Boehner Blog – WH's Irrational Response

Editor’s Note – From the official Blog of the Speaker of the House of the United States of America.

Out of Order: The White House’s Irrational Response on Executive Privilege

Posted by Brendan Buck and Kevin Smith – Boehner’s official  Blog

Yesterday, House Oversight & Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to the president pressing him to explain the basis for invoking executive privilege over Department of Justice documents requested as part of the Fast and Furious investigation.  The letter states, in part:

Speaker of the House, John Boehner

“Courts have consistently held that the assertion of the constitutionally-based executive privilege – the only privilege that ever can justify the withholding of documents from a congressional committee by the Executive Branch – is only applicable with respect to documents and communications that implicate the confidentiality of the President’s decision-making process, defined as those documents and communications to and from the President and his most senior advisors.  Even then, it is a qualified privilege that is overcome by a showing of the committee’s need for the documents.  The letters from Messrs. Holder and Cole cited no case law to the contrary.” 

In legal decisions on the scope of executive privilege during the Bush and Clinton administrations, judges consistently ruled that executive privilege does NOT extend to Cabinet level officials or their staffs.  As the DC Circuit Court wrote in 2004 in its Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Department of Justice decision, “communications of staff outside of the White House in executive branch agencies that were not solicited and received by such White House advisors could not [be covered by executive privilege].”  Also, as noted in this CRS report, the DC Circuit Court ruled in 1997, “the presidential communications privilege should never serve as a means of shielding information regarding governmental operations that do not call ultimately for direct decision-making by the President.”

The White House appears to know this. This morning, White House spokesman Eric Schultz responded to Chairman Issa’s letter by saying, “the Courts have routinely considered deliberative process privilege claims and affirmed the right of the executive branch to invoke the privilege even when White House documents are not involved.” [emphasis added]

But the president didn’t assert “deliberative process privilege” – he asserted executive privilege, which is reserved to protect internal White House decision-making. When presidents have asserted it over other executive branch documents and communications, either courts have ruled those claims to be invalid and ordered them overturned OR the White House has relented and provided Congress with the documents that were requested.

So where does that leave its claim of executive privilege?  The White House – through interviews with the president and statements made by White House staff – has consistently denied any knowledge of facts surrounding the Fast & Furious operation or the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  But Republicans never suggested the White House was involved.  That’s why the president’s assertion of executive privilege was so surprising and troubling, and why Speaker Boehner said last week that the decision to invoke executive privilege is “an admission” that White House officials were involved in some way.  After all, if the White House wasn’t involved, why would it assert executive privilege?

There are two – and only two – explanations: either the documents requested will show White House involvement in the fallout and cover-up of the operation – or the president’s executive privilege claim is frivolous. As Issa’s letter explains:

“Accordingly, your privilege assertion means one of two things.  Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the Attorney General to the Committee, or, you are asserting a Presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation.  To date, the White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the Department with respect to the congressional investigation.  The surprising assertion of executive privilege raised the question of whether that is still the case.”

So which is it?

Back in 2007, then-Senator Obama clearly didn’t think that asserting executive privilege was a matter of “principle.”  Something in the documents the White House is now hiding from disclosure seems to have changed his mind.  Unless the administration cooperates before Thursday, a vote of contempt is necessary so the House can continue its efforts to find out the truth and provide answers for the family of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The 'Cover-Up', how high does it really go on Fast and Furious?

By Scott W. Winchell, Editor – Just when we thought the Fast and Furious debacle was so reprehensible that numerous Congressmen, from both parties, joined a growing cacophony of calls from the blogo-sphere and media pundits for the resignation of US Attorney General Eric Holder it takes an even bigger twist.

SUA and many others have pointed out that the political ideology of current administration officials set the stage for such a debacle but its not just about Holder’s lies anymore, it goes further, into a blatant cover-up that may reach all the way up to the White House.

FBI Director Mueller, AZ Gov. Brewer and AG Holder

It now appears that the death of Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry was clearly avoidable, if only the FBI and DEA had practiced proper ‘deconfliction’, or more precisely, talked to each other, local authorities, and Border Patrol to avoid conflicts between cases, especially involving informants. Not informing Border Patrol of ongoing, extremely dangerous operations in an infamous area called “Smuggler’s Paradise” in Pima County Arizona’s Peck Canyon was unconscionable.

One must also wonder if Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik now famous for his outspokenness after the Gabby Giffords incident, knew anything was happening either. After all, it was happening in his jurisdiction and it was in an area Border Patrol frequently performed patrols as part of its duties.

Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano

The timing is also very curious here because Giffords and 19 others were shot on January 8, 2011, just a few weeks after Brian Terry was killed on December 14, 2010 and President Obama immediately sent FBI Director Mueller to the area to personally handle the situation. Why? The unprecedented move was curious at the time, but since a Congresswoman was a victim, it seemed to be a deft move, if not a political move, or was it?

Questions now arise that since both incidents happened within Pima County, within mere weeks of each other, the White House may have been worried the two may be related. Or possibly that with all that new publicity, the DoJ and the White House did not want prying eyes seeing anything related to the Terry death.

Additionally, questions rise that DoJ operations intentionally withheld information from DHS to cover for their own ineptitude prior to the incident where Terry was killed. Not informing Border Patrol of a building incident directly caused Brian Terry and his team to walk into a heavily armed ‘rip crew’ operation.

Terry had no way to defend himself facing much heavier ordnance, assault rifles that came from Fast and Furious operatives. In fact, one weapon is now missing, and the case has been sealed.

Janet Napolitano told Congress she never talked to DoJ about the killing of Brian Terry, but we now know that a debacle like this had to filter up to the top, especially since it happened so close to the Giffords incident. Her staff had to know what took place between agencies and with all the new publicity, it must have been discussed by everyone in DHS. It is simply unbelievable that she would not have confronted DoJ about such insanity unless she was directed to keep silent by the White House.

If Holder does resign, along with others, are they going to be liable for abetting a crime after the fact? What if Issa and others prove culpability and confront Holder when he testifies again on December 7th and demand his resignation right there in the hearing room? We can only hope.

FBI Criminal Informant Complicit in Brian Terry’s Death (PJM Exclusive)

From multiple sources come shocking charges of deadly ineptitude and an FBI coverup in Fast and Furious.

PJ Media

By Bob Owens

In the growing Fast and Furious scandal, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death in Peck Canyon, Arizona was previously described as a chance meeting that led to a firefight: an illegal alien “rip crew” working for the Sinaloa cartel was hoping to find other illegal aliens and to rob them at gunpoint. Instead, they stumbled across a Border Patrol unit and murdered Agent Terry.

Last week, the Washington Times offered a new version of the encounter: they reported that the rip crew was not hunting illegals, but Border Patrol teams — with the intention of engaging them in combat.

Sources now tell PJ Media that neither version of events is accurate: the rip crew was not waiting for a chance encounter with other illegals, nor did the members intend to engage American law enforcement agents.

The rip crew was in Peck Canyon that evening with the intention of stealing money and drugs from a specific shipment of which they had prior knowledge.

Sources claim the Department of Justice has been trying for almost a year to hide the key information — how the rip crew knew the shipment was coming through that night.

Criminal informants (CIs) are a common tool of law enforcement agencies. When agencies apprehend criminals, agencies often reduce or drop charges in exchange for information leading to the arrests of higher-ranking criminals. Earlier this year, reports claimed that Operation Fast and Furious weapons smuggled over the border were actually chosen by an FBI informant, and paid for with money provided by the federal government.

The rip crew knew to be in Peck Canyon that December evening because a CI working for the FBI found out about a smuggling run — from the FBI.

It is not clear if the information was provided intentionally, but a possible motivation for the FBI to provide the information is known to exist: the CI had previously lost a shipment of drugs, and wanted to regain the trust of the cartel with an offering of drugs or money. The other possibility is that the FBI mistakenly allowed the CI to discover the information.

The CI used this information to organize an ambush of the drug convoy. A source tells PJM that the FBI knew from wiretaps that the CI was using their information to set up an ambush.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — through its own CIs and communications intercepts — was also aware of the planned assault.

Neither the DEA nor FBI warned Border Patrol about the expected criminal activity.

The federal government will still not reveal if one of the two WASR-10 AK-pattern semi-automatic rifles located near the scene — provided to the Sinaloa cartel via Operation Fast and Furious — was the weapon that put a bullet through Brian Terry’s heart. The existence of a third recovered gun, an SKS carbine, has been disputed by the FBI despite the fact it had been talked about openly in the beginning of the investigation among federal agents.

Multiple sources tell PJM that this third weapon “disappeared” because it was the weapon carried by the FBI CI who ran the rip crew. When it was recovered near the scene of the murder and subsequently traced by the ATF, it traced back to the FBI CI via the gun shop in Texas where it was purchased.

Deconfliction is a major element of high-risk undercover law enforcement work. Undercover agents and informants often cross jurisdictional paths, and deconfliction is the process whereby agencies warn off other agencies so that their assets don’t end up in conflict, putting investigations and lives at risk.

