Valkyrie: from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain"
"Things like this happen because of meetings. People sit in meetings and they decide what they want to happen. And then they take decisions, make policy and implement that policy to achieve those ends." He added, "That's why State is so nervous. They signed off on this. In a meeting." . . . He added, "Of course the meeting transcripts won't reflect the truth so plainly, but then neither did the Wannsee Conference. These bastards always talk in riddles about what they're really after. Watch what they do, not what they say." -- Old DC intelligence community member, quoted in Meetings: Part One.
"Choosers of the slain" no longer ride horses in the sky. This is the 21st Century after all.
At 7AM Eastern on Wednesday, 30 September 2009, United States Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden was driven to Washington Reagan Airport. At 10:30 he flew out on US Airways Flight # 407. Ogden was headed for Phoenix, Arizona and, later, Houston, where there was big stuff happening that Ogden and his bosses at DOJ and the White House wanted him to help draw attention to. He arrived just in time at 12:24PM Mountain.
His coming was heralded, as these things often are, with a press release:
PHOENIX, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden and U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke of the District of Arizona will be joined by federal and local law enforcement partners to officially unveil the new Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force site in Phoenix TOMORROW, SEPTEMBER 30, 2009, at 1:30 P.M. MST (4:30 P.M. EST).
Federal and local law enforcement partners of the OCDETF Strike Force include DEA; ATF; FBI; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Arizona Department of Public Safety; and the Phoenix, Mesa, and South Tucson Police Departments. The OCDETF Strike Force is an intelligence driven program designed to target the most significant drug trafficking organizations in Arizona and its outer regions.
WHO: Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden
U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis K. Burke
Acting Director of ATF Kenneth Melson
Special Agent in Charge DEA Elizabeth Kempshall
Acting Director of the ICE Office of Investigations Kumar Kibble
WHAT: Remarks and Q & A
WHEN: TOMORROW, SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
1:30 P.M. MST (4:30 P.M. EST)
WHERE: DEA Phoenix Division, 3010 N. Second Street, Phoenix, Ariz.
NOTE: Media may begin to arrive at 1:00 p.m. MST. Cameras and microphones must be pre-set by 1:15 a.m. MST. A mult box is available. All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver's license) as well as valid media credentials. Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to Sandy Raynor, Public Information Officer for the District of Arizona, (602) 514-7625.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
Observant readers will note that two of the featured speakers above who participated with Ogden that day are now officially disgraced because of the Gunwalker Scandal. One, Ken Melson, has been shunted to a rubber room job made for him in the Justice Department to keep him on the payroll. The other, Janet Napolitano's former flunky and U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke has been forced to resign, his Gunwalking days over (except for future testimony under oath and possible imprisonment).
After landing, Ogden was driven to the DEA offices at 3010 North 2nd Street where, a 1 o'clock, he met with USA Dennis Burke and the Special Agents in Charge of the various federal law enforcement agencies including DEA's Elizabeth Kempshall, ATF's William Newell, about to become "Gunwalker Bill," and the SACs of FBI, ICE, etc.
They likely didn't have time to talk much, because the "OCDETF Strike Force Space Unveiling and Press Conference" began at 1:30 Mountain.
From the DOJ press release afterward:
PHOENIX—Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, along with U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Kenneth Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration Deputy Chief of Operations Dave Gaddis, and other federal and local officials today officially unveiled the new Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force site in Phoenix.
The Phoenix Strike Force is housed in the offices of the DEA Phoenix Division. The OCDETF Strike Force functions as a cohesive unit by bringing together representatives of the partner agencies to more effectively focus on specific investigative targets. Federal, state, and local agencies represented include the DEA; ATF; the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Arizona Department of Public Safety; the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office; and the Phoenix, Mesa, and South Tucson Police Departments.
“OCDETF Strike Forces, like the one here in Phoenix, reflect the kind of collaborative law enforcement approach that allows us to most effectively combat the vicious drug trafficking organizations such as the Sinaloa Cartel that contribute to violence and other crime in neighborhoods here and across this country,” said Ogden. “Now in its 27th year, the OCDETF program has been a model of interagency coordination, innovation, and teamwork. This strategy recognizes that the most successful way to fight these intricate criminal networks is by combining the strengths, resources, and expertise of federal, state and local agencies.”
“By concentrating experts from so many agencies in one place, the strike force model allows for real-time sharing of intelligence and deployment of strategy,” stated U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis K. Burke. “That advantage allows strike force agents to react more decisively to interdict the actions of large, sophisticated and violent drug trafficking organizations. Coordination leads to better intelligence, quicker reaction and more convictions.”
The Phoenix Field Division formed an OCDETF Strike Force in August 2008, that focuses completely on investigations of command and control elements of the Sinaloa Cartel and Arizona-based distribution cells associated with the Cartel.
