Genius: Gunwalker targets were paid FBI informants

July 18, 2011

Remember, this is a product of the Smartest Administration Ever(tm). Key summary quote from Bob Owens:

To simplify: the Department of Justice was paying ATF agents to ignore federal laws in order to provide weapons to criminal informants paid by the FBI, who then distributed those weapons to other cartel members who killed federal agents from Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement plus an estimated 150 soldiers and police in Mexico.

The development draws FBI Director Robert Mueller further into the scandal, and suggests that acting ATF Director Ken Melson was being truthful when he claimed he was unaware of key elements of Operation Fast and Furious. Congressional investigators now need to interview the FBI director and determine if Mueller was also being provided with only partial details about the operation.

Read the whole piece. There is no way the Attorney General was unaware of what was happening. Not only does he need to be fired or impeached, but criminal charges for several people are probably in order. This whole operation reeks of incompetence and criminality.

Or, as Congressman Issa called it, “felony stupid.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Brit Hume: Obama’s DoJ resembles Nixon’s

July 10, 2011

More and more people are noticing the stink of coverup surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, aka “Gunwalker,” and the Obama administration’s role in it. Hume asks the question many of us want answered: What did Holder (and Obama) know and when did they know it?

BACKGROUND: Earlier posts on Gunwalker.

via The Daily Caller

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: Holder’s resignation is almost inevitable

July 6, 2011

And the only way that doesn’t happen is if he is fool-enough to stay in office, Obama is fool-enough not to fire him, and Congress has no choice but to remove him from office.

Consider: On the 4th of July, a national holiday, acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives gave testimony to House and Senate investigators on Operation “Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker.”

Without telling his bosses.

And bringing his own lawyer, not the Bureau’s and not the Department of Justice’s.

To quote Allahpundit — Dude!

This morning, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley released a copy of a letter (PDF) they sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on July 5 about Melson’s testimony. Melson’s revelations raise even more serious issues not only about the operation itself, but about apparent attempts by the Justice Department to mislead Congress on the details of the operation.

Contrary to the Justice Department’s denials, according to Melson, ATF agents specifically witnessed transfers of weapons from straw purchasers to third parties without taking any further action. Melson claimed that it was not until the public disclosure of the operation that he personally reviewed the “hundreds of documents” related to the case. He said he became “sick to his stomach” when he learned the full story. Even more shocking is that some of the “gun trafficking ‘higher-ups’ that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other agencies and may even have been paid as informants” by agencies such as the FBI and the DEA.

Melson provided detailed information and documents to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department. But that information was not given to Congress by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole. In fact, “Melson was not allowed to communicate to Congress” and “Justice Department officials directed [ATF’s senior leadership] not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.”  According to the letter Issa and Grassley sent to Holder, it was “two days after [Melson] told [Cole] about serious issues involving lack of information sharing” that the Wall Street Journal suddenly reported that Melson was about to be ousted by the Obama administration.

Emphasis added. The Deputy Attorney General is the Attorney General’s chief assistant — the department’s number two. Here is how his authority is described by the DoJ:

The Deputy Attorney General advises and assists the Attorney General in formulating and implementing Departmental policies and programs and in providing overall supervision and direction to all organizational units of the Department. The Deputy Attorney General is authorized to exercise all the power and authority of the Attorney General, except where such power or authority is prohibited by law from delegation or has been delegated to another official. In the absence of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General acts as the Attorney General.

Think about this: Melson, head of the BATF, gave Cole, Holder’s chief deputy, “detailed information and documents,” after Melson had seen enough to make him sick. And instead of letting himself be set up as the fall-guy, he got his own lawyer –a former US Attorney– rather than let government lawyers “represent” him. Gee, I wonder why he’d feel that need?

But wait, there’s more!

In a related article, Bob Owens quotes an email from the Phoenix BATF office referencing an inter-agency meeting that shows how widespread knowledge of Gunwalker was:

The October 27, 2009 email from ATF Phoenix Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell regarded a Southwest Border Strategy Group meeting that focused on Fast and Furious. It contained a laundry list of high ranking Justice Department officials that attended the meeting, including:

  • Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Lanny Breuer,
  • Kenneth Melson, Acting Director, ATF
  • William Hoover, Acting Deputy Director, ATF
  • Michele Leonhart, Administrator, DEA
  • Robert Mueller, Director FBI

Four other Justice Department directors or their representatives came from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), Bureau of Prisons (BOP), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA). The chair of the Attorney Generals Advisory Committee (AGAC) also attended the session. Their names were redacted in the released document. U.S. attorneys for all four southwest border states also attended.

With all this legal and bureaucratic firepower in one room being briefed on Gunwalker, there is absolutely no way Attorney General Eric Holder did not know what was going on, which may make the DoJ’s actions in response to requests for information from Issa’s committee Obstruction, a felony. And interference with Melson’s testimony may also be Tampering, under Title 18, Section 1512 of the US Code. (See subsections (b) and (c).)

