Condolences

Condolences to David Codrea and his family on the passing of his father this morning. David’s father had been ill for some time. Nonetheless, nothing really prepares one for the loss of a parent.

Also keep Mike Vanderboegh in your prayers as well. He went in the hospital on Monday for what was scheduled to be an out-patient procedure to place a stent in his esophagus. The out-patient procedure turned into an overnight stay and I’m still not sure if he has returned home yet.

It is a cruel twist of fate that the two citizen journalists who broke the news of Operation Fast and Furious were not able to participate in today’s events. Without their groundbreaking work and their introduction of certain whistleblowers to Congressional investigators, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would never have voted to hold Eric Holder in contempt. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their tireless work on this scandal. We should also keep them and their families in our prayers during this trying time for both families.

Brian A. Terry Memorial Act Passes Senate By Unanimous Consent

Despite not being able to pass a budget in three years, some stuff still does get done in the US Senate. Yesterday, the Senate passed by unanimous consent and without any amendments HR 2668 – the Brian A. Terry Memorial Act. This act will rename the Border Patrol station in Bisbee, AZ, the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station, in memory of the fallen Border Patrol agent.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who had this to say on the Senate’s action:

“All of Washington mourned with the Terry family when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry gave his life in the line of duty in 2010. Today we stand just as unified for the purpose of honoring and preserving his legacy.

“The unanimous support with which the Brian A. Terry Memorial Act passed the United States Senate is a tribute to Agent Terry’s career of service to our country and to the Border Patrol’s distinguished history of intrepidity and sacrifice for the sake of homeland security.

“We recognize that Agent Terry’s untimely passing is a tragedy that never should have happened. And while we continue to pursue answers regarding the circumstances surrounding his death, we resolve that his example of bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten – especially in the city of Bisbee, AZ where he served.”

In his Gun Rights Examiner column today, David Codrea speculates that the bill’s passage may create a political dilemma for President Obama.

“When the bill reaches Obama’s desk, I expect him to invite Brian Terry’s family to the signing,” Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com writes.

That creates an interesting dilemma for the President, particularly because of Terry’s mother calling his Attorney General Eric Holder a “coward” and a “joke,” and especially since the slain agent’s parents filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and ATF that “seeks $25 million dollars in compensation for Terry’s death.”

David wonders among other things if the White House indeed will invite the Terry family to the signing ceremony or will the lawsuit be used as a reason to just quietly sign the bill without press or family there.

Under The Bus?

David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh put up posts last night indicating that three ATF managers implicated in Project Gunwalker have been relieved of their duties in advance of the Office of Inspector General report. It is also in advance of Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on February 2nd.

According to reports they received, William Hoover, Mark Chait, and William McMahon have been sidelined pending the outcome of the OIG report. From the Gun Rights Examiner:

William Hoover, ATF’s Deputy Director during Fast and Furious, who was recently reassigned as Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office, Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations Mark Chait, likewise reassigned as head of the Baltimore Field Office, and Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations William McMahon have reportedly been sidelined pending the outcome of the anticipated report from the Office of Inspector General. Debbie Bullock a mid-level manager has reportedly been advised that she is now the acting SAC for Baltimore, and will assume Chait’s functions.

As they note, this would indicate that they are implicated in the OIG report – which is supposed to be confidential – and that Eric Holder wants to appear before Darrell Issa on February 2nd saying we’ve cleaned things up. Again, from David:

Disciplinary actions could take momentum away from that (a Special Prosecutor). Sources tell Gun Rights Examiner and Sipsey Street Irregulars that “ATF is going to follow the long-awaited OIG report to a ‘t’: If OIG says XX gets terminated, they are going to terminate.” That this would be treated as a personnel matter, subject to disciplinary procedures, as opposed to a criminal matter, subject to prosecution was the topic of a recent post in this column.

Left unsaid is why these three have been singled out prior to the OIG report being submitted, particularly since their sharing findings with the Department of Justice and ATF subjects of their investigation would violate all principles of independence from influence. If that did not happen, a fair conclusion to assume would be that the process of the investigation itself led those answering questions and providing documentation to an inevitable conclusion. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa wrote a December 7 column claiming Attorney General Eric Holder, scheduled to testify again on February 2, was “protecting staff over ‘Fast and Furious’.”

This latest reported development lends itself to the observation that Holder is protecting something else, and that this is a tactical move in anticipation of the report’s release and his next trip to the Hill.

Do these mid-level managers need to go? Sure but they were not the ones who dreamed this whole debacle up in the first place. It was way above their pay grade and level of Machiavellian intrigue.

Conspiculously missing from this list are Ken Melson, George Gillett, David Voth, and Bill Newell. You have to wonder why?

UPDATE: Jeremy Pelofsky of Reuters reports on the changes in the Chicago Tribune here.  No mention of either David or Mike.

However, the Federal law enforcement webpage, ticklethewire.com, covers it and gives credit for breaking the story to Sipsey Street. They also have the statement given by Scot Thomasson of ATF concerning the changes:

“Taking into consideration the depth and breadth of the Fast and Furious investigation a decision to detail ATF Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon, Special Agents in Charge William Hoover and Mark Chait from operational positions with oversight responsibilities to non-operational positions was made by the Deputy Director Thomas Brandon. These new assignments will remain in effect pending the outcome of the OIG investigation.”

They also notice that all three had been moved once before as a result of Project Gunwalker.

Meet The New Boss – Same As The Old Boss

David Codrea writing in his National Gun Rights Examiner column today says that ATF Acting Director Todd Jones has given us “kabuki” instead of a real shakeup with the changes he announced yesterday in the senior management of ATF. Or as David headlines his column, meet the new boss – same as the old boss.

As any Who fan knows – or anyone that watches CSI: Miami – those lyrics come from the last stanza of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

And so, in honor of Todd Jones’ reshuffling at ATF HQ, here is The Who.

Codrea’s Journalist Guide To Project Gunwalker Hits Fourth Volume

David Codrea, National Gun Rights columnist for the Examiner.com, has been assembling what he calls his “A Journalist Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker'” since the early days of the scandal. It includes all the links to stories by David and by Mike Vanderboegh on Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner. It was originally intended to point out to the mainstream media just what they had been ignoring.

He has now begun the fourth volume of this guide which presents the stories in chronological order. I have included links below. They serve as an excellent reference guide to the scandal.

Part Four

Part Three

Part Two

Part One