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Darrell Issa, Department of Justice feud heats up
POLITICO ^ | June 14, 2011 | JOSH GERSTEIN & JAKE SHERMAN

Posted on 06/14/2011 8:07:41 PM PDT by delacoert

The Obama administration and Rep. Darrell Issa seem to be headed for their biggest showdown yet as the House oversight committee chief prepares for a Wednesday hearing into an undercover, federal gunrunning investigation that lost track of weapons later found at the scene of a Border Patrol agent’s murder in Arizona.

Issa, a California Republican, contends the administration has stonewalled his requests for records about a deeply flawed investigation, known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” that may have allowed hundreds of weapons from U.S. gun dealers to flow across the border to Mexican drug gangs. Issa also says congressional Democrats are “obstructing” his inquiry into what he calls “reckless and inappropriate decisions by top Justice Department officials.”

Justice Department officials say handing over sensitive documents to Congress could imperil pending prosecutions, including the case involving the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the prosecution of 20 people as a result of the gunrunning probe.

Administration aides fear the dispute could escalate to produce a rare House vote to cite Justice officials for contempt. That, in turn, would likely trigger a court battle testing Congress’s rights to delve into ongoing criminal investigations.

Administration officials also charge that Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) released highly confidential information about the identity of a former target of the probe and his dealings with an informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Issa insisted that the fault for any mistakes lies with the Justice Department because it has moved slowly and handed over few records since he served the agency with a subpoena on March 31.

“If the administration started cooperating then, the errors that may occur would not occur,” Issa told POLITICO in an interview Monday. “As long as they don’t cooperate, any errors we make are on them, not on us.”

“We do not have a dialogue — they’ve asked for permission to redact what we have, but in fact they won’t give us that same information. If they would deliver all the information full and complete with the suggested redactions, we could probably agree to virtually all or all of the redactions,” Issa said. The Justice Department handed over hundreds of documents Monday evening, but a Republican committee aide said the panel wants more.

Democrats, led by Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, don’t object to investigating the controversial ATF operation — in fact, many say they support the congressional probe. But Cummings, a lawyer from Baltimore, says he wants to proceed with hearings after the federal government completes its prosecutions.

“It is extremely important to me that we maintain the integrity of this committee,” Cummings said in an interview. “And part of that is trying to consistently do everything in our power to avoid doing anything prejudicial to particularly a criminal trial. We can have the committee achieve what it needs to achieve, but at the same time, not prejudice these cases.”

Issa insisted his investigation “has no overlap” with the crimes the federal government is investigating and prosecuting. He called Cummings’ issues “without any foundation or basis,” adding that Cummings “has been part of the deliberative obstruction by the administration.”

“Is it timely? Yes.” Issa said of the hearing and investigation. “Americans are at the risk of dying from those weapons today. And the prosecution of 20 people who bought these has nothing to do with this investigation.”

When asked if the timing could be altered, Issa deadpanned, “Iran-Contra could’ve been done at a later date. Watergate could’ve been done at a later date.”

The dispute is expected to heat up Wednesday as the Justice Department’s top liaison to Congress, Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich, testifies to the oversight panel.

According to sources familiar with his testimony, Weich — a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — plans to claim that Issa’s subpoena of a witness expected to testify at the trial prompted a defendant in the case to back out of a meeting to discuss a potential plea bargain. The defendant’s lawyer cited fears that any disclosures at the meeting with prosecutors might become public as a result of the congressional probe, the sources said.

Administration officials say they’ve given Issa hundreds of pages of documents, are allowing staff to look at more sensitive records at the Justice Department, and are searching through what may be a million pages of documents responsive to the House’s requests. However, Justice Department officials also say they’re withholding some sensitive details about the investigation.

Issa also subpoenaed documents from the administration that the committee already has received from whistleblowers — an attempt to test the cooperation of the administration and integrity of what the committee has obtained, committee insiders say.

Democrats are furious about how Issa has handled the investigation.

“I have very serious concerns about the manner in which the committee is proceeding,” Cummings wrote in a letter Monday. “No Member of this Committee wants to risk compromising criminal prosecutions involving alleged murderers and gun traffickers for international drug cartels.”

Justice Department officials have conceded privately that something went wrong with the gun tracking in Operation Fast and Furious. The agency’s inspector general is examining the episode at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder.

The probe will look at “the guidelines, internal controls … and investigative outcomes” in gun trafficking cases, said Jay Lerner, a spokesman for the internal watchdog.

