HOLDER MUST GO says HuffPo over Fox's Rosen Investigation

Editor’s Note – You know you have really ‘jumped the shark’ when the Huffington Post and NBS report that AG Holder was the one who signed off on the probe into Fox News’ James Rosen and demanded Holder’s head. Is that the fat lady I hear singing? SUA has been demanding Holder’s resignation, impeachment, or arrest for ages, well before Fast and Furious.

Its time to go Mr. Holder – ‘perp walk’ anyone? In a full page posting, the Huffington Post has entered in the largest font we have ever seen the following:

TIME TO GO: HOLDER OK’d PRESS PROBE

By Jack Mirkinson – Huffington Post

Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on the warrant that allowed the Justice Department to search Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal email, NBC News’ Michael Isikoff reported Thursday.

The report places Holder at the center one of the most controversial clashes between the press and the government in recent memory. The warrant he approved named Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in a leak investigation, causing many to warn that the Justice Department was potentially criminalizing journalism. The warrant also approved the tracking of Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, as well as his communications with his source, Stephen Kim.

Time to go home Mr. Holder, clean out your desk, security will see you to the door. Then await the subpoenas, here they come!

The Justice Department later said that it did not intend to press any charges against Rosen.

The attorney general is usually required to approve requests to search journalists’ materials, but that rule does not extend to email records.
(Holder recused himself from the investigation into the Associated Press, meaning that he absolved himself of that responsibility.) Holder has previously said that he was not sure how many times he had authorized the search of journalists’ records.

The revelation came hours after President Obama said in a speech that he was concerned about the potential implications of the Fox News and AP investigations. Obama said that Holder would be reviewing the department’s rules for investigations that involve reporters.

Fox News chief Roger Ailes responded to the Justice Department’s investigation on Thursday, sending a staff memo condemning the Obama administration’s choices.

“We reject the government’s efforts to criminalize the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterize a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a “co-conspirator” in a crime,” Ailes wrote. “I know how concerned you are because so many of you have asked me: why should the government make me afraid to use a work phone or email account to gather news or even call a friend or family member? Well, they shouldn’t have done it.”

DOJ 'Black Ops' on the Associated Press – Issa Interviewed

Editor’s Note – The Obama Administration just jumped the rails – hopefully for good. The DoJ grabbed AP reporters phone numbers, and the story is developing at an amazing rate. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile this from the ACLU: Letter to Eric Holder from AP President Pruitt

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

New documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ offices paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices. Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant—even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment—but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content (you can see the documentshere).

Last month, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the ACLU received IRS documents indicating that the agency’s criminal investigative arm doesn’t always get a warrant to read Americans’ emails. Today we are releasing these additional documents from other federal law enforcement agencies, reinforcing the urgent need for Congress to protect our privacy by updating the laws that cover electronic communications.

Also from the RightScoop.com Darrell Issa is calling this a Constitutional question and challenge by the very agency that is sworn to uphold and enforce these very laws and the Constitution:

Click here for the video which will likely be available for embed later MUST SEE VIDEO

FILE – In this April 18, 2013 file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Justice Department has secretly obtained two months of telephone records of journalists for The Associated Press in what AP’s top executive says is an unprecedented intrusion into newsgathering. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

GOVT OBTAINS WIDE AP PHONE RECORDS IN PROBE

By MARK SHERMAN – From AP Big Story

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

Here is the PDF of the letter: Letter to Eric Holder from AP President Pruitt

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of calls.

In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.

“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,” Pruitt said.

The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”

Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual.

In the letter notifying the AP received Friday, the Justice Department offered no explanation for the seizure, according to Pruitt’s letter and attorneys for the AP. The records were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year although the government letter did not explain that. None of the information provided by the government to the AP suggested the actual phone conversations were monitored.

Among those whose phone numbers were obtained were five reporters and an editor who were involved in the May 7, 2012 story.

The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media and has brought six cases against people suspected of providing classified information, more than under all previous presidents combined.

Justice Department published rules require that subpoenas of records from news organizations must be personally approved by the attorney general but it was not known if that happened in this case. The letter notifying AP that its phone records had been obtained though subpoenas was sent Friday by Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney in Washington.

William Miller, a spokesman for Machen, said Monday that in general the U.S. attorney follows “all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations” but he would not address questions about the specifics of the AP records. “We do not comment on ongoing criminal investigations,” Miller said in an e-mail.

