On the heels of that astonishing news, Issa and Grassley have sent another letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and it contains information that may indicate exactly why the DOJ wanted to let Barba's prosecution fly under the radar.
To this point, there have been three other men with ties to guns that were used in Zapata's murder but they reportedly weren't under ATF surveillance at the time. Though they had plenty of reason to be. The names of those three other men are Otilio and Rafael Osorio and Kelvin Morrison. The addition of Barba to this grouping may point directly to a Fast and Furious style operation that led to Zapata's murder, which would seemingly contradict a statement made by an ATF spokesman.
Here is a portion of the letter to Holder I had sitting in my inbox from Issa Press Secretary Becca Watkins this morning:
ATF has tried to distinguish this case from Operation Fast and Furious and to justify its failure to intervene. In one news article on the Osorio brothers, ATF North Texas spokesperson Tom Crowley is quoted as saying: “[T]aking them down and arresting them at that time would have possibly jeopardized that investigation. . . . None of the tactics used in this investigation were anything similar to what was used in Arizona’s Fast and Furious, including intentionally walking firearms across the border.” Yet failure to conduct surveillance of individuals known to be trafficking weapons to Mexico was a core problem with the tactics used in Fast and Furious. Lack of surveillance is what allowed such firearms to reach the border. The same irresponsible tactic appears to have been used in this matter.Prior to what's been learned about Barba, the primary difference between Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder and the murder of Zapata was that the ATF was literally shown to have been holding the smoking gun in Terry's murder. The ATF had foreknowledge of the gun used in Terry's being 'walked' into Mexico after operation Fast and Furious permitted it.
To this point, Zapata's case didn't reveal the same smoking gun. Remember, the Osorio brothers, along with Morrison, hadn't been put under surveillance so the ATF had an out.
However, Barba was a different story. Again, from the letter:
Now, news reports indicate that this may have been an issue with a purchaser of another one of the weapons found at Agent Zapata’s murder scene. Records indicate that ATF opened a case against Manuel Barba in June 2010, approximately two months before he took possession on August 20, 2010, of the rifle which was later trafficked to Mexico and also used in the murder of Agent Zapata. Additionally, the documents show that ATF had indications in October 2010 that Barba was obliterating serial numbers on weapons, the possession of which would have been a prosecutable offense. At least as of December 13, 2010, ATF also was aware that Barba was still under indictment for a 2006 state case, and thus had been unlawfully receiving firearms while under indictment. However, a warrant was not issued for Barba’s arrest in this case until February 14, 2011.The February 14th date is significant because Zapata was murdered one day later. It was also two months to the day, after Brian Terry had been murdered.
We could be seeing a new line of attack from Issa and Grassley here. There has been a narrative pushed by the Democrats that Issa has been on a witch hunt against Eric Holder and has had far too many hearings. This isn't the least bit true since each hearing has consisted of perjury, stonewalling, or both. Hearings should continue until they can take place without such things.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano becomes increasingly more important as Zapata's murder is tied directly to an ATF operation similar to Fast and Furious. Border Patrol Agent Terry and ICE Agent Zapata were both agents under the purview of Napolitano's Department. She hasn't appeared the least bit outraged at the DOJ or ATF despite Terry's murder being the direct result of an ATF operation.
Now that evidence is coming out that Zapata's murder could be directly tied to the ATF in a very similar way, Napolitano's lack of outrage could be a red flag twice the size.
Here is the text of what I sent to Issa's office after receiving the joint letter to Holder:
In a sane world, DHS Secretary would be siding with Oversight committee instead of deferring to DOJ IG.
Two of her agents confirmed dead as a result of ATF?
Where is Ms. Napolitano's outrage? She appears to be more agitated with Republican congressional investigators than with those responsible for her agents' deaths.
Thanks for sending.I believe they call that "dishonor" in the military.