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Old September 4, 2012, 06:33 PM   #2576
alan
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In post 23, frick 74 poses some interesting questions. I wonder as to whether or not "the feds" have appropriate answers. Also, would they be willing to share these answers with frick?
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:41 AM   #2577
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Well, I'll be...

http://news.yahoo.com/mexico-detains...030319793.html
Quote:
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican police detained a man accused of fatally shooting a U.S. Border Patrol agent almost two years ago in Arizona in a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled across the border, the government said Friday.
...The Mexican Attorney General's Office plans to extradite Sanchez Meza to the United States, the ministry said in a statement.
This could be interesting. Very interesting.

I wonder if Meza will live long enough to make it to the US for any upcoming trial should the USA or AZ govt decide to place charges. AZ I would expect action. From DC... hmmm. I wonder.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:59 AM   #2578
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Being a conspiracy theorist, I find it "convenient" that after two YEARS, an arrest is made just two months before a very hotly-contested presidential election that the incumbent stands in serious jeopardy of losing. Usually, whenever Mexico arrests someone who is wanted in the U.S. there is a long period of negotiations until the U.S. formally agrees not to pursue the death penalty, since Mexico will not extradite anyone who would be facing a death penalty.

No such delay here, and no mention of the U.S. making such an agreement. That suggests to me that the fix was in well before-hand, and that the timing of the arrest may have been scheduled to give Obama some much-needed popular publicity.
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Old September 8, 2012, 01:32 PM   #2579
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Mexico's planning to extradite him and actually doing it are two different things. I think the Administration would have to promise no death penalty first, which would create a very negative publicity for the DOJ and the White House.
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Old September 8, 2012, 03:56 PM   #2580
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilimanjaro
Mexico's planning to extradite him and actually doing it are two different things. I think the Administration would have to promise no death penalty first, which would create a very negative publicity for the DOJ and the White House.
As opposed to what? NOT extraditing him, after we know he's in custody in Mexico? It has long been accepted practice to agree not to seek the death penalty when we extradite a criminal from Mexico. I can't imagine how NOT agreeing to this -- and thus leaving the guy in Mexico -- would be better for the adminisitration.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:50 PM   #2581
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As opposed to what? NOT extraditing him, after we know he's in custody in Mexico? It has long been accepted practice to agree not to seek the death penalty when we extradite a criminal from Mexico. I can't imagine how NOT agreeing to this -- and thus leaving the guy in Mexico -- would be better for the adminisitration.
Because too much dirt will be made public (and government workers forced to testify) if it goes to trial. I predict Holder will insist on leaving the death penalty option open, just to force a Mexican standoff (sorry) to avoid a trial while giving the appearance of being tough.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:53 PM   #2582
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I wonder how long the guy arrested in Mexico will last. People in police custody have been known to be shot while trying to escape, and then there are fatal accidents, falls in the shower, that sort of thing. Who knows. The passage of time will likely answer some questions.
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Old September 8, 2012, 10:07 PM   #2583
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It could be a miscalculation - thinking that getting Terry's murderer is going to give Barrack Obama some kind of popularity boost.

I think it would be way smarter for the public to just not hear about Fast & Furious. If the fix was really in, and they wanted to help the current administration - then they would have stashed this guy until after the election.

I think this is just going to cause F&F to keep popping up on the front page every week as Terry's parents complain about the administration not doing enough to get the killer here and bring him to trial. When and if he does get here - if it's before November... then the news will come out about how he was working for _______ (fill in US agency of your choice). There will be a call by his defense lawyer to release any federal document that has the word fast or furious or gunwalking, gunrunning, or straw.

I don't see how this is good politically for Barrack Obama.
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Old September 18, 2012, 03:27 PM   #2584
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News surfaced today that Tracy Schmaler, director of public affairs for the DOJ, was in contact with a reporter from Media Matters.

Among their discussions was how to lampoon Rep. Issa and Sheryl Atkisson.
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Old September 18, 2012, 07:51 PM   #2585
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With all that we know, does anyone in this group think the DOJ and those who directed this activity will ever be punished? I fear that in the end very little will come of all the talk. Heck, most media outlets have passed on this story.
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:35 PM   #2586
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The DOJ's IG report has been released: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012...icial-resigns/

It looks like Jason Weinstein (Lanny Breuer's Assistant) is going to take the title of "Highest ranking DOJ official to be scapegoated thus far" and will be resigning. I believe that makes the list: Dennis Burke, Jacob Weinstein, Bill Hoover, and Kenneth Melson (officials who have resigned over Fast and Furious).
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:48 PM   #2587
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The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the report also recommended "internal discipline" for Breuer, as well as 13 others.

