This And That

I was out of town at the end of last week at a company meeting. I missed that the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee was having a hearing regarding the death of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata. However, David Codrea didn’t miss it nor the fact that two BATFE officials on their own accord skipped the meeting despite being “invited” to appear.

He (former Agent Vince Cefalu) was referring to Thursday’s appearance (video below) before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Activities by Thomas E. Brandon, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The hearing was held to further explore the ambush murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata by cartel operatives in Mexico, where “straw-purchased” guns allowed by ATF to “walk” across the border were recovered from the scene.

Two of Brandon’s agents, Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk and Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge William Temple, were no-shows to the hearing. They decided on their own not to come testify, and Brandon informed Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz that he agreed with their decision.

Recognizing a continuation of the stonewalling that was dragged on for years by ATF and the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, Chaffetz was having none of it. He immediately issued subpoenas for Temple and Turk to appear on March 22.

Ronald Turk, you may recall, is the one who wrote a white paper discussing, among other things, removing suppressors from the NFA. You’d think a guy who is clearly aiming to be named the new Director of BATFE would want some face time with Congress even if it wasn’t going to be all favorable.

I also missed that Remington Arms Company is again laying off employees at their Ilion, New York plant due to slowing sales. My friend Rob Morse didn’t miss it. He noted:

Remington Arms is moving out of anti-gun New York..one layoff at a time. They expand their production in Alabama during a market increase, and cut from the New York plant during the downturns. I guess elections have consequences as New York voters raised both the price of doing business and of owning a gun in NY.

If you listen to the news lately, you would think that the mainstream media has been teleported to the 1950s with all the hysteria over Russia. It is almost like that 60s move The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! Lest you think that we in the gun culture are exempt from the Russian hysteria, Sebastian discusses a Daily Beast article trying to tie the NRA to Vlad (the Impaler) Putin.

I did work the GRNC booth Saturday morning at the Asheville Gun Show. While our business was a bit slow, the crowds seemed bigger than this time last year. I don’t know whether it was bargain shopping on the part of attendees or because we were supposed to get snow Saturday night.

I didn’t check the prices of ARs at the show but they did seem down at the Winston-Salem show I attended the preceding weekend. If anyone is looking for an AR15, now is as good a time as you’ll ever get to buy one. I have seen Ruger AR-555s selling under $500 at multiple locations, off-brands for under $400, and the S&W M&P-15 in the low $500 range. If you want to look for deals, check the Reddit sub group called gun deals.

Absurd Ruling In Terry Murder Trial

US District Court Judge David Bury ruled on Friday that no mention of Operation Fast and Furious aka Project Gunwalker could be made in the trial of two men accused of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The U.S. asked the judge this summer to keep the details of Fast and Furious out of the murder trial, stating it was irrelevant.

Bury agreed. “I agree with one exception. I can’t find any relevance expect if the government should open the door,” he said.

If the government brings up the origins of the guns found, Bury ruled that defendants can then bring up Fast and Furious.

Bury ordered the defendants “not to refer to … or elicit any testimony regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Understood?”

Excuse me?

The defendants, Ivan Soto Barraza and Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza, used AK-47s to kill Agent Terry that the BATFE had allowed (encouraged) to be walked to Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Given that the Department of Justice and BATFE were complicit in providing the firearms used to kill Agent Terry, ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata, and 300 or more Mexicans, I’m not surprised that the US Attorney’s Office doesn’t want it mentioned. However, I am surprised that a judge would deny the defense of the opportunity to use it in defending their clients.

It is obvious that burying the details of Operation Fast and Furious is important to the prosecutors. In addition to the judge’s order above, they have a whole series of questions for potential jurors asking about their knowledge of Project Gunwalker.  One does have to wonder if this was a local decision to suppress mention of Operation Fast and Furious or did the order come down from DC.

Project Gunwalker Makes It Into Loretta Lynch’s Confirmation Hearing

Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious was mentioned today as the confirmation hearings for Loretta Lynch to become the 83rd Attorney General began. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had this to say in his opening statement:

The Department’s own Inspector General listed as one of its top management challenges:
“Restoring Confidence in the Integrity, Fairness, and Accountability of the Department.”

He cited several examples, including the Department falsely denying basic facts in the Fast and
Furious controversy. The Inspector General concluded this “resulted in an erosion of trust in the
Department.”

