Skip to comments.ATF Managers Lawyer Up, Slam Gun Laws and Still Deny Gunwalking
Posted on 03/21/2012 5:07:24 AM PDT by Kaslin
The attorneys of Bill Newell, embattled former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division, and David Voth, Supervisor of Phoenix Group VII (the group that carried out Operation Fast and Furious), are accusing Senator Charles Grassley and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa of making “many inaccurate and harmful statements” and “factual distortions against” their clients.
In a letter obtained by Townhall, attorney and former Department of Justice Prosecutor Paul E. Pelletier, representing Newell, writes on behalf his defendant to “correct the factual distortions in your staff’s ‘memorandum.’ To be clear, this faulty memorandum and the conduct of the Committee’s investigation to date has disserved the hard working ATF agents, in Phoenix and elsewhere who, with great personal sacrifice, risk their lives every day to make a difference in the communities in which we live. It is, of course, now evident that the citizens of this country are far less safe today primarily as a result of the irresponsible manner in which this ‘outcome-determined’ investigation has been conducted.”
Pelletier accuses Issa and Grassley of refusing to follow evidence in the Fast and Furious investigation, saying, “I have learned that the ultimate success and legitimacy of any investigation depends upon the capacity of investigators to blindly follow the evidence where it leads and to neutrally and dispassionately evaluate that evidence before reaching a conclusion. Given your staff’s tortured factual conclusions, your staff’s utter disregard of any evidence that contravened or rebutted the preordained and misdirected conclusions of misconduct, speculation to motive is unnecessary.”
The letter lists three “false assertions” made by the Issa and Grassley:
1. ATF purposely failed to confront straw purchasers and interdict guns. Disrupting and deterring the illegal activity took a backseat to the lawful goal of dismantling the entire organization.
2. Intercepts from the DEA wiretap provided the probable cause necessary for ATF to make arrests as early as December 2009, or, at the very least, supplied the necessary predicate to use other investigative techniques to disrupt illegal activity and seize the weapons. ... ATF, however, did not act on this information. Agents could have arrested Celis-Acosta in December of 2009 and used the arrest to work their way up the ladder to the two cartel associates.
3. ATF insisted that the techniques used in Operation Fast and Furious were necessary to take down a complicated gun trafficking operation. In reality, however, the network was not complex.
The letter also refers to Issa and Grassley’s reference to gunwalking as a tactic used by ATF as erroneous and an “attempt to cast wide blame on the ATF supervisors and agents as well as the attorneys in the Department of Justice.” Pelletier says his client Newell advised on multiple occasions and under oath that no such tactics were contemplated or existed in the Fast and Furious investigation. But even putting both Issa and Grassley’s findings aside and simply based on whistleblower testimony, the claims of “false assertions” by Pelletier on behalf of his client Bill Newell are false.
(For evidence against Pelletier's point 2, click here. For evidence against Pelletier's point 3, click here. 70 percent of Fast and Furious guns were bought by just 5 straw purchasers.)
“What I found concerning and alarming was more times than not, no law enforcement activity was planned to stop these suspected straw purchasers from purchasing firearms. The only law enforcement activity that was occasionally taken was to conduct a surveillance of the transaction, and nothing more,” ATF Special Agent and whistleblower Orlindo Casa said under oath on June 14, 2011 before the House Oversight Committee. “On several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms in such a manner that would only further the investigation, but I was always order to stand down and not to seize the firearms.”
In other words, Casa was told to allow the guns to walk.
Another whistleblower, ATF Special Agent John Dodson, had similar statements during the same committee hearing.
“This was not a matter of some weapons getting away from us, or allowing a few to walk so as to follow them to a much larger or more significant target. Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals -- this was the plan. It was so mandated,” Dodson said. “The numerous guns we let walk have yet to be recovered.”
Not once did Pelletier mention the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry as a result of this program, or the fact that at least two guns that were allowed to walk showed up at the crime scene. Pelletier also failed to mention Americans are now at risk thanks to the actions of the Obama Justice Department, in partnership with ATF, allowing thousands of weapons to be trafficked into the hands of ruthless criminals. Even Eric Holder admits we will see tragic consequences from these actions for years to come. In short, the letter tries to make one staunch point: Bill Newell, as Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division, did not instruct agents to allow guns to walk and gunwalking tactics were not used in Operation Fast and Furious.
The letter also takes a jab at the nation’s gun laws while giving Newell credit for trying to stop gun trafficking rather than facilitating it through Fast and Furious.
