DOJ designated patsy: "Gunwalker Bill" Newell.
The Daily Caller's Matthew Boyle writes:
President Obama’s Justice Department is trying to deflect responsibility over decisions in the Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious investigations, which are being spearheaded by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. Last Wednesday, Issa released new Project Gunrunner documents, including an approved wiretap application bearing Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s name. Though Breuer didn’t sign it, his Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG), Kenneth Blanc, did.
Now the DOJ says Blanc’s signature and Breuer’s name doesn’t imply any federal-level responsibility. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told The Daily Caller that the Obama administration’s DOJ officials routinely approve thousands of wiretap applications without knowing the specifics of the cases they’re signing off on.
“The review process for wiretap applications is a narrow assessment of whether a legal basis exists to support a surveillance request that ultimately goes before a judge for decision,” Schmaler said in an email. “These reviews are not approval of the underlying investigations or operations.”
House Oversight Committee spokesman Frederick Hill told TheDC he thinks it’s disturbing that the DOJ is routinely approving wiretap applications like this one. “The assertion that the Justice Department has a robo-signing process for wiretap applications is a deeply troubling defense,” Hill said in an email. “Applications for wiretaps generally include detailed descriptions of law enforcement activities, sworn statements and explanations for why invasive wiretaps are crucial to an investigation. Claiming ignorance on an operation where wiretaps were approved by high level officials raises even more concerns about irresponsible and reckless decisions by Justice officials that contributed to the deaths of two federal agents.”
Another DOJ designated patsy: U.S. Attorney Dennis K. "Iron River" Burke (Janet Napolitano's right-hand butt boy).
Former federal prosecutor and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Center for Law and Counterterrorism co-chair Andrew McCarthy told TheDC Schmaler is right in that Justice Department officials don’t have time to review facts and details of every wiretap application they sign. But, McCarthy said, that doesn’t absolve top officials of responsibility when something goes awry.
“Nobody would expect the Deputy Attorney General to know the details like the prosecutor on the case, but if your name is on something and it’s a screw-up, you’re going to end up being responsible for it not in the sense that anyone expects you to know all the facts, but if you’ve been relying on someone who isn’t doing a good job to vet these things, then that is your responsibility,” McCarthy said. “The reason that Congress put this requirement in the statute is because they wanted Justice Department oversight on the district offices because wiretaps are so invasive.”
Schmaler said the applications still have to go before a judge for final approval. But, Schmaler shifts any DOJ responsibility down the chain to local officials, even though Obama’s politically appointed U.S. attorney Dennis Burke, who oversees the U.S. Attorney’s Arizona District, has made decisions on the gun “walking” programs, along with several local officials. “As the department has stated, the Fast and Furious operation was approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and the ATF Phoenix Field Office,” Schmaler told TheDC. “The investigation was subsequently approved by the multi-agency Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program.” (Emphasis supplied, MBV.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about OCDETF:
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force is a federal drug enforcement program in the United States, overseen by the Attorney General and the Department of Justice. It primarily concerns itself with the disruption of major drug trafficking operations and related crimes, such as money laundering, tax and weapon violations, and violent crime. The task force was created in 1982, and employs approximately 2500 agents.
Together with state and local law enforcement, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task force utilizes the resources of eleven federal agencies to accomplish its objectives. (Emphasis supplied, MBV) This includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard – in cooperation with the Department of Justice Criminal Division, the Tax Division, and the 93 U.S. Attorney's Offices, as well as with state and local law enforcement. . .
"The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task force utilizes the resources of eleven federal agencies to accomplish its objectives."
Got that? "Eleven federal agencies. . ." so much for this being ATF's wild hair operation.
Each of the ninety-three federal judicial districts is placed into one of nine OCDETF regions based on geographic proximity. Within each region, a "core city" was designated.
The Southwest region is run out of Houston, boys and girls. Can you say "Carter's Country"? I thought you could. Are you starting to get the idea that this is far bigger than just the Phoenix ATF office "Fast and Furious"?
The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation's drug supply.
