Using Water As A Weapon Of War

Herschel Smith · 03 Aug 2014 · 9 Comments

Next City: In a war, anything can be a weapon. In a particularly ruthless war, such as the conflict that has been raging in Syria for more than three years, those weapons are often turned against civilians, making any semblance of normal life impossible. Such is the case, experts say, with the way the nation’s water supply is being manipulated to inflict suffering on the population. According to an article posted by Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute, water…… [read more]

Zapata Lawsuit Against U.S. Government

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

David Codrea scoops the story (before the MSM) on a lawsuit just filed by the parents on behalf of deceased Immigration And Customs Enforcement Agent Jamie Zapata.  I don’t blame them.  I wouldn’t let this go either.  It’s because of corruption that guns were walked across the border in the failed U.S. attempt to side with drug lords in their war against each other while also giving the state an excuse to enact new gun laws.

The corruption might be exposed by this lawsuit, although whether this brings it about won’t effect long term probabilities.  Long term, I just don’t believe that it’s possible to hide the truth.  The sooner everyone confesses, the better it will be, but everyone’s role will ultimately be made known.  It’s just a matter of time and light.

OIG Report On Fast And Furious: Failure

BY Herschel Smith
2 years ago

David Codrea has been at the forefront of Fast and Furious, along with Mike Vanderboegh, and one recent article on the Office of Inspector General’s report on Fast and Furious supplies ample evidence of his accuracy.

Spending a considerable portion of its analysis on the Operation Wide Receiver Bush-era firearms trafficking surveillance program, the Office of Inspector General’s massive report on Fast and Furious gunwalking released Wednesday corroborates much information presented to Gun Rights Examiner readers almost a full year ago.

“Operation Wide Receiver illustrated the failure of management in ATF’s Phoenix Field Division to alert ATF Headquarters to the use of these tactics,” the report documents, validating a claim made by Mike Detty, the confidential informant at the heart of the case, that “It had nothing to do with Bush or even DOJ.” This is significant, because House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democrats and sympathetic media allies have made great hay conflating Wide Receiver with Fast and Furious and spreading a blame-transferring “Bush did it too” meme, with no less than Attorney General Eric Holder making a (since withdrawn with minimal fanfare) claim that a predecessor AG, Michael B. Mukasey, knew about the program and kept things quiet. Also of significance, Holder’s boss and executive privilege benefactor, President Obama, is still publicly conflating the operations, falsely telling Univision that Fast and Furious had “begun under the previous administration.”

Other Detty claims, published in this column in October, 2011, are also corroborated by the OIG report, including his account of the US Attorney telling him he refused to prosecute the case because of ATF lies. Another report filed later that month told of failed cooperation attempts with the Mexican government, also referred to by the IG. Other stories filed by Gun Rights Examiner, including one in November, 2011, relayed Detty’s account for phase known as Wide Receiver I and Wide Receiver II, also subjects of the OIG report, as well as attempts to smuggle receivers to Tijuana through San Diego.

The point being, these are but a few examples of innumerable reports filed in this column and at citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh’s Sipsey Street Irregulars blog that have since been proven through “official” sources, albeit, there is often a significant lag time between sourced claims and validation. It’s important to keep that in mind, particularly when reading claims from media sources that have done practically no original reporting on Fast and Furious except to weigh in on occasion with administration talking points, and absurd, wholly unjustified claims that the OIG report vindicates or exonerates anyone with the admission it has found no evidence.

Read the rest of Codrea’s report and his update.  I want to focus on something a little more pedestrian concerning this report.  I have not read the IG’s report and do not intend to.  David can be relied upon for the “inside baseball” of this scandal.

But there are two things that keep floating their way to the top for me like so much flotsam and jetsam from the shipwreck of what we now know as Fast and Furious.  We continually hear about the “failed” operation, the “flawed” program, and the lack of oversight when the main stream media report on the scandal.

I’m not convinced that anything was flawed or that the operation failed.  I still believe that it accomplished the precise goal for which it was intended.  They just got caught.  Unlike previous operations such as “Wide Receiver,” there was never any plan to interdict weapons.  More importantly, there couldn’t have been.  Once they crossed the border there was no means to track them, no power to confiscate them, and not even a sure means to trace them back to point of origin (although publication of the point of origin was the intended purpose if I am right about the program).

