Fast And Furious Revisited

Sharyl Attkisson had a story this morning on her Full Measure news show about Operation Fast and Furious and BATFE Senior Agent John Dodson. Since it isn’t syndicated in all markets, I have embedded it below.

As I watched her interview with Agent Dodson, I was struck by a few things. First, Dodson is a brave and ethical man. He is still with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives despite all the crap thrown his way by his own agency. He has been transferred 11 times in the six years since he blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious. It is obvious that the powers that be in BATFE – who just happened to be in positions of power six years ago – want him gone. Dodson has gone into some detail about his experiences in his own book over the scandal.

Second, I am aghast that the Department of Justice under President Trump and AG Sessions has not seen fit to release all the documents sought by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. I have to hope that the reason the documents haven’t been released is because the issue hasn’t been brought before Sessions himself. If I remember it correctly, Jeff Sessions and his staff were some of the first people approached by the late Mike Vanderboegh regarding the gunwalking.

Third, the Deep State exists. There are still people in positions of power who are working tirelessly to retaliate against whistleblowers like John Dodson and to continue submerging the truth about Project Gunwalker aka Fast and Furious. Until these people are rooted out and dismissed, I doubt the full truth will ever be known.

Earlier this month, the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee released another report which dealt with the obstruction of Congress by the DOJ with regards to Operation Fast and Furious. The report concluded that there were failures (1) to provide answers to the Terry family, (2) there was a failure to objectively gather the facts, (3) there was a significant lack of respect for Congressional oversight, and (4) that former Attorney General Eric Holder’s priorities were politics and spin.

Day Two Of Project Gunwalker At Lynch’s Confirmation Hearings

The second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Loretta Lynch featured nine witnesses who touched upon a number of things. There were the “Loretta was a great US Attorney and I felt fortunate to work with her comments” from attorney David Barlow and former FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice Fedaryck. There was the “Loretta comes from a good Baptist family” testimony by Rev. Dr. Clarence Newsome. There was the testimony from law professor Stephen Legomsky that said he was “the” expert on immigration law and Obama’s actions on making illegal aliens legal was OK with him.

Then there was what I consider the meat of the day:  the witnesses who described just bad the Department of Justice has gotten, how it has screwed people over, and how it has looked the other way at the abuses of power by the White House. Catherine Englebrecht of True the Vote described how the dogs of war were unleashed on her when she filed applications for non-profit status for two organizations. These “dogs of war” include the IRS, OSHA, the FBI, and BATFE. Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee discussed how the Department of Justice under Eric Holder was actively hostile to local law enforcement. He discussed how Holder and DOJ made the situation in Ferguson, Missouri worse by inserting itself where it had no business. Professor Nicholas Rosenkranz of Georgetown and the Cato Institute spoke about the role of the Attorney General in providing legal advice to the President and how Eric Holder has failed in this regard.

Then there was the testimony of Sharyl Attkisson and Professor Jonathan Turley. They were the bookends, so to speak, as they began and ended the testimony for the day. Leading off was Ms. Attkisson who described how she had been targeted by the Justice Department for her factually accurate reporting on
Operation Fast and Furious (among other things).

When I reported on factual contradictions in the administration’s accounts
regarding Fast and Furious, pushback included a frenzied campaign with White
House officials trying to chill the reporting by calling and emailing my superiors and
colleagues, and using surrogate bloggers to advance false claims. One White House
official got so mad, he angrily cussed me out.

The Justice Department used its authority over building security to handpick
reporters allowed to attend a Fast and Furious briefing, refusing to clear me into the
public Justice Department building.

Advocates had to file a lawsuit to obtain public information about Fast and Furious
improperly withheld under executive privilege. Documents recently released show
emails in which taxpayer paid White House and Justice Department press officials
complained that I was “out of control,” and vowed to call my bosses to try to stop my
reporting.

Let me emphasize that my reporting was factually indisputable. Government
officials weren’t angry because I was doing my job poorly. They were panicked
because I was doing my job well.

While the testimony of Ms. Attkisson was damning, I think the testimony of Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University was even more damning of the Justice Department under Eric Holder. Turley admitted he voted for Obama and supported many of the Administration’s policies. Turley is a DC insider. He appears on Sunday morning talk shows, he writes op-eds, he goes to the insider cocktail parties, and he rubs elbows with the powers that be.

Turley submitted a 26-page written testimony accusing the Justice Department of being the architect of the effort to expand the power of the presidency beyond what was Constitutional. He says that they actively attempt to block legislative authority and Congressional oversight. The most egregious example of this, in Turley’s opinion, and the one that best captures the obstruction of Congress in recent years is Operation Fast and Furious. Turley devotes seven pages of his testimony to it.