The Justice Department says that for several decades, under Republican and Democratic administrations, it has argued that Congress should take a back seat when a criminal probe is underway.

“Exercises of that oversight authority must also account for — and in some cases yield to — the legitimate confidentiality interests of the Department and the criminal justice system,” the department said in a statement Monday.

Ben Campbell, a former federal prosecutor on the Enron Task Force, agreed that the government’s concern reflects longstanding policy. “Particularly when people are trafficking in firearms … they can be very sophisticated and it can lead to very violent repercussions for people they perceive to be cooperating with prosecutors,” he said.

At the moment, the administration’s ire is directed at Issa, who holds subpoena power. However, at least two of the disclosures Justice Department officials have complained about came weeks earlier from Grassley.

“The Justice Department has been clear in its limited dealings with Senator Grassley’s staff that no actual harm was done by any released documents,” Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said in a statement. “The truth of the matter is that in some cases Senator Grassley and his staff know more about the facts than the Justice Department seems to know.”

In an interview last week with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Issa said he’d be willing to risk some impact on prosecutions in order to expose reckless investigative tactics by the ATF.

“I don’t want anyone to walk because of our investigation, but if some meth addict doesn’t get a strong sentence for buying guys, that’s probably not the worst damage if this kind of program continues — and we believe it continues today,” Issa said.

Legal experts called before the committee on Monday said there was no legal basis for the Justice Department not to comply with a subpoena, though some said the committee should try to address prosecutors’ concerns.

“As it stands now, they owe you the documents,” said Charles Tiefer, who served as legal counsel to the House for more than a decade. “It’s their job to make a record that would justify keeping anything back. So far, they haven’t. … The Department should just try harder to earn the committee’s trust.”

Tiefer noted that prosecutors haven’t been deferential when seizing materials from Congress. He said Congress shouldn’t shy away from asserting its prerogatives. “There has to be a fight,” he said. “This is not a lovemaking process.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: banglist; batf; doj; fastandfurious; gunwalker; issa

1 posted on 06/14/2011 8:07:45 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert
an undercover, federal gunrunning investigation that lost track of weapons later found at the scene of a Border Patrol agent’s murder

I take issue with the use of the term "lost track of." There never was any intent to track those weapons. The only intent was to recover them at crime scenes for the PR effect in support the administration's agenda for greater gun control.

2 posted on 06/14/2011 8:14:02 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (My tagline is in the shop.)
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To: delacoert

Stick to your guns, Issa, stick to your guns.


3 posted on 06/14/2011 8:14:41 PM PDT by Oceander (The phrase "good enough for government work" is not meant as a compliment)
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To: delacoert
He called Cummings’ issues “without any foundation or basis,” adding that Cummings “has been part of the deliberative obstruction by the administration.”

Congressman Issa is exactly right and he used much too kind words expressing that regarding Cummings.

4 posted on 06/14/2011 8:17:42 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Oceander

I hope DOJ keeps stalling. The media’s like sharks, they can’t help it when blood is in the water. Issa needs to push this into a full scale internecine war and let the media splash it everywhere.


5 posted on 06/14/2011 8:19:15 PM PDT by Free Vulcan (Vote Republican! You can vote Democrat when you're dead.)
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To: delacoert
There's no doubt the administration is legally obligated to comply.

That Congress does not have enforcement power severely limits their options.

Now, if they could get more whistle blowers to come forward and publicly testify along with testimony and documents they already have...they may be able to generate enough political momentum for impeachment...provided the crimes are there.

And, it APPEARS the crimes are there.

6 posted on 06/14/2011 8:20:34 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: delacoert

“Darrell Issa, Department of Justice feud heats up.”

Note Politico’s headline composition and story thrust.
The picture painted:nutty Republican feuding with noble government entity,The Justice Department.

If this were during the Bush administration it would read:

“Lawmakers demand records from stonewalling Bush Administration”.


7 posted on 06/14/2011 8:23:46 PM PDT by Carl LaFong (Experts say experts should be ignored.)
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To: delacoert

GO ISSA GO!!!! WE ARE SOOO BEHIND YOU!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!


8 posted on 06/14/2011 8:25:13 PM PDT by NordP (Common Sense ConservaTEAves - Love of Country, Less Govt, Stop Spending, No Govt Run Health Care!!!)
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To: delacoert
Ah, so this is just a "feud" rather than an investigation into criminal wrongdoing at Justice.

Thanks, Pravdico.

