5 named in Fast and Furious – Time for Holder to go

Editorial Note – With information and testimony in hand, there appears to be enough evidence to move forward on at least five individuals; from the field office in Phoenix, all the way up to top management in DC – imagine how many more heads will roll when it all comes out regarding the cover-up. Once again, SUA calls for the resignation of Eric Holder at DoJ. His contempt alone is grounds for dismissal.

What happens next is unknown, but like all such scandals, the truth will eventually emerge. When it does, likely long past the election in November, and regardless of who wins, those responsible must receive the maximum penalties. Why? Because not only were crimes committed, a message needs to be sent to all future office holders and their appointees -political ideology cannot interfere with the proper administration of any office. Strict adherence to the oath and our rule-of-law system must be upheld.

SUA has one question about the report written by the LA Times – Why is it, that when Congress acts in a way that implicates the current executive administration, they feel the need to make sure the reader knows it is a Republican led investigation, but when the same administration speaks to budget delays – Congress is considered to be a monolithic entity. We know the answer of course – Democrats cannot be held to account for what they do in Congress.

The narrative always blames the Republicans, and hides the Democrats. Excellent “editorial reporting” LA Times.

Two more reports are set to come out as well. Stay tuned!

Exclusive: Five ATF officials found responsible for Fast and Furious

By Richard A. Serrano – LA Times

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, co-authored a report finding that five senior ATF officials were responsible for the Fast and Furious operation. (Tim Sloan / AFP/Getty Images / December 7, 2011)
WASHINGTON — Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials — from the special agent-in-charge of the Phoenix field office to the top man in the bureau’s Washington headquarters — are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.”

The investigators, in a final report likely to be released later this week, also unearthed new evidence that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix initially sought to hide from the Mexican government the crucial information that two Fast and Furious firearms were recovered after the brother of a Mexican state attorney general was killed there.

According to a copy of the report obtained Monday by The Times, the investigators said their findings are “the best information available as of now” about the flawed gun operation that last month led to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. being found in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents.

Two more final reports, they said, will deal with “the devastating failure of supervision and leadership” at the Department of Justice and an “unprecedented obstruction of the [congressional] investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself.”

The first report did allege some Justice Department involvement, however, notably that Kenneth E. Melson, then acting ATF director, was made into a “scapegoat” for Fast and Furious after he told congressional Republicans his Justice Department supervisors  “were doing more damage control than anything” else once Fast and Furious became public.

“My view is that the whole matter of the department’s response in this case was a disaster,” Melson told the investigators.

Fast and Furious, which allowed some 2,500 illegal gun sales in Arizona with the hope that agents would track the weapons to Mexican drug cartels, began in fall 2009 and was halted after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. By then, most of the weapons had been lost, and two were recovered at the scene of his slaying.

The five ATF managers, since moved to other positions, have either defended Fast and Furious in congressional testimony or refused to discuss it. They could not be reached for comment Monday. At the Justice Department, senior officials, including Holder, have steadfastly maintained that Fast and Furious was confined to the Arizona border region and that Washington was never aware of the flawed tactics.

The joint staff report, authored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was highly critical of the ATF supervisors.

They found that William Newell, the special agent-in-charge in Phoenix, exhibited “repeatedly risky” management and “consistently pushed the envelope of permissible investigative techniques.” The report said “he had been reprimanded … before for crossing the line, but under a new administration and a new attorney general he reverted back to the use of risky gunwalking tactics.”

His boss, Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon, “rubber stamped critical documents that came across his desk without reading them,” the report alleged. “In McMahon’s view it was not his job to ask any questions about what was going on in the field.”

They added that McMahon gave “false testimony” to Congress about signing applications for wiretap intercepts in Fast and Furious.

His supervisor, Mark Chait, assistant director for field operations, “played a surprisingly passive role during the operation,” the report said. “He failed to provide oversight that his experience should have dictated and his position required.”

