Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ruh Roh: WSJ Reporting ATF Director on the Way Out over Project Gunrunner Scandal

The Feds are slowly removing their fingers from the dike known as the Fast and Furious stonewall. If this report is true, acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson is headed for the exit very soon - possibly next week. Make no mistake, the Oversight hearing that took place on June 15th in which Rep. Darrell Issa filleted Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. In fact, when Issa got Weich to testify that he didn't know who authorized Fast and Furious, the AAG more than likely perjured himself.

Via WSJ:
The Justice Department is expected to oust the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to people familiar with the matter, amid a troubled federal antitrafficking operation that has grown into the agency's biggest scandal in nearly two decades.

Moves toward the replacement of Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director since April 2009, could begin next week, although the precise sequence of events remains to be decided, these people said.
Sipsey Street, which has developed quite the track record for being excellent prognosticators, is predicting that if Melson goes, he will turn State's evidence:
If Melson goes, Melson will roll. The documents revealed so far take this far higher than him. There are all manner of laws, domestic and international, that Melson and his crew broke at the behest of his superiors. Insiders believe that he will trade Congressional immunity for a full confessional. THAT hearing will make "Black Wednesday" look like a happy affair for Eric Holder and his fellow Gunwalker conspirators.
Back to WSJ:
ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson said: "Acting Director Kenneth Melson continues to be focused on leading ATF in its efforts to reduce violent crime and to stem the flow of firearms to criminals and criminal organizations. We are not going to comment on any speculations."

Mr. Melson is the most senior official so far implicated in a congressional probe of the Fast and Furious operation. The ATF Phoenix office ran the program in 2009-2010 to monitor weapons purchases by suspected gun smugglers. Agency officials hoped eventually to build a case against major arms smugglers serving Mexican drug cartels. The ATF has struggled to stanch the flow of U.S. weapons to Mexican drug gangs.

At a House hearing this week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, disclosed internal documents showing that Mr. Melson was closely involved in managing Fast and Furious operation. One email among ATF officials described Mr. Melson's request for an Internet link to hidden cameras the ATF had planted in gun shops cooperating with the operation, Mr. Issa said, citing the documents. That allowed Mr. Melson to watch a live feed of suspected "straw buyers," who purchase firearms on behalf of others, buying AK-47-style rifles, he said.
Echoing the likelihood that this will become a full-blown scandal (think Watergate with murder), WSJ says Fast and Furious is at least as big as the Branch Davidian raid in Waco in 1993:
Fast and Furious has grown into the agency's worst crisis since the ATF's 1993 raid on a religious sect in Waco, Texas, which triggered a gunbattle that killed four ATF agents. The fallout from the raid and subsequent government assault on the sect's compound led to years of recriminations and investigations of the ATF.

The Fast and Furious operation caused dissent in the ATF Phoenix office, according to three ATF agents who testified at a House hearing Wednesday. The agents said they battled supervisors who insisted on doing surveillance instead of arresting suspected straw buyers.

Despite the Justice Department's internal probe, the hearing helped cement the view among top Justice Department officials that Mr. Melson needed to be moved out before pressure from lawmakers grew more intense, according to the people familiar with the matter.
Meanwhile, all Rush Limbaugh talked about ALL WEEK was his new brand of Tea. If he isn't careful, he's going to miss the boat and jump the shark.

Read it all.

Video: TSA Now Groping Texas State Officials

The State of Texas is still in the midst of its special session and HB 1937, which passed unanimously in the House, failed in the Senate when the Feds threatened that such a law would lead to Texas becoming a 'no fly zone.' The bill would make it a crime for TSA agents to overstep their bounds with respect to pat downs. Now that the Texas legislature is in special session, passage of the bill has come down to being contingent on Gov. Rick Perry putting it on the agenda.

Making matters even more interesting is the fact that two state officials - Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission and Barbara Nash, a state rep. - have their own personal horror stories to tell.

Via the New American:
High-ranking Texas officials groped by agents with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are sounding off about the scandal in the press, adding more pressure on state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry to resurrect a bill criminalizing the invasive measures without probable cause. In May, it appeared likely that the Texas anti-groping legislation would succeed. After unanimously sailing through the state House of Representatives, the bill was on its way to passage in the Texas Senate. Originally it had more than enough support to pass.

Then the feds intervened. U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy sent a thinly veiled warning to lawmakers and senior officials: If the TSA was no longer permitted to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of passengers and the courts refused to block the legislation, the federal government would basically create a "no-fly zone" in Texas.

The State Senate backed down. But the battle is still not over. In fact, it may be just getting started. After two Texas officials described their recent experiences with the TSA on local television, calls for state action are growing even louder.
This short news report from Austin's Fox affiliate says it all:

Interestingly, the bill has already passed through committee for a House vote, which was unanimous the first time around. Not only that but Republican senator Dan Patrick is saying that there are enough votes to pass there as well. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is also encouraging Perry to put the bill on the agenda.
The Lt. Governor is on board this time, too. State Sen. Dan Patrick also re-introduced the bill into the Senate. And this time, he says there are enough votes to pass it.

Now the fate of the bill rests with Gov. Perry. In Texas, only legislation that is called up by the Governor can be voted on during the special legislative session. So, a broad coalition of liberty-minded organizations is mobilizing to make sure that happens.
Once again, Perry is being faced with a political decision that he cannot wiggle out of. Passage of this bill is all but guaranteed by him putting it on the agenda. In light of that reality, this video should be shown to him by every member of the Texas legislature. It is from April 9, 2009 - during the rise of the Tea Party. Perry made some very bold statements and his refusal to put HB 1937 on the agenda will have meant this press conference was a big fat lie.

Two Fast and Furious Guns tied to Murder of High-Profile Mexican Lawyer

In October, a Mexican lawyer named Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez was kidnapped and tortured for several days before he was murdered and later found in a shallow grave. As was the case with murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December, two of the weapons used were guns that the ATF allowed to 'walk' into Mexico under Project Gunrunner's Fast and Furious operation. That's not all. Gonzalez was the brother of one of Mexico's former State Attorney Generals.

Via Fox News:
Two guns sold to a Mexican cartel and used in the high-profile kidnapping and murder of a Mexican lawyer last year were purchased under the U.S. Justice Department's failed anti-gun trafficking program Operation Fast and Furious, sources tell Fox News.

U.S. law enforcement sources and officials in Washington told Fox News that two AK-47s were purchased in Arizona by a straw buyer — someone who legally buys guns, then illegal sells them to a third party – and were allowed to “walk” into Mexico. Police recovered the guns in the course of their investigation of the kidnapping of Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez.

Gonzales, brother of the now former attorney general of Chihuahua, Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez, was kidnapped in October. He was taken by six gunmen from the Sinaloa cartel and tortured extensively over two weeks.
Unfortunately, the only good that can come out of this - as in the case of Brian Terry's murder - is that justice is done to those responsible. To illustrate this, Felipe Calderon gave an interview to Univision just last month in which he doubled down on threats of lawsuits against U.S. gun dealers and manufacturers despite well-publicized evidence that the ATF and DOJ were the guilty parties.

In light of this most recent news, Calderon is going to have a difficult time continuing that narrative.

Click HERE for the video report.
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