers in both Houses of Congress.
These defenses have been aimed at undermining the investigation. From the start, the Department insisted that no wrongdoing had occurred and asked Senator Charles Grassley (R-NE) and Rep. Issa to defer their oversight responsibilities over its concerns over purported interference with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' and the Justice Department's ongoing criminal investigations.
In fact, originally the Justice Department steadfastly insisted that gunwalking did not occur at all.
When documents and testimonial evidence strongly contradicted these claims, the Department attempted to limit the fallout from Fast and Furious to the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
When that effort also proved unsuccessful, the Department next argued that Fast and Furious resided only within ATF itself, before eventually also assigning blame to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona. All of these efforts were designed to circle the wagons around DOJ and its political appointees.
Last month, Holder claimed that Fast and Furious did not reach the upper levels of the Justice Department. Documents discovered through the course of the investigation, however, have proved each and every one of these claims advanced by the Department to be untrue.
"It appears [Attorney General Holder's] latest defense has reached a new low. Incredibly, in a letter from Friday [Holder] now claims that [he] was unaware of Fast and Furious because [his] staff failed to inform him of information contained in memos that were specifically addressed to the Attorney General," Issa alleged in his letter to Holder.
"At best, this indicates negligence and incompetence in your duties as Attorney General. At worst, it places your credibility into serious doubt," Issa stated in a letter to Holder.
Justice Department involved in new corruption scandal, says watchdog group
By Jim Kouri
The already scandal-ridden Obama Justice Department is being accused of more misbehavior, according to a blog this week by a top "Inside the Beltway" watchdog group.
A Justice Department program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year to supposedly combat juvenile delinquency is now under fire for giving a leftist group nailed for rampant corruption in the past -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or ACORN -- taxpayers' money that was fraudulently spent.
According to a report on the Judicial Watch blog, this is just the latest of several controversies for the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) which has managed to maintain a significant budget through the years despite multiple allegations of cronyism.
During the George W. Bush Administration, the OJJDP was accused of giving money to politically-connected groups that didn’t necessarily meet the agency’s goals.
Now, the Justice Department's own Inspector General released a report that exposes corruption surrounding a $138,130 grant that OJJDP awarded to an ACORN branch in New York City. The IG's audit found that there were internal control weaknesses, unsupported grant expenditures, lack of contractor monitoring, weaknesses in budget management, inadequate grant reporting, unmet conditions and deficiencies with the program’s overall performance.
The IG also describes the New York group as a “pass-through entity” for ACORN, the crooked nonprofit that’s raked in huge sums of taxpayer dollars over the years. In 2009, Congress actually passed a law (Defund ACORN Act) to ban federal funding for ACORN after a series of exposés about the group’s illegal activities, which include fraudulent voter registration drives and involvement in the housing market meltdown.
The group has close ties to President Barack Obama, who worked for ACORN as a "community organizer" in Chicago, prior to embarking on his political career.
Earlier this year a Judicial Watch probe found that the Obama Administration violated the ban on federal funding for ACORN by giving the beleaguered group nearly $80,000 to “combat housing and lending discrimination” against minorities.
After sorting through droves of government records, Judicial Watch investigators discovered that an ACORN affiliate in New Orleans, ACORN Housing Corporation Inc., got $79,819 as part of a larger $40 million allocation to “fair housing organizations” that educate the public and combat discrimination.
This year Judicial Watch also published a special report about the organization’s transformation into various spinoffs and affiliated groups. Amid a massive fraud scandal and a series of criminal probes, ACORN supposedly dismantled but the reality is that it simply changed its name.
For instance, under the rebranding New England United 4 Justice, ACORN has been one of the driving forces behind the movement to end economic segregation and social injustice in the U.S. culminating in the current Occupy Wall Street movement.
In fact, former Obama colleague and Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones, was recently hired by Occupy Wall Street and he's being paid by the groups funding the OWS protests, such as the Tides Foundation, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and George Soros' front organizations.
The Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has been the focus of a number of investigations regarding misconduct and corruption including the New Black Panther Party's voter intimidation case, the investigation of individuals who opposed Obama's policies such as Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the major scandal involving Operation Fast and Furious that helped Mexican criminals obtain guns and kill U.S. law enforcement agents.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he's a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com) and editor of Conservative Base Magazine (www.conservativebase.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.