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Author Topic: Operation Fast and Furious
DonaldD
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You are framing the question... interestingly.

Yes, someone screwed the pooch. The people who screwed the pooch, however, are the authors of your gun control laws and possibly federal prosecutors; one might even argue that the NRA's success in the area of permits and tracking is at fault, which is somewhat ironic considering where the sturm und drang is originating in this 'crisis'. The way I read the (possibly partisan) article, except in one instance - which was not technically part of the fast and furious program - what is described is the inability of ATF agents to get warrants, make arrests, and even get permission for wiretaps because gun ownership and more specifically unlicensed gun sales is not illegal or is barely regulated.

ATF agents could themselves have been sued for stopping what is generally being described as 'gun walking' without warrants from prosecutors, and prosecutors were not willing or able to provide the warrants.

The article also delves into the petty office politics of the task force. I am sure there is fault in that area as well, though whether it had any effect on the number of guns flowing into Mexico is questionable, so whether they fellated, if not screwed, the pooch is open to debate.

Seriously, read the article. Regarding Fernandez: that was a one time project, outside the scope of Fast and Furious, that was implemented against the wishes of the task force lead. It was also, notably, initiated by the fellow now accusing the task force of itself walking guns.

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Pete at Home
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Warrants from *prosecutors?* Do prosecutors issue warrants in Canada? Here, it's judges.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
My only concern is that somebody screwed the pooch. Would you agree that somebody did in fact screw the pooch?
Yes, someone did. The guy who is accusing the operation of walking guns was the only one who walked them, and he did it against the wishes of the lead of the operation, and then completely bobbled the effort. (which is the big reason that office politics are relevant to the issue). Beyond that, the problem lies with AZ's gun laws that make it almost impossible to arrest someone on arms trafficking charges, and the stonewalling the team was met with when it tried to get the wiretap warrants that it needed to gather the evidence necessary to prove explicit prior intent to make straw purchases.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Yes, someone did.

And that's the only thing that concerns me.

quote:
The guy who is accusing the operation of walking guns was the only one who walked them, and he did it against the wishes of the lead of the operation, and then completely bobbled the effort.
According to the article, which I don't really have any reason to doubt. I do notice that the author did not seem to interview Agent Dodson, to get his side of the story. I would like to know Agent Dodson's response to the evidence presented in the article, dispite the fact that he sounds like a phallocephalic.

quote:
Beyond that, the problem lies with AZ's gun laws that make it almost impossible to arrest someone on arms trafficking charges, and the stonewalling the team was met with when it tried to get the wiretap warrants that it needed to gather the evidence necessary to prove explicit prior intent to make straw purchases.
There were certainly some accusations against Arizona's gun laws. The view presented is that the gun laws of Arizona make it impossible to track gun purchases. I would like to note though, that immediately after Agent Terry was killed, the ATF was given the green light to arrest several suspects, including Fernandez, who was indicted by a grand jury on selling guns without a license. Wow, that was pretty easy. Sounds to me like the fault was not as much with the laws, as it was with the prosecutors and the US Attorney General's Office.

By the way, several of those people have resigned.

The article also makes several damning accusations against CBS News and conservative/gun rights blogs. I'm not quite sure how accurate these accusations are, but I can believe them quite easily, and I would not recommend that anyone get their news from CBS or from the majority of blogs. [Smile] I certainly don't.

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AI Wessex
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The woman who wrote the Fortune article was interviewed on the radio tonight. She's pretty compelling.
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LetterRip
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Phallocephalic is awesome. If someone is being thus I usually ask if their name is Richard.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The view presented is that the gun laws of Arizona make it impossible to track gun purchases.
Tracking them wasn't as much of a problem as was getting the magic evidence necessary to say "Hey look, this guy intentionally bought guns to smuggle them" rather than "This guy with $50 to his name just bought $50k worth of guns then decided he didn't want them after all and handed them to a guy who just happened to be around to take them off his hands.

quote:
I would like to note though, that immediately after Agent Terry was killed, the ATF was given the green light to arrest several suspects, including Fernandez, who was indicted by a grand jury on selling guns without a license. Wow, that was pretty easy.
Indeed- all they needed to do was have a guy be murdered on US soil with them and they could use the information they did have to come down like a ton of bricks. Somehow, though, I don't think that they consider sacrificing more agents by putting them in the line of fire, then using the warrants that those murders allow to be a viable long term tactic. The problem was entirely with getting sufficient evidence to arrest the smugglers before someone got killed on US soil (or they left the country) when AZ law requires that you need to prove that they intended to traffic them before they made the purchase to get a warrant while saying they're perfectly within their right to "change their mind" and hand them over to anyone they want after the purchase.