However, the controversy that best captures the obstruction of Congress in recent years is
the response of the Obama Administration in the Fast and Furious investigation. The
reason that Fast and Furious is particularly illustrative is for a couple of salient factors.
First, no one (not even General Holder) defends the Fast and Furious operation, which
proved as lethal as it was moronic. It is a prototypical example of a program that is
legitimately a focus of congressional oversight authority. A federal agency was
responsible for facilitating the acquisition of powerful weapons by criminal gangs,
including weapons later used to kill United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in
December 2010. Congress has investigated not only the “gunwalking” operation, but
also what it saw as concealment and obstruction, by the Administration, in its efforts to
investigate the operation. Second, Congress had ample reason to expand its investigation
after the Justice Department sent a letter on February 4, 2011 stating categorically that no
gunwalking had taken place. It was not until December 2011 that Attorney General Holder informed Congress that it had been given false information and the letter was
formally withdrawn. Congress responded by expanding the investigation into the false
information given to it by the Executive Branch and the months of delay before Congress
was informed of the misrepresentation of the facts underlying Fast and Furious. Finally,
the position of the Justice Department on withholding documents has, in my view, been
facially invalid and lacking in any credible good-faith interpretation of the executive
privilege.

Turley goes on to say that one of the most troubling aspects of the Justice Department’s behavior has been its refusal to prosecute the House of Representative’s contempt citation against Eric Holder.

One of the most troubling aspects of the Fast
and Furious
investigation was not just the withholding of non-privileged material but the
later refusal of the Justice Department to submit the alleged violation to a grand jury—
despite a historic vote of the House of Representatives finding General Holder in
contempt. The decision to block any prosecution was a violation of a long-standing agreement between the branches and represents a serious affront to the institutional
authority of this body.

He goes on to attack the Obama Administration’s circular reasoning cited for withholding requested documents saying “I have had criminal defense clients
who would only envy such an ability to cite the basis for a criminal charge as the defense
to a criminal charge.”

I don’t think any of the testimony given in day two of the hearings will derail Ms. Lynch’s confirmation as the next Attorney General. I really have no doubt that she will be confirmed. I see this testimony as more an airing of grievances and an attempt to put the Administration on notice that a Republican-majority Senate – unlike the Democratic-majority Senate run by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) – is watching them.

CBS News – Back In Good Graces With The White House?

There had been some hope for CBS News. They seemed to be the only one of the old Big Three networks that seemed willing to say anything negative about the Obama Administration. This was especially true in the reporting of investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson who won an Emmy for her reporting on Project Gunwalker.

Politico reported this afternoon that Attkisson and CBS News had parted ways.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has reached an agreement to resign from CBS News ahead of contract, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations, sources familiar with her departure told POLITICO on Monday.

Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.

I imagine the foul-mouthed little fascists that run the White House Office of Communications as well as the flacks at the Justice Department are jumping up and down with joy over this development.  The fellow travelers in the newsroom at CBS News who cringed over Ms. Attkisson’s objective reporting must be overjoyed that her dissonant voice is gone.

As for Ms. Attkisson, she will continue working on a book with the tenative title, Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington.

A Missing Third Fast And Furious Rifle?

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News reports that the Department of Justice’s Inspector General is looking into the existence of a three firearm found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder.

In a new development in the Fast and Furious gunwalking case, the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) is making inquiries into the possible existence of a missing third weapon in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, CBS News has learned. According to sources close to the investigation, the IG is questioning the Border Patrol’s evidence collection team this week in Tucson, Ariz.

The Justice Department, which oversees ATF and the FBI – and which is investigating Terry’s murder – has steadfastly denied the existence of a third gun. Court records have previously only mentioned two weapons: Romanian WASR AK-47 type rifles found at Terry’s southern Arizona murder scene on Dec. 14, 2010. Both weapons were sold to suspects who were under ATF’s watch in the agency’s controversial gunwalking case. Also, a ballistics report only mentions the two WASR rifles and states that it’s inconclusive as to whether either of them fired the bullet that killed Terry.

 The missing third rifle from the Fast and Furious murder scene is thought to be a SKS carbine which also shoots the 7.62×39 cartridge. Secret recordings made of meetings between ATF Agent Hope McAllister and Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company, referenced such a rifle.

In the audiotapes, ATF’s lead agent on Fast and Furious, Hope MacAllister, tells Howard that a third weapon recovered at the Terry murder scene is an SKS rifle. It’s unclear why a weapon would be absent from the evidence disclosed at the crime scene under FBI jurisdiction. If it’s proven to exist, sources familiar with the investigation say it would imply possible evidence-tampering for unknown reasons.

