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Old June 25, 2011, 10:00 AM   #401
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I can not wait to see how far this really goes, however just by the currently "known" actions I think it is enough already to say that ATF is not an agency which should be allowed to continue in any semblance of it's current form.

If the director wants to testify and the DOJ does NOT want him to, what can they do if he does fire him? Lock him up? Imagine if they lock him up after dropping a few bomb shells in from of congress. I think that should scare anyone in the country.

I do have to tip my hat to the agents that blew the whistle on this case, their are plenty of good people in these agencies.
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Old June 25, 2011, 10:13 AM   #402
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Melson should work out an immunity deal to testify against Holder, Clinton, and Obama. (you really think the Secretary of State isn't involved in this?)

This is much bigger that the Watergate scandal; he seems to be slowly realizing that.
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Old June 25, 2011, 10:21 AM   #403
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This one:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110621/...ntrol_senators

Had a link to the report issued THIS MONTH by Feinstein, Schumer, and Whitehouse. Here is what those three know as of now about gunwalking:

Quote:
Project Gunrunner is an ATF-led initiative in cooperation with federal,
state and local law enforcement agencies and the Mexican government
intended to “stem firearms trafficking to Mexico by organized criminal
groups.”

Since it began in 2006, Project Gunrunner has had notable success. The
ATF has seized in excess of 10,000 firearms and 1.1 million rounds of
ammunition destined for the Southwest border. It has also conducted 11,745
firearms licensee compliance inspections. As a result of Project Gunrunner
investigations, 809 defendants are serving an average of 104 months in
prison and an additional 260 are under court supervision.x

The expansion of eTrace – an electronic firearms tracing system – is a
critical component of Project Gunrunner in Mexico. This includes the
deployment of eTrace technology in U.S. consulates throughout Mexico. A
Spanish language version of eTrace was installed in Mexico in December
2009, and ATF has engaged its Mexican counterparts in extensive training
on the system. Mexican officials are able to input information regarding
recovered crime guns into the data system stored at ATF’s National Tracing
Center. Prior to 2009, ATF’s eTrace program was only available in English.

A November 2010 report by the Office of the Inspector General at the
Department of Justice noted that “through Project Gunrunner, the ATF has
increased several of its program activities related to firearms trafficking,
including the number of gun trace submissions, the number of investigations
it initiated, the number of these investigations it subsequently referred for
prosecution, and the number of defendants it referred for prosecution.”xi

The Inspector General’s report also discussed challenges that Project
Gunrunner has faced, including ATF’s lack of communication with other
agencies and the lack of targeting of higher-level traffickers.
A notable success with just a couple of challenges!

They also mention the death of agent Jaime Zapata as one of the unfortunate consequences of our lax gun laws. Eventually, we will learn whether his death was actually the result of the ATF run wild.
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Old June 25, 2011, 03:04 PM   #404
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Yes, it also occurred to me that Melson might survive because the ATF/DOJ could keep him muzzled. If they sack him, he'll be free to testify though ATF/DOJ would claim he had a vendetta.
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Old June 25, 2011, 05:08 PM   #405
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Holder -- the man holding the tiger by the tail.

AG Holder has to be sweating big time. If he tosses Melson under the bus, then he's free of goverment restraints and can volunteer his testimony to the Oversight Committee. If he keeps him in his current acting director slot, Melson can be compelled by subpeona to appear before Congress, no doubt with a battery of DOJ-supplied lawyers who will object to every question, question the legitimacy of the hearings, etc. ad nauseum.

Or... Holder can install Andrew "What RKBA?" Traver as "interim acting director" (subject to congressional approval) and muzzle Melson by returning him to his prior U.S. Attorney role. In that case, Melson puts in his paperwork to retire and exit the DOJ which frees him to testify.

I expect Holder to try this last tactic at least for the delay it gives him. But none of these will work if Issa and the House oversight committee push hard and demand Melson appear under subponea. The fight over his appearance will certainly scream "Cover up!" in 36 point type.

Bartholomew Roberts makes a good point with the WaPo articles.

The recent DOJ attempt to muddy the waters around Issa's briefing was badly done. WaPo published two articles on it and as I understand, retracted one or both. The only other "news" organization that ran with the story was the Huffington Post (no surprise here). HuffPo still had it up as of this morning.

Most damning and most supportive of "our" collective view that this program was implemented to give ATF/DOJ/Feds statistics to invoke more gun control and/or resume the so-called "assault weapons" ban is the WaPo's "Hidden life of guns". That involved parties knew that local FFL's (like LWTC and Carter's Country) were cooperating with Fast & Furious, yet providing their names as FFL's making potentially "illegal sales" helps make the case that the ATF was seeking to blame border FFLs while keeping secret their role in the sales of those guns. It is also libelous and slanderous on the part of the participants. I hope these FFLs join together to sue DOJ for the damage done to their businesses.

The ATF violated the Brownsville Agreement which prohibits US law enforcement actions inside Mexico without the permission and cooperation of the Mexicans and the Merida Initiative which is a cooperative agreement between the US, Mexico, Central America, etc.