I have previously discussed Project Gunrunner (yes, I understand that this isn’t precisely the same thing as Fast and Furious, predates it, and Fast and Furious is still a subset of Gunrunner if I’m correct), where the U.S. government allegedly provided the means and training for the electronic tracing of firearms for Mexican authorities.

Not enough of them were trained.  There weren’t enough assets to accomplish the mission.  There was no way to pull it off, and this wasn’t even on the front end of firearms usage – it was on the back end after they had already been used in crimes.

What I’m saying is that the assertion that Fast and Furious is simply a “botched” operation doesn’t comport with the facts on the ground.  There was never any possibility that it would yield any fruit, and its handlers knew this if they have only slightly higher ability to perform syllogistic reasoning than, say, my dog.

Second, and just as important, is to observe what’s happening as part of the political cycle.  Note that Codrea links an article by Jake Tapper where Jake explains that Obama made false assertions about Fast and Furious beginning under previous administrations.

Of course this is false, and the IG’s report is a failure in that it spent even one second discussion Wide Receiver (for me, that it discusses Wide Receiver is more evidence that it would be a waste of time to read it, and it only further exonerates my view that I can ignore it).  Let’s rehearse for a moment what we learned in November of 2011.

It was left to Republican Senators Charles Grassley and John Cornyn to lay bare some crucial distinctions between to two ATF operations. Wide Receiver actually involved not gun-walking but controlled delivery. Unlike gun-walking, which seems (for good reason) to have been unheard of until Fast & Furious, controlled delivery is a very common law enforcement tactic. Basically, the agents know the bad guys have negotiated a deal to acquire some commodity that is either illegal itself (e.g., heroin, child porn) or illegal for them to have/use (e.g., guns, corporate secrets). The agents allow the transfer to happen under circumstances where they are in control — i.e., they are on the scene conducting surveillance of the transfer, and sometimes even participating undercover in the transfer. As soon as the transfer takes place, they can descend on the suspects, make arrests, and seize the commodity in question — all of which makes for powerful evidence of guilt.

Senator Schumer’s drawing of an equivalence between “tracing” in a controlled-delivery situation and “tracing” in Fast & Furious is laughable. In a controlled delivery firearms case, guns are traced in the sense that agents closely and physically follow them — they don’t just note the serial numbers or other identifying markers. The agents are thus able to trace the precise path of the guns from, say, American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.
To the contrary, Fast & Furious involved uncontrolled deliveries — of thousands of weapons. It was an utterly heedless program in which the feds allowed these guns to be sold to straw purchasers — often leaning on reluctant gun dealers to make the sales. The straw purchasers were not followed by close physical surveillance; they were freely permitted to bulk transfer the guns to, among others, Mexican drug gangs and other violent criminals — with no agents on hand to swoop in, make arrests, and grab the firearms. The inevitable result of this was that the guns have been used (and will continue to be used) in many crimes, including the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent.

In sum, the Fast & Furious idea of “trace” is that, after violent crimes occur in Mexico, we can trace any guns the Mexican police are lucky enough to seize back to the sales to U.S. straw purchasers … who should never have been allowed to transfer them (or even buy them) in the first place. That is not law enforcement; that is abetting a criminal rampage.

As Sen. Cornyn pointed out, there is another major distinction between Wide Receiver and Fast & Furious. The former was actually a coordinated effort between American and Mexican authorities. Law enforcement agents in both countries kept each other apprised about suspected transactions and tried to work together to apprehend law-breakers. To the contrary, Fast & Furious was a unilateral, half-baked scheme cooked up by an agency of the Obama Justice Department — an agency that was coordinating with the Justice Department on the operation and that turned to Main Justice in order to get wiretapping authority.

By the time Cornyn was done drawing this stark contrast between Wide Receiver and Fast & Furious, Holder was reduced to conceding, “I’m not trying to equate the two.”

But Obama trotted this out as if most people have not heard of Wide Receiver, and if they have, they don’t know anything about the differences between it and Fast and Furious.

