Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Full Of It – Questioned About His Department’s Operation That Supplied Guns To Criminals And Mexican Drug Cartel

June 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC  – Attorney General Eric Holder claimed during congressional testimony today that internal Justice Department emails that use the phrase “Fast and Furious” do not refer to the controversial gun-walking operation Fast and Furious.

Under questioning from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who read excerpts of the emails at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Justice Department oversight, Holder claimed that the phrase “Fast and Furious” did not refer to Fast and Furious but instead referred to another gun-walking operation known as “Wide Receiver.”

However, the emails refer to both programs — “Fast and Furious” and the “Tucson case,” from where Wide Receiver was launched — and reveal Justice Department officials discussing how to handle media scrutiny when both operations become public.

Among three of the emails, the second, dated “October 17, 2010 11:07 PM,” was sent by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein to James Trusty and it states: “Do you think we should have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura’s Tucson case [Wide Receiver] are unsealed? It’s a tricky case, given the number of guns that have walked, but it is a significant set of prosecutions.”

In the third email, dated Oct. 18, 2010, James Trusty writes back to Weinstein: “I think so, but the timing will be tricky, too. Looks like we’ll be able to unseal the Tucson case sooner than the Fast and Furious (although this may be just the difference between Nov. and Dec).”

“It’s not clear how much we’re involved in the main F and F [Fast and Furious] case,” reads the email, “but we have Tucson [Wide Receiver] and now a new unrelated case with [redacted] targets. It’s not any big surprise that a bunch of US guns are being used in MX [Mexico], so I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like ‘Finally, they’re going after people who sent guns down there.’”

Operation Wide Receiver was run out of Tucson, Ariz., between 2006 and 2007 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), a division of the Justice Department.

In his testimony, Holder said that the emails only referred to Operation Wide Receiver.

Holder told the committee: “That refers to Wide Receiver, not to Fast and Furious. The e-mail that you [Rep. Chaffetz] just read [between Trusty and Weinstein] – now this is important – that email referred to Wide Receiver, it did not refer to Fast and Furious. That has to be noted for the record.”

Chaffetz, after a long pause, said, “No, it doesn’t. It says Fast and Furious. ‘Do you think we should have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura’s Tucson case [Wide Receiver] are unsealed?’ It’s specific to Fast and Furious. That is not true, Mr. Attorney General. I’m happy to share it with you.”

Brian Terry, border agent

U.S. Border Agent Brian A. Terry, shot and killed on Dec. 14, 2010, near Rio Rico, Arizona, while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants. (AP Photo)

Operation Fast and Furious was carried out by the ATF. It began in the fall of 2009 and continued into early 2011, during which time the federal government purposefully allowed known or suspected gun smugglers to purchase guns at federally licensed firearms dealers in Arizona. The government did not seek to abort these gun purchases, intercept the smugglers after the purchases, or recover the guns they had purchased.

In some cases, as the government expected they would, the smugglers delivered the guns to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Two rifles sold to a smuggler in the course of Operation Fast and Furious in January 2010 ended up at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder Briefing Hundreds Of Black Pastors In Effort To Help Obama’s Campaign

May 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU will brief several hundred pastors in the African American community on how to participate in the presidential election — which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama’s campaign.

“We will have representatives from nine denominations who actually pastor somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 million people, and we’re going to first of all equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501c3 status with the IRS,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., told MSNBC today.

“In fact, we’re going to have the IRS administrator there, we’re going to have the Attorney General Eric Holder there, we’re going to have the lawyers’ organization from around the country, the ACLU — all giving ministers guidance about what they can and cannot do,” he noted.

Cleaver said they would not tell pastors which candidate to support. They will let them know who to regard as the bad guys, though (hint: not Democrats). “We’re going to talk about some of the draconian laws that have cropped up around the country as a result of the 17 percent increase in African American votes,” Cleaver said, describing voter ID laws as a form of Jim Crow-style “poll tax” on seniors and black voters.

The CBC chairman is confident that “President Obama is going to get 95 percent of the [African American] vote,” and wants to keep that turnout high. “We want to let them know that there is a theological responsibility to participate in the political process, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition,” he said.