Above Chait was Deputy Director William Hoover, who the report said ordered an exit strategy to scuttle Fast and Furious but never followed through: “Hoover was derelict in his duty to ensure that public safety was not jeopardized.”

And they said Melson, a longtime career Justice official, “often stayed above the fray” instead of bringing Fast and Furious to an “end sooner.”

But, the investigators said, ATF agents said that they were hamstrung by federal prosecutors in Arizona from  obtaining criminal charges for illegal gun sales, and that Melson “even offered to travel to Phoenix to write the indictments himself. Still, he never ordered it be shut down.”

In the November 2010 slaying in Mexico of Mario Gonzalez, the brother of Patricia Gonzalez, then attorney general for the state of Chihuahua, two of 16 weapons were traced back to Fast and Furious after they were recovered from a shootout with Mexican police.

But 10 days later, ATF Agent Tonya English urged Agent Hope MacAllister and their supervisor, David J. Voth, to keep it under wraps. “My thought is not to release any information,” she told them in an email.

When Patricia Gonzalez later learned that two of the guns had been illegally obtained under Fast and Furious, she was outraged. “The basic ineptitude of these officials [who ordered the Fast and Furious operation] caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims,” she said.

The following month, Agent Terry was killed south of Tucson. Voth emailed back, “Ugh … things will most likely get ugly.”

Israel's Capitol – Romney says Jerusalem, Obama?

Editor’s Note – Obama and his administration have circumvented the Congress many times, yet many Presidents have done so. However, in these tumultuous times, after the “Arab Spring” leading to the Syrian Revolution, all on Israel’s borders, or a part of the consortium that plans to “shove Israel into the sea”, isn’t it time one Congressional Act was followed?

The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act is one such act that should be a key to any President’s foreign policy – Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel. As Mitt Romney affirmed, the official policy of the United States is that Israel’s capitol is Jerusalem. However, Hillary Clinton and Obama just cannot stop undermining Israel, despite their rhetoric.

From the Blaze and Rick Richman:

Click on map to enlarge

They just can’t bring themselves to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, can they?

They can’t answer the question of where the capital is, or where Clinton will visit (although the answer to both questions is obvious), lest someone press them on whether Jerusalem is in Israel. Perhaps while she is there on July 16 or 17, Secretary Clinton will be asked if she still takes the position that even symbolically treating Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would jeopardize the non-existent peace process.

(…)

Three presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have signed a presidential waiver against moving the embassy to Jerusalem as required by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. The act also calls for Jerusalem to remain Israel’s undivided capital.

So while Clinton is visiting Paris, Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar, Hanoi, Vientiane, and Phnom Penh, will she be calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?

Again, SUA asks why, why one of our most steadfast allies gets treated like the proverbial “red-headed step-child” of our foreign policy. It is time to align with Israel completely, not just in sound bites that have no meaning – just words that allow them to say they support Israel, yet we know underneath those vacuous words, they do not believe their own words.

Romney however – if we are to believe his words, is fore-square behind our ally, where is Hillary Clinton and Obama!

White House Differs with Romney on Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

By Fred Lucas – CNS News

(CNSNews.com) – In what marks a decisive difference in the presidential campaign, one day after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the White House asserted that Romney’s position was different from that of the Obama administration.

“Our view is that that is a different position than this administration holds. It’s the view of this administration that the capital should be determined in final status negotiations between parties,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday.

“I would remind you that that is the position that has been held by previous administrations both Democratic and Republican. So, if Mr. Romney disagrees with that position, he is also disagreeing with positions taken by previous presidents like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan,” Earnest added.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney struggled during the afternoon press briefing to answer what the capital of Israel was, insisting reporters already knew the administration’s policy and that the policy was not changed. Hours later he issued a written answer, stating it will be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

On Sunday, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, spoke from Jerusalem addressing the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

“It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” Romney said. “Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles. But for an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel.

“We’re part of the great fellowship of democracies. We speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. We serve the same cause and provoke the same hatreds in the same enemies of civilization,” he added.