Anyone found the actual report yet?
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:55 PM   #2588
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Via AR15.com, I came across this link to what is supposed to be the actual IG report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106382728/...ious-IG-Report
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Old September 19, 2012, 02:18 PM   #2589
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...y.html?hpid=z1

News story.
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Old September 19, 2012, 02:39 PM   #2590
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Quote:
While the report criticized officials in Washington, it said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had no advance knowledge of the tactics and risks involved in the operation.

Holder responded immediately to the report, issuing a statement in which he said its conclusions were consistent with the Justice Department’s own assessment that the strategy was flawed and that the leadership did not attempt to “cover up information or mislead Congress about it.”
Yep, so now Issa and the committee look like fools, and Holder looks vindicated. "See? I said it was a partisan witch hunt!"

In the meantime, I wonder what sort of "discipline" will come to the 14 folks named. If it's anything like we've seen so far, it will be an administrative reassignment at worst.
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:42 PM   #2591
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OK, this is long, but here's a summary of their findings, and of the people investigated. It begins on page 443:

Phoenix Field Divison

While we found no evidence that the agents responsible for the cases had improper motives or were trying to accomplish anything other than dismantling a dangerous firearms trafficking organization, we concluded that the conduct and supervision of the investigations was significantly flawed.

Special Agent Brandon Garcia: We determined that Garcia was poorly supervised by Higman, who himself lacked the judgment and operational experience to lead an investigation like Operation Wide Receiver, and that Garcia did not have adequate guidance in conducting the investigation.

RAC Charles Higman: Based upon our interviews and review of relevant documents, we determined that Higman lacked the operational experience to conduct a complex firearms trafficking investigation and failed to adequately consider the public safety risks of the tactics used. We also concluded that Higman failed to provide responsible supervision of the investigation.

Special Agent Hope MacAllister: In sum, we concluded that MacAllister’s early decisions in the case and her failure to reassess the investigative approach as the case progressed reflected a lack of urgency that was incompatible with the risk to public safety the Operation Fast and Furious subjects were creating.

Group Supervisor Voth: We concluded that the investigative goal and approach in Operation Fast and Furious, which Voth reaffirmed on multiple occasions during the course of the case, drove the lack of overt action against the straw purchasers, including making seizures and arrests. We did not find persuasive evidence to support Voth’s claim that this approach and ATF’s continued adherence to it in the face of alarming purchasing activity was solely grounded in disputes with Hurley’s legal guidance during the case. In fact, if Voth truly felt the frustration during the case that he asserted to us with respect to seizures and arrests, his deficiencies as a supervisor were even more significant because we did not find persuasive evidence that his managers at ATF or those responsible for the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office were made aware of these misgivings. Instead, Voth’s communications to these individuals reflected his full support for the case and his belief that “we are righteous in our plan to dismantle this entire organization and to rush in to arrest any one person without taking into account the entire scope of the conspiracy would be ill advised to the overall good of the mission.”

ASAC Gillett: In short, we concluded that Gillett endorsed a strategy in Operation Fast and Furious that lacked adequate measures to minimize the risk to public
safety in the United States and Mexico created by the subjects’ trafficking and that did not include any plan to reassess the decision to allow transfers of firearms to continue. In doing so, Gillett failed to provide responsible supervision of Operation Fast and Furious

SAC William Newell: SAC Newell also bore ultimate responsibility for the failures in Operation Fast and Furious, particularly in light of his close involvement with the office’s highest profile and most resource-intensive case. Like Gillett, Newell supported the strategy adopted in the case, and was also acutely aware that its most challenging aspect was the large volume of firearms being trafficked. Further, like Gillett, Newell did not consider any measures to minimize the risk to the public created by the Operation Fast and Furious subjects or prompt reassessment of the strategy despite the compelling evidence the investigation accumulated.

(...)