This is why I say Eric Holder is a “Dead Bureaucrat Walking.” There is too much to indicate he is either monumentally detached from his supervisory responsibilities and thus incompetent, or (more likely) knew all along about an operation that let thousands of firearms be sold to straw buyers who were acting as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels, in order to trace a putative “gunrunning network.” An operation that has cost at least 150 Mexican lives (1) and the lives of two US federal officers.

And thus my strong guess is that he will resign to protect President Obama, rather than be impeached and to try to head off an independent prosecutor, because I find it very hard to believe the President didn’t know, either.

LINKS: More from Moe Lane and Power Line. “El Mamito” says the Zetas buy all their weapons in the US. Given what we’re learning about Gunwalker, perhaps that should be “from the US.”

Footnotes:
(1) It’s no wonder the Mexicans are talking about extradition; I’d be screaming mad, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: the scandal that breaks the Obama administration?

June 14, 2011

I’ve said for a long time that I think Eric Holder is the worst Attorney General since the wretched A. Mitchell Palmer (1) and should be forced to resign or be impeached. From his failure to protect voting rights on a color-blind basis to his vindictive persecution of CIA interrogators questioning al Qaeda terrorists and his incompetence in handling the trials of terrorists, he’s not just incompetent — he’s doing genuine harm.

But it appears the scandal that may finally bring Holder down (and his boss?) is one that’s been simmering on the backburner for months and is only now coming to a boil: Operation “Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker,” a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms plan to trace the flow of firearms to Mexican drug cartels by letting US gun-dealers sell them the weapons.

What could go wrong?

At Pajamas Media, Bob Owens (aka “Confederate Yankee“) looks at the forthcoming hearings, reviews the fatal results of Gunwalker, and concludes Obama and Holder have plenty of reason to stonewall Congress:

Rumors began to fly over a week ago that a .50 BMG weapon supplied to Mexican drug cartels by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was used to bring down a Mexican military helicopter in May. According to CBS News, the use of that weapon can be confirmed, and it turns out the helicopter was one of two  fired upon by suspected cartel members.

The raid on the cartel that the helicopters were supporting was successful, netting more than 70 weapons, including the helicopter-down .50 BMG rifle and other weapons traced back to the botched ATF Operation Fast and Furious, also know as “Gunwalker.”

To date, the ATF operation, which encouraged gun shops in the American southwest to sell weapons to suspected criminals and let them carry the weapons across the border, has resulted in an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers shot  with ATF-supplied weapons. While the theory behind the plot was different, the end result is no more deplorable than Iran’s arming of Iraqi terrorists.

At least two American law enforcement officers have been murdered with ATF weapons as well. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry  was killed with “Gunwalker” firearms in Arizona, while ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata  was killed in an ambush in Mexico with a gun the ATF allowed to be sold to a cartel gun smuggler in Dallas.

The damning evidence that the U.S. Department of Justice agency is a major supplier of cartel weapons will go in front of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week, in what could be a damning indictment of the ATF’s senior leadership and Eric Holder’s leadership of the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Holder has apparently ordered the DOJ to fight Congressional oversight, with the DOJ and ATF ignoring seven letters and a subpoena  from the committee. Neither Holder nor ATF Director Ken Melson will answer questions — which may lead to them being held in contempt of Congress.

Be sure to read the rest.

One can see why Holder would want to keep information from the House committee: if true, it reveals a mind-boggling level of stupidity and possibly criminal recklessness at ATF and Justice that has lead to the deaths of people on both sides of the border.

Owens hints at a hidden agenda behind the program, and one wonders if he isn’t on to something. Obama, as well as the Left in general, have long been advocates of strict gun-control, regardless of the plain meaning of the Second Amendment. Encountering resistance from the gun-rights lobby and conservatives in Congress, the administration has even worked to circumvent the Second Amendment via international treaty. The President has regularly lied about the role of US firearms in Mexico’s violence, far exaggerating their numbers. Could it be that one of the “side benefits” of Gunwalker was to provide more “ammunition” for the administration’s gun-control agenda?

I’d hate to think that was the case, but it can’t be completely discounted, either.

And that leads to the other reason Holder might rather risk a contempt citation at this week’s hearings than tell the truth: if Obama knew of this plan in advance and approved of it or at least didn’t stop it, or if he found out about it afterwards and didn’t do anything about it, then he bears responsibility for an operation that has cost the lives of US and Mexican federal agents and armed dangerous gangs allied with our declared enemies. It could easily be a fatal blow to his reelection chances.

Which means it’s time to ask The Question: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

BACKGROUND: CBS, in particular reporter Sharyl Attkisson, has been doing yeoman work on this story from its earliest days, reminding us of what the MSM used to be. Here’s one of her first reports. The whole series of articles is here.

RELATED: The Diplomad draws a connection from the ATF to… Thor Heyerdahl?