On Thursday, IRN-USA Radio News reporter Connie Lawn asked Carney, “What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel – Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?”

Carney said, “I haven’t had that question in a while. Our position has not changed, Connie.”

The reporter followed, “What is the position? What’s the capital?”

Carney responded, “You know our position.”

Lawn said, “I don’t.”

Later on Thursday evening, Carney issued a written statement to answer the question.

“The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” Carney said in a written statement. “We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way that is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The statement mirrors the troubles that State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had at a March 29 press briefing.

According to the official State Department transcript, a reporter asked Nuland, “Is it the view of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, notwithstanding the question about the Embassy, the location of the U.S. Embassy?”

Nuland said, “We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.”

The reporter said, “Does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?”

Nuland responded, “Jerusalem is a permanent status issue; it’s got to be resolved through negotiations.”

The reporter asked, “That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is that correct or not?”

Nuland responded, “I have just spoken to this issue –”

The reporter went on to ask, “You’ve spoken to the issue but didn’t answer the question, and I think there’s a lot of people out there who are interested in hearing a real answer and not saying – and not trying to duck and say that this has got to be resolved by negotiations between the two sides.” The reporter again asked, “What is the capital of Israel?”

Nuland said, “Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is it has to be solved through negotiations. That’s all I have to say on this issue.”

The reporter again asked, “What is the capital of Israel?”

Nuland answered, “Our Embassy, as you know, is located in Tel Aviv.”

The reporter responded, “So does that mean that you regard Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel?”

Nuland said, “The issue on Jerusalem has to be settled through negotiations.”

The Washington Free Beacon first reported in March that the State Department had quietly altered an official communication that originally referred to Israel and Jerusalem as separate entities.

If Dubai fears the MB – why are we inviting them here?

Editor’s Note – It seems every nation in the Middle East is getting more nervous by the moment. From Israel to Lebanon, from Syria to Bahrain and Dubai. What is clear is that one major player is one of the keys to all the nerves fraying – the Muslim Brotherhood, the same folks the White House is courting, and who has infiltrated our highest leadership advisory positions.

If Dubai fears the MB – why are we inviting them here?

Dubai police chief warns of Muslim Brotherhood, Iran threat

Reuters/Yahoo

DUBAI (Reuters) – Dubai’s chief of police has warned of an “international plot” to overthrow the governments of Gulf Arab countries, saying the region needs to be prepared to counter any threat from Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers as well as Syria and Iran.

Chief of Dubai Police Dahi Khalfan

The comments from Dahi Khalfan, one of the most outspoken security officials in the United Arab Emirates, follow the detention in the UAE since April of at least 20 dissidents, according to relatives of the detainees and activists.

“There’s an international plot against Gulf states in particular andArab countries in general… This is pre-planned to take over our fortunes,” Khalfan told reporters at a gathering late on Wednesday marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The bigger our sovereign wealth funds and the more money we put in the banks of Western countries, the bigger the plot to take over our countries… The Brothers and their governments in Damascus and North Africa have to know that the Gulf is a red line, not only for Iran but also for the Brothers as well.”

Mahmoud Ghozlan, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, dismissed the accusation, saying the remarks did not deserve a reaction. Ghozlan was involved in a row with the UAE earlier this year when Khalfan also accused the Brotherhood of trying to sow discord in the UAE.

“I promised myself to pay no attention to this man or to comment on everything he has to say,” said Ghozlan, whose movement won Egypt’s presidential election in June.

Most of the detainees since April are Islamists, targeted by an official clampdown amid concern they may be emboldened by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in other Arab countries such as Egypt.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates and a major oil exporter, allows no organized political opposition. It has avoided the political unrest that has toppled four Arab heads of state since last year thanks in part to its cradle-to-grave welfare system.

But it has also moved swiftly against dissidents, and last year stripped citizenship from Islamists whom it deemed a security threat and jailed activists who called for more power for a semi-elected advisory council.