In fact, I fear that most people in America are watching sitcoms at night before bed.  Obama may be right, and he may pull off yet another misdirect on the American people, at least, the ones who don’t care.

ATF: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 2 months ago

Todd Jones, the acting director of the ATF, says trying to manage the organization is testing all of his skills.

Jones has replaced six out of his eight top assistant directors at Washington headquarters. And he says he’s tried to promote a new generation of leaders all over the country, including ground zero for the Fast and Furious scandal, along the Southwest border.

“Sixteen out of our 25 field divisions have new special agents in charge,” he said. “It’s really been a historic transformation, and it’s really been an opportunity for us to … cherry pick our best and brightest.”

But five ATF managers in Washington and Arizona, who were blasted by House Republicans in their report on Fast and Furious, still work in the federal government.

That seemed to rankle Fox News host Megyn Kelly and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

“Of these five guys who you point to who are responsible for this at ATF, no one’s been fired,” Kelly said on her program this week. “They’re still on the federal taxpayer dime. And the head guy, Ken Melson, he’s working for DOJ right now. Are the taxpayers still paying all these folks and why?”

Issa replied: “They are still paying all these folks. We are concerned that there has been no real repercussions.”

To which Jones says, just wait.

“On this issue of folks who are identified in the House report that are still with ATF, well there’s this little concept called due process,” Jones told NPR. “And until we get a factual report and a complete record from the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General, which is our normal process, and make the referral to our internal affairs division, then there are rights that employees have.”

He even wants to change the name of the ATF to the Violent Crime Bureau.  Sounds as if Mr. Jones really wants to get to the bottom of this whole scandal, no?  But not so fast or furious.

Acting Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones has failed to acknowledge overtures by the confidential informant at the heart of Operation Wide Receiver to give him detailed information about the failed gun smuggling investigation, Gun Rights Examiner learned over the weekend. Firearms dealer Mike Detty, who sold about 450 guns to straw purchasers under the assurances of his ATF handlers that they would be under surveillance, attempted to give Jones operational information both in person and by letter earlier this year, only to be ignored.

“I met him in the Sig booth at SHOT this year,” Detty told this correspondent. “I asked one of his people if he had time to say hello to another former Marine. He came over with a big smile and shook hands. I handed him a business card and told him, ‘If you’re serious about getting to the bottom of the gunwalking scandal you’ll need to start at the beginning–that’s me and Operation Wide Receiver.’

“He nodded and said he’d be in touch,” Detty continued. “Several weeks later I sent him a letter with my contact info and offer to help. Nothing.”

Gun Rights Examiner has obtained a copy of that letter, written on February 27, as well as the certified domestic mail return receipt, providing proof of delivery on March 5.

“There are currently something like 30 people serving prison sentences because of my involvement to help end illegal gun trafficking to Mexico,” Detty informed Jones, giving him a means of validating his credibility with an easily verifiable claim. “Not one case has gone to trial because of the overwhelming and indisputable documentation of these transactions–often videotaped in the living room of my home.”

“Operation Wide Receiver accounted for 450 guns being lost across the border but there were two other major cases that I brought to ATF that accounted for at least another 200 guns that are now in cartel hands,” Detty related. “As a CI it was not my place to question ATF’s motives or demand a detailed plan of action. I had assumed that my efforts would truly be used to help take down a powerful cartel.”

“If you’re sincere in wanting to get to the bottom of the gunwalking scandal then you’ll need to start at the beginning and that is me and Operation Wide Receiver,” Detty advised Jones. “Throughout my time as a CI, I kept meticulous notes–some 600 pages worth. In fact, it was my journal that raised the ire of SAC Newell. Once he learned of my documentation he ordered the field agents not to accept any new cases from me. He knew immediately that my records, irrefutable and unimpeachable, would prove troublesome for him at some point in the future.”

[ ... ]

“Whoever said he was a placeholder is correct,” Detty has sadly concluded in a private correspondence to Gun Rights Examiner. “He doesn’t care a bit about changing anything at ATF.” 

Meet the new boss … same as the old boss.  Don’t rename it, just get to the bottom of the illegalities and then get rid of the damn organization.