Footnotes:

(1) Hmm… Also appointed by a progressive Democrat president. I detect a pattern.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama won’t tell Holder to back off on his CIA witch hunt

May 6, 2011

Remember, these are the same people who got the initial leads to the courier who eventually lead us to bin Laden. And yet, as reported in this interview with Debra Burlingame, Obama has said that he will not tell Attorney General Eric Holder to end his investigation persecution of these CIA operatives — nor will he even talk to Holder about it:

Utterly disgraceful. “Thanks for leading us to bin Laden, guys. Here’s your reward: possible prosecution. Better start paying some lawyers a retainer. Hope you have enough savings.”

Granted, the position of the Attorney General is unique in the Cabinet: a president should never attempt to interfere in an ongoing case or use the Justice Department to go after foes or favor cronies. That’s the dread “politicization.’ President Bush’s last AG, Michael Mukasey, was very strict about that.

But these are investigations that should never have been undertaken in the first place. The interrogators in question had already been cleared of wrongdoing by career attorneys in the Justice Department. There was no reason to reopen the case, but Holder did anyway — and don’t tell me it wasn’t with Obama’s approval.

This case already stinks to Heaven-on-high of politicization meant to appease Obama’s anti-war, anti-CIA, and anti-American base. Dropping it would be doing no less than justice, something that’s been missing at the Department of Justice for nearly three years, now.

And think about the national security implications: After 9-11, we were desperate to get a lead on the people who had attacked us. DoJ lawyers at the time drew up guidelines for how prisoners could be interrogated, including the circumstances under which waterboarding was appropriate. The interrogators —who were trying to keep any more of us from being killed— acted in good faith under those guidelines. And they succeeded. To tell them that they are still vulnerable to criminal liability is to tell any future CIA (or other US official) that they, too, might be investigated and prosecuted at some future date, regardless of what they were told at the time. Just how effectively do you think they’ll do their job with that hanging over their heads?

These men and women should be given thanks, not the back of the hand.

ADDENDUM: No, I don’t think waterboarding is torture. Neither does Marc Thiessen, who wrote a great book on how Obama is courting disaster. But, even if it is torture, Charles Krauthammer writes that there are times when it is the lesser evil. And, to be honest, I’m still glad they did it. And yes, I’ve changed my thinking about whether waterboarding is torture. So there.

LINKS: Linda Chavez thinks the interrogators should be rewarded, not punished. Power Line is puzzled. Europe can’t resist its post-modern dementia and is starting to talk about “war crimes” in the assassination of bin Laden. And the UN, God love’em, wants details on the raid to make sure it was all legal. You can guess my opinion of the UN and its request.

EDIT: Updated to fix an errant link, 2/3/2013

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Eric Holder opens mouth, inserts foot, should resign

March 1, 2011

The worst attorney general since A. Mitchell Palmer committed what’s known as a “Kinsleyan gaffe,” that moment when a public figure accidentally reveals what he really thinks. Today, in reference to the controversy over the dropping of charges against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation in Philadelphia in 2008, Holder uttered this jaw-dropper:

Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.

Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

“Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia, which was inappropriate….to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people,” said Holder, who is black.

Emphasis added.

Thanks, Eric! At least now we know for sure how you feel about the dispassionate application of the law, regardless of ethnicity.

Oh, and “my people,” Mr. Attorney General of the United States of America? I thought Americans of all ethnicities were “your people.” Imagine if a White AG had said that highlighted line to, oh, let’s say John Conyers? I can see the screaming headlines calling for his resignation now. But, in your case… ?

Worst. AG. Ever.

via The Tatler

RELATED: Can we impeach him now? My blog-buddy ST focuses on Rep. Chaka Fattah’s not-so-subtle double-standard.


Can we impeach Eric Holder now?

February 10, 2011

I’ve called before for the impeachment of Attorney General Holder; there’s plenty of evidence to justify hearings before a House committee, and I’ll bet my last dollar the facts they would uncover would make impeachment unavoidable. Eric Holder is a corrupt Attorney General who places ideology ahead of the impartial enforcement of the law. Today brings another example, this time from indefatigable election attorney J. Christian Adams, of Eric Holder’s guiding theory of justice — “It depends:”

Eric Holder’s Justice Department has even politicized compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. According to documents I have obtained, FOIA requests from liberals or politically connected civil rights groups are often given same day turn-around by the DOJ. But requests from conservatives or Republicans face long delays, if they are fulfilled at all.

The documents show a pattern of politicized compliance within the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. In particular, I have obtained FOIA logs that demonstrate as of August 2010, the most transparent administration in history is anything but. The logs provide the index number of the information request, the date of the request, the requestor, and the date of compliance.

For example, Republican election attorney Chris Ashby of LeClair Ryan made a request for the records of five submissions made under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Ashby waited nearly eight months for a response. Afterwards, Susan Somach of the “Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda,” a group headed by Rev. Joseph Lowery, made requests for 23 of the same type of records. While Ashby waited many months for five records, Somach waited only 20 days for 23 records.

Under the Obama DOJ, FOIA requests from conservative media never obtained any response from the Civil Rights Division, while National Public Radio obtained a response in five days.