In that fiasco, our government knowingly allowed firearms to fall into the hands of international
gun traffickers.

And it led to the death of a Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry.

And then, after Congress called on the leadership of the Department to account for this foolish
operation, what did they do?

Did they apologize to the family and rush to uncover the truth?

Quite the opposite.

They denied, spun and hid the facts from Congress and the American people.

They bullied and intimidated whistleblowers, members of the press, and anyone who had the
audacity to investigate and uncover the truth.

 You can listen to this in the live video of Lynch’s hearings at the 25:00 to 26:09 marks.

While it won’t bring back the lives of Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata, I’m glad Sen. Grassley at least hasn’t forgotten them and what was a proximate cause of their deaths.

Request For DOJ IG To Investigate Zapata Murder

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News is reporting this afternoon that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice Inspector General, requesting that he investigate the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata. The murder weapons used in Zapata’s death have been traced to guns that ATF allowed to be walked.

According to the letter, ATF may have had probable cause to arrest
two firearms dealers before they bought and trafficked a weapon used to
murder Zapata, who was on assignment in Mexico. “Only after Agent Zapata
was murdered…and one of the weapons was traced back” to suspect
Otilio Osorio “did ATF finally arrest Otilio, his brother and a third
suspect for their gun trafficking activity,” reads the letter.

Congressional
investigators say ATF had earlier witnessed the Osorio brothers in a
Walmart parking lot providing 40 weapons with obliterated serial numbers
to be trafficked to Mexico. It was what’s known as a “controlled
delivery,” meaning law enforcement officials were monitoring the sale.
In this case it was part of a joint investigation with the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA). But “ATF failed to confront the two
individuals” leaving them to continue to allegedly traffic weapons,
including one used in Zapata’s killing, according to the letter.

The DOJ IG’s office is said to be reviewing the request.

Mike Hits Another Homerun

Mike Vanderboegh of SipseyStreetIrregulars must be on the mend from his recent surgery and attendent health problems. He’s just hit another homerun in the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. He’s found definitive links between a murdered ICE agent and Operation Fast and Furious

Slain ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata who was killed in an ambush in Mexico in 2011 was the investigating officer into a seized shipment of firearms headed to Mexico. What makes this significant is that 50 out of the 80 guns seized were guns that walked due to Operation Fast and Furious. The Department of Homeland Security has long denied that Zapata had any connection to Operation Fast and Furious.

Congressional investigators permitted to view Department of Homeland Security documents related to the Fast and Furious operation have located and seen an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Report of Investigation (ROI) from August 2010 describing 80 weapons seized in an arms smuggling interdiction between Phoenix, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas. Of these weapons, the majority (approximately 50) were noted to have come from Operation Fast & Furious in Arizona, purchased by Uriel Patino and Jacob Chambers. The ROI was written and signed by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was shot dead in an ambush at a fake roadblock in San Luis Potosí, Mexico on 15 February 2011. At the time of the report, Agent Zapata was assigned to the Laredo office.

Two of the weapons found at the murder scene were later traced back to Texas — One was purchased in August 2010 near Houston on behalf of accused drug dealer Manuel Gomez Barba, and the other in October 2010 by a Dallas trafficking ring that included Otilio Osorio and his brother Ranferi. Much like Fast and Furious, both groups had been under ATF surveillance for many months, although ATF officials in Texas later denied that any gunwalking happened in their state. United State Senator John Cornyn has pressed Eric Holder and DOJ for details on any gunwalking in Texas. So far, he has been met with denials or silence.

The Department of Homeland Security, ICE and the Department of Justice have long denied that the case of Jaime Zapata had anything to do with Fast and Furious. The discovery of this ROI by Zapata, “puts the lie to that (expletives deleted) by Napolitano and Holder,” according on source who spoke with this reporter on conditions of absolute anonymity.

Multiple sources including current and former employees of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have confirmed this explosive new revelation in the Fast & Furious investigation. Said one source, “I think (DHS) is covering up something big.” He added, “I feel betrayed.”

I wonder what Ms. Napolitano has to say about this. I’ve long considered her to be vying with Eric Holder for the bottom of the barrel in Obama’s cabinet.

Jaime Zapata And The Smoking Gun

The thing that really struck me watching this report by CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson was the utter hypocrisy of Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as they spoke at the funeral of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata’s funeral in Texas. And we will be treated to more hypocrisy from Mr. Holder today as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.