Trey Gowdy On Contempt For Holder

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 3 months ago

So Eric Holder has been held in contempt of Congress.  Good.  And the Congress should continue the quest for the truth in its examination of the depths of lawlessness in Fast and Furious – and its coverup.

Representative Trey Gowdy tells us why this is necessary.  Honestly, I’m jealous.  The South Carolina upstate area, Greenville-Spartanburg, has some great people.  Representative Gowdy is one of them, and we need more like him.  If the entire Congress consisted of men like this we wouldn’t be in such a mess on so many levels.  This is worth the time – please ignore the glitch at about 3:28 into the video.

Report: Gun-Walking Not Part Of The Plan

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 3 months ago

From Politico:

A new report on the botched Fast and Furious operation that has landed Attorney General Eric Holder on the hot seat alleges that contrary to popular belief, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives never meant to allow guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The lengthy story, published Wednesday by Fortune after a six-month investigation, claims that according to law-enforcement agents directly involved in the operation, ATF did not intentionally let arms cross the U.S.-Mexico border so they could end up in the hands of criminals on the other side.

“They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn,” the report says.

Featured prominently in the story is Dave Voth, a former Fast and Furious supervisor for the ATF who came under fire in 2011 when an agent publicly accused supervisors of ordering subordinates to purposefully refrain from seizing weapons in the hopes that the guns could lead them to criminals. One such gun has been linked to the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

The story charges that “the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies,” and accuses some lawmakers, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), of seizing on and amplifying the initial allegations to “score points” against the Obama administration.

You don’t say?  So the very player who was responsible for implementing the corrupt strategy at the ground level, and who certainly doesn’t want to be the first to go down if this all unravels, is claiming that it was all botched rather than intentional.  Take careful note how this is all couched, i.e., in language of frustration over the lack of tools to do the job.  In this case, tools = laws and regulations.

That’s right.  They are still going after laws and regulations, as if Voth began the approach, go just so far into the thick of it, and then to his great surprise, suddenly figured out that there was no set of regulations that allowed him to do this, or abetted his efforts, or gave him the latitude to pull all of this off.  The disingenuous part of all of this is that there is no possible world in which any set of U.S. regulations assists the ATF in tracking weapons when they get into the hands of criminals and war lords South of our border.  In order for any U.S. regulation to apply, they would have had to do that which Voth specifically forbade, that is, interdict the weapons before they crossed the border.

Voth’s approach is the same as the one used by Dianne Feinstein: blame it all on lack of regulations and laws.  And for an administration that claims Fast and Furious had nothing to do with a push for increased regulation, they sure seem to want more regulation out of all of this mess.  Of course, this is all reason enough to continue the mission towards complete openness, beginning with a vote of contempt concerning Eric Holder.

As a side bar, I haven’t followed Fortune very closely, but for Politico to parrot the talking points only sullies their own reputation.  Every time I read Politico I have even less respect for them than I did the time before.  They are quickly becoming an un-serious group of folks.

Last Ditch Meetings To Avoid A Contempt Vote On Eric Holder

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 3 months ago

From John Parkinson and Jake Tapper:

Days before the House of Representatives is scheduled to take an unprecedented vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, Obama administration officials and House Republican aides met today at the White House in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the standoff over documents related to the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation.

Those participating in the meeting included White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, Justice Department associate deputy attorney general Steven Reich and staff representing House Speaker John Boehner and Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, although neither lawmaker was there.

At the meeting, GOP staffers from the speaker’s office and the Oversight and Government Reform committee were permitted to briefly look at about 30 pages of documents, but both sides were unable to strike an agreement to avoid the contempt vote Thursday.

The hour-long meeting was described by a senior Obama administration official and GOP congressional sources as “picking-up on the offer DOJ made last Tuesday to the Committee” and was a product of a previous conversation between the speaker’s office and the White House.

“At the time [last week], Republicans rejected the offer because they claimed to be uncomfortable making a deal without seeing the documents,” the administration official told ABC. “In response, today we reached out and showed them a representative sample of the documents so they could see first-hand the types of communications in contention. This offer would result in the committee getting unprecedented access to documents showing how the Department responded to the Committee’s inquiry and would dispel any notion of an intent to mislead Congress.”

