I have always said that this is the most important reason to re-elect President Obama…
I have always said that this is the most important reason to re-elect President Obama…
Pot, meet Kettle:
Apparently, a GOP congressman from South Carolina, Rep. Trey Gowdy wants to be another Alan West who he calls “my friend”.
Mr. Gowdy appears to be a following in Mr. West’s footsteps…
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) yesterday called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “mind-numbingly stupid” and said that there is something medically wrong with her brain because she believes Republicans are unfairly targeting Attorney General Eric Holder.
On FOX News, Gowdy ranted about Pelosi’s suggestion that the witch hunt against Attorney General Eric Holder might have to do with his attempts to get rid of Republican’s voter suppression efforts:
But keep in mind, Greta, this is the same woman who said that she would have arrested Karl Rove any day she wanted. So I don’t know what was wrong with her yesterday or today or whenever she said that, but I would schedule an appointment with my doctor if she thinks that we are doing this to suppress votes this fall. That is mind-numbingly stupid.
I wonder why they’re aggressively seeking to become election officials in Florida? Could it be because Romney must win Florida to have a chance at winning the Presidency?
I cannot believe how blatant and desperate Republicans in Florida have been on so many issues, but especially voter suppression…
Republican lawmakers in states like Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin have spent the last several months introducing and, in some cases, passing laws designed to suppress largely Democratic voters ahead of the general election.
Nowhere have these efforts advanced further than in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has defied the Department of Justice’s order to cease his highly controversial and ineffective voter roll purge, in which hundreds of eligible voters—including many Latinos and self-idenitified Democrats—have been booted from the rolls.
All of this has succeeded in politicizing the most impregnable institution of democracy: elections.
The Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida reports that election supervisors, long considered dull administrative desk jobs with little to no influence on policy, have become hotly contested jobs, attracting political heavyweights in some counties along the state’s West Coast:
• In Sarasota County, three-term county commissioner Jon Thaxton, a Republican, is challenging supervisor Kathy Dent.
• In Manatee County, state Sen. Mike Bennett, a Bradenton developer known for antagonizing Democrats in Tallahassee, is banking that his decade of name recognition will help him succeed retiring supervisor of elections Bob Sweat.
• In Charlotte County, former four-term county commissioner Adam Cummings is looking to unseat first-term incumbent Paul Stamoulis.
• In Hillsborough County, former state Rep. Rich Gloriso, a Republican, passed up an opportunity to run for the state Senate to instead run for supervisor of elections.
The trend is troubling, and could perhaps signal the next front in an ever-expanding political battlefield. Already, a handful of isolated Election Day incidents—most notably Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ botched 2011 special election in Wisconsin—have stirred controversy.
Thanks to the Matthew DeLuca over at The Daily Beast, we might just get a clearer understanding of what all the hoopla is about.
We know an agent was killed during the F&F operations in 2007, but finding out how and why the agent was killed doesn’t appear to be on Darrell Issa’s agenda except to mention it a couple of times…
From the backroom of Congress to the national stage, a failed attempt to snare Mexican drug cartels is slowly becoming an election-year issue. Matthew DeLuca on what you need to know.
So…what is Operation Fast and Furious?
Fast and Furious was a “gun-walking” operation conducted by the Phoenix, Arizona branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or the ATF) from 2009 and 2011. The idea was to encourage licensed Arizona gun merchants to sell firearms to known criminals, in the hope that law enforcement would be able to then trace the weapons from Arizona as they crossed the border into Mexico, slowly making their way into the hands of bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartels. Fast and Furious was part of a broader series of investigations called Project Gunrunner, all of which had the collective long-term goal of halting the flow of weapons to criminals in Mexico. Arizona gun sellers sold about 2,000 weapons to “straw” buyers, often young kids lured by a reported $100 per transaction. The ATF lost track of an estimated 1,700 of those guns. One buyer alone is reported to have purchased 600 of the weapons. In another incident, one buyer went on a spree, snapping up 34 firearms in about three weeks.
Yikes. When did this all begin?
Project Gunrunner began in Laredo, Texas, in 2005 and was expanded in 2006. Operation Fast and Furious was operational from 2009 to 2011.
And this was the first time the feds had tried this?