“We need more, not less, public servants like Special Agent Newell and the men and women who, despite the challenges imposed by our nation’s gun laws and the legal system in which they operated, strove to make a difference and tried their level best to put an end to the illegal gun trafficking the plagues the Southwest Border,” Pelletier wrote. Pelletier, who has been described as "left-wing and liberal as Ted Kennedy," also took the opportunity to add that he believes the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious is politically motivated.
In another letter obtained by Townhall addressed to Issa and Grassley from David Voth’s attorney Joshua A. Levy, Issa is accused of mischaracterizing statements and authored documents by Voth in a June 14, 2011 Congressional Report. The letter accuses Special Agents Dodson, Casa and Larry Alt of not complaining about "Operation Fast and Furious' underlying strategy or tactic" during its implementation and attempts to further smear their characters. This letter, like the one from Newell’s attorney, denies gunwalking as a tactic: "In Operation Fast & Furious, the ATF Group VII agents did not walk guns, they did not avoid the interdiction of firearms when they lawfully could have seized them," the letter proclaims. "The ATF did not purposefully fail to interdict firearms."
Once again, whistleblower testimony proves otherwise. From the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on June 14, 2011:
"Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest, but rather, top keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk." –John Dodson
"Suspected straw purchasers were identified, again with no obvious attempts to interdict the weapons or interview suspects." –Olindo Casa
"No interdiction efforts were planned." –Peter Forcelli
The letter from Levy blames Issa and Grassley for causing damage to Voth and for weakening "the criminal justice system’s attempt to help protect innocent Americans and Mexicans from the drug cartel's conspiracy to purchase, deliver, and use some of the deadliest firearms to protect their dope."
So, who should we believe? Corrupt ATF managers who have denied gunwalking since day one of the Fast and Furious investigation, or brave whistleblowers who have put their personal lives and careers on the line to get the truth to the American people?
Keep in mind: 1,400 Fast and Furious guns are still missing; after more than a year of investigation, the DOJ has still failed to turn over 74,000 requested documents to the House Oversight Committee.
You can read each of the letters here and here.
The BATFE needs to be disbanded and everything involved with them fumigated....
“the DOJ has still failed to turn over 74,000 requested documents to the House Oversight Committee.”
I keep wondering, why haven’t any warrants been issued?
If you or I refused to turn over records subpoenaed by Congress, we would be sitting in jail.
ATF should be a convenience store, not a US Govy Agency.
Stop wondering. Holder is balkig and they are letting him get away with it.
The longer they draw it out the better his chances of getting away clean.
So their defense is that they are bungling and incompetent managers?
The FR thread re: this free download is here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2850992/posts
This novel is a terrific if terrifying read and, I believe, is truly prescient regarding the FedGov's war on the Second Amendment and freedom in general.
BATFE is one of hundreds of gub mint agencies, departments, and comissions that need defunded.
Nearly went to Minnesota for some snowmobiling this winter.
Last year we went to Houghton, Michigan where it was incredible. How poor a snowing did you get there this year??
What are the Republicans in Congress doing about this most recent pack of lies?
Like the loose spin on evidence - all those thousands of redacted pages.
After they are convicted... hang the sumbiches.
One condition I had for my Wife, to get me to move back from Texas to Minnesota, was that I get to buy a snowmobile. Since we moved back, we really haven't had enough snow to justify it.
agreed and all employees from top to bottom need to be completely investigated for criminal activities. The place is a louse bed of crime as are the majority of LE orgs.
how will Grassley and Issa respond to this literal 'eff u' from the criminal defense attorneys ???
At the Federal level, it's almost as if those Departments, who's very job description violates an express limit imposed by the Constitution, are chock full of the real problem children.
This fact is born out by the likes of the EPA, FCC, FAA, NASA, BATFE, HUD, Dept. of Education, DEA, DoE, etc...
I guess once you violate the Supreme Law of the Land, violating the Rights of the individual just becomes second nature.
Well said. They could not careless for our rights.
Yes, majority. We wont know tho unless they’re properly and completely investigated. That will never happen b/c they’re an organ of govt never to be properly vetted. Ive yet to met anyone on LE who wasn’t worthless to the bone.