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Effort By House Oversight Committee To Hold Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In Contempt Making Progress – His Department’s Efforts Armed Mexican Drug Cartels, Then Hid Documents Amid Investigation

May 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation, CBS News has learned.

The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee’s investigation, which is now in its second year.

The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, “false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”

“The Justice Department’s demonstrable contempt for the congressional investigation has inflicted harm on the people of two nations seeking the truth – and very pointedly on the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ATF whistleblowers who now face retaliation in the wake of their own heroic efforts to expose wrongdoing,” says the brief to be distributed Thursday.

For its part, the Justice Department says it has complied with the congressional investigations, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

“We’ve done twice-a-month (document) productions since last year, and the Attorney General has testified about this matter no less than seven times,” a Justice official tells CBS News.

There have been at least three House contempt actions against the Executive Branch in the past 30 years.

In 1983, Congress found EPA administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford in contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents.

In 1998, the GOP-controlled House Oversight committee found Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena on campaign finance law violations.

In 2008, the Democrat-controlled House found former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff John Bolton in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

In 2008, the Democratic-led Oversight Committee found two White House officials in contempt in the probe of Bush Administration firings of U.S. Attorneys. Congress went to federal court to seek enforcement of that contempt action, but a compromise was reached with the Executive Branch before any court decision was final.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department Had Probable Cause To Arrest Gun Runner, Eight Months Before Border Patrol Agent’s Death Ended Operation That Supplied Drug Cartels With Weapons

March 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Documents released Thursday show that federal agents appeared to have probable cause to arrest the biggest buyer of assault weapons in the Fast and Furious operation — eight months before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death ended the scandal-ridden program.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have demanded Attorney General Eric Holder provide a briefing as to why ringleader Manuel Celis Acosta was not arrested earlier given repeated evidence that he was running guns.

“I think the Department of Justice is the Department of Injustice,” Grassley said on Capitol Hill. “They can’t expect people to believe that they couldn’t arrest this guy.”

On April 2, 2010, Phoenix Police stopped Celis Acosta. In the car they found eight weapons, none of which were registered to him. At least one, a Colt .38, had been bought just a few days earlier by Uriel Patino, who had already bought 434 weapons in the previous six months.

It is illegal to buy a gun for anyone other than yourself. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has argued it did not have probable cause to arrest Patino or Celis Acosta. These new documents suggest they did, raising new doubts about the agency’s desire to actually bust the trafficking ring.

Two months later, on May 29, 2010, Celis Acosta was stopped again, this time driving a 2002 BMW 754i trying to cross into Mexico. Inside, border agents found 74 rounds of AK-47 ammunition and nine cell phones hidden in the trunk. ATF Special Agent Hope MacAllister and her counterpart from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Layne France, released him after he promised to cooperate in the future. MacAllister wrote her phone number on a $10 bill.

Celis Acosta had been under ATF surveillance since October 2009. He had been a suspect in a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, but when he began buying guns for the Sinaloa Cartel, the DEA alerted ATF. The two agencies shared a wiretap until ATF got its own. The ATF also set up a camera mounted on a telephone pole outside his home where they watched guns and money change hands in his garage multiple times.

On April 7, police in El Paso also seized another load of weapons assembled by Celis Acosta. All the guns had been bought in Phoenix by straw buyers under watch by Operation Fast and Furious. Some belonged to Patino, who again appeared to be trafficking weapons.

ATF managers have told Congress they could not arrest anyone because the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona would not allow it since agents lacked probable cause that a crime was committed. They also admit knowingly allowing some guns to be illegally purchased in order to further their investigation.

Many in Congress don’t buy it.

“If you find somebody carrying a massive number of guns across the border that you didn’t have reason to arrest them?” said Grassley. “That just doesn’t hold water as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

More than 100 Republicans in the House have signed a resolution asking for Holder to resign.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Still Hiding Documents Detailing His Department’s Efforts That Armed Mexican Drug Cartels – Man Be Finally Held In Contempt Of Congress

February 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform, took a major step toward holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to provide subpoenaed documents and other information about Operation Fast and Furious.