There's little doubt here that the Fast & Furious plan would run afoul of Brownsville and not informing the Mexicans would violate Merida. Since international treaties were involved (indeed, international relations) there is little to doubt that someone had to ask State about it. Moreover, it eems impossible that any U.S. Attorney would decide to "go ahead" to violate these treaties without informing Holder or his deputy. Especially since lawyers are very good at CYA and the DOJ is loaded iwth them.

Questions include;
- Who authorized the program.
- Who else knew about and gave approval to the program? State? DOJ? DHS? The President?
- Were limitations of Brownsville and Merida discussed? Why not or what was the outcome?
- Who architected this plan? Who ordered the plan developed?

It'd be worthless to ask what the intent of the program was. We would only get the excuse that they wanted to get "the big fish" gun dealers and the cartels. We can make our own judgements as to any "political" motivations.

ETA: I think it's important to note that Project Gunrunner was initiated as a pilot program near Laredo, Tx. in 2005 and expanded to a nationwide program in 2006, under the Bush administration. During the 2006-2008 period Project Gunrunner;
  • Interdicted 5,457 firearms and 535,262 rounds of ammunition
  • 608 defendants are serving an average of 94 months in prison
  • 233 defendants have been convicted and await their sentence (as of 2010)
  • 789 defendants (63%) faced charges related to ftreanns trafficking.
  • ATF identified 49,625 firearms that FFLs could not locate in inventory or account for by sale or other disposition.
  • By working with industry members. Industry Operations Investigators (lOis) located either the firearms or the records to confirm the disposition of 43,249. or 87% of the missing firearms.
These are the stats from the OIG's report of 2010. By all accounts, Gunrunner was having an impact with over 1200 people recommended for prosecution and over 5,400 weapons seized. Fast and Furious did not begin until 2009, when a new administration took office.

You can draw your own conclusions.
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Old June 25, 2011, 08:46 PM   #406
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Quote:
Or... Holder can install Andrew "What RKBA?" Traver as "interim acting director" (subject to congressional approval)...
Two questions:
  1. Can anyone guess odds on Traver's not being approved?
  2. Could he be given a recess appointment?
Thanks, folks!
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Old June 25, 2011, 10:58 PM   #407
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In my view, it boils down to the following.

The highest levels of BATFE and DOJ should be subpoenaed. When and if they commence "shucking and jiving", as I suspect they most definitely would, they should be cited for contempt and taken off to jail.

There was, as I recall, a lady reporter from the N.Y. Times who sat in jail for about 90 days, contempt was the charge, in that she refused to divulge her source or sources. It turned out that there were problems, as I recall, with an article/articles she had written, but that’s being beside the point.

I wonder how tough DOJ and BATFE bureaucrats, management types would be, looking out through the bars.
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Old June 26, 2011, 08:01 AM   #408
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Quote:
One source, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed Melson has said in high-level discussions he didn’t want to be the "fall guy" on the scandal.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011...#ixzz1QO1RKKpC

A tacit sdmission to what most already assumed....that the authority came from above him. It's got to be feeling like the atomic wedgie is getting a little tighter for a few folks.
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Old June 26, 2011, 05:12 PM   #409
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The following might be indicative of the “reach” of the current/latest /ongoing BATFE debacle. See in 26 June edition of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Forum Section, today’s weekly piece by Jack Kelly, said piece entitled Obama the scofflaw. By the way, the P-G, long on anti gun "news coverage" and editorials has been strangely silent on this entire business, in-so-far as I can recall, though they did run an editorial the other day supporting the nomination and confirmation of Mr. Andrew Traver as Director of BATFE.

Anyhow, today’s piece by Jack Kelly seems to break the P-G’s silence, the article can be seen on-line for those interested. It makes mention of, among other things, the Obama administration’s “stonewalling” of congressional requests for “documents it has a legal right to see”, these documents dealing with the antics of BATFE.

Some would say that the P-G isn’t much of a paper, it’s not a major national paper, however it having lately come to speak on this business might well indicate that this debacle has more in the way of “legs” than some might wish. Perhaps it does, I so hope, and perhaps we will soon see the crumbling of stone walls.
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Old June 26, 2011, 05:30 PM   #410
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What many people do not understand is you are dealing with Chicago style politicians. Someone will take the fall then in the future, far enough along when this thing is off of everyone's minds and you have a new scandal of the week the fallguy or his cronies will be given a position, post or contract that more than makes up for what he had to do.

What is obvious to me is that Mr. Melson has not been given a satisfactory deal yet. If that time comes, then this will all just be swept under the rug like so many scandals back in Illinois and especially Chicago have.

Unless Obama decides to throw Holder "under the bus"(doubtful at this point) Mr. Melson is as high as we are likely to see this go.
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Old June 26, 2011, 06:50 PM   #411
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It is definitely going higher than Melson as there is already evidence implicating at least 3 DOJ staffers and Rep. Issa has already indicated that resignation or not, the investigation will continue.
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Old June 26, 2011, 09:28 PM   #412
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Agreed.

There are U.S. Attorneys that were involved in Fast & Furious as both prosecutors and to get warrants for wiretaps, searches, etc. Generally the U.S. Attorneys assigned to cases like this vet the overall "strategy" to nab the bad guys and admonish the LE branches where to tread lightly so they don't blow the case.