I'd say that another contributing factor to the whole mess is the fact that the ATF had had half-hearted leadership at best for the past decade or so, with acting directors taking time away from other duties to provide a nominal head,while the executive has been unwilling or unable to properly fill the office.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The problem was entirely with getting sufficient evidence to arrest the smugglers before someone got killed on US soil (or they left the country) when AZ law requires that you need to prove that they intended to traffic them before they made the purchase to get a warrant while saying they're perfectly within their right to "change their mind" and hand them over to anyone they want after the purchase.

Fernandez was indicted on charges of selling guns without a license. Call me crazy, but do you need proof that you're selling firearms to drug cartels to be guilty of "selling guns without a liscense", even in Arizona? I'm not a lawyer though. Throw up the Scale Symbol.

I think this was the problem: they were not interested in just shutting down the supply. They were interested in actually tracking the guns and identifying the people they were being sold to. I didn't read that in the article. I don't know if anybody else has brought this up. But it appears to me that they had enough to arrest the straw purchasers. Didn't the FBI have informants that were actually running the straw purchases? There are things just still just make no sense to me.

I admit that the whole op was a clusterF because of the lack of resources and the lack of support from the US Attorney General's Office.

quote:
I'd say that another contributing factor to the whole mess is the fact that the ATF had had half-hearted leadership at best for the past decade or so, with acting directors taking time away from other duties to provide a nominal head,while the executive has been unwilling or unable to properly fill the office.
Not just at the top. The attitude has seemingly trickled down. Voth is the hero of the article in question, but I can immediately fault him for not having proper control over his team. From those outside of a military or law enforcement background, that opinion may be difficult to understand, or sound even harsh. But coming from that background I cannot fault Dodson alone, but must also fault Voth for not crushing the man's testes when he should have.

Is this indicative of leadership throughout the ATF? If it is, then no wonder you have federal agents in the field complaining about working on the weekends. Are all agents in their early 40s? No wonder.

On top of this you have the continuing difficulty of getting the Dept of Justice talking to the Dept of Homeland Security.

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AI Wessex
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"Tracking them wasn't as much of a problem as was getting the magic evidence necessary to say "Hey look, this guy intentionally bought guns to smuggle them" rather than "This guy with $50 to his name just bought $50k worth of guns then decided he didn't want them after all and handed them to a guy who just happened to be around to take them off his hands."

In the radio interview the author said in AZ it is perfectly legal for a teenager to go into a gun store and buy 50 AK47's if he claims they are for his own use. He can then carry them into the parking lot and sell them all to someone else on the spot.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:

In the radio interview the author said in AZ it is perfectly legal for a teenager to go into a gun store and buy 50 AK47's if he claims they are for his own use. He can then carry them into the parking lot and sell them all to someone else on the spot.

Then what constitutes "selling firearms without a license" in Arizona?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:

In the radio interview the author said in AZ it is perfectly legal for a teenager to go into a gun store and buy 50 AK47's if he claims they are for his own use. He can then carry them into the parking lot and sell them all to someone else on the spot.

Then what constitutes "selling firearms without a license" in Arizona?
Nothing, perhaps. The charge they used was apart of the federal code, and they were only able to do that because they finally had a crime against a federal agent to use to give them jurisdiction.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Nothing, perhaps. The charge they used was apart of the federal code, and they were only able to do that because they finally had a crime against a federal agent to use to give them jurisdiction.

I don't think so. I don't think you need the death of a federal officer to enforce a federal statute.
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AI Wessex
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Here's a longish excerpt from an article describing gun laws in AZ:
quote:
A man approaches the counter at a Glendale gun store and asks for five AK-47 rifles.

Three days later, he returns and buys seven pistols. Two weeks later, he buys 20 more AK-47s.

Over the next several months, federal agents say, the same man, Uriel Patino of Phoenix, will return to Lone Wolf Trading Co. 18 times, buying a total of 42 handguns and 190 semiautomatic rifles.