Adams goes on to recount instance after instance in which individuals and organizations friendly to the Obama administration had their FOIA requests promptly filled, while conservatives and Republicans have had to wait long past the legal deadlines — if they get any response at all. (Pajamas Media, for whom Adams writes, has filed their own lawsuit to force the DoJ to comply with their FOIA request.) To answer the obvious counter-charge that “they all do it, so it’s no big deal,” Adams recounts how the Bush administration in its waning days rushed to fill a request from a hostile journalist, knowing he would use the information to savagely attack them. In other words, the Bush administration complied with the law without regard to the cost to itself.

The pattern is far too clear to be a coincidence: the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder willingly violates the Freedom of Information Act when the requester is a conservative or a Republican — it breaks the law.

While slow-boating FOIA requests probably won’t elicit the outrage that racially-discriminatory enforcement of the Voting Rights Act does (Or should. Hello, MSM??), I submit that it is another piece of evidence that the enforcement of our laws under Eric Holder is ideologically driven, highly politicized, and ethically corrupt. When added to Holder’s obvious left-wing dogmatism and stunning incompetence regarding civilian trials for captured al Qaeda terrorists, there can be only one conclusion: Eric Holder has got to go. Since we can’t expect his boss to give him the axe*, our only recourse is impeachment.

Gentlemen of the House Judiciary Committee, you may start your hearings.

*Eek! Violent rhetoric!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Impeach Eric Holder

November 18, 2010

I warned last month that Eric Holder’s decision to try al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ghailani in a civilian federal court was a mistake and that the government’s case was in deep jeopardy. Well, those chickens have come home to roost:

A New York City jury acquitted alleged Al Qaeda accomplice Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of all major terrorism charges in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the first trial of a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner in civilian court.

The Tanzanian was convicted on just one count of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property and cleared of 276 counts of murder and attempted murder in the bombings that took 224 lives, including 12 Americans.

This is an incredible screw up that denies justice to the victims of those killed in the embassy bombings, and it was easily avoidable by using the military commission system set up by Congress for this very purpose. But Holder and Obama, with their hard-Left ideological axes to grind, had to “make a point” and show how they were different from that evil Bush adminstration.

I could go into a long rant here about the lousy situation the Holder and the administration have left us in through their incompetence, but Ed Morrissey beat me to the punch:

The administration is left with three choices in regards to Ghailani: announce that they will release him at the appointed date whenever his sentence ends, announce that they will hold him indefinitely without regard to the court’s ruling on the matter while referring the case back to a military commission despite his acquittals, or refuse to state which they will do and hope the issue falls to the next administration.  The first will mean that the US will knowingly release a master al-Qaeda terrorist with more than two hundred murders under his belt; the second will mean that the trial they staged was nothing but a sham.  And the third will be a cowardly dodge.

Such is the state in which Holder as Attorney General has left the US.  Either the US is so inept that it will eventually release a man who attacked two of its embassies abroad (which was an act of war by al-Qaeda) or that the DoJ may commit an impeachable act by knowingly submitting a defendant to double jeopardy, whether in this administration or a future administration.  By committing to the civilian criminal system and assigning judicial jurisdiction where it never belonged, those are the only options left.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

I’m already on record with my contempt for Attorney General Holder. If he had any sense of honor or even decency, he would resign immediately. If his boss had any sense of responsibility at all toward the duties of his office, he would fire Holder. Neither, I fear, is the case, for both are committed ideologues.

It falls, therefore, to the incoming Congress, to investigate the full range of AG Holder’s actions: not just the Ghailani trial, which is bad enough, but the department’s racially biased enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, its attempts to politically smear a sitting governor, the witch-hunt against CIA interrogators – all of it.

And, when the facts are laid bare, the House must bring articles of impeachment against Eric Holder and place him on trial before the Senate. Yes, I know a Democratic-controlled Senate would almost never convict him, but the exposure of his incompetence and misdeeds would almost certainly force him from office, regardless of a trial.

That would be a good thing for the Department of Justice and the nation as a whole.

LINKS: More from my blog-buddy, Sister Toldjah. Power Line discusses the failure option. Fausta is outraged.

UPDATE: From Big Peace, “They came within a hair’s breadth of losing the case entirely.” Jennifer Rubin calls it a debacle.


Obama and Holder strike again: terror trial botched

October 7, 2010

During his campaign for the presidency and after he took office, Barack Obama made a large point of arguing that the military commission system set up by Congress to try terrorists somehow violated our highest principles and moral values as a nation. It was garbage, of course, but it fed the fantasies of his leftist base. Then it got serious when the President’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda jihadists in New York City.

While the subsequent uproar stopped (for now) the trials of KSM and his comrades, one trial went on: that of Ahmed Ghailani, who has confessed to being the prime mover behind the deadly truck bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in the 1990s. Because of a question as to whether the confession was admissible under the rules of the US criminal court system, the Obama-Holder Justice Department decided to go through with a trial. “No problem,” they assured us. “We have a witness who makes this a slam-dunk case, proving the wisdom of our determination to treat terrorism as a criminal matter!”

Then the judge kicked out the witness.

Oops.

