- Apr 17, 2011
- Reaction score
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Thursday to FBI Director Robert Mueller demanding answers about the guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Terry was gunned down last December in a remote area of the Arizona desert by a group of illegal immigrants. Two of the guns recovered at the scene were later traced to Fast and Furious, the ATF program where more than 2,000 illegally purchased guns were allowed to walk or were not tracked, with many crossing into Mexico.
In the letter, the lawmakers ask 16 detailed questions about the number of weapons discovered after Terrys death. While the Justice Department has maintained that only two guns were found, the Republican lawmakers say there are inconsistencies in documents including the search warrant and the unsealed indictment. Out of deference to the FBIs ongoing criminal inquiry, we have delayed asking the Bureau direct questions about the case for nearly 10 months, they wrote. However, Congress has a right and a duty to conduct oversight of federal law enforcement operations. Agencies like the FBI can wield tremendous power and influence over individual citizens. With that power and influence comes responsibility, and nothing exempts the Bureau from accountability to Congress as well as to the courts.
They asked Mueller whether the FBI believes a third weapon killed Terry, since ballistic reports on the two Fast and Furious guns were inconclusive. They also asked the total number of suspects that Terrys unit encountered in the desert, and how many of them are still at large. So far, only one man, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, has been charged with Terrys murder. According to documents, Osorio- Arellanes told investigators that he was travelling with four other armed individuals. The letter said that it appears that the men who shot Terry may have been armed with five rifles. The lawmakers also referred to statements made to Terrys mother at his funeral that three weapons were recovered at the scene. Along with responses to their questions, the letter also asks for all documents and communications between nine FBI officials relating to Operation Fast and Furious. They set a deadline of November 2 for the information. In response, the FBI said Mueller is out of town, and it's unclear if he has seen the letter.
On Monday, the Justice Department responded to Issas accusations about a possible third gun saying, "The FBI has made clear that reports of a third gun recovered from the perpetrators at the scene of Agent Terry's murder are false. They also maintain that Issas staff was previously informed of this. Unfortunately, this most recent false accusation not only maligns the dedicated agents investigating the murder of Agent Terry, it mischaracterizes evidence in an ongoing case, the Just Department said in its statement. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, took Issa to task for sending the letter to Mueller. "Frankly, I am shocked that Chairman Issa would continue to spin this conspiracy theory -- that the FBI is hiding a third weapon -- even after his recent allegations proved false," he said in a statement. "Rather than acknowledging this embarrassing mistake and apologizing for making false accusations about the FBI, Chairman Issa's letter is an unprecedented attack on the integrity and credibility of law enforcement that could seriously jeopardize the ongoing prosecution."
Meanwhile, Rep. Adam Schiff ,D-Calif., has come to the defense of Attorney General Eric Holder, saying the politically motivated attacks on him need to come to an end. They are a meritless distraction from the important work of the Department of Justice, and the many men and women who work every day to make America safer, he said in a statement. Schiff argued the evidence shows that Holder has been forthright throughout by requesting a full investigation by the inspector general once he learned of the operations problems. He added that Issas own staff was briefed on the operation in April 2010. Mr. Issa said nothing about the operation at the time one might just as well call for an investigation of his office but none is required, he said. Mr. Issa should understand better than most that being made aware of a programs existence is not the same as being apprised of the operational details of a plan that has gone terribly wrong.
Read more: Congressional Investigators Target FBI Over Fast And Furious | Fox News
Napolitano, at one point likening the questioning to a cross-examination, said repeatedly she only learned of "Fast and Furious" after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December. She emphasized the operation, conceived and run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, "was an ATF operation," under the auspices of the Justice Department, not her department. Still, during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, outspoken Republicans wanted to know why she didn't press for more answers in the wake of Terry's death, and they called on her to meet more regularly with her Justice Department counterparts, suggesting more frequent discussions could help prevent incidents like Terry's murder.