Patino tells store clerks that all 232 guns are for his personal use.

But federal authorities say Patino was acting as a straw buyer of guns for the Sinaloan drug cartel in Mexico when he purchased guns from Lone Wolf and other stores between November 2009 and August 2010.

He has been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, money laundering and lying on federal firearms applications.

For advocates of tougher gun control, Patino's purchases represent a shortcoming in federal and state laws that allows people to buy as many rifles as they can carry out the door at a time - without any report to law-enforcement agencies.

Licensed gun dealers must notify federal and local authorities anytime a person buys two or more handguns in the same week. But for so-called long guns, there are no similar reporting requirements.

"Long gun" is a term used by authorities to describe almost any rifle, including semiautomatic weapons such as the AK-47, which are distinctive for their ability to fire many shots quickly.

The manufacture of some of those weapons was banned in the United States from 1994 to 2004 under the so-called assault-weapons ban.

Some states limit the sale of multiple rifles or ban the sale of any assault weapon, but Arizona has no such restrictions. Buyers must pass a federal background check, but the decision to sell dozens, even hundreds, of rifles to the same customer is up to gun dealers and store employees. So too is any decision to notify authorities of any repeat customers or suspicious purchases.

According to federal authorities, the lack of laws limiting sales or requiring reports has turned Arizona into a shopping bazaar for Mexican drug lords. They supply their soldiers with guns that were first legally purchased at gun stores then smuggled south of the border.

...

Flying off shelves

At Lone Wolf, the AK-47s, the cartel weapon of choice, and other guns flew off the shelves from March 2009 to August 2010.

The store, in a low-slung Peoria Avenue strip mall near a hookah lounge and a pet-grooming store, advertises low-cost weapons and promises free T-shirts to customers with every gun purchase.

An analysis by The Arizona Republic of five indictments in a major illegal-arms-trafficking bust announced by federal authorities in January found that 82 percent of guns seized were bought at Lone Wolf.

Of 785 rifles and pistols that authorities say were purchased by straw buyers at the behest of the Sinaloan cartel, 640 came from the Lone Wolf store, the analysis showed.

Records showed that 566 of the guns purchased at Lone Wolf were AK-47-type semiautomatic rifles. The price of an AK-47 at the store ranges from $499 to $550.

Other guns purchased at Lone Wolf included three .50-caliber rifles, commonly used by police departments and militaries around the world because their ammunition can penetrate concrete and lightly armored vehicles.

It is unclear to what extent Lone Wolf cooperated with authorities in the gun cases. But Lone Wolf has been repeatedly named by authorities in smuggling cases and has been linked to guns found at crime scenes in Mexico.

Last week, federal authorities announced new indictments against 17 people accused of trafficking 300 guns to Mexico. According to authorities, all of the guns were legally purchased at Arizona gun stores.

One of the indictments specifically names Lone Wolf as the dealer that sold nine rifles to a buyer working for gun smugglers. Other indictments say dozens of rifles and pistols came from "a federally licensed firearms dealer in Glendale."

Lone Wolf owner Andre Howard refused to discuss gun sales or seizures.

"To set the record straight and assure the public . . . we have worked closely in conjunction with several federal agencies, including the Phoenix office of the ATF," Howard said in a written statement.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spokesman Tom Mangan pointed out that neither Lone Wolf nor any gun dealer did anything illegal when it sold dozens of rifles and handguns to the same individuals week after week.


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Grant
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I'm begining to think that the authors of these articles have some sort of agenda, or their sources have some kind of agenda.


quote:
§ 478.30 Out-of-State disposition of
firearms by nonlicensees.
No nonlicensee shall transfer, sell,
trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm
to any other nonlicensee, who the
transferor knows or has reasonable cause
to believe does not reside in (or if the person
is a corporation or other business
entity, does not maintain a place of business
in) the State in which the transferor
resides:

quote:
A person may sell a firearm to an
unlicensed resident of his State, if he
does not know or have reasonable
cause to believe the person is prohibited
from receiving or possessing
firearms under Federal law. A person
may loan or rent a firearm to a resident
of any State for temporary use
for lawful sporting purposes, if he
does not know or have reasonable
cause to believe the person is prohibited
from receiving or possessing
firearms under Federal law. A person
may sell or transfer a firearm to a
licensee in any State. However, a
firearm other than a curio or relic may
not be transferred interstate to a licensed
collector.
[18 U.S.C 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27
CFR 478.29 and 478.30]