In a Jan. 31 letter, Issa had threatened Holder with such a move if he failed to provide all the subpoenaed documents relating to the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal by Feb. 9. That deadline has come and gone, and Holder’s Department of Justice still hasn’t provided most of those documents. Issa’s subpoena dates back to Oct. 12, 2011.

On Tuesday in a seven-page letter, Issa revealed that Deputy Attorney General James Cole begged Congress to extend the Feb. 9 deadline. Issa wrote that the request was “ironic” and “ignores the reality that the Department has unreasonably delayed producing these documents to the Committee.”

“On its face, the requested extension demonstrates a lack of good faith,” Issa wrote to Holder. “With one exception, the Department has only produced documents responsive to the subpoena on the eve of congressional hearings in which senior Department officials testified. The Department appears to be more concerned with protecting its image through spin control than actually cooperating with Congress.”

“We cannot wait any longer for the Department’s cooperation,” Issa continued. “As such, please specify a date by which you expect the Department to produce all documents responsive to the subpoena. In addition, please specify a Department representative who will interface with the Committee for production purposes.”

Issa added that whoever Holder designates as the go-to DOJ official for delivering subpoenaed documents “should also serve as the conduit for dealing with the contempt proceedings, should the Department continue to ignore the Committee’s subpoena.” (RELATED: Full coverage of Eric Holder)

The California Republican slammed Holder, too, for claiming the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious was a political game for Republicans.

“It is ironic that while the Department’s delay tactics have extended this investigation into a presidential election year, you have had the audacity to characterize it as an attempt at ‘headline-grabbing Washington ‘gotcha’ games and cynical political point scoring,’” Issa wrote to Holder on Tuesday. (RELATED: Read the full letter here)

Issa also attacked Holder for Justice’s failure to comply with Congressional subpoenas. “Had the Department demonstrated willingness to cooperate with this investigation from the outset — instead of attempting to cover up its own internal mismanagement — this investigation likely would have concluded well before the end of 2011. In reality, it is the Department that is playing political gotcha games, instead of allowing a co-equal branch of government to perform its constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch.”

Issa’s letter concluded by warning that Congress will continue to investigate Operation Fast and Furious until responsible parties are held accountable. He pointed to bipartisan support behind efforts to assign responsibility for Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder, for the murders of at least 300 Mexican civilians and, likely, for the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata.

“This is not an ‘election year political ‘gotcha’ game,’ but rather a bipartisan sentiment,” Issa wrote. “As Ranking Member [Democratic Rep. Elijah] Cummings promised the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ‘we will not rest until every single person responsible for all of this, no matter where they are, are brought to justice.’ I applaud his resolve, and I want to make it clear that Congress will not give up until this accountability has been achieved.”

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Full Of It – Disgraced U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Claims He Knew Nothing Of His Department’s Efforts To Arm Mexican Drug Cartels

February 2, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Eric Holder vigorously denied a “cover-up” by the Justice Department over “Operation Fast and Furious,” telling a House panel investigating the botched gun-running program that he has nothing to hide and suggesting the probe is a “political” effort to embarrass the administration.

“There’s no attempt at any kind of cover-up,” Holder told lawmakers well into a hearing about whether he had been forthright in responding to requests of the House Oversight and Government Relations Committee led by Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

“We’re not going to be hiding behind any kind of privileges or anything,” he said.

The hearing came after Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, his Senate partner in the probe, asserted that top Justice officials are covering up events surrounding the flawed gun-smuggling probe.

Issa made the accusation in a letter threatening to seek a contempt of Congress ruling against Holder for failing to turn over congressionally subpoenaed documents that were created after problems with Fast and Furious came to light.

Republicans also released a report in the hours ahead of the hearing claiming that Justice Department officials “had much greater knowledge of, and involvement in, Fast and Furious than it has previously acknowledged.”

