Friday, February 4, 2011

I Accuse! Meet the Assistant Attorney General at the center of the Project Gunwalker Cover-up: Lanny Breuer.

"We solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth . . . as far as you know. . . . Just don't tell the Mexicans."

Lanny Breuer is the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is sworn to uphold the Constitution and is responsible for the following areas of the DOJ Criminal Division mission:

Responsibility: develop, enforce, and supervise the application of all federal criminal laws, except those specifically assigned to other divisions. In addition to its direct litigation responsibilities, the Division formulates and implements criminal enforcement policy and provides advice and assistance, including representing the United States before the United States Courts of Appeal.

The Division engages in and coordinates a wide range of criminal investigations and prosecutions, such as those targeting individuals and organizations that commit domestic and extraterritorial terrorist acts or assist in the financing of those acts, and international and national drug trafficking and money laundering systems or organizations and organized crime groups.

The Division also approves or monitors sensitive areas of law enforcement such as participation in the Witness Security Program and the use of electronic surveillance; advises the Attorney General, Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House on matters of criminal laws; provides legal advice, assistance, and training to federal, State, and local prosecutors and investigative agencies, and provides leadership for coordinating international and national law enforcement matters. It also provides training and development assistance to foreign criminal justice systems.

Areas of responsibility include:

--Asset forfeiture and money laundering . . .

--Child exploitation and obscenity . . .

--Computer crime and intellectual property . . .

--Enforcement, overseeing the use of the most sophisticated investigative tools at the Department's disposal; reviewing all federal electronic surveillance requests and requests to apply for court orders permitting the use of video surveillance; authorizing or denying the entry of applicants into the Federal Witness Security Program (WSP) and coordinating and administering matters relating to all aspects of the WSP among all program components; reviewing requests for witness immunity; transfer of prisoners to and from foreign countries to serve the remainder of their prison sentences; attorney and press subpoenas; applications for S-visa status; and disclosure of grand jury information.

--Fraud . . .

--Internal security including cases affecting national security, foreign relations, and the export of military and strategic commodities and technology.

--International affairs, including making all requests for international extradition and foreign evidence on behalf of federal, state and local prosecutors and investigators, fulfilling foreign requests for fugitives and evidence, and negotiating and implementing law enforcement treaties.

--Narcotics and dangerous drugs, including statutes pertaining to controlled substances; developing and implementing domestic and international narcotics law enforcement policies and programs; developing and administering other cooperative drug enforcement strategies, such as the Bilateral Case Initiative, a program under which attorneys prosecute the most significant international narcotics trafficking organizations and projects conducted by the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

--Organized crime and racketeering efforts against traditional groups and emerging group from Asia and Europe.

--Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, combining the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies - DEA, FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals, IRS, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard - in cooperating with the Tax Division, 93 U.S. Attorneys offices and state and local law enforcement, to identify, disrupt and dismantle major drug supply and money laundering organizations through coordinated, nationwide investigations targeting the entire infrastructure of these enterprises.

--Overseas prosecutorial development, assistance, and training for prosecutors and judicial personnel in other countries to develop and sustain democratic criminal
justice institutions.

--Development assistance to foreign police agencies to enhance their capacity to prevent and control domestic and transnational crime.

--Policy and legislation, developing legislative proposals, and reviewing pending legislation affecting the federal criminal justice systems; reviewing and developing proposed changes to the federal sentencing guidelines and federal rules, and analyzing crime policy and program issues.

--Public integrity efforts to combat corruption of elected and appointed public officials at all levels of government. (Emphasis supplied, MBV)

--Special investigations of individuals who took part in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution abroad before and during World War II . . .

--Terrorism, involving design, implementation, and support of law enforcement efforts, legislative initiatives, policies, and strategies relating to international and domestic terrorism; and

--Domestic security, by enforcing the federal criminal laws relating to violent crime, the illegal use of firearms and explosives, and alien smuggling and other
immigration-related offenses.

All in all, the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division is an all-important and almost all-powerful position. And who did Eric Holder and Barack Obama choose for this job?

Meet Lanny Breuer.

Here is Wikipedia's thumbnail biography.

After graduating from Columbia Law School, Breuer was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan from 1985 to 1989. As a special White House counsel, he helped represent President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1999 during independent-counsel and Congressional investigations, and the impeachment hearings.