Analysts say Islamists are aiming to tap into unease among the UAE’s largely conservative citizens at having become a minority in their own country, most of whose 8 million people are foreign workers.

The economic boom in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has given the UAE an average per capita annual income of $48,000, but has also brought what some see as unwelcome Western influence.

Islamists in the UAE say they share similar ideology with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt but have no direct links with the group, seen as a mentor for Islamist groups in the region.

They say they want more civil rights and greater power for the Federal National Council, a quasi-parliamentary body that advises the government but has no legislative power.

UAE Interior Ministry officials have not been available to comment on the arrests. Last week, UAE officials announced that authorities were investigating a foreign-linked group planning “crimes against the security of the state”.

“I had no idea that there is this large number of Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf states. We have to be alert and on guard because the wider these groups become, the higher probability there is for trouble,” Khalfan said on Wednesday.

“We are aware that there are groups plotting to overthrow Gulf governments in the long term.”

(Reporting by Mirna Sleiman in Dubai and Tom Perry in Cairo; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Napolitano – Al Qaeda threatens attacks in US

Editor’s Note – The threats just keep coming. As we reported Sunday, Janet Napolitano is confirming now. Al Qaeda, the same group the White House called much diminished, appears to be quite the opposite. Back in April, the very same officials told us the threat was much lower – which is it?

Al Qaeda in Iraq threatens attacks in U.S.

The militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has rebuilt its campaign in the Persian Gulf nation, wants to launch attacks in the United States, intelligence officials say.

By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau/LA Times

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - Leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The militant organization that was once the scourge of the U.S. militarycampaign in Iraq and probably is responsible for more than 100 deaths in the country over the last few days has set its sights on launching attacks in the United States, intelligence officials said.

Al Qaeda in Iraq released a message this week that threatened to strike at the “heart” of the United States, and several associates of the group have been arrested in the U.S. and Canada in the last two years, said American officials, a sign that the organization has tried to establish a network in North America.

The arrests highlight “the potential threat posed to the United States” from Al Qaeda in Iraq, said Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, during a hearing Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee examining the current threat from terrorism to the United States.

Al Qaeda in Iraq had been known primarily for launching attacks against the American forces in Iraq and the Shiite Muslim-led government there, as well as helping to plot attacks in neighboring Jordan.

But “there are networks and recruiting efforts in the U.S. and Canada,” said Seth Jones, an expert on Al Qaeda at the Rand Corp. and author of “Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qaeda since9/11.”

“You can say pretty categorically that Al Qaeda in Iraq appears to be strengthening from where it was two years ago,” even as Al Qaeda’s senior leaders in Pakistan have been killed, Jones said.

Al Qaeda in Iraq was pummeled more than five years ago by a coalition of Sunni Arab tribal leaders in western Iraq and U.S. forces, but experts who study Al Qaeda say that the organization in Iraq has begun to rebuild, energized in the last year by the violent uprising next door in Syria and an influx of cash from wealthy benefactors in the Persian Gulf. U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in December.

On Sunday, the day before the latest wave of attacks in Iraq killed at least 110 people, the militant group released an audio recording to mark the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The message announced a new campaign of violence against the Iraqi government, praised Syria’s uprising and made a call for new recruits to join the group. It also spoke directly to Americans.

“You will soon witness how attacks will resound in the heart of your land, because our war with you has now started,” said a man that identified himself as Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the pseudonym used by the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Attacking inside the United States is easier said than done, said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee and has been briefed on the threat to the U.S. from the Iraqi group.

“But when you have the leader signaling that it is time to go on the offensive, there is a heightened sense of concern for law enforcement and intelligence agencies here in the U.S.,” McCaul said.

Two Iraqi refugees were arrested in Kentucky in May of last year and charged with attempting to ship weapons from the U.S. to assist Al Qaeda in Iraq. The fingerprint of one of the men had allegedly been found on a bomb that attacked a U.S. convoy in Iraq in 2005. Federal officials believe the two men had been trained to build roadside bombs from cordless telephones.