OCDETF is the centerpiece of the Attorney General's drug supply reduction strategy. In order to enhance the OCDETF Program's ability to contribute to the President's mandate to reduce the drug supply, the Program focuses its resources on coordinated, nationwide investigations, targeting the entire infrastructure of major drug trafficking. It also assisted in the development of the Attorney General's Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) List, a unified agency target list of international "command and control" drug traffickers and money launderers. OCDETF's attack on the related components of these major trafficking organizations will not only disrupt the drug market, resulting in a reduction in the drug supply, but will also bolster law enforcement efforts in the fight against those terrorist groups supported by the drug trade.
The OCDETF Fusion Center (OFC) will gather, store and analyze all-source drug and related financial investigative information and intelligence to support coordinated, multi-jurisdictional investigations focused on the disruption and dismantlement of the most significant drug trafficking and money laundering enterprises.
More on the OFC:
To enhance OCDETF’s overall capacity to engage in intelligence-driven enforcement and to accomplish its mission, OCDETF created the OCDETF Fusion Center (OFC) – a comprehensive intelligence and data center containing all drug and drug related financial intelligence information from seven OCDETF-member investigative agencies, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the National Drug Intelligence Center, and others. The OFC is designed to conduct cross-agency integration and analysis of drug and drug related financial data to create comprehensive intelligence pictures of targeted organizations, including those identified as Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTs) and Regional Priority Organization Targets (RPOTs), and to pass actionable leads through the multi-agency Special Operations Division (SOD) to OCDETF participants in the field. Through its Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center and International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center System (hereinafter referred to as “Compass”). . . the OFC gathers and fuses data from multiple disparate sources to analyze previously unidentified relationships and links. This allows the OFC to gain multi-source knowledge from the fused data in a manner that is not possible using the information technology systems of OCDETF’s partners without hundreds of hours of manual review.
Bear with me, for this is far more interlocked than just the above. From the same DOJ document:
The Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council (AGOCC) is chaired by the Deputy Attorney General and has as members theheads of nine federal law enforcement agencies and presidentially appointed prosecutors. It is an outgrowth of an Executive Order, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, placing the Attorney General in charge of coordinating all federal law enforcement activity against organized crime. The traditional role of the AGOCC has been to promote interagency coordination, evaluate the threat presented by organized crime, and advise the Attorney General on national priorities and a national organized crime strategy. In 2008,the AGOCC began to consider the threat from international organized crime, rather than La Cosa Nostra, to be the primary organized crime threat facing the United States.
In response, the AGOCC has begun the work of developing a new 21st Century organized crime program that will be nimble and sophisticated enough to combat the threat posed by international organized criminals for years to come. In May 2009, the AGOCC established the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2). (Emphasis supplied, MBV) Its mission is to significantly disrupt and dismantle those international criminal organizations posing the greatest threat to the United States by:
(1) gathering, storing, and analyzing all-source information and intelligence related to international organized crime;
(2) disseminating such information and intelligence to support law enforcement operations, investigations, prosecutions, and forfeiture proceedings; and coordinating multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency law enforcement operations, investigations, prosecutions,and forfeiture proceedings. IOC-2 combines the resources and expertise of its nine federal member agencies -- Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Secret Service; Internal Revenue Service,Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S.Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; and U.S.Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General – IN COOPERATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE'S CRIMINAL DIVISION, the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and others, to pursue this mission. (Emphasis supplied, MBV. Additional note: and who runs the Criminal Division of DOJ? Why Lanny Breuer, of course.)
In recognition of the demonstrated interrelationship between criminal organizations that engage in illicit drug trafficking (and related criminal activities) and those that engage in international organized crime, involving a broader variety of criminal activity, and the corresponding need for IOC-2 to gain multi-source knowledge from the fused data in a manner that is not possible using the information technology systems of IOC-2 individual members without hundreds of hours of manual review, OCDETF and IOC-2 formed a partnership. In furtherance of the partnership, OFC and IOC-2 have collocated, and will pool data input and share access to Compass. (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)
You can navigate the entire Gunwalker scandal if you have the right COMPASS.
And what does the Compass database consist of?