Now the trial is in deep jeopardy. Yes, the man who has confessed to killing hundreds of people in those bombings and who is a hero to jihadis around the world may just walk free. Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains the problem:

Clearly, however, the prosecutors in New York do not want the trial to devolve into theater over the CIA interrogation methods. Were the government to try to prove Ghailani’s statements to the FBI, defense lawyers would have latitude to summon the CIA interrogators. They would argue that the CIA’s earlier, rough tactics tainted Ghailani’s subsequent, seemingly voluntary confession. The Justice Department is determined to steer clear of that controversy, and of any criticism that it exploited Bush-era tactics, even indirectly. But there’s a trade-off: The jury won’t learn that Ghailani admitted to planning the bombing, buying the TNT, and being celebrated afterward as an al-Qaeda hero.

The Justice Department figured it could roll those dice because it has a witness, Hussein Abebe, who is prepared to testify that he sold Ghailani the TNT. Not so fast, say Ghailani’s lawyers. They argue that the government learned about Abebe only because of Ghailani’s confession. By their lights, having agreed not to use it, the government implicitly concedes that the confession is toxic; therefore, the argument goes, it is no more proper for prosecutors to call a witness discovered because of the confession than it would be to use the confession itself.

Prosecutors reply that there is a big difference between using admissions pried from a defendant under coercion and merely calling a witness. The government may inevitably have found the witness anyway. Moreover, even if the confession tipped the government off to Abebe’s existence, he is a volunteer, providing testimony of his own free will.

Read the whole thing.

Basically, the judge decided Abebe’s testimony was “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and thus inadmissible. This just shows what McCarthy and others, such as former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, argued was right: that the civilian court system is not set up to handle terrorism cases.

Unless they can come up with yet another “slam dunk” approach or get Ghailani to confess*, the administration may well be faced with the choice of letting a mass-murdering al Qaeda terrorist go, or throwing him back into the military commission system and looking even more ridiculous for it.

Great job, guys. What’s your next trick?

*(Fat chance of either happening. Ghailani is probably planning his vacation in Waziristan even now.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Department of Injustice: “Don’t enforce the Voting Rights Act.”

July 9, 2010

I linked to this in an update to the previous post, but this really deserves a post of its own: In November, 2009, the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was told not to enforce the law regarding the integrity of voter rolls:

A lesser-known provision also obliged the states to ensure that no ineligible voters were on the rolls — including dead people, felons, and people who had moved. Our current Department of Justice is anxious to encourage the obligations to get everyone registered, but explicitly unwilling to enforce federal law requiring states to remove the dead or ineligible from the rolls.

In November 2009, the entire Voting Section was invited to a meeting with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes, a political employee serving at the pleasure of the attorney general. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Motor Voter enforcement decisions.

The room was packed with dozens of Voting Section employees when she made her announcement regarding the provisions related to voter list integrity:

  • “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”

Jaws dropped around the room.

Yeah, I bet they did. What’s next, mandatory registration at all cemeteries?

No Cabinet officer has been impeached since Secretary of War William Belknap under President Grant. It will never happen under a Democratic Congress, but Eric Holder is a shining example of someone who deserves to be the next.


Department of Injustice: compare and contrast

July 9, 2010

On election day in 2008, members of the New Black Panther Party engaged in a clear case of voter intimidation aimed at White voters:

While the Department of Justice brought suit against the Panthers in the waning days of the Bush Administration and obtained a judgment against the NBPP and its members, the Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder dropped the case with little explanation and to widespread shock and consternation.

Fast forward to the present: Johannes Mehserle, a White BART transit cop on trial for shooting African-American Oscar Grant, is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Given the facts of the case, the verdict was correct and justice was served.

So, of course, today comes the news that the Department of Justice, that same DoJ that dropped a clear case of voter intimidation, is going to investigate the shooting of Grant for possible federal prosecution:

The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct an independent review of the Johannes Mehserle case in order to determine whether or not the shooting merits federal prosecution, according the department.

“The Justice Department has been closely monitoring the state’s investigation and prosecution,” the department said in a statement.

“The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the FBI have an open investigation into the fatal shooting and, at the conclusion of the state’s prosecution, will conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances to determine whether the evidence warrants federal prosecution.”

This is beyond ridiculous; it is the unequal application of the law, based on the ethnicity of the parties involved. Because career attorneys at the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ do not believe in prosecuting civil rights cases where the accused is Black and the victim is White, and because they now have political bosses who agree with them, the voting rights of White Philadelphia residents are no longer protected. But, make the accused White and the victim Black, and the CRD is all too happy to appease an angry mob and the leftist congresswoman stirring it up.

To be clear: I do not object to the verdict against Mehserle. I think the jury got it right and he should go to prison for his crime. I object very strongly, however, to the Federal government interfering in a state court proceeding in which the state properly exercised its police powers, simply because the administration wants to pander to one or another ethnic group. The opening of a federal investigation implies there’s a legitimate question whether the state court operated fairly, which anyone paying attention can see is not the case here. This is an insult to the court system of California and to the state as a whole, and a clear violation of the spirit of the 10th Amendment.