In this case, the FBI and DEA failed to deconflict. Neither agency bothered to warn Border Patrol to keep their BORTAC teams out of Peck Canyon that evening. As a direct result of this FBI and DEA failure — combined with Homeland Security forcing BORTAC units to carry less-lethal beanbag rounds in some of their primary weapons — Brian Terry’s under-armed four-man unit walked into an ambush against a heavily armed rip crew, at least five of whom were carrying rifles.

Brian Terry’s murder was entirely preventable. The incompetence of the DEA and FBI let his Border Patrol unit walk into an ambush. After the ambush, it appears the FBI tampered with evidence to cover up that one of their informants was involved with the murder of a federal agent.

The government has recently sealed the case against the only suspect the FBI chose to keep behind bars.

Why bother swearing an oath? – Resign now Holder

Editor’s Note – SUA has been calling for the resignation of the Attorney General, Eric Holder, since the day he decided that the New Black Panthers would not be pursued for intimidation of voters at polling places. SUA has always maintained that he was not fit for the job, but alas, we were called bigots or worse. The fact is however, those of us who said this, and warned America, are now validated clearly. He has been a 5-star failure to law abiding, rule-of-law folks, but the leftist agenda he has been pushing is considered a success to many.

However, his job is supposed to be an apolitical job, chief law enforcement officer of the country. He took an oath to uphold the law and the Constitution, but woefully failed in that regard. Now, his ideological genes are clear to see, and his disdain for the Second Amendment has led to the Fast and Furious debacle. Now he is clearly lying, and the whole band of Obama appointees are complicit either by aiding and abetting, or through acts of omission, all of which are oath breakers.

Why bother swearing an oath - the last one did not matter either!

Now, Janet Napolitano and Hillary Clinton are squirming in their seats as they testify in the case. Excuses flow from Jay Carney, and Obama could not be bothered as he stumps across the land talking about “getting around Congress” in his Campaign 2012 Jobs Bill tour. Does anyone in this administration respect the law, our Constitution, and the exceptionalism of America? No! Emphatically NO! There are so many ways to come to these same conclusions and it is refreshing to see some Congressmen are now calling for Holder’s resignation as well.

Part of the letter the article below describes shows the reasons discussed above (courtesy Hot Air):

Your Department has made an enormous error in judgment. It instructed federally-licensed firearms dealers to illegally sell at least 2,000 guns that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) intended to be trafficked to drug cartels in Mexico. The results of this error in judgment have implicated the United States in well over one hundred deadly crimes and the deaths of two federal agents.

This not only raises serious questions about your ability to serve as the head of the Justice Department, but also begs the question of why an anti-gun Administration would knowingly force licensed firearms dealers to sell guns to violent criminals. I raise this because Operation Fast and Furious — if the facts of this case had not come to light — would have been used by this Administration as another false argument to attack law-abiding American gun owners.

The American people deserve to know if your Department had any intent to link the legal purchase of firearms here in the U.S. to crimes committed near our southern border. Operation Fast and Furious funneled firearms legally purchased at gun shops in the U.S. to known criminal syndicates to prove these syndicates have access to legal purchased weapons. This is a deliberate attempt to vilify and attack the millions of gun owners in America who value our Second Amendment and have never broken the law.

As we reported before, here is the Mission Statement of the Department of Justice, which words does the AG not understand?

To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Rep. Joe Walsh to Eric Holder: ‘Resign immediately and take responsibility’ for Operation Fast and Furious

 

By Matthew Boyle

Daily Caller

Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh joined the small but growing choir of members of Congress calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over Operation Fast and Furious. Walsh is the fourth member of Congress to make the call for Holder to resign. Republican Reps. Raul Labrador of Idaho, Blake Farenthold of Texas and Paul Gosar of Arizona have each publicly asked Holder to step aside as well.

Walsh made the demand in a letter he sent Holder on Wednesday.

“I ask that the attorney general resign immediately and take responsibility for implicating the United States as an accessory to the violent crimes committed by these Mexican cartels, using his appointed position as the chief law enforcement officer to attack the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and for the role he played in the subsequent cover-up of the failed Fast and Furious operation,” Walsh said according to a press release. (SEE ALSO: Issa Grassley: Holder needs to reveal info on 2nd agent’s murder, connections)

Walsh adds that if Holder refuses to remove himself from office, he expects President Barack Obama to fire him. “If he fails to do so, I would ask that President Obama dismiss him immediately,” Walsh said.