A congressional GOP aide who asked not to be identified also told ABC the offer was essentially the same as what Holder had presented Issa at the Capitol a week ago: A promise to make a compilation of documents available if the committee ends its investigation and takes contempt off the table. That offer was flatly rejected again today.

Republicans also asked the White House today whether it was willing to make a log available of the documents that the president would continue invoking executive privilege over, but the officials made clear that was “off the table,” according to a congressional source.

Fox News calls this a last ditch effort to resolve the contempt issue with Eric Holder.  This is one branch of our government holding another branch accountable.  At least back when I attended grammar and middle school, Americans were being taught that the branches of government have means to do this, and the practice of it is called balance of power.

There is no reason to attempt to avoid the vote.  The fast and furious scandal is the most significant and obscene lawlessness in any administration in recent history, and maybe ever in American history.  Congress has a duty to act.  As Glen Tschirgi observed:

Congress has an absolute duty to exercise its Constitutional power to oversee and reign in (when necessary) the excesses of the Executive Branch.   While there have been calls for the appointment of independent counsel (formerly known as a “special prosecutor”), those calls have been directed at the Obama Administration to make that appointment, presumably under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution known as, “The Appointment Power.”   But this power is not the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Branch.  According to the case of Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988), Congress has the power to indirectly appoint “inferior officers” such as Independent Counsel by directing the Judiciary to make such an appointment with its approval.   This power arises for the very reason that the Executive Branch cannot always be expected to cooperate in appointing an Independent Counsel when Executive wrongdoing is involved.

And recall what I have mentioned before concerning the walking of guns into Mexico for use by criminals and war lords.  “The trafficking of weapons in violation of the National Firearms Act and Export Control Act isn’t a “mistake.”  It’s an illegality.”  As one astute and knowledgeable individual described to David Codrea:

While the ATF, and by extension the USGOV, did not formally sell (or provide) weapons to straw purchases and physically deliver these weapons across the border to into a foreign sovereign nation, the ATF and the USGOV was/were the intellectual author(s) of a comprehensive plan to facilitate the sale and illegal export of weapons to a foreign country. As such, the ATF and the USGOV are the intellectual authors of a conspiracy (I am not an attorney, but use the word “conspiracy” in a broad sense) to illegally export weapons to a foreign country.

Those exports were a clear violation of US weapons export laws, and the USGOV knowingly conspired and allowed those weapons to leave the United States without, (1) A valid US Department of State Export License, (2) a valid End Use statement signed by an appropriate Mexican GOV authority attesting as to the use and end destination of the weapons, and (3) a valid Import License issued by the GOV of Mexico documenting approval for the weapons to enter Mexican sovereign territory. It would not be a stretch to suggest that one could successfully argue that the ATF’s actions, and by extension the USGOV, by facilitating these exports are: (a) complicit in illegal arms trafficking in violation of US weapons export law as codified by ITAR (DOS export regulations), and (b) complicit in a violation of Mexican law by knowingly allowing the weapons to transit into Mexican sovereign territory. Whether the USGOV could be found complicit or guilty of arms trafficking under international law (apart from ITAR and Mexican law) is not something I could speak to. I would, however, offer the following: (1) If any individual or any private group of any national origin had coordinated such an operation, the full legal powers of the Mexican government, the USGOV, and Interpol (not legal powers strictly speaking) would have been brought to bear on that individual or group (witness international arms trafficking prosecutions over the last 20 years), each of those government/other entities would have competed to get the arrest and prosecution headline in their national newspapers, that individual or group would have been immediately detained and incarcerated pending charges, charges would most likely be not in the dozens but in the thousands (as each weapon trafficked can be made to count for several if not dozens of individual violations), and all assets (financial and other, whether or not gained from trafficking) would be seized, and (2) if this were conducted by any number of sovereign countries – in particular any Latin American or African country – perhaps Ecuador facilitating transit/delivery of weapons to the FARC in Colombia, or South Africa providing weapons to a sub-Saharan civil war (create any scenario you wish) – that country facilitating the weapons transit would likely suffer several consequences: (1) The low-level individuals involved, if found by international authorities would be incarcerated (but likely they would never be found), (2) an international court (and perhaps the USGOV under previous administrations) would call for all top level GOV officials (Minister of Defense, Minister of Justice, and perhaps the President – as they are all in the chain of corruption) to be held accountable and tried – and perhaps extradited and (3) the country in question would be labeled as an international pariah, perhaps sanctioned, and certainly black-listed from purchasing and selling weapons and “bellic materiel” from the “civilized nations”.