Gangster Government, and Sakharov’s Immunity
Matthew Bracken, February 29, 2012
For over a year now, the Department of Justice has been stone-walling the House committees investigating Operation Fast And Furious, wherein thousands of semi-automatic rifles (”assault rifles” in the liberal lexicon) were deliberately allowed to “walk” into Mexico, straight into the hands of drug cartel killers. One of those weapons was used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry a dozen miles inside of U.S. territory.
The actual killer is believed to be an FBI “informant.” In other words, a cartel assassin in his own right, but also a valuable “asset” in the FBI’s consideration. The FBI and DOJ have been shielding this killer, while obstructing the delivery of justice to the Brian Terry family. On the other side of the border, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata was also murdered with a “gun-walked” weapon, along with over three-hundred innocent Mexican citizens as of this date.
And where is the elite Mainstream Media in its coverage of this festering scandal of such epic proportions? Over the past year they have dedicated scant minutes to the scandal, and then, usually to parrot the Obama administration’s lies and obfuscations. Just during one recent week, the elite media spent countless hours covering the death and funeral of a beloved celebrity drug addict, compared to the few minutes they have spent covering Operation Fast And Furious during all of the last year.
Under Operation Fast And Furious, and related DOJ-ATF gun-walking schemes in at least five states, there was no plan or means to track the weapons after their sale. Licensed gun dealers were coerced by the BATFE into making repeated bulk sales, even when they expressed grave concern about the persons buying the weapons, including known felons. Federal cash was provided to the straw purchasers when they did not have their own money.
As conceived and carried out, the intended purpose of Operation Fast and Furious was to rack up a bloody body count in Mexico, in order to discredit the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as spelled out in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The murdered Mexicans were intended to buttress the false claim that ninety percent of the weapons recovered in Mexico after gangland shootings came from American gun dealers.
In short, the Obama administration conducted a program of mass murder for political purposes. Or, as President Obama put it to Sarah Brady, he was still pursuing a gun control agenda, but “under the radar.” It is hard to conceive of a federal “law enforcement operation” [sic] more evil from top to bottom than Operation Fast And Furious.
(The rest at the link.)
Losing hope that ANYTHING is gonna change. Ping.
“haven’t had enough snow to justify it”.
Last year in Houghton the snow was deep, couple years before that we went to a place called diamond Lake resort right near Crater Lake, Oregon and again the snow was measured in the humdreds of inches.
We go from Monday to Saturday and are alone for the most part on the trails.
Just waited and waited for snow this year and it just didn’t show./
“how will Grassley and Issa respond to this literal ‘eff u’ from the criminal defense attorneys ???”
Rumor has it that Boehner is stalling Issa. I don’t doubt that for one minite. Boehner, through his ters, denies it.
Career politicians are the reason the GOPe is in power.
“I guess once you violate the Supreme Law of the Land, violating the Rights of the individual just becomes second nature.”
So it would seem
It sure does seem sometimes that the Congress is basically a mutual aid society.
It is amazing how successful the media has been at covering up what appears to me to be the greatest scandal in the history of the nation.
I can’t think of anything which even comes close, yet most Republicans seem just as willing as the Democrats to ignore or completely cover it up.
It’s all that global warming!
I can get groceries, sporting goods, a new hunting rifle, ammunition, brewskis and even a cigar!
All in one stop!
I am working on a video project.
I need a female spokesperson who has lost a family member in the Mexican drug wars.
Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Next year? Who knows...
“It is amazing how successful the media has been at covering up what appears to me to be the greatest scandal in the history of the nation.
I cant think of anything which even comes close, yet most Republicans seem just as willing as the Democrats to ignore or completely cover it up.”
The Republicans in D.C.? They don’t even exist anymore.
This is what happens when your Nation's 4th Estate becomes a 5th Column.
If they are lawyering up then it’s time to indict. Past time.
Your link contains erroneous information. Agent Terry was not a member of BORSTAR. He was a member of the Border Partrol’s SWAT known as BORTAC.
I just went back and read the section on Brian Terry, pps 43-46, and saw no mention of either BORSTAR or BORTAC. If you want to tell me where you found that maybe I could comment on it. I don’t know why I should care though. It’s a gov document not something I wrote.
Sorry, bad comment, my mistake. It just infuriates me that Terry gets killed by tonk dirtbags w/ guns provided by the BATF and the best we can get is some half assed investigation.
I have never been a fan of the ATF in general but the fact is the field agents didn't like what was going on and they were the ones to first expose it. They have suffered for coming forward and I read recently that they intend to persevere even if Issa and Grassley won't.