But, far worse, this is yet another example that Justice under Obama and Holder is not blind and is not applied equally to all, but that it varies according to the color of one’s skin. This goes against nearly a thousand years of Anglo-American jurisprudence and flies in the face of the words from our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.”

Eric Holder and the entire Civil Rights Division should be hauled before a congressional committee to explain why one case is important and the other isn’t, and whether they believe that the rights of all citizens are deserving of protection regardless of ethnicity or skin color. And if not, why not.

It likely won’t happen until after November, but it will be enlightening when it does.

UPDATE: An Illinois congressman congressional candidate calls for Holder’s resignation over the NBPP case.

UPDATE II: In Florida, congressional candidate Allen West condemns Eric Holder for pursuing racially biased justice.

UPDATE III: Via Instapundit, the DoJ’s voting section has been told not to enforce the purging of dead or ineligible voters from voter rolls. Chicago-way politics goes nationwide!

LINKS: More at Hot Air, where Ed takes a more calm view of this than I.


I’m starting to really like Jan Brewer

May 21, 2010

The Arizona governor cleverly uses the deadliest weapon in politics, mockery, to make fools out of the, well, fools who have criticized the state’s new illegal immigration bill without reading it:

I might have to donate to her reelection bid, if she keeps this up. Rolling on the floor

(via Ace)


Eric Holder admits he’s an ignorant fool

May 13, 2010

So, while discussing Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the controversial immigration bill, the Attorney General of the United States admits that he has been criticizing it harshly … without having read it:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who has been critical of Arizona’s new immigration law, said Thursday he hasn’t yet read the law and is going by what he’s read in newspapers or seen on television.

Mr. Holder is conducting a review of the law, at President Obama’s request, to see if the federal government should challenge it in court. He said he expects he will read the law by the time his staff briefs him on their conclusions.

“I’ve just expressed concerns on the basis of what I’ve heard about the law. But I’m not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people are doing the review, exactly what my position is,” Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee.

“Not in a position to say?” That’s exactly what he has been doing:

The top U.S. prosecutor said he understands the frustration behind the Arizona law, but he warned during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that “we could potentially get on a slippery slope where people will be picked on because of how they look as opposed to what they have done.”

Something that’s specifically prohibited in the amended version of the bill, Mr. Attorney General. Although now we can see why you wouldn’t know that, since you can’t be bothered to read the bill (PDF) before mouthing off.

Who does he think he is, anyway? A congressman?

LINKS: More at Hot Air.


Finally, the Obama Administration tells the truth

May 9, 2010

About the Times Square bomber, that is.

The investigation into the Times Square bomb plot has revealed that the Pakistani Taliban were behind the failed attack, top Obama administration officials said Sunday.

Despite conflicting claims over the past week from military and law enforcement officials, as well as Taliban leaders, Attorney General Eric Holder and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said that authorities now believe suspect Faisal Shahzad acted at the direction of the Taliban in Pakistan and was probably funded by them.

Brennan told “Fox News Sunday” that Shahzad had “extensive interaction” with the group, which he described as virtually “indistinguishable” from Al Qaeda. He said investigators believe the suspect was trained by the militant network.

“It looks as though he was operating on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan,” he said. “This is a group that is closely aligned with Al Qaeda. It has a murderous agenda similar to Al Qaeda, they train together, they plan together, they plot together. They’re almost indistinguishable.”

I wouldn’t be so miffed if, in the immediate aftermath, they our political “leadership” had issued a straightforward statement that said “no comment while the investigation is under way,” instead of belching up stupid and inane statements to make people believe this was anything, anything but a jihadist plot. We’re not idiots. We can see the world around us, we remember what happened on a rotten day in September, 2001, and we know very well that they are trying to kill more of us.

We know this is a war.

You don’t have to come out of the gate screaming “Oh my God! It’s the Taliban!!”, but don’t treat us like simpleminded children who need a pat on the head, either.

(via Threat Matrix)

UPDATE: Good God. The President’s chief counterterrorism adviser has said, with regard to the Times Square attack, “We’re not lucky. We’re good.” We’ve had three major attacks in six months. One was a success for the other side (Ft. Hood), and the other two, Detroit and Times Square, failed only because of dumb luck and alert civilians. How stupid does John Brennan think we are? Here’s a clue, Johnny: it was luck, and you guys are worse than useless.


Color me shocked: Feds to prosecute NSA staffer

April 15, 2010

I’ll be honest, the government always says it’s going to hunt down people who leak classified material, but for them to actually follow through is almost unheard of. And for the Justice Department under Eric Holder to do this? Satan’s donning a parka even now:

A senior executive with the National Security Agency faces 10 felony charges of leaking classified information to a national newspaper in 2006 and 2007, the Justice Department announced Thursday morning. Thomas A. Drake, 52, allegedly exchanged hundreds of e-mails with an unnamed reporter in a national newspaper that published stories about Bush administration intelligence policies between February 2006 and November 2007.