Thus – the “who knew what when” and the “who told you not to release material that my office requested” etc. is nice to know but gets away from the real issue. The real issue is that the USGOV, through the ATF, was the intellectual author of an illegal arms trafficking operation that violated both US law and Mexican law – and perhaps international law. That is institutional and governmental corruption of the worst kind, above and beyond a few AKs crossing a border.

Far from something to be avoided, holding Eric Holder and the DoJ accountable is a year late.  But it’s better late than never.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Codrea for the link.  Also, I concur with his expectation that the NRA flex its significant muscle concerning this scandal.  David remarks:

The NRA must be involved. Now is not the time to avoid confirmation, now is the time to show the leadership it claims, and that its membership expects of it.

Turning to their politically potent candidate rating process, they can and should make it clear that a contempt vote will be scored, as will members of the GOP leadership thinking about going squishy. If they will not play this card, and before it’s too late, gun owners deserve to know why.

UPDATE: NRA promises to score the vote.

When Impeachment Is Too Good: Independent Counsel Needed for D.O.J.

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 10 months ago

This post is sparked by a short article in The Hill:

A senior GOP lawmaker said Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder could be impeached over botched gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) suggested at a House Judiciary Committee hearing that Congress may impeach Holder if it does not get satisfactory answers about inaccurate statements and information the Department of Justice provided on the operation.

“If we don’t get to the bottom of this — and that requires your assistance on that — there is only one alternative that Congress has, and it’s called impeachment,” Sensenbrenner said. “And I don’t want to go this far, but if we keep on getting pushed down the road and the can keeps on getting kicked and we don’t get closure to this, what is Congress to do so that we don’t spend all of our time in court arguing privilege, which is not a way to get at the truth?”

Sensenbrenner, a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was referring to a letter DOJ wrote to Congress that denied any agency involvement in “walking” guns — letting weapons fall into the hands of suspected criminals. That letter has since been withdrawn because of its inaccurate statements.

First off, kudos to Congressman Sensenbrenner for at least having the nerve to raise impeachment as a possibility.  Far too often, the GOP members of Congress are simply too afraid of the Leftist Media (and their own shadow) to take a firm stand on anything.

When Sensenbrenner states, however, that the only alternative is impeachment, he is either ignorant of or intentionally avoiding the power of Congress to appoint a Independent Counsel to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute members of the Executive Branch, such as Attorney General Holder, or subordinates in the Department of Justice.

I am fine with impeachment proceedings that involve dereliction of duty and require removal of an incompetent or otherwise compromised member of the Executive Branch.   But there are two reasons why Republicans should not be talking about impeachment with regard to the DOJ (not to mention the other agencies involved) in the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning conspiracy.   (And I use the term “conspiracy” decidedly).

First, there is zero chance that impeachment of Holder or lesser minions would succeed.   Although the odds are good that the Republican-majority House could vote to impeach, actual conviction and removal of the impeached official (as we know all too well from the Clinton Follies) requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.   There is no way to get to that margin, period.   So impeachment is a non-starter unless it is undertaken simply to expose the lawlessless of the Obama Administration.   In my opinion, the light is not worth the candle.

The second reason impeachment should not be considered is more substantial:  mere impeachment is simply too good for those in the Department of Justice.   Even if these officials could all be removed from office by impeachment, they will otherwise escape any, real punishment for their crimes.   And that is the heart of the matter.   Eric Holder and the Administration want us to believe that Fast and Furious was simply a good idea that was executed poorly— a mistake that will not be repeated.   According to Holder:

Holder defended DOJ’s actions and blasted Republicans for trying to “score political points.”

He called the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious “flawed” and “unacceptable.” He also pointed to recent changes in training and oversight measures taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which headed the failed operation, to ensure it never happens again.

