Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The criminality and illegitimacy of the federal government continues to grow, this time with the disclosure that a former U.S. attorney intentionally released a document aimed at discrediting a whistleblower in the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal.
A new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General has confirmed that Dennis Burke, former U.S. attorney for Arizona, leaked a document that was intended to smear John Dodson, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Justice agency which launched the operation that saw thousands of semi-automatic, military-style rifles purchased in the U.S. by straw buyers fall into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.
From the report:
On July 8, 2011, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received information from an attorney representing John Dodson, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), concerning the alleged unauthorized disclosure of sensitive ATF information. According to Dodson’s attorney, Dodson had received an e-mail from a Fox News producer asking for comment about excerpts from an internal ATF investigative memorandum that Dodson had drafted and which described a proposed undercover operation for an ATF firearms investigation…
Dodson’s attorney alleged that officials within the DOJ had disclosed the memorandum to retaliate against Dodson for his criticism of the conduct of the firearms trafficking investigation referred to as Operation Fast and Furious. On June 15, 2011, shortly before the alleged unauthorized disclosure, Dodson and other ATF agents had expressed their concerns about Operation Fast and Furious during testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Sorry – it was just a ‘mistake’
The DOJ IG report went on to state that the office launched an investigation shortly after receiving the complaint.
According to details of the investigation, on Aug. 16, 2011, Burke contacted an IG investigative counsel by phone to say he had indeed released the memorandum to the media, adding that the reporter “seemed to be familiar with the contents of the … memorandum before Burke provided it to him,” the report said.
In tracking down the details of the disclosure, investigators solicited sworn statements from 150 of 152 employees who had been identified by the Justice Department as having had access to documents provided to congressional panels looking into the failed operation. Of that figure, the IG’s office singled out five for additional interviews because they had indicated some knowledge of the memorandum’s release.
In its report, the IG concluded that indeed “Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney.”
“We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member,” the IG report said.
Burke eventually resigned his position as U.S. Attorney following the incident, in August 2011. He became the first major Justice Department official to leave his or her position in the Fast and Furious scandal.
In interviews with congressional investigators after the fact, Burke said he now views his leaking of the memorandum as a “mistake.”
Besides uncovering Burke’s involvement in leaking the document, the IG investigation also turned up emails between senior Department of Justice officials in which they discussed smearing Dodson.
One of those officials was Tracy Scmaler, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs. She resigned her position at DOJ “after emails uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed that she worked with left wing advocacy group Media Matters for America to smear whistleblowers and members of Congress and the media who sought to investigate DOJ scandals under Attorney General Eric Holder,” Breitbart News reported.
Rule by executive fiat
Obama is being blamed for many of these scandals and, as president and head of the Executive Branch of government, he is certainly culpable.
But only to an extent.
Granted, Obama has worked overtime to expand the power of the presidency, but he inherited an office whose role had already been enlarged far beyond anything the founding fathers envisioned for the Executive Branch. But Congress is culpable as well, for the Legislative Branch has, over the past century, relegated its lawmaking authority to the plethora of federal bureaucracies it has created.
And the president controls them.
Decrying bureaucracy and advocating for smaller government shouldn’t be a political slogan. It should be a demand of every freedom-minded, liberty loving American. That’s because we are no longer being “represented” by our elected leaders, we are being “ruled” by federal agencies.
That is not the “republican form of government” our Constitution guarantees.
Cartoon by “Chip” Bok
May 6th 2012
A section of the draft of contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder is dedicated to explaining how Fast & Furious branches off into different departments within the Department of Justice (DOJ).
While most know about the operation being based in Phoenix, the strategy was actually developed in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) in Washington, DC. The ODAG decided it would be brilliant to concentrate on identifying the members of the trafficking network instead of seizing the firearms right away.
The goal was to capture the big fish of the cartels. The ATF Phoenix Field Office decided to use this strategy in Fast & Furious. But that wasn’t good enough for them and in late January 2010 the office “applied for Fast and Furious to become an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case.” In order to do that the agents had to tell all about their investigative strategy, i.e. gunwalking. It was approved and was given new funding. Also, since it became a prosecutor-led OCDETF Strike Force case, other departments would come in. Those include FBI, DEA, IRS, and ICE under the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Fast & Furious came to the attention of ATF headquarters on December 8, 2009. The ATF’s Office of Strategic Information and Intelligence (OSII) told senior personnel about the operation, especially about recoveries of weapons in Mexico. But the more statistics they received, the more concerned they became about the operation.
Deputy ATF Director Billy Hoover called for an exit strategy in March 2010. He received one in May, but we all know it didn’t happen. The office continued to delay the indictments and ATF headquarters never demanded them to arrest the straw purchasers. Operation Wide Receiver, a gun tracking operation during the George W. Bush administration, is often brought up to deflect from Fast & Furious. Most people on the other side want to prosecute that case instead. Well, as it turns out, the DOJ’s Criminal Division sent prosecutors to Arizona to help the US Attorney to prosecute cases, including Wide Receiver. Indeed, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer was very interested in the operation. James Trusty, senior official in the Criminal Division’s gang Unit, said Mr. Breuer was very interested in the case and wanted to be briefed on it. A briefing on March 5, 2010, “highlighted the large number of weapons the gun trafficking ring had purchased and discussed recoveries of those weapons in Mexicio.” Steve Martin, Deputy Assistant Director in ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, said everyone knew the guns were being linked to the cartels. However it’s the wiretaps that prove how deeply involved the Criminal Division was with Fast & Furious. It shouldn’t come to anyone’s shock that the DOJ hasn’t handed over the applications to the Committee. After all, the top dogs signed them: Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals Jason Weinstein, Kenneth Blanco, and John Keeney. It’s more than obvious the DOJ can say this was just a local issue. There’s more than enough evidence to prevent them from continuing to brush it off as a rogue field office mistake.