The Justice Department lays out strict rules for efforts to get phone records from news organizations. A subpoena can only be considered after “all reasonable attempts” have been made to get the same information from other sources, the rules say. It was unclear what other steps, in total, the Justice Department has taken to get information in the case.

A subpoena to the media must be “as narrowly drawn as possible” and “should be directed at relevant information regarding a limited subject matter and should cover a reasonably limited time period,” according to the rules.

The reason for these constraints, the department says, is to avoid actions that “might impair the news gathering function” because the government recognizes that “freedom of the press can be no broader than the freedom of reporters to investigate and report the news.”

News organizations normally are notified in advance that the government wants phone records and enter into negotiations over the desired information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption’s wording, might “pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.”

It is unknown whether a judge or a grand jury signed off on the subpoenas.

The May 7, 2012, AP story that disclosed details of the CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bomb plot occurred around the one-year anniversary of the May 2, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden.

The plot was significant both because of its seriousness and also because the White House previously had told the public it had “no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”

The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security. Once government officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot because officials said it no longer endangered national security. The Obama administration, however, continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.

The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government.

Brennan talked about the AP story and investigation in written testimony to the Senate. “The irresponsible and damaging leak of classified information was made … when someone informed the Associated Press that the U.S. Government had intercepted an IED (improvised explosive device) that was supposed to be used in an attack and that the U.S. Government currently had that IED in its possession and was analyzing it,” he said.

He also defended the White House’s plan to discuss the plot immediately afterward. “Once someone leaked information about interdiction of the IED and that the IED was actually in our possession, it was imperative to inform the American people consistent with Government policy that there was never any danger to the American people associated with this al-Qa’ida plot,” Brennan told senators.

In the name of Tolerance – Pro-Islam, anti-Christian/Judaism

By Scott W. Winchell

We all have been reading that the Obama administration has removed all references to Islam, especially terrorism and Jihadists from any governmental documents, especially law enforcement and military training manuals. Some think now that this may have impacted investigations like that performed on the Tsarnaevs.

Not knowing the enemies’ motivations, which leaves a gaping hole in understanding meant that Jihadism was not taught and could have reduced the importance of information being relayed to US officials. Congressman Louie Gomert R-Texas said:

But what kind of interview must that have been of the guy who was going to blow off arms and legs and kill a child and who had dreams of killing so many more. What kind of interview must that have been when you can’t use the word jihad, you can’t talk about his Muslim faith? Did they even bring up Tamerlan’s Muslim faith in that interview? […] Is it any wonder that the FBI came away from their interviews and said, ‘We don’t find any problems?’ Well, I guess not. […] What kind of interviews must those have been when you can’t use the terms that let you get to the bottom of what may be a plot to kill people down the road? There’s no problem in the Justice Department, there is a problem with leadership that will not let them do their job. And it needs to change.

Covering for Islam

But it gets worse. It appears that the default mindset at the DoJ is to protect Muslims more than seeking to investigate leads that may lead to other acts of terror, regardless of what some of them do. In fact, yesterday, Eric Holder announced Monday that not only would they be seeking to hold those who commit such acts like that in Boston accountable, he chose to spend even more time telling the world how his department would go out of their way to prosecute anyone who lashes back against Islam in the wake of Boston. From Politico:

Attorney General Eric Holder declared Monday that the Justice Department is on the lookout for acts of violence or discrimination that signal a backlash to the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this month in which three people were killed and scores wounded.

“Our investigation into this matter remains ongoing – and I want to assure you that my colleagues and I are determined to hold accountable, to the fullest extent of the law, all of those who were responsible for this attack,” Holder said, according to the prepared text of a speech delivered Monday to the Anti-Defamation League. “But I also want to make clear that – just as we will pursue relentlessly anyone who would target our people or attempt to terrorize our cities – the Justice Department is firmly committed to protecting innocent people against misguided acts of retaliation.”

Compounding this mindset, while at an ADL event, Holder was more concerned with anti-Muslim activities like that which occurred in Tennessee than we was about anti-antisemitism on Jews despite the fact that his feared backlash was completely unfounded:

But if Holder’s DOJ were as ruthless and prolific in going after Muslim terrorists the way they are in defending Muslims, the Boston marathon massacre would never have happened. The backlash against Muslims that Holder and his Islamist pals were whining about never happened. Even the Islamist groups have been forced to admit that.

Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which monitors bias and hate crimes against Muslims, said his organization has seen no uptick in reports of harassment, assaults or damage to mosques since the April 15 bombings.

Tellingly Holder failed to mention a single specific incident or act of Anti-Semitism that the DOJ dealt with despite the fact that Jews are ten times more likely to be the victims of hate crimes than Muslims.

‘Tolerance Policy’ and anti-Christianity/Judaism in Government/Military

With all of this cover for Saudis (The ‘Saudi Privilege) after Boston, unfounded fears of backlashes on Muslims, and the removal of referrences to Jihad in government publications, now they are actively trying to erase Christianity from the government and military as well:

From “Pentagon Recruits Anti-Christian Extremist To Help Craft Tolerance Policy”, Frank Camp at Last Resistance writes:

The Pentagon, under the Obama administration, is developing new policies regarding religious tolerance in the military. They could have devised a plan that would really make a difference; help eliminate needless bigotry and unpleasantness from the military. They could have taken a reasoned and balanced approach; bringing in multiple people with opposing views, to really reach an understanding as to how they should proceed. Of course, they did not do that. Instead, they brought in a man named Mikey Weinstein.

(…)

On April 16th, in an article written for The Huffington Post, Mikey Weinstein says some pretty incredible things. He takes a machete to Christians and Christianity in general; rather happily slicing his way through the Christian faith and those who practice it. The following is an excerpt. It’s a bit long, but worth the read:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me tell you of monsters and monstrous wrongs. And let me tell you what these bloody monsters thrive on…I founded the…Military Religious Freedom Foundation to do one thing: fight those monsters who would tear down the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the technologically most lethal entity ever created by humankind, the U.S. military…Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces…These days, when ANYone attempts to bravely stand up against virulent religious oppression, these monstrosities cry out alligator tears in overflowing torrents and scream that it is, in fact, THEY who are the dispossessed, bereft and oppressed. C’mon, really, you pitiable unconstitutional carpetbaggers? … Please, I beseech you! Let us call these ignoble actions what they are: the senseless and cowardly squallings of human monsters…Queasy with the bright and promising lights of the cultural realities of the present day, those evil, fundamentalist Christian creatures and their spiritual heirs have taken refuge behind flimsy, well-worn, gauze-like euphemistic facades such as ‘family values’ and ‘religious liberty.’”

This is not isolated, nor is as well reported, but read here on what the military is now making its personnel do, they must remove references that a scope manufacturer has etched into the equipment they use:

Read what Todd Starnes reports in a commentary piece published by Fox News:

The U.S. Army is directing troops to remove a Bible inscription that a vendor etched into the serial numbers of weapon scopes, Fox News has learned. Soldiers at Fort Wainwright in Alaska told Fox News they received a directive to turn in their scopes so the Bible references could be removed.

The scopes were made by Trijicon and referenced New Testament passages in John 8:12 and Second Corinthians 4:6. The verses appeared at the end of the scope serial numbers – “JN8:12” and “2COR4:6.” “The biblical verse (JN8:12) must be removed utilizing a Dremel type tool and then painted black,” read instructions on how to remedy the matter.

After the letters and numbers were scraped off, soldiers were directed to use apply black paint to ensure the verses were totally covered. “The vendor etched those inscriptions on scopes without the Army’s approval,” Army spokesman Matthew Bourke told Fox in a written statement. “Consequently, the modified scopes did not meet the requirement under which the contract was executed.”

Bourke said the vendor agreed to remove all Bible references on future deliveries. “Some of these scopes had already been fielded,” Bourke explained. “Corrective measures were taken to remove inscriptions during the RESET/PRESET process in order to avoid a disruption in combat operations.”

A similar issue came to light during a 2010 investigation by ABC News. At the time the Army and Marine Corps said they were unaware of the biblical markings.

Trijicon did not return phone calls seeking comment. A company spokesman told ABC News in 2010 that the inscriptions had always been on the sights and there was nothing wrong or illegal with including them.The company told ABC they believed the issue had been raised by a group that is “not Christian.”