The attorney general stressed that the mistakes made under Fast and Furious, which oversaw the sale of thousands of weapons to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels in an effort to track and dismantle gun-trafficking routes, must not detract from the larger goal of stopping the flow of weapons south of the border.

He has been joined by congressional Democrats in his push to use the issue of Fast and Furious to highlight the weaknesses within the ATF, including the agency’s lack of a confirmed director and the lack of a law requiring gun dealers in the Southwest to report multiple purchases of long guns.

This is nonsense and a shameful example of lawlessless, something that cannot be tolerated in a nation of laws.  “Fast and Furious” and the associated “Gunwalker” programs are not about “flawed” tactics.   Multiple federal (and international) laws were broken.

A good synopsis of this that has not been touched on elsewhere is this article by James K. Stinebower posted at PJ Media.   According to Stinebower:

As we continue to watch the general uproar over the Operation Fast and Furious program, and specifically what Attorney General Holder knew and when he knew it, it needs to be noted that perjury is not the only apparent violation of law to have occurred.

I refer to the apparent violation of at least one (probably two) major U.S. laws by the Holder Justice Department. A few years ago, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701, the follow-on to the Trading with the Enemy Act) was expanded in order to criminalize any transactions between U.S. entities — to include departments and agencies of the U.S. government — and all foreign drug cartels.

I am familiar with these prohibitive statues because several years ago, while serving as the senior drug analyst for the Senate Intelligence Committee, I was tasked to initiate and became the principal drafter of legislation which became known as the Kingpin Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 1901-08). The Kingpin Act is an extension of the highly successful IEEPA sanctioning program specifically targeting Colombian drug cartels. It expands sanctions authority against various drug cartel operations worldwide — including Mexico — which have been determined by the president to be threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

A violation of any of the IEEPA sanctioning programs or the Kingpin Act carries stiff penalties, both criminal and civil, and potentially totaling decades in prison and tens of millions of dollars in fines. It is not necessary that an individual or governmental entity be shown to have “knowingly” violated any of these programs: it is illegal for any U.S. entity or individual to aid, abet, or materially assist — or in the case of Operation Fast and Furious, to facilitate others to aid, abet, or materially assist — designated drug traffickers. There are no exceptions within IEEPA programs for unlicensed U.S. law enforcement or intelligence agency operations.

Based on the July 5, 2010, memo to Eric Holder, it would appear that Fast and Furious facilitated the delivery of weapons to — at a minimum — the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which administers both the IEEPA and Kingpin Act programs, has designated numerous members of the Sinaloa cartel under both programs. IEEPA prohibitions apply to the U.S. government as well as to individuals, and as stated there are no exceptions within IEEPA programs for unlicensed U.S. law enforcement or intelligence agency operations.

I am sure that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of laws being broken.   Nonetheless, it is a good example of just how outrageously the Administration has acted in this regard.  Congress has an absolute duty to exercise its Constitutional power to oversee and reign in (when necessary) the excesses of the Executive Branch.   While there have been calls for the appointment of independent counsel (formerly known as a “special prosecutor”), those calls have been directed at the Obama Administration to make that appointment, presumably under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution known as, “The Appointment Power.”   But this power is not the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Branch.  According to the case of Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988), Congress has the power to indirectly appoint “inferior officers” such as Independent Counsel by directing the Judiciary to make such an appointment with its approval.   This power arises for the very reason that the Executive Branch cannot always be expected to cooperate in appointing an Independent Counsel when Executive wrongdoing is involved.

There are many things today that engender cynicism and despair in the ordinary citizen when it comes to politics, but perhaps nothing corrodes and undermines our national coherence like elected officials and appointees who thumb their noses at our laws— the very laws that would be used mercilessly and without hesitation against you or me– and are not brought to account.   If this were a Republican administration and the House was in the hands of Democrats, you can be absolutely certain that a veritable crop of Independent Counsels would be springing up under similar circumstances.   When you throw in the Solyndra loans, the failure to enforce the civil rights laws against Black Panther intimidation of voters and the brewing scandal over money being laundered for the Sinaloa Cartel by the Drug Enforcement Agency, it is incredible to me that there is not a firestorm in Congress right now to prosecute everyone involved in this abuse of power.


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