Friday, May 6, 2011

Take our Attorney General, please

We're a little late to the party with this but Congressman Issa (R-CA) head of the congressional oversight committee had a chance to question that miserable hack that runs the Justice Department during a judiciary committee hearing earlier this week on what/when he knew about ATF's south-of-the-border operation, Project Gunrunner.

(Previous posts on this little misadventure, here)

Video of the exchange grilling can be found here.

Some highlights via Patterico:

ISSA: Mr. Attorney General, we have two Border Patrol agents who are dead, who were killed by guns that were allowed, as far as we can tell, to deliberately walk out of gun shops under the program often called Fast and Furious. This program, as you know — and the President’s been asked about it, you’ve been asked about it – allowed for weapons to be sold to straw purchasers, and ultimately, many of those weapons are today in the hands of drug cartels and other criminals. When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious? To the best of your knowledge, what date?

HOLDER: I’m not sure of the exact date but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.

ISSA: How about the head of the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer. Did he authorize it?

HOLDER: I’m not sure whether Mr. Breuer authorized it. You have to understand the way in which the Department operates. Although there are operations, this one has become — has gotten a great deal of publicity.

ISSA: Yeah, there are dead Americans as a result of this failed and reckless program. So I would say that it hasn’t gotten enough attention, has it, Mr. Attorney General?

ISSA: Mr. Attorney General, do you take seriously a subpoena signed by the Clerk of the House?

HOLDER: Of course.

ISSA: After 14 days of waiting for a letter to be signed or acknowledged or responded to, we sent a subpoena signed by the Clerk of the House. 32 days later, last night, your people responded by giving us 92 pages representing 3 documents that were public records already.

We'll get to what was in those documents later but the fact that Holder sent Issa documents Issa could get online is priceless.

ISSA: We’re not looking at the straw buyers, Mr. Attorney General. We’re looking at you. We’re looking at your key people who knew or should have known about this and whether or not your judgment was consistent with good practices and whether or not instead the Justice Department is basically guilty of allowing weapons to kill Americans and Mexicans. So will you agree to cooperate with that investigation both on the House and Senate side?

HOLDER: We’ll certainly cooperate with all the investigations, but I’m going to take great exception to what you just said. The notion that somehow or other this Justice Department is responsible for those deaths that you mentioned, that assertion’s offensive. And I want to tell you that –

ISSA: But what if it’s accurate, Mr. Attorney General?

Ouch. This was pretty much a text book dressing down. As we wrote before, we're not sure what is worse: signing off on this operation that started under George W. Bush or not having any knowledge of it at all.

OK. So, what was in those totally public documents that the Justice Department so begrudgingly turned over? Turns out the Lanny Breuer Issa questioned Holder about did indeed know about the operation.

Three Project Gunrunner documents Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and House Oversight Committee chairman, released on Wednesday show high-ranking Justice Department officials were aware of Operation Fast and Furious and that there was a consistent administration policy that allowed American guns to be “walked” into Mexican drug cartels’ possession.

One of the documents shows Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer approved a wiretap application for suspects Operation Fast and Furious targeted in March 2010. The wiretap application process is lengthy and cumbersome, and often requires those applying to make strong case as to why they need it. So, Breuer would have been briefed in detail on Operation Fast and Furious before authorizing the wiretap.

Another document, a briefing paper from January 8, 2010, shows the administration’s step-by-step policy decisions and plans. The Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), wrote that the “investigation has currently identified more than 20 individual connected straw purchasers,” or those who bought weapons, under ATF surveillance, with the intent to traffic them to Mexican drug cartels. The briefing paper shows that ATF’s policy was to allow this to happen. “Currently, our strategy is to allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place, albeit at a much slower pace, in order to further the investigation and allow for the identification of additional co-conspirators who would continue to operate and illegally traffic firearms to Mexican DTOs [Drug Trafficking Organizations] which are perpetrating armed violence along the Southwest Border.”

Well, since KSM and now bin Laden won't be going to a civilian trial anytime soon and Project Fast and Furious has been shuttered (do we assume too much?), the miserable hack has quite a bit of free time on his hands. How do we know this? Because Justice is apparently going to get to the bottom of this whole BCS business. (courtesy The Liberator Today):

The Department of Justice has sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert asking why the association does not have a major-college football playoff and it wants to know if Emmert believes some aspects of the Bowl Championship Series system do not serve the interests of fans, schools and players.

Words fail us.

We were pretty much the first ones on the Dump the miserable hack bandwagon and dude has done nothing... absolutely nothing to dissuade us from that opinion.

1 comment:

B-Daddy said...

Issa is on of my current heroes. He is doing the job the Founding Fathers intended. Congressional oversight can lead to grandstanding, but in this case it is part of accountability, a notion that seems foreign to this administration.