With Melson saying he won't be the fall guy, it implies that there is/are others that are as culpable at his paygrade or higher. Even if personnel are forced to resign, Congressional subpoenas work just fine on ordinary citizens as well as government employees.

Holder has his jockey shorts caught in the clockwork and it's still ticking away. If he's not implicated, the "atomic wedgie" (thanks alloy) he's going to get after this is over should ruin what little credibility he has on the hill.
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Old June 26, 2011, 09:38 PM   #413
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The scandal has reached the Daily Show.

The Fast and the Furious - Mexico Grift
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Old June 26, 2011, 10:09 PM   #414
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http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/%E2%80%...hing-holder/2/

Here is another take on what is happening. They are saying Holder should be impeached. I agree with them
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Old June 26, 2011, 10:15 PM   #415
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When this is the level of cooperation we're getting from the DoJ, something's got to give.
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Old June 27, 2011, 07:31 AM   #416
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Quote:
When this is the level of cooperation we're getting from the DoJ, something's got to give.
Obviously the solution is more regulations.
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Old June 27, 2011, 10:33 AM   #417
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It is really bizarre if you think about it - Melson clearly knew about Fast and Furious, there is evidence he was watching the video of the straw purchasers making the buys. Clearly, if this operation wasn't something Holder knew about and approved, then Melson should be fired. I mean after all, they've already fired one of the ATF whistleblowers; but not the guy who authorized it?

However, if Melson gets fired, he will be free to testify before Congress and name names.

So DOJ either keeps on someone who has, at best, violated international treaties while keeping the AG in the dark on the payroll or they fire him and let him testify. No matter what action they take, you couldn't point to the truth more clearly if you outlined it in a neon.
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Old June 27, 2011, 12:41 PM   #418
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I believe executive privilege can and has been invoked by administrations regarding testimony by supoena'd former Executive Branch employees. Perhaps we'll see this ploy used in this case. I do wonder, though, whether the supoena'd ex-official has the personal option to waive executive privilege if the administration invokes it?
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Old June 27, 2011, 01:20 PM   #419
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Don, you are right, but executive privilige in the face of mountains of evidence leading nowhere but to executive insiders/go-fers loses a lot of cred in the public arena, regardless of how spun by the spokesholes. Can be a victory less tasty than losing the fight.
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Old June 27, 2011, 02:58 PM   #420
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I believe executive privilege can and has been invoked by administrations regarding testimony by supoena'd former Executive Branch employees.
The President has repeatedly said he did not know about or authorize such an operation. If he wants to claim executive privilege to protect a guy that clearly knew about the operation and that even Jon Stewart is making fun of for incompetence.... well, I sure wouldn't stop him; but I don't see it happening.

That's what exciting about this whole scandal... claiming executive privilege would be a boneheaded move; but there is so much boneheadedness already under the bridge that pretty much anything could happen.
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Old June 27, 2011, 04:42 PM   #421
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As of today, it looks like Leahy and Grassley have struck a deal, and that Melson will be testifying next month. I see two possibilities.

The first is that he'll tow the company line and claim that the Phoenix division was off the reservation. The second is that he'll pull the Nuremberg defense and throw one or more of his superiors under the bus.

Quote:
there is so much boneheadedness already under the bridge that pretty much anything could happen.
We could be standing at the precipice of an enormous crossroads.
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Old June 27, 2011, 05:11 PM   #422
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Thanks for the update. It looks like Sen. Grassley's block on all DOJ business before the Senate Judiciary Committee was successful in gaining additional cooperation from DOJ.

Quote:
The first is that he'll tow the company line and claim that the Phoenix division was off the reservation.
Well, that one won't help him much since we know he was involved to the level that he was watching the sales via the Internet at his own desk.

Quote:
The second is that he'll pull the Nuremberg defense and throw one or more of his superiors under the bus.
The quote that caught my eye from your link:

"But in private conversations with congressional investigators in recent days, Melson has indicated he does not believe he did anything wrong because he carried out his bosses’ wishes and is eager to testify to describe the full picture, according to sources familiar with those conversations."

So, I'm guessing he is going with option #2. It will be interesting to see how DOJ responds.
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Old June 27, 2011, 05:49 PM   #423
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Melson's Boss would be AG Holder..

Looks like the committee is going for bigger fish.
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Old June 27, 2011, 09:58 PM   #424
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They should stop all ATF funding and hold full coverage hearings daily till this is settled, we deserve the truth and should know that not another day goes by without a full court press to punish everyone hiding anything.
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Old June 28, 2011, 01:04 AM   #425
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It looks like they are heaping logs on the fire. Are they stupid; or are they completely ignorant of the laws concerning retaliation against whistleblowers?

SOURCE

Quote:
'Project Gunrunner' Whistleblower Says ATF Sent Him Termination Notice

By Maxim Lott

Published June 27, 2011 | FoxNews.com

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is being accused of retaliating against an agent who helped publicize the agency’s role in allowing thousands of guns to cross the U.S. border and fall into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.

<MORE>
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