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Report Blames ATF Agents For Botched Gun-Trafficking Operation

A report by congressional Republicans places new blame for the botched gun-trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious at the feet of federal agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who failed to share information and coordinate with sister law enforcement agencies.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) walks up the steps of the U.S. Capitol on November 18, 2011 in Washington, DC.
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Above: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) walks up the steps of the U.S. Capitol on November 18, 2011 in Washington, DC.

The report distributed by Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says ATF agents and supervisors should have realized two targets of their criminal case along the Southwest border had already been under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI.

The associates of the violent Sinaloa, Mexico, cartel ultimately became "national security assets," or paid confidential informants of the FBI, and therefore were essentially shielded from prosecution.

"This means that the entire goal of Fast and Furious -– to target these two individuals and bring them to justice -– was a failure," the Issa report said." ATF's discovery that the primary targets of their investigation were not indictable was 'a major disappointment.'"

The report also says prosecutors in the criminal division of the Justice Department in Washington should have carefully reviewed sworn statements filed alongside wiretap applications in the Fast and Furious investigation. But, as was their practice at the time, they did not do so — failing to take notice of troubling details about ATF agents observing purchases of guns that were handed over to suspicious people and then recovered inside Mexico's borders as little as a day later.

Attorney General On Capitol Hill

Issa released the report as Attorney Gen. Eric Holder heads to Capitol Hill Thursday to answer questions for the sixth time about the debacle. Fast and Furious broke into public view after the December 2010 death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Two guns connected to the botched gun-trafficking operation were found near the body of Brian Terry, igniting two congressional probes and an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general.

For his part, according to prepared testimony and Justice sources, Holder is likely to emphasize a series of reforms the Justice Department has imposed in the aftermath of the scandal, including a management shakeup at ATF, new layers of oversight for cases involving gun trafficking and confidential informants, and stiffer reviews of letters that go from Justice to Congress. The department took the extraordinary step of withdrawing a Feb. 4, 2011, letter to lawmakers because it contained inaccuracies about whether American guns were allowed to flow into Mexico.

Holder says he wants to work with Congress to draft new laws to go after the flow of illegal weapons along the border, not to engage in "cynical finger pointing" and "gotcha" games.

Democrats on the House Government and Oversight Committee, led by Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, issued their own report on Fast and Furious earlier this week. That report all but absolved the Obama Justice Department of responsibility for the botched operation and localized the problem to the ATF and the U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix, both of which have been the focus of management shakeups and resignations since the congressional investigations began a year ago.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 2, 2012 at 9:37 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

It's pretty hard to take an investigation seriously when it's being done by a dirty, corrupt crook who has been on the take for years.

Issa himself has been embroiled in controversy and questionable actions for decades but has been shielded by local yellow journalists allies like the *Pravda Union Tribune* and *KUSI: Television for the Small Minded*.

When a respectable media outlet like the *NY Times* reported on his corruption, Issa took the Newt Gingrich model of attack the "leftist" media like a rabid dog approach.

Instead of explaining or denying his filthy actions outright, he just pounced on the *NY Times* like an infected pit bull in hopes that his intellectually void supporters would think he doesn't have a corrupt bone in his body and is just a victim of "socialist media elite".

It must be nice to be a cowardly public official who can profit significantly from corruption and then simply just blame those who report on it.

Here are just some of the lovely acts Issa has been involved with during his career of being a filthy crook:

First off, Issa is enormously rich, one of the richest men in politics today. Most wealthy members of congress either put their private businesses and investments into blind trusts or disconnect from them completely when in office to avoid impropriety.

**Not Darrell Issa. Hes till runs his businesses while being in politics, and uses his powerful position in this oversight committee to profit personally.**

I encourage everyone to read this NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/us/politics/15issa.html?pagewanted=all

It presents a sorted intertwining of FACTS that illustrate how Issa has improperly used his position in Congress to profit and help out his business partners.

The hilarious part is what Issa and the Pravda Union Tribune did after this article came out (and this was even pre-Papaganda).

The Pravda Union Tribune (I call it this because the UT is for the Republican Party what Pravda was for the Soviet Communist Party) conducted a sham fluff interview where, instead of going through the Time's article point-by-point, they let Issa pick and choose the corrupt acts he wanted to address.