Since its inception, the Phoenix Strike Force has indicted a Sinaloa Cartel associated CPOT (Consolidated Priority Organization Target) and RPOT (Regional Priority Organization Target), conducted in excess of 80 wire taps of Sinaloa Cartel related Drug Trafficking Organizations, and has been directly or indirectly responsible for the seizure of over $150 million dollars in U.S. currency, associated assets, and financial instruments. In addition, information provided by the Phoenix Strike Force has led to the seizure of over $29 million in cash and assets in Mexico and 93 arrests in the United States.
“DEA is successfully striking back at the Mexican Cartels that use Phoenix as a major transshipment point for their drug trafficking operations,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “In coordination with the Calderon Administration, we are targeting and arresting major drug traffickers impacting Arizona, disrupting their operations both in Mexico and the United States. This multi-agency Strike Force, which has already helped take down significant Sinaloa Cartel leadership, is a proven law enforcement tool for tackling the challenges we face along the Southwest Border.”
“Within the OCDETF arena, ATF maintains its focus on major drug traffickers who use firearms to further their trade and violate firearms-trafficking laws, as well as laws relating to explosives,” said ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson. “Firearms often serve as a form of payment for drugs and, together with explosives and arson, are used as tools by drug organizations for purposes of intimidation, enforcement, and retaliation against their own members, rival organizations, or the community in general. ATF’s jurisdiction and expertise make it a well-suited partner in the OCDETF program.”
Based on the success of the Phoenix Strike Force Group, an additional Strike Force Group was formed in the Phoenix Field Division’s Tucson District Office in June 2009. The Tucson Strike Force Group is comprised of law enforcement personnel from DEA, ATF, ICE, FBI, and the South Tucson Police Department. Both Strike Force Groups will continue to pursue OCDETF case designations for federal prosecution and will work in a complementary role with the Arizona HIDTA (High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area).
I have written before, back in May, of OCDETF, the OFC and its COMPASS database in the grand scheme of Gunwalking: "DOJ deflects blame down food chain. Bad news for designated patsies & for the rogue field office theory. Meet Compass, the key to Gunwalker intel."
At the end of that article, I commented:
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.
And here is what DAG Ogden had to say that afternoon in Phoenix. At the risk of boring some of you, it is important. Read it and consider, given the Obama administration's considerable efforts at "coordination," "deconfliction," and "seamless effort," just how Gunwalker could have happened:
a. Without people in every other agency linked into OCDETF knowing about it?
b. Without operational direction across and through those various agencies from on high, and given that they are spread from Treasury to Justice to DHS, from the National Security Council and the White House itself?
Answers to both A & B: It couldn't. But don't believe me. Here's Ogden:
Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us to mark the official opening of the Phoenix OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) Strike Force. This is an important day. The OCDETF program supports and coordinates the collaborative law enforcement approach that positions us best to effectively combat the vicious drug trafficking organizations, known as the Mexican drug cartels, that contribute to so much of the violence and crime in neighborhoods across this country.
These criminal organizations are a national security threat to Mexico and a threat to public safety and security in the United States. They are responsible for the steady stream of illicit drugs -- cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or marijuana -- that cross our border from south to north. We believe that they are responsible for 80 to 90 percent of the illegal drugs sold in the United States. They are also responsible for the deadly flow of illegal firearms across the border, which enable the terrible violence and terror in some Mexican communities.
These sophisticated criminal organizations operate across local, state, and national borders creating a challenge for law enforcement in both countries. To combat this persistent and pernicious threat, we must also be seamless in our operations by acting as a multi-agency team.
The OCDETF Program -- now in its 27th year -- is a model of interagency coordination, innovation, and teamwork, and is the cornerstone of the Justice Department’s anti-cartel strategy. That strategy recognizes that the most effective way to fight these large criminal networks is by combining the strengths, resources, and expertise of federal, state and local investigative and prosecutorial agencies. OCDETF serves as the organizational structure for the formation of prosecutor-led, multi-agency task forces. It focuses the efforts of these task forces through the use of intelligence-based targeting to drive large scale arrests, prosecutions and asset forfeitures.
These teams are extraordinarily capable. They combine:
* DEA’s unique knowledge of international drug trafficking organizations, and its working relationships with foreign, state, and local law enforcement authorities;
* FBI’s experience in gathering and analyzing intelligence data, investigating gangs and other complex criminal organizations, as well as its expertise in handling sensitive public corruption matters;
* ICE’s expertise in investigating goods and currency involved in international contraband smuggling and in confronting and interdicting drug and gun traffickers;
* ATF’s expertise in investigating illegal firearms and explosives, which have long been the drug traffickers’ tools of the trade;
* IRS’s knowledge of sophisticated illegal financial operations, the tax code, money laundering statutes, and asset forfeiture laws to thoroughly investigate the dealings of the targeted organizations and dismantle the economic infrastructure that fuels their operations;
* the U.S. Marshals Service's skills in fugitive investigations and apprehension of criminals in the U.S. and abroad who have the resources to try to hide anywhere in the world;
* the Coast Guard’s maritime reach and expertise, and
* the critical local knowledge of State and local law enforcement officers who are intimately familiar with the individuals living in the neighborhoods that they serve. They know how the criminals conduct their activity and its impact on their communities. They also have invaluable contacts with local businesses and community leaders who all play a critical role in fighting crime.