One of the Fort Wainwright soldiers who received the order to remove the inscription told Fox News that hardly anyone was aware of the religious reference.“It blows my mind,” the solider said. “It doesn’t help the Army do its mission to take off a biblical reference.”

The soldier, who is a Christian, said he had to comply so “someone doesn’t get offended.”“We have classes on equal opportunity – things that are clearly irrelevant to our mission – which is to kill the enemy.”

Again, you be the judge America, but how demoralizing for the troops. In totality – there is a war on all non-Muslim faiths and promotion of all that are Islamic or follow the Church of Global Warming/Man-made climate change..

Contempt for the Rule-of-Law – Holder usurps more powers

Editor’s Note – As was noted frequently in Obama’s first term, Attorney General Eric Holder has ruled by fiat, not law. He selectively enforces the law, assumes powers not assigned to him, sues the sovereign states, and basically does whatever he wants as federal executive powers continue to increase in scope and quantity over the citizenry.

In one of his boldest moves, without legal authority, he decided to just skip right over a law protecting the privacy and liberty of the people. Imagine how much more he will do in the second term – nice job America, re-electing the very people who already showed us they have no use for oaths or maintaining the rule-of-law.

Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans

BY KIM ZETTER – From Wired

In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens, even if they are not suspected of a crime, according to a news report.

Eric Holder – Contempt for the Rule-of-Law. This photo exemplifies his very nature. Attorney General Eric Holder points to an unidentified man as he responds to a question he asked after an event about efforts to combat intellectual property theft and demand for counterfeit products, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases holding information on flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and other data, and to store it for up to five years, even without suspicion that someone in the database has committed a crime, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Whereas previously the law prohibited the center from storing data compilations on U.S. citizens unless they were suspected of terrorist activity or were relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation, the new powers give the center the ability to not only collect and store vast databases of information but also to trawl through and analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior in order to uncover activity that could launch an investigation.

The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.

A former senior White House official told the Journal that the new changes were “breathtaking in scope.”

But counterterrorism officials tried to downplay the move by telling the Journal that the changes come with strict guidelines about how the data can be used.

“The guidelines provide rigorous oversight to protect the information that we have, for authorized and narrow purposes,” Alexander Joel, Civil Liberties Protection Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the paper.

The NCTC currently maintains the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, or TIDE, which holds data on more than 500,000 identities suspected of terror activity or terrorism links, including friends and families of suspects, and is the basis for the FBI’s terrorist watchlist.

Under the new rules issued in March, the NCTC can now obtain almost any other government database that it claims is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.” This could conceivably include collections of financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages or even the health records of anyone who sought mental or physical treatment at government-run hospitals, such as Veterans Administration facilities, the paper notes.

The Obama administration’s new rules come after previous surveillance proposals were struck down during the Bush administration, following widespread condemnation.

In 2002, the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program proposed to scrutinize both government and private databases, but public outrage killed the program in essence, though not in spirit. Although Congress de-funded the program in 2003, the NSA continued to collect and sift through immense amounts of data about who Americans spoke with, where they traveled and how they spent their money.

The Federal Privacy Act prohibits government agencies from sharing data for any purpose other than the reason for which the data was initially collected, in order to prevent the creation of dossiers, but agencies can do an end-run around this restriction by posting a notice in the Federal Register, providing justification for the data request. Such notices are rarely seen or contested, however.

The changes to the rules for the NCTC were sought in large part after authorities failed to catch Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he boarded a plane on Christmas Day in 2009 with explosives sewn into his underwear. Abdulmutallab wasn’t on the FBI watchlist, but the NCTC had received tips about him, and yet failed to search other government databases to connect dots that might have helped prevent him from boarding the plane.

As the NCTC tried to remedy that situation for later suspects, legal obstacles emerged, the Journal reports, since the center was only allowed to query federal databases for a specific name or a specific passenger list. “They couldn’t look through the databases trolling for general ‘patterns,’” the paper notes.

But the request to expand the center’s powers led to a heated debate at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, with Mary Ellen Callahan, then-chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, leading the charge to defend civil liberties. Callahan argued that the new rules represented a “sea change” and that every interaction a citizen would have with the government in the future would be ruled by the underlying question, is that person a terrorist?

Callahan lost her battle, however, and subsequently left her job, though it’s not known if her struggle over the NCTC debate played a role in her decision to leave.

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.”