9 posted on 06/14/2011 8:27:38 PM PDT by Interesting Times (WinterSoldier.com. SwiftVets.com. ToSetTheRecordStraight.com.)
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To: delacoert

Another issue..of many..that leads to questions concerning the ongoing utility of the Feds to the States they purportedly serve.


10 posted on 06/14/2011 8:35:21 PM PDT by mo ("If you understand, no explanation is needed; if you do not, no explanation is possible")
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To: delacoert

I sure hope he sticks with it.


11 posted on 06/14/2011 8:45:09 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: delacoert

I have this feeling that this case is going to become a very beautiful thing.

Go Issa Go....go all the way!


12 posted on 06/14/2011 8:52:35 PM PDT by Gator113 ("GAME ON." I'll be voting for Sarah Palin, Liberty, our Constitution and American Exceptionalism.)
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To: ElkGroveDan
“I take issue with the use of the term “lost track of.” There never was any intent to track those weapons. The only intent was to recover them at crime scenes for the PR effect in support the administration's agenda for greater gun control.

Well said sir!!

Incredibly, the (BATFE) are STILL engaging in this conspiracy against the second amendment freedoms of the American people.

It's WAY past time to put an end to the “F” in the BATFE.

13 posted on 06/14/2011 9:02:22 PM PDT by precisionshootist
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To: Free Vulcan

Issa needs to unleash Hell on the DOJ. Its time for hardball. Holder needs to go down and go to jail.


14 posted on 06/14/2011 9:05:59 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: delacoert

This will be on cspan-3 from 10-12 EST. If you can’t watch and have an iPhone cspan has a free app so you can listen. I’ll definitely be listening!


15 posted on 06/14/2011 9:18:34 PM PDT by Newton ('No arsenal is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.' -Ronald Reagan)
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To: delacoert

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mmx68VmTEo&feature=fvwrel bump


16 posted on 06/14/2011 9:22:27 PM PDT by MurrietaMadman
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To: jazusamo

Cummings is covering up murders. Typical of the sort of creep voters in Baltimore send to Congress.


17 posted on 06/14/2011 9:25:16 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: ElkGroveDan
"The only intent was to recover them at crime scenes for the PR effect in support the administration's agenda for greater gun control."

Yup. That's a hit in the 10 ring.

Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!

18 posted on 06/14/2011 9:37:12 PM PDT by wku man (Who says conservatives don't rock? http://www.bigdawgmusicmafia.com)
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To: Liz

Ping


19 posted on 06/14/2011 9:47:38 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: Carl LaFong

Salient observation.


20 posted on 06/14/2011 10:06:18 PM PDT by newzjunkey
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To: muawiyah

Agreed. He’s a real piece of work and will do anything in support of those against our country. Even in Baltimore it’s hard to imagine he keeps being elected.


21 posted on 06/14/2011 10:15:23 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: ElkGroveDan
I take issue with the use of the term "lost track of." There never was any intent to track those weapons. The only intent was to recover them at crime scenes for the PR effect in support the administration's agenda for greater gun control.

That's what I think too. How were they going to track them? Did each gun have a tracking device?

22 posted on 06/14/2011 10:17:42 PM PDT by Razz Barry (Round'em up, send'em home.)
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To: delacoert

What bugs me about this whole thing is the lack of information getting out there to the people.
I just asked a couple of the guys here at work if they knew about it.
Not a clue.


23 posted on 06/14/2011 10:33:24 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Let this chant follow BHO everywhere he goes: "You lie. You lie. You lie.")
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To: delacoert

Frig the government’s concerns, they should have thought of this before they started running weapons to insurgents across an international border into a friendly country.

The international border violation throws this right into the State Department’s lap, subpoena Hillary to testify under oath.

This goes all the way to the top, as in CEO Obama. Bet he is already looking for a few Ollie North’s to take the bullet and get thrown under the bus.


24 posted on 06/14/2011 11:25:34 PM PDT by Sea Parrot
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To: delacoert

They need to bring back the HUAC.


25 posted on 06/14/2011 11:33:15 PM PDT by Happy Rain (2012= "E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.")
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To: ElkGroveDan; precisionshootist; wku man; Razz Barry

Yes, that is the inescapable explanation of the mission objective in retrospect. It's going to come out, and it's damned ugly. The administration is feeding the MSM the dezinformatsiya, i.e., seventy percent of guns used in Mexican crimes "traced back" to the United States. It won't take long for the tense connection between the facts uncovered in the House Oversight Committee investigation versus the propaganda machine of the OBAMA/MSM politburo to unfold in public.