Asked whether his assistants, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler or Assistant Attorney Lanny Breuer, head of the department’s Criminal Division, ever authorized gunwalking or the tactics employed in Fast and Furious, Holder responded not to his knowledge.

“Not only did I not authorize those tactics, when I found out about them I told the field and everybody in the United States Department of Justice that those tactics had to stop. That they were not acceptable and that gunwalking was to stop. That was what my reaction [was] to my finding out about the use of that technique,” he added.

He added that he doesn’t think that the situation warranted the kind of response Republicans were giving after his department provided thousands of documents, and planned to deliver more.

Holder also rejected arguments that his handling of the case had lost him any support for the effort he was putting forth as attorney general.

“I don’t think the American people have lost trust in me. … This has become political, I get that,” he said.

But Holder also said no one has been punished “yet” in the case, despite the fact that lost guns from the operation ended up at the crime scene where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December 2010.

Terry’s family has informed the U.S. government that it has six months to respond to its inquiry into Terry’s death or face a $25 million lawsuit.

In the botched operation, more than 1,400 weapons sold to low-level straw purchasers believed to be supplying Mexican drug gangs and other criminals were lost during tracking by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents. Another 700 firearms connected to suspects in the investigation have been recovered, some from crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including in Nogales, Ariz., where Terry was killed.

Holder said he didn’t learn about Terry’s murder until 24 hours after his death, and at the time did not hear that weapons tied to Fast and Furious were at the scene.

“I didn’t know about Operation Fast and Furious until the beginning parts of 2011 after I received that letter from Senator Grassley, I guess at the end of January and then that was about Operation Gun Runner. I actually learned about the Fast and Furious operation in February of that year.”

Holder told the committee, “I’m not sure exactly how I found out about the term, ‘Fast and Furious.'” He testified repeatedly that he never authorized the controversial tactics employed in the operation.

“There is no attempt at any kind of cover-up,” Holder said. “We have shared huge amounts of information” and will continue to do so, he said.

But Holder said under questioning that he has not disciplined anyone for his role in the controversial operation.

“No I have not as yet — as yet,” Holder said when questioned by Issa on the matter. “There have been personnel changes made at ATF. We obviously have a new U.S. attorney in Arizona. We have made personnel switches at ATF. People have been moved out of positions.”

Holder’s statements on the Justice Department’s role in the operation did not sit well with Republican lawmakers on the committee, who accused the attorney general of intentionally withholding key documents in the case.

“The conclusion that I come to is there are some things in there that’s being hidden that you don’t want us to see,” said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind. “We have every right under the Constitution to check on what you’re doing… So for you to deny this committee anything like that is just dead wrong and I don’t think you’re going to find any way that you can do it.”

Burton went on to say that 93,000 documents related to the operation are being withheld by the Justice Department even though they’ve been turned over internally to the department’s inspector general, a political appointee, Burton said.

“And you’re saying, well, the separation of powers prohibits you from (delivering them to Congress). That’s baloney. That is just baloney,” Burton said.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, also questioned Holder’s having not discussed the case with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“When people know that I’m going to be the subject of these kinds of hearings, you know six times and all that, nobody necessarily wants to get involved in these kinds of things or get dragged into it,” Holder responded.

Issa told Holder the committee will do what is necessary to obtain the information, “If you do not find a legitimate basis to deny us the material we’ve asked for.”

Holder said earlier during testimony that he would release additional materials “to the extent that I can.”

In Holder’s defense, Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., claimed the committee has “not obtained one shred of evidence that would contradict your testimony.”

“Not one witness, not one document, not one e-mail, and still some continue to suggest that you did personally authorize gunwalking and the tactics in Operation Fast and Furious.”

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Obama Administration Hides Facts On Murdered Border Patrol Agent Amid Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Testimony About His Department Supplying Mexican Drug Cartels With Firearms

November 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – And to think that Attorney General Eric Holder is getting testy about congressional calls for his resignation. After all, the Justice Department has nothing to hide, right?

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

The murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent is related to a Justice Department willingly turning over thousands of guns to Mexican criminal gangs, and Obama administration is hiding information about his death from the public. Amazing.

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