quote:
15. STRAW PURCHASES
Questions have arisen concerning the
lawfulness of firearms purchases from
licensees by persons who use a "straw
purchaser" (another person) to acquire
the firearms. Specifically, the actual
buyer uses the straw purchaser to execute
the Form 4473 purporting to show
that the straw purchaser is the actual
purchaser of the firearm. In some instances,
a straw purchaser is used because
the actual purchaser is prohibited
from acquiring the firearm. That is to
say, the actual purchaser is a felon or is
within one of the other prohibited categories
of persons who may not lawfully
acquire firearms or is a resident of a
State other than that in which the licensee's
business premises is located.
Because of his or her disability, the person
uses a straw purchaser who is not
prohibited from purchasing a firearm
from the licensee. In other instances,neither the straw purchaser nor the actual
purchaser is prohibited from acquiring
the firearm.
In both instances, the straw purchaser
violates Federal law by making
false statements on Form 4473 to the
licensee with respect to the identity of
the actual purchaser of the firearm, as
well as the actual purchaser's residence
address and date of birth. The actual
purchaser who utilized the straw purchaser
to acquire a firearm has unlawfully
aided and abetted or caused the
making of the false statements. The
licensee selling the firearm under these
circumstances also violates Federal law
if the licensee is aware of the false
statements on the form. It is immaterial
that the actual purchaser and the straw
purchaser are residents of the State in
which the licensee's business premises
is located, are not prohibited from receiving
or possessing firearms, and
could have lawfully purchased firearms
from the licensee.
An example of an illegal straw purchase
is as follows: Mr. Smith asks Mr.
Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr.
Smith. Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the
money for the firearm. If Mr. Jones fills
out Form 4473, he violates the law by
falsely stating that he is the actual buyer
of the firearm. Mr. Smith also violates
the law because he has unlawfully aided
and abetted or caused the making

USC Chap 44 §922 (a) (5)
quote:
(5) for any person (other than a licensed
importer, licensed manufacturer,
licensed dealer, or licensed
8
collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give,
transport, or deliver any firearm to any
person (other than a licensed importer,
licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer,
or licensed collector) who the transferor
knows or has reasonable cause to believe
does not reside in (or if the person
is a corporation or other business entity,
does not maintain a place of business
in) the State in which the
transferor resides; except that this
paragraph shall not apply to (A) the
transfer, transportation, or delivery of a
firearm made to carry out a bequest of
a firearm to, or an acquisition by intestate
succession of a firearm by, a person
who is permitted to acquire or
possess a firearm under the laws of the
State of his residence, and (B) the loan
or rental of a firearm to any person for
temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;

On top of this, there is the whole reason for being able to be "licensed". All you have to do is be able to show that the seller is generating "income", meaning a sizable enough amount of money to make a living. If the amount of money made in a transaction is high enough, then you are dealing without a license. Doesn't matter if the buyer is from in state or not.
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AI Wessex
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That's not what I have read and I don't understand what you think you've found that contradicts the author of either of the articles I've raised. If I live in AZ and buy a gun legally from a licensed dealer, I can transfer ownership to another resident of the state without notifying anybody. You gave the money quote:
quote:
A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.
All I have to do is not ask and therefore not know, or I can ask and if the person says he is not prohibited from possessing a weapon, I can take his word for it and don't have to check.
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Grant
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So a prosecutor cannot convince a grand jury that a guy who has sold 50 rifles to an individual who turned out to not be a US Citizen, and did so at a substantial profit to the point that he is able to live off said profits, did so without having reasonable doubt that the individual was not a resident of the state, and did so without intent to make all that money.

"Mr. Snuffy, did you have any idea that Mr. Francisco Flores, known to you as Frankie Flowers, was not a resident of the state of Arizona"?

"No I did not"

"And Mr. Snuffy, did you have any suspicions regarding the reason why Mr. Flores purchased 50 assault rifles from you in 2010?"

"No, I thought he was using them for sporting purposes"

"50 assault rifles?"

"I thought maybe he had a collection".

"Of 50 similar assault rifles"?

"Sure"

"And you do not use the $100,000 that Mr. Flores paid you in return for the purchases of those rifles to support yourself".