No. In fact, two similar gun-walking operations, including one run out of the same Phoenix-area office that oversaw Operation Fast and Furious, were conducted under President George W. Bush. The first, Operation Wide Receiver, ran from 2006 to 2007, and tried to make use of the same chain of gun buyers, smugglers, and middle men who tossed deadly weapons up the ladder to cartel enforcers. Both Wide Receiver and the 2007 probe allowed guns to make their way across the border in a manner similar to Fast and Furious.
So what went wrong this time?
One hardly knows where to start: the history of Fast and Furious is in many ways a litany of disasters. Guns showed up where they were not supposed to be. A cache of more than 40 firearms sold through Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Arizona – an important outlet for Operation Fast and Furious – wound up in Texas in January 2010. In a separate incident, a gun runner was let off by the ATF so that he would lead them to higher-ups – a plan that was thwarted when ATF agents discovered too late that the men he led them to were already informants for the FBI. Kenneth E. Melson, then acting director of the ATF, announced in August 2011 that he was stepping down from his post as more details on Fast and Furious leaked out.
There’s more, though. What about Brian Terry?
Right. On December 14, 2010, Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry and other officers were on patrol in the Arizona desert when gunfire erupted. In the firefight that ensued, Terry and the other agents took aim at the Mexican gunmen first with non-lethal weapons and then with live ammunition. Terry was killed in the fight. Afterward, two AK-47 assault rifles were recovered from the site of the encounter –and both guns had been sold as part of Operation Fast and Furious. While ATF officials at first cited an FBI ballistics report that showed that a gun sold through Fast and Furious was not the murder weapon, later reports showed that it was actually not conclusive.
Following Terry’s death, President Obama ordered the Justice Department’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of Fast and Furious.
Sounds like a mess. What did Mexico think of this?
Apparently, they had no idea. When Mario Gonzalez, brother of an influential Mexican prosecutor, was tortured and killed in 2010, Mexican and American law enforcement officials were stunned. The Mexican police, however, did not know the whole story. Central to the case were the killers’ weapons – assault rifles that had slipped across the border under the watchful but passive eye of American border agents. The Mexican attorney general has said that even while Americans were allowing guns to come into her country, she only heard about the program after it hit the press. “At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted,” Marisela Morales said in an interview. “In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”
I’m a day late on this information but it’s worth posting anyway. Good work Daily Kos…
The Merida Initiative is the, and was the, basis for the 2008 HR-6028 Bill whichspecifically funded “Project Gunrunner.”
Darrell Issa pretends he has never heard of Project Gunrunner, yet in 2008 he specifically voted to fund Project Gunrunner.
Apparently, there is more than just a huge connection between Merida Initiative andProject Gunrunner whereby Project Gunrunner funding, per HR-6028, is directly enveloped into the Merida Initiative.
In October 2007, President Bush and Mexico’s President Calderon announced the Mérida Initiative, is a Billions of dollar aid package to support President Calderón’s war on drugs by, among other things, sending military grade weapons and helicopters to Mexico. Project Gunrunner was Legislated into the Merida Initiative through HR-6028 in 2008. After ample Congressional debate on conditionality and appropriations, the US Congress approved the initiative in HR-6028 without any strings attached.
1) Rep. Darrell Issa voted “yes” specifically to Fund: “Project Gunrunner” in June 2008.2) In January 2008: ATF went to Congress and asked Congress to Fund Project Gunrunner for 3 years.
3) In 2008, HR-6028 combined “Project Gunrunner” with the “Merida Initiative” also known as the “Merida Program.”
4) The Title of the Bill HR-6028 is:
Assistance for Mexico and Central America for Anti-Drug Programs (Merida Program)
5) A SubSection of the Bill HR-6028 is Titled: PROJECT GUNRUNNER INITIATIVE
6) Among other things, Project Gunrunner is directly funded through Merida Initiative
7) In 2007 the Congress held hearings on Merida Initiative
8) Merida Initiative is complicated because it is an initiative that crosses through: Homeland Security, Secretary of State, ATF, FBI & DoJ.
Merida is kind of like an octopus as Merida has many tentacles that go through many different areas of US security departments.
The notion that Darrell Issa had never heard of Project Gunrunner is bullsh!t since Issa voted “yes” to specifically fund Project Gunrunner in 2008.