Setting The Hook

Watching Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questioning a governmental official is a thing of beauty. It is like watching a master angler letting the fish nibble the bait and then suddenly setting the hook. The fish is hooked and wondering just what the heck just happened.

This past Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security held a hearing on “Terrorism and the Visa Waiver Program”. The lead witness was Kelli Ann Burriesci, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. She heads the Screening Coordination Office. Part of her office’s job is to facilitate transfer of information from the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database to the TSA’s No-Fly List.

The video below shows Gowdy questioning Burriesci. The first two minutes are setting the stage for Gowdy’s question where he sets the hook. That question is at 2:50 in the video. While excerpts of this questioning are out there, I think it is instructional to watch Gowdy’s questioning before he begins to set the hook.

Gowdy’s key question is “Let me ask you another question about the terrorism list, what process is afforded a U.S. citizen before they go on that list?”

Burriesci’s answer is that there is no process afforded a citizen before they are put on the list but only a process after they get on the list. This is just the answer Gowdy wanted and as a prosecutor in a prior life he knew he was going to get it.

It only gets better after that.

Gowdy’s point, of course, is that the denial of due process with regard to an enumerated right such as the Second Amendment is, by its very nature, unconstitutional.

Those who would use the No-Fly list, the Terror Watch List, or the FBI’s omnibus Terrorist Screening Database as the basis to deny a citizen’s rights under the Second Amendment – or any civil right for that matter – are playing a dangerous game. That many Democrats and gun prohibitionists are doing it to score political points makes it unconscionable.

Epic Rant

Rep. Trey Gowdy was in fine form this morning at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s business meeting to discuss the contempt citation for Attorney General Eric Holder. His summation of the case against Holder was excellent and was forceful.

You knew it was going to be good when you saw the slight glimmer of a smile on Chairman Darrell Issa’s face when he recognized Gowdy.

New Whistleblowers In Project Gunwalker

Mike Vanderboegh reported in an exclusive yesterday afternoon that one and maybe two new whistleblowers have come forward in the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. What makes this unique it that they are from the Department of Justice and not BATFE.

Multiple, previously highly credible, sources close to the Gunwalker investigation report that there are at least one and perhaps two sources within the Department of Justice headquarters who have approached the Issa Committee seeking whistleblower status. One source, who reported that there were at least two of Eric Holder’s subordinates who “came in from the cold,” characterized them as “high-level” DOJ employees “with knowledge of Eric Holder’s actions before and after” the 4 February 2011 DOJ letter denying that the DOJ and its subordinate agencies knew about “gunwalking.” That letter has since been admitted by DOJ to have been a lie. If true, one or both of these whistleblowers may be the so-called “mole” — a source within DOJ said to have been leaking documents, including the wiretap affidavits, to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

What they bring with them from the cold, according to one source, is “the keys to the kingdom as far as Holder is concerned,” adding “if this comes out before the (contempt) vote (on 20 June), then Holder is toast.” Said another, “not even Boehner will be able to stop it. Hell, he’ll really jump on board and act like it was his idea.”

This could be one of the reasons that Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) scheduled a vote for next Wednesday on the contempt citation. Moreover, this could be behind Attorney General Eric Holder’s invitation to Rep. Issa, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to meet with him privately to discuss Project Gunwalker. Both Issa and Boehner have declined the invitation until such time as Holder provides the subpoenaed documents.

The offer to meet with Issa, Boehner, and Grassley came after Holder had turned down a request for a meeting from a bi-partisan group of representatives including Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Bobby Scott (D-VA). Gowdy had this to say about Holder’s refusal to meet:

Gowdy said that because Holder is seeking a meeting with leadership rather than with the actual investigators or with members really close to the scandal like him, “that tells me that you’re interested in a political resolution.”

“I’m not interested in a negotiation,” Gowdy said. “I’m interested in the documents. If this were political, then I’d say ‘Sure, let’s compromise.’ But, it’s not political to me. It’s about law enforcement, law and order, respect for the rule of law, confidence in the Justice Department — I want the documents.”

Gowdy went to say that when Speaker John Boehner green-lighted the contempt vote in House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that  Eric Holder realized that time was running out.

I tend to agree with that. I had thought Holder would be around come November but now I am seriously reconsidering that. Michael Bane in his last podcast said he thought Holder would throw himself under the bus come September in order to help Obama. If the whistleblowers come forward and are credible, I think Holder could be gone by mid-summer. Time will tell.

Trey Gowdy On Cunningham’s Plan To Take The 5th

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was interviewed by Ginny Simone of NRA News yesterday. The first topic that came up was the plans for AUSA Patrick Cunningham, head of the criminal section of the US Attorney’s Office in Arizona, to refuse to answer questions from the House Oversight Committee because it might incriminate him.

Asked his reaction, Gowdy said his first reaction was stunned silence “which is pretty hard to accomplish with a Member of Congress.” He goes on to say that he never thought he’d see a Federal prosecutor take the Fifth Amendment. Gowdy served as a Federal prosecutor himself for six years earlier in his career.

Janet Napolitano Was “Recalcitrant” And A “Reluctant Witness”

In an interview with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) characterized Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as recalcitrant and a reluctant witness. She testified before the House Judiciary Committee where she was grilled about Operation Fast and Furious by a number of Republican members of the committee.

Napolitano, at one point likening the questioning to a cross-examination, said repeatedly she only learned of “Fast and Furious” after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December. She emphasized the operation, conceived and run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “was an ATF operation,” under the auspices of the Justice Department, not her department.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy On Felon Straw Purchasers

FoxNews reported today that at least two of the indicted straw purchasers in Operation Fast and Furious were not only straw purchasers but convicted felons. When the FBI conducted the NICS check, they should have been flagged immediately as prohibited purchasers and the sale denied.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) represents the Spartanburg area of the Upstate of South Carolina. Prior to entering Congress, Gowdy was the local solicitor or district attorney for Spartanburg County. He has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and has experience in prosecuting violations of Federal firearms law. He says “you cannot sanction illegal activity to further an ill-fated, ill-founded, ill-conceived investigation.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy On Fact Finding Trip To Mexico

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) represents the Spartanburg area of South Carolina. Prior to running for Congress in 2010, he served for many years as the elected Solicitor (prosecutor/DA) for the Spartanburg area. He serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and accompanied Rep. Darrell Issa to Mexico over the weekend as part of the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker). He spoke with Ginny Simone of NRA News on Monday about the trip.