"No, I support myself with my unemployment check, I only use the income from the sales for entertainment purposes".

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Grant
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Oh yeah. The article mentioned that the ATF isn't having any problems with the US Attorney Generals and prosecutors in New York, Mississippi, or California. So, is the problem the law, or the lawyers?

Arizona law don't mean poo. What does Arizona law have to do with enforcement of federal law?

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Grant
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quote:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spokesman Tom Mangan pointed out that neither Lone Wolf nor any gun dealer did anything illegal when it sold dozens of rifles and handguns to the same individuals week after week.
That's right. Lone Wolf didn't do anything illegal. It was the guy that turned around and sold those dozens of rifles and handguns to other individuals who did something illegal.

First, they lied on their purchase form.
Second, they then sold the rifles and handguns for substantial profit.
Third, they may have had reasonable doubt as to wether the buyer was a resident of the State of Arizona. I mean, why else would the buyer need him. Otherwise they could go into the gun store themselves and purchase the guns on their own at a significant discount.

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AI Wessex
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AZ law is how the guns got bought, the 2A is why the AZ gun laws were so weak and allowed people to buy 100's of guns "for their personal use". The federal weaknesses were covered in the Fortune article, that the Federal Prosecutors were extremely demanding on probable cause. The manufactured "scandal" is what Holder knew and did, what Obama knew and did, and more important (as stated by Issa himself), that Obama manufactured this crisis so that he could take away people's 2A rights. Somehow the head of the ATF and none of the AZ agents were asked to testify, so like his contraception charade, he wasn't interested in the real facts.

Dodson is potentially the criminal and Issa and all his fellow Republicans are simply mendacious spinners of a partisan conspiracy theory for political purposes.

It's pretty disgusting.

"Third, they may have had reasonable doubt as to wether the buyer was a resident of the State of Arizona. I mean, why else would the buyer need him. Otherwise they could go into the gun store themselves and purchase the guns on their own at a significant discount."

AZ law requires the dealer to verify that the purchaser is a state resident. Other than that, they have almost no responsibilities. They can do that by looking at the driver's license, but there's no background check, no waiting period, no permits, no reporting requirements for purchases of AK-47's.

[ July 03, 2012, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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AZ law has nothing to do with how those guns were SOLD to the people the ATF were trying to keep them away from, the Mexican drug cartels. The straw purchases of those guns were against Federal law, as was shown when Fernandez was promptly indicted by a grand jury after the death of Agent Terry.

The dealer was following AZ and federal law

The straw purchaser was not following federal law

The final buyer was not following AZ or federal law


The "scandal" is that these people in the Attorney General's Office were not being agressive. I don't know what AG Holder knew, or what President Obama knew. All I know is that I'm not going to pretend that I know EVERYTHING there is to know about this case because I read an article in Fortune. I also know that the AG is withholding documents from congress, but that this falls under executive privilege.

quote:
AZ law requires the dealer to verify that the purchaser is a state resident. Other than that, they have almost no responsibilities.
Did Mr. Snuffy verify that Frankie Flowers was a resident of the state of Arizona, before he sold the 50 assault rifles that he bought from the gun store to him?
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AI Wessex
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He didn't have to. AZ law supports his 2A right to transfer his legally bought guns to other people. He should make sure he is a resident and that he doesn't believe that the buyer is not allowed to purchase them (ha ha).

"The "scandal" is that these people in the Attorney General's Office were not being agressive. I don't know what AG Holder knew, or what President Obama knew."

I agree that that is the scandal, but it's a long-standing one that goes back decades. People don't want anyone to step on their 2A rights and the ATF has not been aggressive. This isn't new to Holder or Obama. The agency has been intentionally weak for a very long time.

[ July 03, 2012, 03:31 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
He didn't have to. AZ law supports his 2A right to transfer his legally bought guns to other people.

What about your statement:

quote:
AZ law requires the dealer to verify that the purchaser is a state resident.
You have to know how AZ law defines a "dealer". [Smile]

I know how federal law defines a "dealer".

And as I've stated before again and again, Arizona law has nothing to do with enforement of Federal law. By selling to a buyer who he had reasonable doubt to believe was an out of state resident, and by selling with the intent to make sufficient profit to warrant it as "income", the seller was breaking federal law.