Prior to becoming Assistant Attorney General, Breuer was a partner in the Washington law firm of Covington & Burling and the co-chairman of its white-collar defense and investigations practice group. Breuer was best known for his work representing the subjects of Congressional investigations. He represented the University of California in an investigation of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Moody’s Investor Service in the wake of Enron’s collapse, and Halliburton/KBR in a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Breuer made headlines when a friend from the White House, Sandy Berger, asked for representation after an investigation disclosed Berger’s theft of classified documents from the National Archives.

On January 22, 2009, President Obama selected Breuer to head the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 20, 2009 by a vote of 88-0. -- Wikipedia.

Interesting vote, that unanimous one. One that in the fullness of time more than one GOP Senator will come to regret.

The website Who Runs Government has this to say about Breuer:

Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Criminal Division (since April 2009)

Boss: Deputy Attorney General David Ogden

Current Position: Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Criminal Division (since April 2009)

Career History: Partner at Covington & Burling LLP (May 1999 to April 2009); Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton (February 1997 to April 1999); Partner at Covington & Burling LLP (Octobert 1995 to February 1997); Associate at Covington & Burling LLP (Octobert 1989 to October 1995); Assistant District Attorney (August 1985 to August 1989)

Birthday: August 5, 1958

Hometown: New York, New York

Alma Mater: Columbia University, B.A., 1980; J.D., 1985

Spouse: Nancy

Religion: Jewish

During his time in the Clinton administration, Breuer was often called “the other Lanny,” a reference to political strategist Lanny Davis, the much more vocal member of Clinton’s legal team. (Kurtz, Howard, “His own counsel,” The Washington Post, Sept. 23, 1997) But behind the quiet exterior is a lawyer who is considered one of the best at dealing with sensitive high-profile cases.

Breuer earned that reputation representing President Bill Clinton during his 1998 impeachment trial. He was more recently hired to help defend New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, who was investigated for perjury after testifying in front of Congress that he did not knowingly use steroids.

After making a career defending big-name clients, Breuer is returning to prosecution, where he began his career. He was nominated by Barack Obama as assistant attorney general of Justice's Criminal Division, which places him in charge of most federal prosecutions. “If I’m confirmed to this important post, I will pursue wrongdoing vigorously, just as I did when I was a prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office,” Breuer said at his Senate confirmation hearing in March 2009.

The AAG for the criminal division of the Justice Department oversees all 93 U.S. attorneys. After the scandal that enveloped them during the Bush administration, Breuer stressed that he would not politicize the office. “Politics simply won't play a role,” he vowed. (“Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Federal News Service, March 10, 2009.)

In Their Own Words: "I don't think I'm politically adept. It's not like I'm some great political strategist. I'm good at bridging different opinions and coming up with a consensus."

In the harsh light of 20-20 vision after Congressional hearings later this year, that last quote about not being "politically adept" may be engraved on his career's tombstone as an epitaph.

“Promoting the impartial administration of justice around the world protects our global community from the lawlessness that endangers basic human rights and, in fact, endangers our national security.” --
Lanny Breuer.

There are very few of Breuer's pronouncements that do not now sound hollow and even self-convicting after the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Breuer's participation in the Project Gunwalker cover-up.

But you must understand, Breuer is not about the impartial enforcement of the law. Breuer is and always has been a political operative of the first order -- and a well paid one at that.

From Politico:

President Obama’s pick to head the Justice Department’s criminal division has represented several high-profile subjects of recent government investigations—and been paid handsomely for it.

According to disclosure forms obtained by POLITICO, Lanny Breuer earned $2.4 million in the last two years as a defense lawyer representing clients including mortgage lender Freddie Mac, which was taken over by the government last year ; big pharmaceutical firms under Congressional investigation; Los Alamos National Laboratory in an investigation over alleged sharing of nuclear secrets with China; and a lobbying firm linked to Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) that attracted federal scrutiny after Lewis earmarked millions for its clients.

And that’s not to mention his work for alleged steroid-using strikeout pitcher Roger Clemens, and alleged document-lifter and former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.

It’s no surprise that Breuer, a partner at the power firm Covington & Burling who as a White House lawyer helped President Clinton through many an investigation, would be sought out by clients under the government microscope.

But Breuer’s long list of clients, many with ongoing business before the federal government, will require him to walk a tight rope to comply with Obama’s strict ethics standards. They bar administration officials from working on issues “directly and substantially related” to their former clients or employers for two years.