OCDETF supports such cooperation in various ways, but co-located strike forces, such as the one we announce today, are extraordinarily effective vehicles for OCDETF’s team concept. In many places, OCDETF pulls together its coalition of law enforcement entities by relying upon “virtual task forces” where members report to work each day at their respective agency’s offices and come together as needed to work on particular investigations and prosecutions.
But in an effort to better foster the enhanced intelligence sharing and coordination necessary to achieve the best results from this intelligence-driven, strategic enforcement approach, OCDETF has established co-located strike forces in key cities across the country.
Working side-by-side every day, the members of the OCDETF Strike Forces are able to focus their efforts, eliminate superfluous work, and save valuable resources. As a result, they have been able to take the fight against the most notorious international drug cartels to new levels. Coordinating the efforts of their member agencies, OCEDTF Strike Forces were integral participants in the major successes in this fight - Operation Xcellerator against the Sinaloa Cartel, Project Reckoning against the Gulf Cartel, and last month’s coordinated arrests of members of the La Familia Cartel.
OCDETF currently has co-located strike forces in nine key cities: Atlanta, Boston, El Paso, Houston, New York, San Diego, San Juan, Tampa, and now, here in Phoenix. These strike forces also function as a central point of contact for OCDETF agents and prosecutors nationwide, gathering intelligence and disseminating investigative leads throughout the neighboring areas. Although these strike forces were established for the same basic purpose, each is unique to the region it serves and tailors its approach to the nature of the threat there.
The Phoenix Strike Force focuses its efforts on major drug trafficking organizations operating along the Southwest Border. By bringing together agents from DEA, ICE, ATF, FBI, IRS, the Marshals Service, and state and local law enforcement agencies, the Phoenix Strike Force is able to leverage the expertise of six federal and five local law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking cartels. In its first months of operation, working out of provisional space while this Strike Force facility was under construction, the Phoenix Strike Force has already achieved great success. It conducted 89 wiretap investigations and was responsible for the indictment of a Mexican national who is on the United States’ list of high level international drug traffickers, along with members of his drug trafficking organization.
The strike force’s work also led to the indictment of a drug trafficker who had been identified as a target of regional significance, 68 arrests, and the seizure of $45 million in cartel assets, 106 kilograms of cocaine, 146 pounds of methamphetamine, and 4,000 pounds of marijuana. We look forward to the Phoenix Strike Force continuing, and even expanding upon these remarkable achievements as it moves into its permanent facility.
There are many people who contributed to these successes and I would like to take a moment to recognize a few of them. Stuart Nash, an associate in my office, has provided steady leadership to this effort.
* SAC Beth Kempshall, and ASAC Doug Coleman of the DEA,
* SAC William Newell and ASACs George Gillette and Ken Melson and Jim Needles of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Explosive
* SAC John Lewis and ASAC Steve Hooper of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and finally,
* Phoenix Police Chief Jack F. Harris, have been instrumental partners in making OCDETF what is it today.
Please join me in congratulating the members of the Phoenix OCDETF Strike Force for the outstanding work they have done the last several months and to congratulate you on moving in to your new site. You are among the most dedicated individuals in law enforcement. On behalf of the Department, I want to thank you for all that you do. Keep up the good work.
I’d like to turn it over to the new United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis Burke.
By 2 o'clock, Ogden was enroute to Macayo's Restaurant at 4001 North Central for a working lunch with Burke and the US Attorneys Office executive management.
It is not reported if either Ogden or Burke had "The Best Tamale in Town."
By 3:15 Ogden was on his way to Two Renaissance Square, 40 North Central, Suite 1200 -- the offices of Dennis K. Burke for an "All Hands Meeting" in the 12th floor press room. By 4:10 he went down a floor for a meeting with the supervisory US Attorneys and a briefing on "district initiatives." He also had a meeting with the senior AUSAs and SLCs.
By 5:15 he was headed back to the Phoenix airport where at 6:56 that evening he flew out on US Airways Flight # 277 enroute to Houston.
He got into the Crown Plaza Hotel on Smith Street after midnight, the end of a long, productive day.
The following day, Ogden would speak on the subjects of Project Gunrunner, Gunrunner Impact Teams (GRITs) and "The Surge."
It would be from The Surge that the Gunwalker Scandal would issue forth.
Coming up in "Meetings, Part 5": Houston, The Surge and "Gloryholes."