He was breaking federal law. This is proven by the indictment of Fernandez after the death of Agent Terry. He was indicted on "selling guns without a license". This is from the Fortune article. The problem was that the US Attorney General's Office in Arizona was not enforcing federal law.

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AI Wessex
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We're not in disagreement (much) about that. Enforcement is not a simple matter, though. You can't violate people's rights. I think the JD Prosecutors were too demanding in the requirement for probable cause. Why don't we just agree that:

. Any 18 year old AZ resident can buy unlimited guns, including handguns, rifles and semi-automatic weapons, as long as he stipulates that is for his private use.
. AZ gun dealers have virtually no requirements to notify federal authorities when someone buys massive quantities of weapons.
. A resident can sell a legally obtained weapon to another legally allowed AZ resident with no notification requirement.
. The ATF (and Holder) did not intend for guns to walk.
. The gun walking was allowed by a rogue ATF agent.
. The JD did not stop the guns from being purchased.
. The Issa committee is on a witchhunt.

[ July 03, 2012, 04:02 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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" Any 18 year old AZ resident can buy unlimited guns, including handguns, rifles and semi-automatic weapons, as long as he stipulates that is for his private use."

Yes

" AZ gun dealers have virtually no requirements to notify federal authorities when someone buys massive quantities of weapons."

Ehhh. Federally licensed dealers must notify the feds if someone purchases two or more pistols or revolvers in five or more consecutive buisness days. § 478.126a Reporting multiple sales or
other disposition of pistols and revolvers.


This does not cover sales of long guns. I don't know why, but it seems to me this is a problem.

A licensed dealer is required to maintain records of all purchases of semi-automatic assault weapons for up to five years. These records are subject to federal inspection.

You can't legally deal guns without following these federal guidlines, even in Arizona.

" A resident can sell a legally obtained weapon to another legally allowed AZ resident with no notification requirement."

Sure. But you can't make substantial money off the transaction. And you have to show that you were in fact the gun's owner, for some significant amount of time. There are no guidelines as to what qualifies as a right amount of time. Suffice to say that a federal prosecutor should be able to prove to a grand jury that an individual who purchased 50 guns and sold them to another 2 hrs later was never the actual owner. The original purchaser also cannot have accepted the money to buy the gun in the first place from the final owner.

" The ATF (and Holder) did not intend for guns to walk."

I'm sure that the ATF did not intend to. I'm not sure about the US Attorney General's Office for Arizona. Depends on how you define "gun walking."
In the strict sense, NO, the USAGO for Arizona did not walk guns either. But they did basically let people who were breaking federal law, who they suspected were selling these guns to Mexican cartels, continue selling without prosecuting them. They could have, but they didn't. They screwed the pooch. It may have been a judgement call, which I can respect, but not clear on the judgement.

I don't know what Holder knew. Neither does anybody else in the public.

"The gun walking was allowed by a rogue ATF agent."

According to the article, YES. But I havn't heard back from Agent Dodson.

"The JD did not stop the guns from being purchased."

Not from the licensed dealer, no. Because the licensed dealer was not breaking federal law. The straw purchaser was breaking federal law.

"The Issa committee is on a witchhunt."

I would lean towards yes. It seems to me that the Republicans are using this tragedy to embarass President Obama and AG Holder, in the hopes that it may lead to votes gained during the upcomming election.

That being said, who is there to investigate this matter? Is there a bi-partisan watchdog that could question and investigate the matter without accusations of politics? Where are they? Are the Democrats in the Judiciary Committee satisfied that Hurley was not recieving instructions from Burke, who may be recieving guidance from Holder? I don't think it's impossible. It may have been a judgement call. It sounds to me like the FBI are involved on the other side of the border. There are things going on that I KNOW that I don't know. I don't care that I don't know, but I'd like the House Judiciary Comittee in on it.

I don't think that it's impossible that AG Holder made a poor judgement call on something. I've never met someone in charge that didnt' frak it up sometime or another. I don't think President Obama was involved at all. At least he shouldn't have been.

The Republicans are hell bent on blaming the Administration, and the Administration and the Democrats are hell bent on denying any responsibility at all. What happend to "the buck stops here"? Yeah, I know, nobody does that anymore.