Breuer, whose nomination requires Senate confirmation, also lists among his clients tech and Internet bigs including Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems, as well drug makers Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and the pharmaceutical lobby PhRMA. Other corporate giants include Johnson & Johnson, Goodyear, ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo and Koch Industries.

Breuer represented Canadian businessman Eugene Melnyk, who the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged with accounting fraud in connection with his time as the lead executive at drug-maker Biovail Corporation.

Also among his clients is Ipulasi Sunia, the lieutenant governor of American Samoa, who in 2007 was charged with fraud, bribery and obstruction for allegedly conspiring to rig government contracts.

Breuer reported that if he’s confirmed, Covington, where his would-be boss Attorney General Eric Holder was also a partner, will pay him a severance worth between $1 million and $5 million.

Well paid indeed.

“You can tell Lanny Breuer that I am not pleased about this at all.” -- U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, August 2009.

He is not above using his position to arrange a "sweetheart deal," if one federal judge is to be believed.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in November:

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was not a happy man last August when he reluctantly approved a $298 million settlement that allowed Barclays Bank to avoid prosecution on charges that it violated U.S. economic sanctions.

He was downright angry Tuesday when he discovered the parties had not complied with a court order requiring them to file a report explaining bank’s progress in complying with the agreement.

“It’s inexcusable and it’s unacceptable,” said an incredulous Sullivan, who previously questioned the settlement as a “sweetheart deal.”

The judge said he would not impose sanctions on lawyers for the bank and the Justice Department, but wondered why none of the attorneys in his courtroom realized the report was due before an oversight hearing scheduled for noon today.

Lawyers for both sides apologized profusely but had no ready explanation for how they missed the judge’s order. Sullivan said the only possible explanation was that no one had bothered to read it.

“I’m not going to sit here and waste my time,” said Sullivan, who demanded the report by Thursday and rescheduled the hearing for next week.

The judge had a special order for Justice Department’s legal team to comply with when they returned to Main Justice: “You can tell Lanny Breuer” – the head of the department’s criminal division – “that I am not pleased about this at all.”

. . . Prosecutors alleged in August that Barclays facilitated and hid transactions for banks and other entities in countries facing U.S. economic and trade sanctions, including Iran and Cuba.

The deferred-prosecution agreement allows the bank to avoid prosecution if it complies with a list of requirements, including continued cooperation with government investigators and the implementation of new training and compliance programs.

Breuer relishes his hardball image. When he was defending Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy "the Burglar" Berger who had been charged with stealing documents from the National Archives pertaining to the Clinton-era policy on Osama bin Laden (removing evidence before the 9/11 Commission could get their hands on it), Breuer attacked the honest but lowly National Archives employees, threatening: "I suggest that person is lying," he said. "And if that person has the guts, let's see who it is who made the comment that Sandy Berger stuffed something into his socks."

Of course, Berger later plead guilty to just that, after the NA employees stuck by their stories. Still, Breuer was able to deflect the maximum punishment from Berger and the Clinton-era secrets remained just that, secret and now, lost to history.

So Breuer has more than a middling understanding of what it takes to perpetrate a cover-up. It is, perhaps, his default position.

For when he was called upon to deal with the lawful request of ATF Mexico City attache Darren Gil to inform the Mexican authorities of the smuggled rifles of Project Gunwalker, Breuer overruled Gil, the attache was forced into early retirement, and Bill Newell, The Phoenix SAC who had been in on this stupidity from the beginning has now been made the attache in Gil's place.

Understand this:


Everything else subsequent to that meeting and then, later, the death of Border Patrol Agent Terry, has been carried out at the direction or with the agreement of Lanny Breuer with an eye to keep that corrupt and unlawful decision secret.

Lanny Breuer, I accuse you of cover-up -- of violations of international treaty and protocols and of the federal law and Constitution that you swore to uphold.

I accuse!

I hope to see you, your boss Eric Holder, and your culpable minions under oath at a Congressional hearing in the near future.

Mike Vanderboegh
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters


Defender said...

The PATRIOT Act sunsets this month. Dianne Feinstein says Congress is so busy (with going ahead with unconstitutional healthcare reform, magazine bans and such) that there's no time to tweak it, just to renew it. Others in Congress say there will be more oversight to prevent abuses and injustice.

Anonymous said...

Certain provisions of the PatAct are up for renewal on Tues, 8 Feb.

) H.R. 514 - To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform of Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)

John Richardson said...

It isn't the crime but the cover-up that will kill you.