Compass collects the information pertaining to individuals, entities, and organizations charged with, convicted of, or known, suspected, or alleged to be involved with, illicit narcotic trafficking or other potentially related criminal
activity, including but not limited to facilitating the transportation of narcotics proceeds, money laundering,financial crimes, firearms trafficking, (Emphasis supplied, MBV.) alien smuggling, and terrorist activity. Pursuant to the partnership with IOC-2, Compass also collects the information pertaining to individuals, entities, and organizations charged with, convicted of, or known, suspected, or alleged to be involved with, international organized crime. Information regarding individuals, entities, and organizations with pertinent knowledge of some circumstances or aspect of a case or record subject, such as witnesses, associates of record subjects, informants, and law enforcement or intelligence personnel is also collected. Information about relevant immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants, including visa adjudication, issuance, and refusal information is also collected. Finally
information of individuals, entities, and organizations identified in or involved with the filing, evaluation, or investigation of reports under the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations is also gathered.
Because the source of Compass data is both structured and un-structured textual reports, the precise data that is collected and contained in Compass can be almost anything. Included in the data are all the principal identifiers such as name, social security number (SSN), and address. But it can also include scars, marks, tattoos, license plate numbers, bank account numbers, etc. This is especially true of the information in reports of investigations filed by special agents. These reports are often free flowing narratives of events, meetings, and surveillance. ALL OF THE TEXT, EVERY WORD, IS INDEXED AND SEARCHABLE. (Emphasis supplied, MBV)
Both the OCDETF Fusion Center and the IOC-2 are located in Merrifield, Virginia.
More on IOC-2.
So, I wonder what a search of the Compass database would yield about the Gunwalker scandal? Everything, maybe?
I have previously written about the Obama administration's National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy: "Hiding in plain sight: The real Obama Administration Rosetta Stone reveals the bureaucratic origins of the Gunwalker Scandal." (Sipsey Street, 21 April 2011)
Here is the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy Implementation Update Report for 2010.
From Chapter 1, "Intelligence and Information Sharing":
The Southwest Border Intelligence Integration Working Group has been re-established, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) as co-chairs, to facilitate implementation of intelligence and information sharing programs and activities designed to enhance operational efforts along the Southwest Border. . . DHS has begun an internal process to coordinate and standardize the intelligence requirements process among its component agencies. DHS-supported State and Local Fusion Centers are increasing their coordination with relevant ONDCP High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Investigative Support Centers. On March 30, 2010, CBP opened its first Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center (IOCC) in Tucson, Arizona. The IOCC is strengthening CBP‘s ability to detect, identify, and interdict terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and other cross-border illicit activity by collecting and analyzing all-source information and integrating that information into CBP day-to-day operations. . . ICE has also deployed additional analysts to support information sharing and operational efforts along the Southwest Border and in Mexico. DEA has deployed 41 automated license plate reader (LPR) monitoring stations throughout Texas, New Mexico, and California.
DEA's National License Plate Reader Initiative utilizes new and established locations to gather information regarding travel patterns on drug traffickers, weapons traffickers, and bulk cash smugglers along the Southwest Border. This is done through access to the national repository located in Merrifield, VA, where deconfliction, queries, and alerts, to include "hot lists" can be facilitated through existing DEA applications and/or the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) 24-hour LPR Watch. CBP has integrated its operational and intelligence personnel assigned to its Border Field Intelligence Center with EPIC, further enabling EPIC's ―all threats‖ focus and fusion with existing multi-agency units. In July 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established the Southwest Intelligence Group, co-located at EPIC, to support the Legal Attaché in Mexico City as well as the eight FBI field offices situated along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In fiscal year (FY) 2009, ICE finalized the terms of its participation in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Fusion Center in Merrifield, VA, and began to contribute data and personnel. All the OCDETF investigative agencies – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), DEA, FBI, ICE, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) – are now members of the OCDETF Fusion Center, along with a multitude of other Federal agencies. The OCDETF agencies already participate in existing OCDETF Co-located Strike Forces in San Diego, Phoenix/Tucson, El Paso, Houston, Atlanta, San Juan, New York, and Boston that target drug or money laundering organizations operating across the Southwest Border.
Got an idea now of how inter-related and seamless the Obama administration has made the intelligence operations directed south of the border? And what part of "deconfliction" and "integration" would shield any of these agencies from Gunwalker scandal knowledge?
Here's a suggestion for Senator Grassley and Representative Issa. Get yourselves a computer COMPASS and see which way the Gunwalker scandal needle points.