Overall, we found that SAC Newell’s conduct with respect to Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious was irresponsible, and that he failed to provide the leadership and judgment required of a Special Agent in Charge.


United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona

We concluded that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona shared equal responsibility for the conduct of Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hurley: Under these circumstances, we believe that Hurley and his management should have recognized the need to add additional resources to this phase of the case to ensure that it was prioritized. They did not, and we believe failing to do so was a contributing factor to the multiple delays in obtaining the indictment.

Section Chief Morrissey: we believe it was incumbent on Morrissey to exercise close supervision over this proactive investigation in order to stay informed about the progress of the case so he could assess whether there should be any alterations to the strategy. We concluded that Morrissey failed to provide responsible supervision of Operation Fast and Furious.

Former Criminal Chief Cunningham: In short, the information about Operation Fast and Furious that Cunningham received described a significant and innovative investigation of an active firearms trafficking group that had already spent $500,000, and that agents intended to continue investigating through wiretaps in order to identify key figures in the conspiracy and determine how firearms were being transported into Mexico. We believe this information was sufficiently significant to prompt greater engagement in the case by Cunningham, including asking questions about plans for enforcement action against any of the subjects and, if none, the public safety implications of that approach. The fact that Cunningham told us that he was not aware of the number of firearms purchased, and did not ask, confirmed to us that his oversight of the investigation was deficient.

Former U.S. Attorney Burke: We believe that Burke received sufficient information about the nature and scope of the investigation that he should have ensured the case received close supervision that included regular reassessments of the state of the evidence and the measures that were being or should have been taken to address the risk to public safety created by the subjects’ ongoing firearms trafficking. We concluded that Burke failed to exercise responsible oversight and failed to provide the leadership and judgment required of a United States Attorney.


ATF Headquarters

Former Deputy Assistant Director McMahon: Of all ATF Headquarters executives, McMahon was most familiar with Operation Fast and Furious during 2009 and 2010 and was best situated to influence its development. His duties included oversight of the Phoenix Field Division and its investigations, he was Newell’s primary point of contact at ATF Headquarters regarding the investigation, and, as we discovered, he played a pivotal role in determining whether certain key information about it was disseminated to his supervisors.

We determined that McMahon’s oversight of the Phoenix Field Division’s handling of Operation Fast and Furious was wholly inadequate. We found that he did not attempt to oversee the investigation in an active way even though he described it to us as ATF’s most significant firearms trafficking investigation on the Southwest Border. Although his initial instincts in the case were to have agents interrogate some of the leading straw purchasers, he capitulated to Newell’s multi-layered explanation about why that was a bad idea and then failed to revisit the issue again and press Newell on the point. Overall, McMahon seemed reluctant to bring his years of agent experience to bear on the case and instead was content to support Newell. That approach was a mistake in Operation Fast and Furious.

Former Assistant Director Chait: Although we believe that McMahon committed
serious errors and at times failed to inform Chait and other ATF executives about significant developments in Operation Fast and Furious, we found that Chait also shares substantial responsibility for the significant lapses in ATF Headquarters’ oversight.

Former Deputy Director Hoover: As with Melson, Hoover’s failure to adequately inform himself about Operation Fast and Furious resulted in his presenting Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler with an incomplete briefing on Operation Fast and Furious in March 2010. Hoover also failed to provide any updated briefings to Grindler even after developing significant concerns about the case.

We found that Hoover’s response to Agent Terry’s murder was deficient. We believe that he should have sought detailed information about the investigation after he learned about the connection between the firearms found at the murder scene and Operation Fast and Furious. If he had done so, he would have discovered from reviewing the materials that “gun walking” occurred in the investigation and would have been better prepared to answer questions from the Department in January and February 2011.

Former Acting Director Melson: We are critical of Melson in several important respects. First, we believe that as an experienced federal prosecutor, he should have recognized by the time of his briefing on Operation Fast and Furious in March 2010 that the fundamentals of the investigation (the amount of time the investigation had been open, the level of proactive investigative activity, and the number of firearms that were involved) pointed toward needed enforcement action – at a minimum ATF-initiated seizures – that were lacking and therefore required explanation.

(...)

