Obama Admin – Transparency, Redaction, and Delay…

Editor’s Note – The “Most transparent administration ever” is the mantra of the Obama Administration, and they laud the fact that the White House Visitor List is available – elsewhere, not so…

Ask the Citizens Commission on Benghazi with their myriad requests for information on Benghazi. Ask Karen and Billy Vaughn about ‘Extortion 17’. Ask the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ask the House Ways and Means Committee.Capture2

Look at all the scandals – all of them still unsolved and/or not concluded from Fast & Furious, to the IRS, from the AP to Fox News reporters, it’s always opaque at best.

The reason is always – NO TRANSPARENCY! All we see is redaction, lies, deflections, demagoguery, distractions, delays, finger pointing, the blame game, the fifth… and then there all those unbelievable statistics on jobs, GNP, the debt, ObamaCare, HHS, wage disparity, etc. – lies, damn lies, and those rascally  statistics.

The most [REDACTED] administration in history

BY GENE HEALY – Washington Examiner

Good news: thanks to a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday, the “most transparent administration in history” is going to have to tell American citizens when it believes it’s legally entitled to kill them.

The lawsuit arose out of Freedom of Information Act requests by two New York Times reporters for Office of Legal Counsel memoranda exploring the circumstances under which it would be legal for U.S. personnel to target American citizens. The administration stonewalled, asserting that “the very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified,” and a federal district judge upheld the refusal in January 2013.

Issa-600A month later, however, someone leaked a Justice Department “white paper” on the subject to NBC News, forcing a re-examination of the question in light of changed circumstances. On Monday, the three-judge panel held “it is no longer either ‘logical’ or ‘plausible’ to maintain that disclosure of the legal analysis in the OLC-DOD Memorandum risks disclosing any aspect” of sensitive sources and methods.

In matters of transparency, the Obama Team can always be counted on to do the right thing — after exhausting all other legal options and being forced into it by the federal courts.

When “peals of laughter broke out in the briefing room” after then-press secretary Robert Gibbs floated the “most transparent administration” line at an April 2010 presser, the administration should have taken the hint. But it’s one soundbite they just can’t quit. Gibbs’ successor Jay Carneyrepeated it just last week, as did the president himself in a Google Hangout last year: “This is the most transparent administration in history …. I can document that this is the case.”

Actually, any number of journalists and open government advocates have documented that it’s not. As the Associated Press reported last month: “More often than ever, the [Obama] administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In the hope-infused afterglow of his first inauguration, President Obama declared, “for a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” and ordered his attorney general to issue newly restrictive standards for government use of the “state secrets privilege,” which allows the government to shield national security secrets from civil or criminal discovery. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that the administration would not “invoke the privilege for the purpose of concealing government wrongdoing or avoiding embarrassment.”GretaVanSustern-RedactedDocs224x199

Easier pledged than done, apparently. Earlier this year, in a case involving a Stanford graduate student erroneously placed on a no-fly list, we learned that the government had cried “state secrets” to cover up a paperwork error. Holder himself assured the court that assertion of the privilege was in keeping with the new policy of openness. When the presiding judge found out the truth, he said: “I feel that I have been had by the government.”

In fact, the Obama administration has driven state secrecy to new levels of absurdity. We’re not even allowed to know who we’re at war with, apparently, because letting that secret slip could cause “serious damage to national security.”

Over the last year, thanks in large part to illegal leaks, we’ve learned that we’re living in a [REDACTED] republic. In the president’s version of “transparency,” the Americans have no right to debate even the most basic public questions — like the legal standards for spying on or killing American citizens — unless, of course, that information leaks, at which point the administration “welcomes” the debate.

Time for a Perp-Walk, Holder must go – utter contempt

Update at 5:30 PST, the following diagram comes from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is very revealing. The cover up is in full bloom and Issa will get to the bottom of this. At SUA, we feel it strains credulity how the DoJ and White House are handling this. Can you say “Watergate”? It’s always the cover up!

Please notice the web site at the bottom. Please go to the site for details here: fastandfuriousinvestigation.com. There 70 Inspectors General in the DoJ, yet, a very small amount on information has come forward since February 4th, the date the cover up began it appears.

Additionally, look at the victims in this PDF document.

By Scott W. Winchell

The White House and Congressional Democrats, in anticipation of continued hearings on the Fast and Furious debacle are attempting to down play the events to protect Eric Holder and the DoJ staff by producing their own reports on the episodes involved. The reason, Holder may be held in contempt of Congress, and therefore criminally liable.

In 1857, Congress enacted a law which made “contempt of Congress” a criminal offense against the United States.

These attempts (summarized below) include spreading the blame back into the Bush administration, and blaming field operations of acting in the wrong, of which top management at DoJ were unaware. Their conclusions do not carry the weight of the hearings however, and will not change the committee’s findings, and are by definition politically charged.

Issa to Holder - Contempt of Congress

It is a clear attempt to muddy the waters in the court of public opinion, but what really counts will be the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who will determine where the case goes.

Having the force of law behind them, including subpoena powers and contempt of Congress charges looming, no matter what the left does, if Holder is guilty as SUA has been charging, its this committee’s actions that actually count.

Dennis Wagner at USA Today writes – A U.S. House minority report on the gun-smuggling probe known as Fast and Furious blames federal agents in Arizona for the flawed operation while exonerating top-level Justice Department officials.