- Is Fast and Furious the Next Watergate? (mb50.wordpress.com)
Firearms connected to Operation Fast and Furious were used in the 2010 slaying of the brother of the former Chihuahua state attorney general, according to a U.S. congressional report.
The report said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced two of the weapons suspected in the murder of lawyer Mario González Rodríguez, but did not report this fact to the Mexican government until eight months after the tracing.
The joint congressional staff report “The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious: Fueling Cartel Violence” was prepared for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., two lawmakers who are spearheading an ongoing investigation into the ATF’s controversial operation.
“On October 21, 2010, drug cartel members kidnapped Mario González Rodríguez from his office,” according to the 2011 congressional report. “At the time of the kidnapping, his sister Patricia González Rodríguez was the attorney general of the state of Chihuahua.”
Mexican officials said Patricia González Rodríguez was already on her way out because the new governor had been installed and a new state prosecutor was going to be appointed.
“A few days after the kidnapping,” the congressional report said, “a video surfaced on the Internet in which Mario González Rodríguez sat
handcuffed, surrounded by five heavily armed men wearing masks, dressed in camouflage and bullet-proof vest.”
“Apparently, under duress,” the report said, “(González Rodríguez) alleged that his sister had ordered killings at the behest of the Juárez cartel … the video quickly went viral.”
Chihuahua state Attorney General Patricia González Rodríguez denied the allegations of drug corruption and traveled to Mexico City to seek the federal government’s help in investigating her brother’s murder. She is no longer in Chihuahua, and reportedly left Mexico for safety reasons.
A video of Mario González Rodríguez’s “interrogation” by armed men was carried on YouTube. The body of the well-known Chihuahua City lawyer was found Nov. 5, 2010, in a shallow grave.
Then, Mexican federal authorities, following a shootout with drug cartel suspects, seized 16 weapons and arrested eight men in connection with Mario González Rodríguez’s murder.
Mexican officials submitted information about the weapons to the ATF’s e-trace system, and the ATF traced two AK-47s to Operation Fast and Furious.
The congressional report said that an ATF email indicated that ATF officials in Phoenix who knew the two assault rifles came from the controversial operation withheld the information from Mexican officials until June 2011.
In congressional testimony, Carlos Canino, the ATF’s acting U.S. attaché in Mexico, said he’s the one who finally notified Mexican federal Attorney General Marisela Morales about the weapons-tracing and their link to the death of Mario González Rodríguez.
The report said Morales was shocked and remarked, “Hijole!,” which the report said translates into “Oh, my.”
Canino feared an international incident might break out with Mexico if the information leaked out to the news media instead of being sent through government channels. He told U.S. lawmakers that he did not want to undermine the trust that U.S. law enforcement had developed with their Mexican counterparts in the war against the drug cartels.
Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Saturday in response to the U.S. congressional report’s findings that “the government of Mexico has not granted, nor will grant, under any circumstance, tacit or explicit authorization for the deliberate walking of arms into Mexico.
“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on ongoing investigations, and therefore will await the outcome of both the U.S. and Mexican investigations, and then react accordingly.”
Last week, the ATF released a report that said 68,000 weapons recovered in Mexico between 2007 and 2011 were traced back to U.S. sources. That report does not mention which of the weapons were part of the undercover Operation Fast and Furious.
Weapons traced back to the operation have been recovered in eight Mexican states and in Mexico City, and most of them were destined for the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the congressional report said.
And, at least eight Fast and Furious-connected weapons were recovered at crime scenes in Juárez and four in Chihuahua City between 2010 and 2011.
The Sinaloa cartel has been waging a bloody battle against the Carrillo Fuentes organization that’s killed nearly 9,500 people in Juárez alone since 2008.
On Jan. 13, 2010, the El Paso Police Department seized 40 rifles on the East Side that the congressional report said were connected to Fast and Furious. Weapons connected to the operation also were recovered in Columbus, N.M.
The number of Fast and Furious weapons found at Mexican crime scenes could be higher because the information provided to congressional investigators remains incomplete, the report said.
Last November, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it was among local law enforcement agencies asked to assist with Operation Fast and Furious.
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said then that his department helped a Drug Enforcement Administration regional task force with surveillance but that he was not told it was for Fast and Furious.
ATF officials launched Operation Fast and Furious in 2009 in Phoenix in an attempt to identify high-level arms traffickers who were supplying the Mexican drug cartels with weapons. The operation allowed weapons purchased in the United States to cross the border into Mexico.
ATF shut down the operation about a month after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was found murdered in the Arizona desert in December 2010. Two AK-47s, originally purchased as semiautomatics and connected to Fast and Furious, were found near Terry’s body.
The latest ATF report does not break down the 68,000 weapons traced to U.S. sources by states.
ATF spokesman Tom Crowley said the agency previously reported that most of the guns recovered in Mexico came from Texas, the border state that has the most gun stores.
Statistics in the recent ATF report mirror the trends in Mexico’s drug cartel violence.
For example, in 2008 Mexican officials submitted 31,111 serial numbers to the ATF for tracing, the same year that the Mexican cartels intensified their battles in Mexico.
The number of weapons submitted for e-trace was 17,352 in 2007; 21,555 in 2009; 8,338 in 2010; and 20,335 in 2011.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6140.
- There Are No Coincidences (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Obama Administration Let Grenades Walk In Fast And Furious, Documents Show (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)