How Much Training Has Changed….And Hasn’t

This FBI video from 1969 called “Shooting for Survival” illustrates how much has changed in the world of training. They are shooting what appears to be S&W .38 Special revolvers in the first few scenes and are shooting one-handed. The only two-handed grip you see, for the most part, is a tea-cup.

That said, shooting from cover and concealment is as important now as it was then. They do a good job of showing the effective use of cover and the importance of keeping your limbs covered. They also show how to protect yourself from ricochets.

H/T Packing Pretty

Darrell Issa’s Opening Statement For Today’s Hearing

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has released Chairman Darrell Issa’s prepared opening statement for today’s hearings into Operation Fast and Furious.

Chairman Issa Hearing Preview Statement

Over the past year, the ATF program known as Operation Fast and Furious has been the subject of a joint investigation by this committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley, who serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. When this investigation began, the Department of Justice took the position that allegations by whistleblowers about reckless tactics and decision making in this operation were false.

Late last year, after months of investigation, the Justice Department finally acknowledged the allegations were true. Fast and Furious was both reckless and flawed.

The Justice Department, however, has been less than forthcoming in cooperating with the efforts of Congressional investigators to determine exactly what happened and who was responsible:

• The Justice Department has delivered fewer than 8% of the 80,000 documents we know it has identified as being related to this flawed operation.

• It has refused to allow investigators access to numerous witnesses who participated in the operation – one witness, after being served with a subpoena, invoked his Fifth Amendment right to protection against self-incrimination rather than answer questions.

• Justice Department now asserts that many documents pertaining to internal discussions and decision making about its response to Operation Fast and Furious are off-limits to investigators.

The American people deserve better from our nation’s top law enforcement agency. Thursday’s hearing will feature the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Holder, who will be asked to explain his decision to withhold this factual evidence from investigators. What he is concerned this information would reveal? Why is the Department trying to keep its internal discussions about Operation Fast and Furious from after February 4, 2011 secret? Why did it take nearly nine months for the Justice Department to acknowledge its earlier denials were false? Why did senior Justice Department officials who knew about and received briefings on the operation fail to stop it? Should Americans have confidence in their chief law enforcement agency even though these same officials remain in their posts?

There is now broad bipartisan agreement that the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has exposed a serious and deadly failure of government. We know that the life of a brave Border Patrol agent has been lost along with countless Mexican citizens who have been victimized by guns from Operation Fast and Furious. Attorney General Holder has acknowledged that the danger created by Fast and Furious will continue for years.

This hearing is not about controversial struggles between gun control advocates and supporters of the Second Amendment. It is about the unifying, and what should be bipartisan, expectation that the Justice Department be held to a high standard and that those who failed to meet this standard should be held accountable. I look forward to Attorney General Holder’s testimony.

Much of the hearings and much of what has been released has been about incompetence which is a start but doesn’t go far enough. I would suggest that this operation could be more accurately be considered a subversion of the Constitution. I may be jaded but I don’t think a reasonable person would conclude that such a Keystone Cops approach to the Mexican drug cartels was ever meant to work. Rather it was meant as a way to build support for greater and greater gun control measures. If one reads John Ross’ Unintended Consequences or Matthew Bracken’s Enemies Foreign and Domestic which are fiction and then compare Operation Fast and Furious to them, the similarities become downright eerie.

Mike Vanderboegh has seen the briefing paper  from the Committee titled “Main Justice: Extensive Involvement in Operation Fast and Furious.” Buried within it is evidence that leads to involvement by the FBI in parts of this operation or a concurrent operation called Operation Headshot.

So, since October the committee staff have been aware of the FBI sanitized version of the “one-armed man” and his brother who were their confidential informants, who provided the money to the straw buyers and whom the FBI have been protecting ever since Brian Terry was murdered. But does the Committee draw the obvious conclusion? Have they aggressively probed the FBI on Operation Head Shot? If this pathetic entry is any indication, no, they haven’t. The FBI, it seems, is off limits.

So now you have a troika of agencies – ATF, DEA, and FBI – involved to some degree in Project Gunwalker. Such coordination of effort among agencies doesn’t just happen without a controlling hand from above in Main Justice. This leads me again to say  this wasn’t about the cartels but rather about building the case for more gun control. This administration is the most Machiavellian since Richard Nixon and it fits their under the radar approach to these issues.

Is The FBI Suppressing Evidence?

In a follow-up to this morning’s Face The Nation interview of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) about Operation Fast and Furious, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson reports that the committee will be asking for more information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Issa said this morning that the family of Agent Terry was told by agents attending his funeral that there were three firearms found at the murder scene.

Documents released to the committee only mentioned two weapons linked to Operation Fast and Furious. Issa wants to know more about the third weapon and what tests from it have shown. Recordings from conversations between ATF Agent Hope McAllister and the owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company seem to indicate there was a third firearm and that it was an SKS.

Issa And Grassley Press DEA And FBI For Answers

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are pressing the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for answers to their agencies’ involvement in Operation Fast and Furious. This is amid reports that some of the targets of the ATF in Project were actually paid FBI informants.

While Issa and Grassley are pressing for information, I fully expect at the FBI to try and stonewall them.

Grassley, Issa Press for Answers from FBI, DEA in Fast and Furious Investigation

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa are pushing for additional information and documents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in relation to the two agencies roles in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reckless strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious. The strategy employed by the ATF allowed firearms to be purchased by known straw buyers and then transferred to third parties where the guns often crossed the border to Mexican drug cartels.