The article doesn’t specify that these leaks had to do with counterterrorism efforts, but I’ll bet that’s it. Leaks from bureaucrats opposed to Bush administration policies in Iraq and the Long War overall have done tremendous damage, such as revealing the NSA terrorist communications intercept program and Treasury’s secret program to track terrorist finances. Guys like Drake, assuming he’s guilty, deserve to have the book thrown at them; they sanctimoniously put their own egos ahead of their duty to the nation in time of war.

I never thought I’d write this, but, good for Eric Holder.

(via NRO)

LINK: More at Hot Air.

UPDATE: I take back my praise for AG Holder. According to Power Line, Drake was not the one who revealed the terrorist surveillance program. Instead, he’s accused of embarrassing NSA management. Glad to see Justice has its priorities straight.

UPDATE II: Background from journalist Eli Lake.


The Holder Hangover

January 31, 2010

The Holder Justice Department has made several serious mistakes in its handling of jihadi detainees: treating the Detroit Pantybomber as a common criminal with constitutional rights; ordering a trial in Federal court for the plotter of 9-11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad; and the end of the CIA interrogation program are among several. Power Line’s Scott Johnson looks to the source of these errors and find it not, where many would put it, in the Attorney General’s office, but in President Obama’s misguided view of constitutional rights:

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania during the presidential campaign in June 2008, Barack Obama addressed the Supreme Court’s Boumediene decision granting Guantanamo detainees the right to challenge their confinement through habeas corpus proceedings in federal court. Obama asserted that the “principle of habeas corpus, that a state can’t just hold you for any reason without charging you and without giving you any kind of due process — that’s the essence of who we are.” He explained:

“I mean, you remember during the Nuremberg trials, part of what made us different was even after these Nazis had performed atrocities that no one had ever seen before, we still gave them a day in court and that taught the entire world about who we are but also the basic principles of rule of law. Now the Supreme Court upheld that principle yesterday.”

Obama’s comments derive from what I facetiously call “the higher wisdom” that fueled his campaign and that is now operative in his administration. Attorney General Eric Holder perfectly reflects it.

In designating the mastermind of 9/11 and his co-conspirators who are detained in Guantanamo for trial in federal court in Manhattan, cloaking them with the rights of American citizens under the Constitution of the United States, Holder sought to give them their “day in court.” He also sought to “t[each] the entire world about who we are but also the basic principles of rule of law.”

The only appropriate response to Obama’s campaign comments on Boumediene is: “Not true.”

Scott then proceeds to dismantle the President’s use of the Nuremberg hearings as a precedent, exposing the supposed “constitutional scholar’s” ignorance of legal history. From this fundamental error, that war criminals and enemy combatants should be treated as ordinary defendants with the full protection of the Bill of Rights flows every other dumb decision Obama and Holder have made.

Sadly, there are many.

And they will come back to haunt us.

RELATED: Scott links this in his piece, but I wanted to point out here an excellent essay by Thomas Sowell that describes the administration’s decision to try terrorists in criminal court as insanity.


Voter intimidation is AOK when it’s our guys doing it

December 27, 2009

Holder Justice Department fires the man who initiated the complaints against the Black Panthers who intimidated voters in Philadelphia in November, 2008.

Because some votes are more equal than others.

Video of the apparently unintimidating intimidation:

.


Eric Holder lies

November 26, 2009

I don’t have any proof of that, of course, but I find it absolutely incredible -as in, “I don’t believe it”- that he didn’t tell the President about his decision to move Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City for trial in a federal court until after the President was in the air, heading for Asia:

Second, we have learned since the announcement that Holder apparently did not consult Obama before deciding to bring the Sept. 11 terrorists back to Ground Zero. No further evidence is necessary that Holder regards the war on terrorism as a law enforcement matter. In a decision with obvious national security implications, the attorney general consulted with neither the commander in chief nor the secretary of defense. He employed a process that might be more appropriately applied to the trial of a mafia kingpin or a serial killer.

And what a process. In an interview on Jim Lehrer’s NewsHour, Holder described consulting with Justice and Defense department prosecutors and staffers. The rest of the interview deserves to be quoted at length:

Lehrer: Did you run [the decision] by President Obama?
Holder: Just informed him of the decision….
Lehrer: So you just told him what your decision was; you didn’t say, “What do you think about it, Mr. President?”
Holder: Nope. Told him last night, or had relayed to him what I was going to do last night while he was on Air Force One on his way to Asia.
Lehrer: Did you talk to anybody outside the government?
Holder: I talked to my wife —
Lehrer: Yes? Okay.
Holder: — about what she thought. And I actually talked to my brother, who’s a Port Authority police officer who served —
Lehrer: Oh, is that right? Yes.
Holder: — in New York, New Jersey, and who lost friends and colleagues on 9/11 in the towers. And I talked to them about what — was it appropriate to bring it in New York, the symbolic significance of it, the possibility of getting a good and fair, detached jury.