In January 2011, a Canadian man named Faruq Isa was arrested for allegedly recruiting fighters to launch attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. Isa is fighting extradition to the U.S. from Canada to face charges of conspiracy to kill Americans.

Obama strong suit is Foreign Policy? Ask a Vet!

Editor’s Note – For some reason, Americans polled recently (Suspect all polls!) seem to think Obama is strongest in Foreign Policy. That may be because he is so weak elsewhere, but on its face, people think he has the experience, at least now he does, and that Romney does not have enough. It is sad, because those of us who follow the foreign press know that the rest of the world is actually laughing at us. Our press does not allow that news into the country – another reason Americans just do not know how bad it is.

Allies can no longer trust America because secrets were revealed, and that places others in great danger. Regardless of whether it was done for political gain or not, it hamstrung our foreign policy. Severely diminished trust leads to less respect as well. Its not what we think, its what the world thinks of why he did it!

Say what you will about George Bush, but he commanded and earned respect across the globe, he was feared, something Obama has not done. Now many say that Obama got the world to like us more because they hated Bush, but what actually occurred was diminished clout. He is easily manipulated, cajoled, and led by the nose. His words carry little clout in Europe, and Putin plays him like a fiddle. Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan even out plays Obama.

So, is it better to be liked or feared by the rest of the globe? Trusted and respected, or thought to be weak and naive? Again, its not what we think, its what word leaders think. Axelrod may help Obama sway many Americans opinions, and may get the votes, but our stature across the globe is now quite pathetic as compared to historic levels.

Liberals want to be liked, but we are not going to a picnic, we need them to fear us. You decide:

Obama is a sitting duck on leaks and vets

The two presidential candidates spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars this week. Developments that have followed suggest that the president is vulnerable on at least two big issues, both of which Mitt Romney raised.

Regarding leaks, in a lousy showing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod declared that the president hadn’t leaked any national security secrets and that the president hadn’t authorized such leaks. But that’s an awfully narrow answer to a big and important question: Did someone in the White House leak sensitive intelligence?

At the VFW Romney said:

Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished. The time for stonewalling is over.

It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that. When the issue is the political use of highly sensitive national security information, it is unacceptable to say, “We’ll report our findings after Election Day.”

Exactly who in the White House betrayed these secrets? Did a superior authorize it? These are things that Americans are entitled to know — and they are entitled to know right now. If the president believes — as he said last week — that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts.

Axelrod’s indignant but limited denial confirms what we can tell from news reports: At least some of the most critical information had to have originated in the White House. The issue won’t go away. And if the Romney team wanted a “transparency” issue, it might beat the drum from now until November for a full accounting of the leaks.

The other issue that Romney latched upon was the sequestration cuts and the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically. Now a report tells us how vets are faring under this president:

Veterans returning home today join lines for disability payments much longer than those Obama called intolerable in 2008. Their chances of finding jobs in a bleak economy are worse than those of most other Americans. Veterans’ complaints of employment discrimination by the federal government have actually risen.

Veterans remain more likely to be homeless than the general population. The VA estimates more than 67,000 sleep in shelters and on the streets or are otherwise considered homeless, a figure that is only slightly better than in 2009.

And improved data collection reveals just how bad the problem of suicide is among veterans. According to new data Reuters obtained from the VA, a veteran within the VA healthcare system tries to commit suicide about once every half-hour, on average.

That is before Obama kicks out 100,000 of our troops to find work in the private sector. They can be expected to face a dreary job market. (“Unemployment among [Iraq and Afghanistan war vets] rose from 7.3 percent in 2008 to 12.1 percent in 2011, when the national average was 8.9 percent. For 18- to 24-year-old veterans, the rate was 30 percent last year, nearly double the 16.1 percent rate for non-veterans in that age group.”)

If Romney is smart, he’ll keep hammering these two issues. Obviously, the administration has no sufficient defense.