Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Senator Grassley fires another salvo in the Project Gunwalker Scandal. ATF "refused to answer specific questions about the facts & circumstances."

Broadside from the battleship USS Iowa.

Remember the other day when deep-cover agent Waldo reported this ATF account of the meeting between ATF and Senator Grassley? --

ATF briefed Senator Grassley’s office relative to memo written to ATF and recent whistleblower allegations concerning Southwest Border. AD McDermond thought meeting went well and that ATF delegation provided full debriefing of Project Gunrunner and ATF’s Firearms Trafficking strategy overall.

Remember, also, Waldo's comments:

Note that Senator Grassley was briefed by a former Secret Service exec brought over by Truscott who hasn’t spent more than a day or two in Phoenix since he’s been here. He has never been an ATF Agent and HE is going to explain the Gunrunner debacle? He could only regurgitate what HQ and Main Justice told him to say.

Well, I guess that meeting didn't go quite as well as AD McDermond thought it did. Here, in another joint release by David Codrea's Gun Rights Examiner column and Sipsey Street Irregulars, is Senator Grassley's reply.

No, I don't think it went well at all.

As David observes: "The stakes just got higher."

Link to the pdf copy here.

Via Electronic Transmission

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I appreciate the staff briefing that Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) officials provided on February 10, 2011. However, the briefers focused on general issues related to challenges in successfully prosecuting gun trafficking cases. They refused to answer specific questions about the facts and circumstances that led me to request the briefing.

Specifically, they refused to say whether the approximately 103 weapons seized according to the Jaime Avila indictment were the only seizures related to the nearly 770 weapons mentioned in the indictment. They refused to say whether the third assault rifle purchased by Avila in January 2010—the one not found at the scene of CBP Agent Brian Terry’s shooting—has been recovered elsewhere. When asked whether ATF had encouraged any gun dealer to proceed with sales to known or suspected traffickers such as Avila, the briefers said only that they did not have any “personal knowledge” of that.

Therefore, please provide the following documents to the Committee:

1) All records relating to communications between the ATF and the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) who sold the weapons to Avila, including any Report of Investigation (ROI) or other records relating to the December 17, 2009 meeting “to discuss his role as an FFL during this investigation.”

2) All records relating to communications between ATF headquarters and Phoenix Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell from December 1, 2010 to the present, including a memorandum, approximately 30 pages long, from SAC Newell to ATF headquarters following the arrest of Jaime Avila and the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.

3) A copy of the presentation, approximately 200 pages long, that the Group 7 Supervisor made to officials at ATF Headquarters in the Spring of 2010.


4) Copies of all e-mails related to Operation Fast and Furious, the Jaime Avila case, or the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry sent to or from SAC Newell, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) George Gillette, Group 7 Supervisor, or the Case Agent between November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2011.

Please provide documents in batches on a rolling basis as they are identified and located. Also, please prioritize your search for documents and produce them in the following order: (1) documents in response to requests one through three, (2) documents in response to request four dated between December 13, 2010 and January 31, 2011, and (3) documents in response to request four dated between November 1, 2009 and December 13, 2010.

I look forward to receiving your response. Please provide the first set of requested documentation by no later than February 23, 2011. If you have any questions please contact Jason Foster or Brian Downey at (202) 224-5225. All formal correspondence should be sent electronically in PDF format to or via facsimile to (202) 224-3799.


Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member

cc: The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Kenneth E. Melson, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

The Honorable Alan D. Bersin, Commissioner, United States Customs and Border Protection


Brock Townsend said...

Man,this is better than a three ring circus! :) Just love it.

Anonymous said...

Have You seen that the Washington Times has an article on Senator Grassley's probe?

Blue said...

I don't think Grassley will back down :)

sofa said...

bore clear. 3 rounds expended. no apparent casualties.

fire for effect, over.

Dedicated_Dad said...

"Blue" said:
"I don't think Grassley will back down :)"

I don't either - so far...

I must admit however that I'm not as thrilled with him as I once was...

First, he seems to be totally focused on the Brian Terry portion of this scandal - which is obviously important, but only part of a really HUGE, REALLY UGLY picture.

Further, I'm wondering at the specificity of some of his document requests... Why not request **ANY AND ALL** documents, e-mails, memos, WHATEVER related to the subject or his briefing?

Too much room for wiggling, IMHO...


Dedicated_Dad said...

oH, and PS:

"...the briefers said only that they did not have any 'personal knowledge' of that...."

As I said when we learned who'd be handling the briefing -- what better way to obstruct than to send people with NO PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF ANY OF IT!


Defender said...

I'm sure Grassley has pet legislation and needs votes from some of the anti-gun caucus. Far safer to portray Gunwalker as an operational slip-up that got a Border Patrol officer killed than a beloved federal agency actively engaged in treason.
Neither Congress nor the media are going to ride over the hill to save us.

Anonymous said...

So what happens when Grassley huffs and puffs and is met with complete stonewalling?

Maybe someone gets fed to the lions on an obstruction of a judicial inquiry or a charge of lying to congress?

Wow! That would be just devastating. NOT.


Anonymous said...

Having been aboard the USS Missouri and USS New Jersey when they were mothballed in Bremerton,WA. I can tell you, what a gun!!!
The threads on the breechblock are nothing short of amazing and the silk powder bags beyond belief. The projectiles are 4-5' tall and 16" in diameter. Range about 25 miles. Now that's a gun!!!

BB's forever, eh Sofa?


Dave said...

Well, based on the info so far, Senator Grassley is naming the right suspects- that sounds promising. I've seen a similar drama unfold in which the responsible administrators were able to transfer 99% of the blame to lower-level employees. At least Grassley isn't allowing this.

Dennis308 said...

Quoting David:

This demonstrates the senator is serious about this and will not tolerate willful noncompliance. It also marks a serious miscalculation on the part of ATF bureaucrats and their Department of Justice handlers, and has produced what, for them, is no doubt the unintended consequence of steeling Grassley's resolve to pursue his investigation over all attempts to refuse cooperation.

The stakes just got higher.

I hope that Grassley's Resolve has gotten to the point that he is ready find out Exactly WTF ATF is up to and DO Something about it.
Say like a Full Investigation in this entire debacle. And not just the Killing of Brian Terry which is bad enough, but Everything in
"Project Gun-Runner" and BATF's Mission in General.

nice video of the battle ships

Mark Matis said...

For Dedicated Dad:
If one is NOT specific with a FOIA request, one WILL NOT get back anything useful. And the broad-brush approach you recommended could easily be spun by the compliant media as a witch hunt that interferes with the agency's TRUE mission of saving us all. By being specific as he was, he is able to justify the short turnaround. He also is making it clear to them that this is NO fishing expedition and that he has specific evidence that is damning.

Mark Roote said...

Did anyone else notice that in the carbon copy (cc) list, Kenneth E. Melson was the only name not preceded by The Honorable?
It couldn't be a polite way of saying that Melson has no honor, could it?
Nah, it had to be a simple slip up.

sofa said...

0321- A BB conducting NGFS, is as satisfying as a 'well delivered' 168gr HPBT.

Just 'feels good'.

'Precision at distance' is always a joy.
Engineering + Skill = Art