[ July 03, 2012, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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Grant
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I am beginning to suspect that the FBI was running a massive operation in conjunction with either Interpol or the Federales, to map out and link the cartels opererating in northern Mexico, with the intent to make massive simulataneous arrests in the United States and Mexico.

Because of this, the Justice Dept may have been refusing to let the ATF cut off the flow of these guns, because they may have been part of the case. They may not have been telling this to the ATF. The point where the chain of command for the ATF and the FBI link up has got to be in Washington. It's possible that the AG was making a gamble, and lost, and can't reveal this information because the FBI and whomever else are still trying to pick up the pieces.

I still don't see why the admin can't tell Issa this. If Issa does know this and is still trying to embarass the administration, his actions are unconcionable.

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AI Wessex
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"That being said, who is there to investigate this matter? Is there a bi-partisan watchdog that could question and investigate the matter without accusations of politics? Where are they?"

That would be Issa's committee, which we both agree wasn't interested in that. There are only so many agencies and so many committees looking over their shoulders. It's absolutely clear that his committee was not doing its job. The committee's claim that the JD was not doing its job probably can never be proved now that they have poisoned the well.

"The Republicans are hell bent on blaming the Administration, and the Administration and the Democrats are hell bent on denying any responsibility at all. What happend to "the buck stops here". Yeah, I know, nobody does that anymore."

I'm uncharacteristically going to stop short of that full-throated cynicism. When you are being attacked dishonestly, as the Administration has been, they can't roll over and just give the committee whatever they ask for. That *would* be an abdication of their authority *and* responsibility. Executive Privilege seems a weak hand, but it had to be used to preserve the separation between the two branches. That was a poison pill response to a poisoned well attack.

Where my cynicism roars back is that the line between politics and government is being continually eroded. I will claim, as many Democrats and liberals do, that the GOP Congress was on a political mission to make Obama fail, and they used the power they had over the government to advance that political agenda.

We don't know what the result of the election will be, despite our keen and far-reaching powers of analysis and prognostication. But I think there will be a bit more clarity in the minds of voters this time around that wasn't there in 2010.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:

I'm uncharacteristically going to stop short of that full-throated cynicism. When you are being attacked dishonestly, as the Administration has been, they can't roll over and just give the committee whatever they ask for. That *would* be an abdication of their authority *and* responsibility. Executive Privilege seems a weak hand, but it had to be used to preserve the separation between the two branches. That was a poison pill response to a poisoned well attack.

I dunno. If I'm being attacked dishonestly the first thing I'm going to do is try to produce proof that I'm innocent, in order to embarass my accuser. The sooner I do this, the better.

I must grant, however, that it is extremely difficult to prove that you DID NOT know something.

[ July 03, 2012, 05:22 PM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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AI Wessex
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You need a fair hearing to make your case, which Holder wasn't allowed. He could have proven he was the Virgin Mary in disguise and they would have accused him of practicing law without a license and impersonating a JD official.

[ July 03, 2012, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
You need a fair hearing to make your case, which Holder wasn't allowed. He could have proven he was the Virgin Mary in disguise and they would have accused him of practicing law without a license and impersonating a JD official.

So, you're saying that even if AG Holder did produce evidence that proved he did not know the extent of Op Vin Disel/Paul Walker, he would still have been accused and all the Republicans on the committee would have... I dunno, what do congressional comittees do? All the Republicans on the committee would have called AG Holder Beelzebub, Lieutenant of Satan?

How many Republicans are on that committee? And ALL of them are going to hang Holder out to dry, for political reasons? And the Democrats on the committee wont' stick up for him publically?

Well, in that case, you have an even better weapon against the Sith. Just wait until you can release the documents to the press. Release them, and watch the fallout.

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AI Wessex
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Grant, the Dems on the committee challenged 100 errors of fact in the Republican majority committee report, but all were voted down 23-17 (the party split on the committee) and the contempt finding was reported out on straight party lines.

Remember that the contempt citation was not for anything Holder did in the F&F program, but for not providing intra- and inter-departmental emails and documents about how they were handling Issa's committee challenges.

And what exactly were they investigating that required those documents, anyway? This was a partisan hack job, not a true hearing. Holder could have given them everything and they would have found him responsible anyway.