The 89-page analysis, released Tuesday by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking minority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is based upon five congressional hearings, testimony from 22 witnesses and about 12,000 pages of documents.

Its conclusion: “Operation Fast and Furious was the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office. Far from a strategy that was ‘directed and planned by the highest levels of the Department of Justice,’ as some have alleged, the committee has obtained no evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was conceived or directed by high-level political appointees at Department of Justice headquarters.”

Additionally,

From Newsday – Democrats looking into Operation Fast and Furious say a yearlong investigation has turned up no evidence that the flawed gun smuggling probe was conceived or directed by high-level political appointees at Justice Department headquarters.

The probe, the Democrats say, was just one of four such operations that were part of a misguided five-year-long effort, during both the administrations.

Meanwhile, Darrel Issa, chair of the committee, is righteously incensed at the way the administration has lied, obfuscated, and withheld crucial information – pure contempt of Congress.

William Lajeunesse at Fox News writes: The head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is threatening to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress if he fails to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents.

Holder has until Feb. 9 to comply.

In a four-page letter to Holder, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., claims the Department of Justice has “misrepresented facts and misled Congress,” which began its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious one year ago.

Holder must be forced out of his office for contempt and other crimes, gross insubordination, ineptitude, obstruction of justice, perjury, and dereliction of duty. He should be accompanied by his hand-picked staff, and each should be tied to his perp-walk right out the front door of the Department of Justice and into the lock-up.

_____________________________

Report Unloads on ATF for Mexican ‘Gunwalking’

By Robert Beckhusen

Wired Danger Room

Days before Attorney General Eric Holder is once again hauled before Congress to testify for Operation Fast and Furious, a new report sheds light on whether high-ranking officials knew, or have been honest about, one of the biggest failures in Justice Department history: a disastrous plan by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to allow gunrunners to “walk” firearms into the hands of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

These questions are crucial because Fast and Furious has not only become a huge political issue, it also determines who will take responsibility for allowing thousands of guns to move unimpeded into a war zone south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The gunwalking operation — an attempt to build cases by not stopping but monitoring the flow of U.S. straw-purchased weapons to Mexico’s cartels — eventually saw the ATF lose track of more than 2,000 gunsmany in the hands of cartel hitmen.

Hundreds of weapons recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were later traced to Fast and Furious, including AK-47 variant rifles discovered at the scene of a Dec. 14, 2010, shootout between border bandits and a Border Patrol BORTAC tactical unit in Arizona. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in the fight.

But Fast and Furious wasn’t the first operation to run guns. The report, released by House Democrats, describes the plot as “the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office,” beginning with the 2006-2007′s Operation Wide Receiver. In the beginning, Phoenix-based ATF agents “went forward with plans to observe or facilitate hundreds of suspected straw firearm purchases,” according to the report. Faced with the risk of losing track of the guns, Wide Receiver was shuttered.

In two cases, named the “The Hernandez Case” and “The Medrano Case,” the ATF watched groups of conspirators cross into Mexico carrying straw-purchased guns. In “Medrano,” smugglers snuck more than 100 firearms into Mexico while under observation by the ATF.

Fast and Furious was much bigger, with greater potential rewards — and risks — for field agents, involving “a sizable network the operation of straw puchasers [the ATF] believed were trafficking military-grade assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels.” But then the operation went badly wrong. Guns disappeared, or appeared after gunfights with the Mexican military or in stash houses. Then agent Terry was shot.

Questions, however, linger over the role of senior administration officials — a sticking point for House Republicans. Late Friday, the Justice Department released e-mails between an aide to Attorney General Eric Holder and Dennis Burke, the former United States Attorney for the District of Arizona (who later resigned over the scandal), discussing Terry’s death the next morning. Two messages from headquarters (the location was redacted in the release) informed Burke of the shooting. The second e-mail, at 3:31 a.m. contained one line: “Our agent has passed away.”

“Horrible,” Burke replied at 9:09 a.m. that morning. Thirty-two minutes later, Burke e-mailed Holder aide Monty Wilkinson. “Not good,” Burke said.

“Tragic,” Wilkinson wrote back. “I’ve alerted the AG, the Acting [Deputy Attorney General], Lisa, etc.” That evening, Wilkinson sent Burke another message: “The guns found in the desert near the murder BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about — they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store.”

But according to the Democrats’ report, Wilkinson never followed up with Holder about the link, nor did he discuss it again with Burke — which doesn’t, on its face, contradict Holder’s previous testimony that he’d only heard of the operation after the scandal became public.

“The Committee has obtained no evidence indicating that the Attorney General authorized gunwalking or that he was aware of such allegations before they became public,” said the report. “None of the 22 witnesses interviewed by the Committee claims to have spoken with the Attorney General about the specific tactics employed in Operation Fast and Furious prior to the public controversy.”

The same was not true for then-Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson, who was reassigned after lying to investigators over whether he knew about the operation (he received regular briefings, in fact, the report says). Questions also linger for then-Deputy Director William Hoover, also sacked, and why he “failed to inform” senior Justice Department officials about his concerns with the operation.

But did Holder’s aide, Wilkinson, really ever tell Holder? As of today’s report, that’s just speculation. However, expect Holder to get grilled on this subject very soon.