Second, Melson participated in an incomplete briefing for Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler in March 2010 concerning Operation Fast and Furious. We determined that by the time of this briefing Melson had received sufficient information about the scope and significance of Operation Fast and Furious that he should have been asking probing questions about the strategy in the case and whether efforts were being made to minimize the risk to public safety. As a result of his failing to do so, he provided incomplete information about Operation Fast and Furious to Grindler.

(...)

Third, we believe that Melson was ineffective in addressing concerns he had over delays with closure and indictment of the case. He never complained to Burke, and we found no e-mails or other documents corroborating his statement that he may have complained to staff in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. Although we acknowledge that Melson took some steps to mitigate the delays, such as offering to send ATF attorneys to Phoenix, asking Chait about the status of the case, and contacting the Criminal Division about his concerns, we believe that Melson’s omissions perpetuated an approach towards Operation Fast and Furious that lacked sufficient urgency.

Finally, even after Agent Terry was murdered in December 2010 and the firearms found at the scene were found to be connected to Operation Fast and Furious, Melson took no significant action within ATF other than to ask for information about Avila’s role in the investigation. We believe Melson should have initiated a review of the investigation after he learned about the
connection.

DOJ Leadership

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Wilkinson: We found that Former Deputy Chief of Staff Wilkinson learned from U.S. Attorney Burke on December 15, 2010, that two firearms recovered at the Terry murder scene were linked to an ATF firearms trafficking investigation, but failed to notify the Attorney General of this fact. Holder told us that he did not learn of the link until early 2011, around the time he first became aware of Operation Fast and Furious. Wilkinson should have promptly informed the Attorney General of the link given that the information implicated significant Department interests.

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler: We determined that Grindler learned on December 17, 2010, of the link between weapons found at the Terry murder scene and Operation Fast and Furious but did not inform the Attorney General about this information. We believe that he should have informed the Attorney General as well as made an appropriate inquiry of ATF or the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the connection.

Assistant Attorney General Breuer: However, as we described in Chapters Three and Five, in April 2010 Breuer learned about Operation Wide Receiver and that ATF had allowed guns to “walk” in that case. Breuer told us that upon learning this information, he told Deputy Assistant Attorney General Weinstein to talk to ATF leadership to make sure that they understood that the Criminal Division planned to move forward with the case, but that the investigation had used “obviously flawed” techniques. Given the significance of this issue and the fact that ATF reports to the Deputy Attorney General, we believe Breuer should have promptly informed the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General about the matter in April 2010. Breuer failed to do so.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Weinstein: We found that given his level of knowledge about Operation Fast and Furious and his familiarity with the “gun walking” tactics employed by ATF in Operation Wide Receiver, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Weinstein was the most senior person in the Department in April and May 2010 who was in a position to identify the similarity between the inappropriate tactics used in Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.

____________________________________________

TL;DR: everybody but Holder gets their posterior in a sling over this. What's going to happen to them? Given what we've seen so far, criminal prosecution is unlikely. Many won't even lose their jobs.

Still, it's out there.
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Old September 19, 2012, 04:39 PM   #2592
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Why do they mention Wide Receiver? I thought that was a Bush-era op that was closed down rapidly when it became obvious that once over the border, tracing guns was impossible, Mexican involvement or not.

Looks like Lanny Breuer is in the clear, too. Unless there is something in his testimony to the Committee that doesn't line up with the exoneration in the report.

It's going to be real hard to quit drinking if I keep seeing stuff like this. (spits, kicks a dirt clod)
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Old September 19, 2012, 04:44 PM   #2593
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Quote:
Why do they mention Wide Receiver? I thought that was a Bush-era op that was closed down rapidly when it became obvious that once over the border, tracing guns was impossible, Mexican involvement or not.
Some of the folks mentioned were present for both operations.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:28 PM   #2594
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It's more than that, Tom Servo.

Wide Receiver was shut down basically because of the gunwalking. When the new administration came along, they decided to dig the case out and pursue it, despite the gunwalking. This was (not unreasonably) seen as a green light by Newell, who had been in charge of Wide Receiver gunwalking. He figured it was OK again when they restarted the WR prosecution.

The two are closely related in more ways than one, and only Lanny Breuer was able to avoid seeing any connection, and he was only able to do that when it was really, really politically convenient.
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Old September 20, 2012, 01:10 AM   #2595
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I have not yet read the report, but the main question to ask is, Did the IG interview Attorney General Holder about his knowledge and involvement? If not, why not? If so, I'll have to go read that section.