[ July 03, 2012, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
If I'm being attacked dishonestly the first thing I'm going to do is try to produce proof that I'm innocent, in order to embarass my accuser. The sooner I do this, the better.
Bill Clinton tried this when Republicans came after him for a ridiculous 20 year-old rumor or a scandal associated with the Whitewater land development. He even had the Justice Department appoint a Republican Special Prosecutor, and when the original candidate was unable to serve, he let another Republican named Kenneth Starr fill that role. $100M of taxpayer-funded witch hunt later, he was perjuring himself to avoid the legal-but-politically damaging testimony concerning an extra-marital affair with Monica Lewinski.

If you opposition is interested in damage not truth, the cooperation strategy doesn't always turn out so good.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
But you can't make substantial money off the transaction.
And if the transaction is all in cash or other indirect assets and you have decent access to a place to launder the proceeds?

quote:
Suffice to say that a federal prosecutor should be able to prove to a grand jury that an individual who purchased 50 guns and sold them to another 2 hrs later was never the actual owner.
What about a person who bought 50 guns with cash that they "just happened to have tucked away under their mattress", pocketed the change, and then just handed them over to someone else 2 hours later?

quote:
Because the licensed dealer was not breaking federal law. The straw purchaser was breaking federal law.
Except that they couldn't prove that the person was actually a straw purchaser without a wiretap to figure out that they were purchasing the weapons with the intent to resell them and to figure out exactly what the payment arrangements were. Short that, the straw purchasers were acting completely within the bounds of AZ law for a private owner disposing of their own collection.

[ July 04, 2012, 04:45 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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JWatts
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The Justice Departments IG released a report on Fast and Furious:
quote:

A bombshell report released Wednesday on Operation Fast and Furious faulted a range of federal agencies for the failed anti-gunrunning program and accused officials in charge of a "disregard" for public safety. In the wake of the report, one Justice Department official resigned and another retired.

The report says Attorney General Eric Holder was not made aware of potential flaws in the program until February of last year. But the report cites 14 other department employees -- including Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer -- for potential wrongdoing, recommending the department consider disciplinary action against them.

One congressional source told Fox News the report was "more brutal than was expected."

The report marked Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, as the highest-ranking DOJ employee in a position to stop the program. Weinstein, who disputes the findings, is resigning in the wake of the report.

Another official criticized for not asking enough questions about the Furious operation, former ATF acting director Kenneth Melson, retired after the report came down.
...
"This failure reflected a significant lack of oversight and urgency by both ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix, and a disregard by both for the safety of individuals in the United States and Mexico," the report said.

The office said it "identified serious failures" by ATF leaders in supervising the operation.

FoxNews
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AI Wessex
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The report is really long, but the FOX article captures the highlights. The Arizona office way overstepped their authority and ran things semi-autonomously. When the shyznit hit the fan the field officers ducked, covered and rolled. No one was subpoenaed for the investigation and some of them who were directly involved on the ground refused to talk to the DOJ for this report. The lack of subpoena power and the refusals are the biggest surprise for me.

The report calls for organizational reform in the operational levels to make sure there is better management and more departmental oversight. It's hard to argue with that.

[ September 20, 2012, 07:24 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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I've only scanned through the conclusions of the report, but I have yet to find a part where they state that the problem was with Arizona gun laws.
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AI Wessex
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That's because the internal investigation focused on the behavior of the DoJ itself and not the program they were working at the time.
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G3
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More of the same from the Obama regime:
quote:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General published a new report Monday that confirms former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke leaked a document intended to smear Operation Fast and Furious scandal whistleblower John Dodson.

The DOJ IG said it found “Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney.”

...

In addition to Burke’s involvement in leaking the document, emails the IG uncovered show senior officials at the Department of Justice discussed smearing Dodson.

One of those was Tracy Schmaler, the Director of the Department’s Office of Public Affairs, who resigned her position at the DOJ after emails uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed that she worked with leftwing advocacy group Media Matters for America to smear whistleblowers and members of Congress and the media who sought to investigate DOJ scandals under Attorney General Eric Holder.

By now everyone should be getting the message - don't say anything negative about the Obama regime. If you do, you will be smeared and targeted.
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AI Wessex
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Do you have that story from any source outside the right-wing Conservative attack blog echo chamber? Can you show the emails that were recovered? I read the article by the reporter who supposedly uncovered this plot, but he doesn't provide any of them, only says he busted this scandal wide open back in February but even Darrell Issa doesn't seem to want to touch it.
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