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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sharyl Attkisson: DOJ IG Report on Fast and Furious throws ATF Arizona under the bus

According to CBS' Sharyl Attkisson, the much anticipated DOJ IG report on Operation Fast and Furious is particularly hard on ATF's Phoenix office and may just give Justice Department leadership a pass.

Via CBS News:
Those familiar with the contents say ATF Phoenix officials shoulder much blame, including then-Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell, the lead Fast and Furious case agent Hope MacAllister, and group supervisor David Voth.

Since the controversy was first exposed, a divide has developed between the ATF staff in Phoenix who oversaw and implemented Fast and Furious; and their supervisors at ATF headquarters and the Justice Department. The Phoenix officials say higher-ups approved of the case. But the higher-ups say it was all the brainchild of rogue ATF officials in Phoenix.

Phoenix ATF officials tell CBS News that higher-level officials were integral in shifting focus away from arresting ground level gun buyers, to "a cartel focused strategy" that allowed guns hit the streets in an attempt to make a bigger case. They say the idea was codified in the September 2010 ATF document "Project Gunrunner-A Cartel Focused Strategy." The document refers to using the tactic of "limited or delayed interdiction" of guns, while cautioning that such investigations "must be closely monitored."
A little bit further into Attkisson's article, it appears that we could be watching the beginning stages of a circular firing squad; ATF leadership in Phoenix does not appear to be all that interested in just rolling over:
As alleged proof that they had the blessing of their superiors, ATF officials in Phoenix point to regular briefings provided headquarters and the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center. Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had agents working the case. The Justice Department also approved seven wiretaps in Fast and Furious. However, then-head of ATF Kenneth Melson and officials at the Justice Department say they never intended for agents to allow guns to walk, and didn't know it was happening. They also say they either didn't read written briefings submitted about the case, or that the briefings and affidavits didn't reveal the controversial strategy being used. Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, who oversees ICE, also says she knew nothing of the case.
Back on July 30th, the Oversight Committee issued the first of three reports on Fast and Furious. In it, the focus of that report wasn't all that dissimilar from what we're being told is in the IG Report. Report 1 of 3 was extremely critical of Phoenix ATF officials as well as ATF senior leadership. It will be interesting to see if the timing of the release of Report 2 of 3 will correspond with the testimony of the DOJ IG, who was recently called to testify this coming September 11th. That second report is supposed to point directly to the involvement of senior DOJ leadership. Watching the IG defend a position that involves singling out Phoenix ATF leadership while having to respond to a stinging report that outs DOJ leadership will be compelling to say the least.

In testimony before Congressional Committees, Attorney General Eric Holder, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and others all pointed to this IG Report instead of answering uncomfortable questions. Now that the Report is complete, the Inspector General is where the buck will have to stop.

The September 11th hearing may just top them all.

Read it all.

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