In the midst of the article talking about Issa's shams, crimes, and improprieties, there was mention of his office overlooking a golf course.

The Pravda UT and Issa, working together, used **THAT** as their big "gotcha" moment.

In dramatic form, Pravda UT Comrades "stormed" the office (at the invite of Issa, of course) with cameras in hand, and filmed out the window to show to the public you couldn't see the golf course without straining your neck to the side.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 2, 2012 at 9:38 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

*continued*

AH HA! Everything in the article must be false because the view of the golf course is not there, declared the Pravda Union Tribune, confident this would satisfy their dopey readership (and it probably *DID* satisfy most of them).

Of course those with an intellect above that of a lemming saw this immediately as jaundice journalism, but the Pravda UT stuck by their side and even refused to print the Time's article.

So, in summary, the Pravda UT in their effort to protect their precious Issa:

(1) Attacked a NY Times article but refused to print said article so their readers could see both and make a fair decision

(2) Refused to ask Issa about even half of the corrupt charges and instead let Issa cherry pick which points he wanted to talk about

(3) Used an irrelevant and minor point about a golf course view to overshadow the actual meat of the article which is Issa using his powerful government position to give special favors to his friends and to himself by directly profiting from it

It should be noted that the journalist who reported Issa's corruption is a Pulitzer Prize winning nationally acclaimed journalist and the Pravda UT reporters who covered for Issa - well they aren't.

And as for the entire "view" debacle, what happened is Issa would not allow the NY Times to interview him when they alerted him they were doing this investigation (hmmmmmmm, what was he afraid of) and they were not allowed into his building, but from the golf-course across the street they could plainly see his building so they assumed the building must have a view to the golf course.

But again, small potatoes compared to Issa's laundry list of shameful Congressional Crimes.

Now we get to this article that came out today.

Yes, I admit it's taken me awhile to get around to making my post relevant here.

My comment is that Issa, for the reasons presented above, is corrupt and has used this very oversight position for his own personal profit, and now he is trying to use the same office for his personal political agenda.

There is no credibility here, Issa is not an honest man.

Why is he in charge of a Congressional Oversight committee?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 2, 2012 at 9:48 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

*continued*

If Republicans in Congress want to investigate the Executive, go ahead. Oversight is critical to a fair government. But use someone credible to head the oversight committee. Using someone who is corrupt and who has themselves proven they will use this oversight position for their own personal profiteering and political axes to grind is just dirty and can't be taken seriously.

I mean why don't they just let Randy "Duck" Cunningham run this oversight committee from prison?

It would have as much credibility as putting Issa in charge of it.

The *only* differences between Darrell Issa and Randy "Duke" Cunningham is that Cunningham is paying for his crimes.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 2, 2012 at 10:05 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

"duke" above, not "duck". Don't *ever* link ducks to "Duke" Cunningham :)

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | February 2, 2012 at 10:39 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

It's laughable that Issa still portrays himself as an outsider working to destroy the status quo. Aren't most Congressional chairpersons part of the problem by association?

As easy as it is to ridicule him, I'd say the fact that we're banging the war drums for Iran based on similarly gathered intelligence using admittedly flawed communication and procedures is the more compelling point.

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Avatar for user 'Oceanside'

Oceanside | February 3, 2012 at 5:39 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

PDSD, thanks for posting the NY Times story.

A few of the claims are a bit overblown. For example, the questionable implication that the road improvement of Vista Way caused that medical building to appreciate 60%. Don’t think so.

On the other hand, I have been concerned for some time with my congressman. For example, soon after Issa became the head of the Oversight Committee, he made statements pretty much declaring that he would use the committee to do battle with the Obama administration. I am not a fan of the same old partisan in-fighting we’re all getting tired of. Also, I was not aware of some of the other issues brought up by the NY Times article. For example, really is there any question that Issa had a conflict of interest when he was involved in the investigation of Toyota for acceleration problems when his company was a major supplier of alarms? Really ridiculous when he claimed that his relationship with Toyota makes him even better at investigating Toyota than his fellow unconflicted house members...because he would say “hold it, I’m not letting you off the hook now.” What???

Can you post the link to the UT story you are referring to? Might be interesting/entertaining.

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