DOJ denied its existence back in 2011 and neither the DOJ or the Inspector General’s Office is willing to answer questions about this possible third murder weapon.

I’m glad to see that Sharyl Attkisson is keeping on the case and not letting it fade away as many in Washington seem willing to do.

The Third Event



Yesterday I said things happen in groups of three and wondered when we’d be hearing that CBS New Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson was targeted. Well, that didn’t take long!


It was revealed in Politico today that her personal and work computers have been compromised and the incident is under investigation.

“I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some
investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an
allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and
methodical about this matter,” Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. “I
need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on
info we make public.”

And when did she first notice this intrusion? It was in February 2011 which is when she began working on the Operation Fast and Furious story. According to her interview with WPHT Philadelphia, she was also working on a story about green energy spending by the Obama Administration.

I realize that correlation is not causation. However, it does seem very strange to me that right after Sharyl Attkisson starts work on a big story such as Project Gunwalker, her computers are compromised. When you add in the targeting of William LaJeunesse of Fox News, it gets even stranger.

You wonder if her post on CleanUpATF.org was the trigger or was it something more sinister such as the surveillance of bloggers Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea who passed the story on to her. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but the timing is too coincidental and the topic too sensitive for the Obama Administration.

UPDATE: In an article in Commentary Magazine, Jonathan Tobin calls the attack on the press a fundamental attack on democracy. He discusses both Sharyl and William LaJeunesse.

Happening In Threes

It is often said that things, especially bad things, happen in threes. I wonder if that will be true of disclosures about Project Gunwalker.

The first thing that happened is that the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice released a report saying that former US Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis Burke had leaked a sensitive document to the press with the intention of undermining the credibility of ATF Senior Agent John Dodson. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) blasted this in a release earlier today.

The second thing that happened was the revelation that the Department of Justice targeted two FoxNews reporters and one producer. While much of the attention is about their targeting of Fox’s Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, what caught my attention was that they also targeted William LaJeunesse. You may remember that LaJeunesse was one of two mainstream reporters who reported extensively on Operation Fast and Furious.

I’m now wondering if we will soon find out that the DOJ was also targeting CBS’s  Emmy-award winning Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. She not only was the lead mainstream reporter on Project Gunwalker but has also made the White House’s shit list over her reporting on the Benghazi scandal.

You know I wouldn’t be surprised given the Obama Administration.

Subtle Reminder From Sharyl Attkisson

The lead story on this morning’s CBS Sunday Morning was a report by Sharyl Attkisson about bribes and corruption within the US Customs and Border Protection. Narco-terrorists and illegal immigrant smugglers have been targeting CBP agents in an effort to have them turn a blind eye to smuggling of both drugs and humans. Since 2004, there have been 358 convictions of Customs and Border Patrol employees and their associates for this. Of course this is an important story and I’m glad Sharyl is on it.

However, that is not what I want to discuss. Instead it is a rather subtle reminder – intentional or unintentional – that was embedded in the story about Project Gunwalker. Just before a graphic came up showing the DHS Office of Inspector General’s report on the corruption convictions, the camera focused for approximately three seconds on the sign below.

Sharyl and her producers could have used any Border Patrol Station between Imperial Beach, California and Brownsville, Texas or any Ports-of-Entry from San Ysidro, California to Brownsville, Texas. Rather they chose the one Border Patrol Station that would remind observant viewers of Operation Fast and Furious. I can’t believe this is just a coincidence.

As it is, the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station is a constant reminder that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in the line of duty with firearms that were allowed to be smuggled to Mexico by the Department of Justice and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is also a reminder that while his killers have pled guilty to his murder, the Obama Administration is still sitting on thousands upon thousands of documents that may well point to complicity in the operation by those at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Finally, it is a reminder that BATFE managers such as former Phoenix FD SAC Bill Newell and his ASAC George Gillett still haven’t been fired and/or indicted for their role in this affair.

Thank you Sharyl for this reminder lest we forget.

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.

Sharyl Attkisson On The DOJ OIG Report

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, one of the few journalists to take Project Gunwalker seriously, had a story this evening on the DOJ Inspector General’s report. Her story notes that both former ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Jason Weinstein disagreed with the findings of the report.

In all, the inspector general faults 18 officials from the Justice Department, to the U.S. Attorney’s office on Arizona, on down to the Phoenix ATF agents who oversaw Fast and Furious.

The report says Holder was in essence let down by his deputies. Although he received numerous briefings on Fast and Furious, they didn’t specifically mention gunwalking and Holder said doesn’t recall reading them anyway.