My point is that the AG is like the CEO of a large organization. When a new CEO enters his new office, his early tasks are to meet with his direct reports and determine the general direction of the organization and what major initiatives are being pursued. In Holder's case, no doubt "terrorism" was a major interest. Regardless, any case that reaches the status of "ATF’s most significant firearms trafficking investigation on the Southwest Border" should have been "on the radar" of Holder, Melson and all the lower-echelon managers.

What is interesting is all these senior-level personnel getting slapped with charges of a lack of oversight, lack of proper management, deficient management, failures to notify superiors, et al, there is no chastising of A.G. Holder for failing to supervise his own staff, or failing to understand what major investigations or projects were underway or to even (apparently) ask those questions.

His ineptitude is evident and it should have been at least a footnote in the report, however I always doubted the DOJ's IG would find fault with the political appointee in charge.

Despite the cabinet-level position being one of "extreme responsibility", Holder has shown none and will take none... unless it is to announce some prosecution or arrest that will be a nice addition to his resume.

And.... at the last... it appears the IG's investigation has failed to answer the fundamental question. Who was it that initiated the operation and who authorized it?
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Old September 20, 2012, 05:04 AM   #2596
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The report is exactly what we expected -- a whitewash and a diversion. Did anyone seriously expect the agency's own IG to come out and declare that the AG himself (the boss, in other words) has dirty hands? Anyone writing such a report would be out of a job, and out a career with the Feral government. He'd be lucky to find a job at a car wash in Ames, Iowa.

So the report names a bunch of mid-level managers and street-level operatives, and concludes that they didn't treat the case seriously enough. No mention of the fundamental fact that the operation could not possibly have accomplish its purported goals because the operation did not include any assets or mechanisms for following the guns once they crossed into Mexico.

Irrespective of the report's conclusions, it should be (IMHO) obvious to anyone with half a brain that the intent of such an operation COULD NOT have been what they claim it was, but COULD have been (and almost certainly was) to ensure that more guns traceable to the U.S. were used in crimes in Mexico so the Obama administration could join the Mexican government in bemoaning the "river" of illegal guns being trafficked from the U.S. into Mexico. They were already claiming this ... right up until the killing of Brian Terry led to some whistle blowers opening the lid on Pandora's box.

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Old September 20, 2012, 09:22 AM   #2597
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Tom Swervo closes his post with the following:



____________________________________________

TL;DR: everybody but Holder gets their posterior in a sling over this. What's going to happen to them? Given what we've seen so far, criminal prosecution is unlikely. Many won't even lose their jobs.

Still, it's out there.
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Yesterday, 04:39 PM #2592
HarrySchell
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Posts: 394 Why do they mention Wide Receiver? I thought that was a Bush-era op that was closed down rapidly when it became obvious that once over the border, tracing guns was impossible, Mexican involvement or not.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:37 AM   #2598
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Holder is running out the clock. Expect a last minute pardon if there is no second term. If there is, expect that at some point all the emails/docs will be ordered to be released by a court and Holder will resign with no other consequence. There has been no real investigation and without all the emails/docs there never will be a real investigation. Right now Holder is just another liar.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:39 AM   #2599
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Tom Servse closesa a post with the followeing:

TL;DR: everybody but Holder gets their posterior in a sling over this. What's going to happen to them? Given what we've seen so far, criminal prosecution is unlikely. Many won't even lose their jobs.

Still, it's out there.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
I suspect that there will be nothing in the way of criminal prosecution of those responsible for Operation Fast & Furious, which strikes me as the saddest aspect of the mess that is/was Operation F & F. Likely, nobody will loose their jobs either. As for Mr. Melson, I sujspect that he will sail off to a glorious, financially comfortable, in part publically funded retirement, which is anoither sad aspect of this entire business. As for Mr. Holder himself, he is receiving, and will receive, from his "basketbasll buddy" all the cover he is likely to ever need.
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Old September 20, 2012, 11:19 AM   #2600
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DOJ's own lawyers conduct investigation under Holder's supervision

"In the investigation I have overseen of myself, I have found that I have done nothing wrong."-Eric Holder


Pardon me for being incredulous.
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