Napolitano said she has never spoken with Attorney General Eric Holder about "Fast and Furious," a revelation Republicans strongly criticized. "There needs to be better communication, so somebody can say, 'Whoa! This is a crazy idea, you're giving guns to drug smugglers that are going to come back and be used?" said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. Holder, however, has said he was not aware of "Fast and Furious" -- or at least its controversial details -- until after concerns were raised publicly. And, in a letter to lawmakers three weeks ago, he said that while "some senior officials" within the department knew of an operation called "Fast and Furious," they "were not advised of the unacceptable operational tactics being used in it."
Nevertheless, on Wednesday, Napolitano said one reason she hasn't spoken to Holder directly about "Fast and Furious" is that the Justice Department's inspector general is currently engaged in an investigation into the matter, and she said she wouldn't know details about "Fast and Furious" because it "was an ATF operation." Napolitano warned lawmakers not to "rush to judgment here," but she said there "will be lessons learned from this, and there very well may be changes in the field as a result of this." Launched in late 2009, "Fast and Furious" hoped to target major gun-runners in Arizona by following gun purchasers to senior-level officials within Mexican cartels. But high-powered weapons tied to the investigation ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including that of Terry's murder.
Clinton was responding to questions from Rep. Connie Mack (R.-Fla.), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. The federal Arms Export Control Act requires State Department involvement in any decision to send weapons across an international border. Under the act, it is illegal to "conspire to export, import, re-export or cause to be exported ... any defense article ... for which a license or written approval is required ... without first obtaining the required license or written approval from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls." Rep. Mack quoted this portion of the law in a letter he sent to Clinton on Wednesday, the day before she testified before the committee. "I wanted to talk a little bit about Fast and Furious, and specifically at what point did the State Department learn of Operation Fast And Furious?" Mack asked Clinton on Thursday.
"Congressman, I don't know the exact time," Clinton responded. "I can tell you that based on our information from the part of the State Department that would deal with this kind of issue, we have no record of any requests for coordination. We have no record of any kind of notice or heads up. And, you know, I--my recollection is that I learned about it from the press. That's my recollection." Mack then asked Clinton about whether DOJ had sought a license from the State Department to allow guns to cross the border into Mexico. "Did the State Department issue the Justice Department a license or a written waiver in order to allow for the transfer of thousands of weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border?" Mack said. "Well, Congressman, you know, this is the first time I've been asked this, and I can tell you that based on the record of any activity by the bureau that would have been responsible, we see no evidence," Clinton said. "But let me do a thorough request to make sure that what I'm telling you reflects everything we know."
Mack then told Clinton that he had sent her a letter on Wednesday pointing out that he believes federal law required the Justice Department to get a written waiver from the Stat Deparment to allow arms to be exported to drug traffickers in Mexico. "Under the Arms Export Control Act, the Justice Department was required to receive a written waiver from the State Department to account for their intent to cause arms to be exported to drug cartels in Mexico," said Mack. "If no such waiver was received, Justice Department officials have violated the law. And you would agree with that, correct?" "I cannot offer an opinion," said Clinton. "I don't know," she continued. "I mean, this is the first time I'm being asked." Mack pressed her on the question of whether DOJ would indeed have violated the law if it had not gotten a written waiver. "I'm not asking you if you--if there was such a written [waiver]," Mack said, "but if they hadn't asked and received by law the Justice Department would be violating U.S. law?"
"I cannot offer you any opinion on that," said Clinton. "I don't have the information or any analysis. I can only tell you the facts as we know them in the State Department." Mack then stated his view that DOJ violated the law if it did not get the written waiver from Clinton's State Department. "The State Department is required to give a written waiver for the cause of arms to be exported to drug cartels in Mexico and they didn't do that and that didn't happen, then they are in violation of the law," said Mack. "And so the question here is: Who do we hold responsible?" said Mack. "So I look forward to if you would get back to me and the committee ... about the waiver and whether or not the State Department issued that waiver," the congressman told Clinton.
Sure he knew.
Since GPS didn't exist, probably not. Great idea though. Certainly hasn't worked since it was blown up by bought off traitors. The dupes think ALL guns in Mexico came from Obama LOL, and no one would have been killed without them...pffft!!