Michael Gerson, the author of the article, rightfully calls this “embarrassing.” And he also justifiably excoriates Holder for his miserable, incompetent performance in front of a Senate committee explaining his decision and rips him a new one for his mind-boggling decision to give jihadists a public stage in Manhattan, not to mention the security risks such a trial poses for the city

But, I’m sorry, I don’t agree with Gerson’s acceptance of Attorney General Holder’s story. The man may not give a damn about voting rights, he may be corrupt as hell, he may be a far-Left ideologue bent on a witch hunt against the CIA, but he is not so stupid as to be unaware of the political risks to his boss, the President, in any move to try KSM in civilian court – especially just blocks from Ground Zero. It’s inconceivable. Does he really expect us to accept his word that he only consulted his wife and brother, and then only about jury selection and symbolism?

How dumb does he think we are?

No. In my opinion, he consulted the President before this decision was announced, and Obama gave his blessing, with the understanding that Holder takes the fall if (and when) something goes wrong. Already the polls are running massively against this move, and Obama’s own numbers are tanking, probably partly as a result of this. Holder is the designated sacrificial lamb donkey. He’ll take the heat for this decision, but the real responsibility is President Obama’s.

AFTERTHOUGHT: I suppose it is possible that Holder is telling the truth about how he made the decision and when he told Obama, but what does that tell us? First, that Holder really is incredibly stupid, if this is true. Anyone in the corridors of power in DC who could not see the ramifications of this move has a cranial density far surpassing that of lead. Second, it means President Obama is both incompetent and weak. His chief law enforcement deputy makes a decision of this magnitude without any significant consultations with other departments or the president, and then blindsides Obama with it after he’s off on a major foreign trip? And Obama didn’t fire him on the spot?? Is he too weak to fire his own Attorney General or too clueless to see the mess Holder dumped on him? Regardless, if Obama was not consulted and didn’t override Holder on the spot when he found out, it makes the President look very bad.

Thus, I still lean toward the first explanation (Obama knew and approved), if only because the implications of the second are in their own way scarier.


Bad Idea

November 18, 2009

Charles Krauthammer on why trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian Federal court in New York City is a bad idea:


What could go wrong?

November 14, 2009

The big news yesterday was the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the confessed, proud mastermind of the 9-11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 of our people and foreign guests, would be tried in a civilian court in New York City, just blocks from Ground Zero:

The Obama administration said Friday that it would prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a decision that ignited a sharp political debate but took a step toward resolving one of the most pressing terrorism detention issues.

The decision, announced by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., could mean one of the highest-profile and highest-security terrorism trials in history would be set just blocks from where hijackers for Al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Mr. Holder said he would instruct prosecutors to seek death sentences for Mr. Mohammed and four accused Sept. 11 co-conspirators who would be tried alongside him.

I can’t decide if this is some sort of continuation of Holder and his boss’s war against the Bush Administration and the CIA, monumental stupidity and incompetence on their part, or both. Do these two geniuses realize that trying KSM and his buddies in Manhattan invites every jihadi in the world to strike the city again, either to rescue them or avenge them? Do they comprehend what a circus and a farce this will become? This is the ultimate act of reverting to a pre-9/11 mentality, which for the length of the 90s assured us that law enforcement was the proper venue for handling terrorists.

And we saw what that bought us.

This is depressing and disturbing on so many levels, I can’t even work up a good rant. Others however, had plenty to say. Let’s start with my hero of that terrible day and first choice for President in 2008, Rudy Giuliani:

Part 1

Part 2

Let me repeat Hizzoner’s trenchant observation: the decision to try KSM in New York is “frighteningly incompetent.”

Michael Mukasey was George W. Bush’s last Attorney General and had been the presiding judge at the trial of the Islamic terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. If anyone should know why the civilian court system is not competent to handle cases of jihadist terrorism, it is he:

The difficulty of trying terror suspects through civilian courts, he said, is that the discovery process, the public presentation of evidence, and other elements of a trial “could turn a criminal proceeding into a cornucopia of information for those still at large and a circus for those in custody.”

He pointed out that when capturing the enemy combatants, pieces of information “were not gathered, nor was evidence gathered, on the assumption that they would be presented in a federal court.”

There would also be tremendous security issues involved with making sure that courthouses, jails, the judge and jury, were all safe.

“It would take a whole lot more credulousness than I have available to be optimistic about the outcome of this latest experiment,” Mukasey said at the conclusion of his formal remarks.

Somehow, I think Judge Mukasey was understating his misgivings. (via Hot Air)

Finally, former Governor Sarah Palin weighed in on her Facebook page, calling it an “atrocious decision:”

It is crucially important that Americans be made aware that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks may walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment because of a “hung jury” or from any variety of court room technicalities. If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang ‘em high.

I’m with ya, Governor.

LINKS: Fausta calls it a suicidal move. Jimmy Bise wonders if Obama is committing political suicide. Baseball Crank, a Manhattan attorney, is seeing red. The Weekly Standard explains why this is a very risky proposition for the Democrats. Connecticut’s lone honorable Senator politely told Attorney General Holder and President Obama to think again. Debra Burlingame, via William Kristol, reminds us of what Khalid Sheikh Muhammad said when he was captured.