The letters are a follow-up to a recorded, transcribed interview with Acting ATF Director Ken Melson. The Acting Director was interviewed by congressional investigators on July 4 where he corroborated several details that included other agencies involved in Operation Fast and Furious.

In the letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Grassley and Issa asked about the “veracity of claims” regarding the possible involvement of paid FBI informants in Operation Fast and Furious and “specifically at least one individual who is allegedly an FBI informant” and “might have been in communication with, and was perhaps even conspiring with, at least one suspect whom ATF was monitoring.”

The letter to DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart requested a briefing by DEA staff as well as “the number of informants or cooperating informants handled by other agencies identified in the course of any investigations related to Operation Fast and Furious.”

In addition, both letters (to Mueller and Leonhart) asked for communications of several members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force who were working in coordination with the ATF to conduct Operation Fast and Furious.

The full letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart can be found here.

The full letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller can be found here.

Both letters are detailed in the information sought. The Leonhart letter specifically asks about any communications regarding Fast and Furious by the heads or assistant heads of the DEA offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales, and Yuma. This letter also asks for any information relating to Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta who is the lone person in custody who can be linked to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The Mueller letter is broader in scope than the Leonhart letter. It seeks info on confidential informants, the investigation into the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, and any communications between ATF and certain FBI officials including ones in Phoenix, El Paso, and Tucson. They especially are looking to see if ATF and the FBI agent in charge of the Terry murder investigation have had any communications.

If they get the information they request, things could heat up very quickly and even the mainstream media would not be able to ignore it like most of them have been doing these last few months.

SAF Sues Holder and FBI Over Misdemeanor Gun Rights Denial

The Second Amendment Foundation released the following this evening:

SAF SUES ERIC HOLDER, FBI OVER
MISDEMEANOR GUN RIGHTS DENIAL

BELLEVUE, WA – Acting on behalf of a Georgia resident and honorably discharged Vietnam War veteran, the Second Amendment Foundation today filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over enforcement of a federal statute that can deny gun rights to someone with a simple misdemeanor conviction on his record.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia. SAF and co-plaintiff Jefferson Wayne Schrader of Cleveland, GA are represented by attorney Alan Gura, who successfully argued both the Heller and McDonald cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In July 1968, Schrader, then 21, was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery relating to a fight involving a man who had previously assaulted him in Annapolis, MD. The altercation was observed by a police officer, who arrested Schrader, then an enlisted man in the Navy, stationed in Annapolis. The man he fought with was in a street gang that had attacked him for entering their “territory,” according to the complaint.

Schrader was ordered to pay a $100 fine and $9 court cost. He subsequently served a tour of duty in Vietnam and was eventually honorably discharged. However, in 2008 and again in 2009, Mr. Schrader was denied the opportunity to receive a shotgun as a gift, or to purchase a handgun for personal protection. He was advised by the FBI to dispose of or surrender any firearms he might have or face criminal prosecution.

“Schrader’s dilemma,” explained SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “is that until recently, Maryland law did not set forth a maximum sentence for the crime of misdemeanor assault. Because of that, he is now being treated like a felon and his gun rights have been denied.

“No fair-minded person can tolerate gun control laws being applied this way,” he added. “Mr. Schrader’s case is a great example of why gun owners cannot trust government bureaucrats to enforce gun laws.”

The complaint is not yet up on the Federal Courts Pacer site. As soon as it is, I will post the complaint.

FBI-ATF Turf Wars Smackdown

As noted by Joe Huffman and SayUncle, the FBI and BATFE have been engaged in a turf war to see which agency would be the lead agency when it comes to investigating explosions. This has been going on for some years. As a result, every now and then the Justice Department leadership would issue a memo telling them to quit fighting. Of course, they never did.

Gary Grindler, Acting Deputy AG, issued a memo that was pretty much a smackdown to both agencies. In the future, the FBI will be the lead agency for both international and domestic terrorism related explosives cases. This was  a slap to the ATF who thought they should have lead status on domestic terrorism.

Likewise, the ATF will be the lead agency in maintaining the explosives database called Bomb and Arson Tracking System (BATS). The Inspector General’s report found that the FBI had never reported any explosives incident data into the BATS database “even though it was previously designated as the single Department database for reporting and tracking explosives incidents.” Grindler order the FBI to immediately send all the info that they maintained to ATF for inclusion in the database. He noted that the Attorney General John Ashcroft had mandated all explosives data be stored in the single BATS database back in 2004.

The situation between the agencies had deteriorated to such a level that first responders didn’t know who was supposed to be in charge. TPMMuckraker reported that:

Inspector General Glenn Fine told Congress in February that agents would often race to the scene of an incident in the hopes of calling dibs on a case. Some agents acknowledged to Fine that they believed “possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

Some at ATF admitted that in the post-9/11 world their agency had “terrorism envy” and wanted to be a lead agency in the war against terror.

Now that this has been somewhat resolved for the time being, I wonder if the pressure to name a Director for ATF by the gun control groups will increase. With the leak of the name of the Chicago SAC Andrew Traver about a week and a half ago, one must wonder.

Originally posted on Aug 18.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a story about these turf wars in today’s paper. I guess better late than never is their motto.