Walsh added that Holder needs to explain to the American people what role he had in Operation Fast and Furious. “The American people deserve to know the truth regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s knowledge and role in the Fast and Furious operation,” Walsh said. “This program was deliberately designed to attack law-abiding American gun owners and gun dealers. Why else would an anti-gun administration force licensed firearms dealers to sell guns to violent criminals?”

“Operation Fast and Furious blew up in Attorney General Holder’s face, implicating the United States in the deaths of two federal agents and over a hundred deadly crimes,” Walsh added. “Now Holder is scrambling to hide his involvement in this failed politically-charged operation by refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s investigation.”

Holder had been avoiding talking openly about Operation Fast and Furious for months until Gosar told The Daily Caller that the administration officials responsible for the deadly program are equivalent to “accessories to murder.” Holder finally opened up, citing Gosar’s comments to TheDC as the reason for his first-ever unsolicited Fast and Furious communications. DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler has continued to refuse to answer whether Holder read The Daily Caller article he cited as the reason for finally opening up.

Schmaler hasn’t returned TheDC’s latest requests for comment on whether Holder plans to answer the growing surge of calls for him to resign.

Oversight Committee seeks Special Counsel to Probe Holder on 'Fast and Furious'

Editor’s Note – It is clear, to any reasonable person, that the fiasco called ‘Gun Walker’, or more famously, ‘Fast and Furious” is proving what so many already know, Eric Holder is unfit for the office he holds. The cover up, the lies, the chicanery, all surpass anything the Nixon Administration did in the ‘Watergate Scandal’. The big difference is, people died as a result, uniformed officers died.

The question is no longer: “What did you know and when did you know it?”, more precisely, the question now is: “Why did you lie to Congress, and why haven’t you been forced to resign?”

Fox News Exclusive

House Republicans are calling for a special counsel to determine whether Attorney General Holder perjured himself during his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Operation Fast and Furious, Fox News has learned.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was sending a letter to President Obama on Tuesday arguing that Holder cannot investigate himself, and requesting the president instruct the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel.

The question is whether Holder committed perjury during a Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. At the time, Holder indicated he was not familiar with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program known as Fast and Furious until about April 2011.

Eric Holder - Perjury?

“I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,” Holder testified.

However, a newly discovered memo dated July 2010 shows Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder that straw buyers in the Fast and Furious operation “are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”

Other documents also indicate that Holder began receiving weekly briefings on the program from the National Drug Intelligence Center “beginning, at the latest, on July 5, 2010,” Smith wrote.

“These updates mentioned, not only the name of the operation, but also specific details about guns being trafficked to Mexico,” Smith wrote in the letter to Obama.

“Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel. I urge you to appoint a special counsel who will investigate these allegations as soon as possible,” Smith wrote.

In response to the release of the memos, a Justice Department official said that the attorney general “has consistently said he became aware of the questionable tactics in early 2011 when ATF agents first raised them publicly, and then promptly asked the (inspector general) to investigate the matter.”

The official added that in March 2011, Holder testified to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee of that development, and regularly receives hundreds of pages, none of which contained information on potential problems with Fast and Furious.

“The weekly reports (100 + pages) are provided to the office of the AG and (deputy attorney general) each week from approximately 24 offices and components. These are routine reports that provide general overviews and status updates on issues, policies, cases and investigations from offices and components across the country. None of these reports referenced the controversial tactics of that allowed guns to cross the border,” the official said.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., “of all people, should be familiar with the difference between knowing about an investigation and being aware of questionable tactics employed in that investigation since documents provided to his committee show he was given a briefing that included the fast and furious operation in 2010 – a year before the controversy emerged,” the official continued.

Issa told Fox News on Tuesday morning that Holder saying he didn’t understand the question rather than he didn’t know of the program is not a successful defense to perjury.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, adde that months before Holder testified — on Jan. 31 — he came to Grassley’s office, where Grassley gave him a letter detailing the investigation of Fast and Furious.

“If he read my letter, he knew on January 31,” Grassley told Fox News. “He probably actually knew about it way back in the middle of last year or earlier.

Grassley said since he’s not a lawyer he’s not going to make a judgment on whether Holder committed perjury.

“But I can tell you this. They’re doing everything they can, in a fast and furious way, to cover up all the evidence or stonewalling us. But here’s the issue, if he didn’t perjure himself and didn’t know about it, the best way that they can help us, Congressman Issa and me, is to just issue all the documents that we ask for and those documents will prove one way or the other right or wrong.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/04/house-republicans-to-request-special-counsel-to-probe-holder-on-fast-and/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz1Zq1m9fte