26 posted on 06/14/2011 11:33:45 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: ElkGroveDan

They knew where the weapons were at any given moment. They worked with the gun shops of Mexican cartel’s choice and installed GPS tracking devices into the butt stocks.

One agent has already admitted on CBS they watched on laptop computers in real time as the weapons crossed the border into Mexico.


27 posted on 06/14/2011 11:39:42 PM PDT by Sea Parrot
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To: Sea Parrot

Link?


28 posted on 06/14/2011 11:52:56 PM PDT by delacoert
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To: delacoert

“The ATF allowed and encouraged five Arizona gun store owners to sell some 1,800 weapons to buyers known to them as gun smugglers.
- It installed cameras inside the gun stores to record purchases made by those smugglers.

- It hid GPS trackers inside gun stocks and watched the weapons go south on computer screens.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/09/justice-officials-in-panic-mode-as-new-testimony-is-expected-to-reveal-depth/#ixzz1PKOosrP9

Was also a thread here on FR:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:XVM6QJc3d1wJ:www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2732554/posts+atf+agent+said+gunstocks+had+gps+tracking+devices&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&source=www.google.com

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1R2ADFA_enUS426&sa=X&ei=FGD4TeiLFu_SiAKtqrj9DA&ved=0CBwQvwUoAQ&q=atf+agent+said+gunstocks+had+gps+tracking+devices&spell=1&biw=1419&bih=616


29 posted on 06/15/2011 12:53:57 AM PDT by Sea Parrot
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To: Sea Parrot
The international border violation

I believe the correct term is act of aggression/war.

30 posted on 06/15/2011 1:53:25 AM PDT by rawcatslyentist (It is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; ~Vattel's Law of Nations)
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To: Sea Parrot
The international border violation

I believe the correct term is act of aggression/war.

31 posted on 06/15/2011 1:53:37 AM PDT by rawcatslyentist (It is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; ~Vattel's Law of Nations)
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To: Free Vulcan

Just so long as Issa keeps in mind that the media, being liberal, do not like him and will attempt to attack him rather than the actual source of the corruption; so long as he plays his cards right, doesn’t get spooked, and doesn’t fall for the canard that the media are “objective journalists” just trying to “get at the truth” he will eventually prevail in any feeding frenzy.


32 posted on 06/15/2011 4:29:36 AM PDT by Oceander (The phrase "good enough for government work" is not meant as a compliment)
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To: stephenjohnbanker
Ohaha acts like he's a dictator in a Third World country.
(Slaps forehead) I plumb forgot---that's part of his plan---
to decimate American exceptionalism.

=========================================

He's traveled back to daddy's birthplace, to the tiny Kenyan village of Alego,
where his stepmother lives in the "ancestral home."

"When I become president, I'll turn superpower America into a Third World
backwater----as payback. I'll make sure Americans live in hovels like this."

33 posted on 06/15/2011 4:59:01 AM PDT by Liz ( A taxpayer voting for Obama is like a chicken voting for Col Sanders.)
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; wku man; SLB; ...
Hey, Darrell -- Obama and his cronies are thumbing their noses at you.

What are you going to do about it?

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

34 posted on 06/15/2011 5:18:49 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Sheep have three speeds: "graze", "stampede" and "cower".)
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To: Liz

Ohaha probably has a few million stashed there....

Bank of Third World Backwater ;-)


35 posted on 06/15/2011 6:34:11 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: delacoert
According to the Democrat controlled Justice Dept the cases cited would never be finished thus allowing them to never be available for scrutiny due to so called ongoing investigations. Sorry, Holder that BS just ain't gonna walk. Congress, go ahead and push for a contempt charge and take that before a Federal judge and ask for Special Prosecutors to look into the Obama Administration (thugocracy) and make the investigation your number one job. Then indict, indict, indict......
36 posted on 06/15/2011 8:09:55 AM PDT by Ron H.
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To: Mariner
That Congress does not have enforcement power severely limits their options.

They do, through the Federal judiciary via appointment of Special Prosecutors appointed by a Federal Judge after a finding of comtempt of Congress charges.

37 posted on 06/15/2011 8:12:30 AM PDT by Ron H.
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To: delacoert
>>Hey, Darrell -- Obama and his cronies are thumbing their noses at you. What are you going to do about it?

Pout. It's the Republican way.

38 posted on 06/15/2011 9:45:19 AM PDT by pabianice
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