Archive for December 15th, 2011
On the one year anniversary of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the family issued a statement that included a sharp rebuke of ATF and the Justice Department.
“Brian’s death has been extremely difficult to accept. As most know, we had to learn from the news media that two assault rifles carried by the men that killed Brian and found at the murder scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious, a failed gun trafficking operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Justice,” said the statement that was issued on Wednesday, one day before the Dec. 15 anniversary of the death of Terry, who was killed while on patrol in southern Arizona.
“We find it incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian’s murder. Much to our dismay, no one in ATF or DOJ has come forward to accept responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious.”
Terry’s name has often surfaced among critics of Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers”, all with hopes of tracing the guns to the cartels. ATF lost track of many of the guns, some which surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.
Two of the guns were found at the scene where Terry was murdered, though authorities have been unable to confirm through ballistics whether the guns were actually used in the shooting.
The family, in its statement also said: “December 15th will mark the one year anniversary of the murder of Brian A. Terry. On that day in 2010, our family lost an amazing son, brother, uncle, and friend. Our country lost an incredible young American who was fully committed to his job in keeping our Nation safe and its borders secure. Brian’s life was dedicated to public service as a U.S. Marine, police officer, U.S. Border Patrol agent and finally as a member of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC.”
“Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian’s murder,” the family wrote.”However, we will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. Those responsible for such a misguided and fundamentally flawed operation must be held fully responsible for their decisions which allowed so many weapons to flow to the criminal element on both sides of the border. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable.”
The family added: “We would like to acknowledge the work conducted by agents from the FBI Tucson Office in the homicide investigation and the continued work by federal prosecutors in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office who are working to bring Brian’s killers to justice. We would also like to thank those members of ATF that recognized Operation Fast and Furious as fundamentally flawed and came forward with information that exposed this foolish operation to the American public. These individuals have continued to speak the truth at great professional risk.”
Thomas E. Brandon, the straight-shooting, well respected and extremely able veteran of ATF, who was sent around the country this year to try and mend some of the agencies pressing problems, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2011.
Brandon, an ex-Marine who is currently ATF’s number two person in Washington, started the year off as special agent in charge of ATF’s Detroit office, where he was very well respected.
In the spring, after the agency started coming under Congressional fire for Operation Fast and Furious, Brandon was sent off to Phoenix to head up that office and try and improve morale and straighten out matters.
Fast Furious was created in the Phoenix office. Under Fast and Furious, ATF encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.
Problem was, ATF lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Some members of Congress like Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) went on the attack, criticizing ATF. Some even suggested folding it into the FBI.
In late August, acting director Ken Melson stepped down. In October, as part of a major shakeup at the agency, Brandon was summoned from Phoenix to become the number two guy in Washington.
We think it speaks volumes that Brandon has been sent to the agency’s hotspots to help straighten out things at a time the agency has come under fire, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Waco. To boot, it’s easy to find street agents who respect Brandon, who has been an agent since 1989.
Brandon is the fourth person to receive the Fed of the Year Award. Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008), Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).
An Aryan Nations leader of fleeting TV fame was sentenced Wednesday for taking more money than he was legally entitled to from a government he despised, the Associated Press reports.
August Kreis III, who appeared multiple times on the Jerry Springer show and in a 2005 interview on CNN called al-Qaeda fellow freedom fighters in the war against Jews and the American government, was sentenced to six months in prison that he’d already served, plus six months of home arrest and two years of probation in a Columbia, S.C. U.S. District Court on Wednesday. Kreis was also ordered to pay back the nearly $193,000 he was said to have improperly received in veteran benefits.
Kreis served nine months with the Navy in Vietnam before being discharged for not being fit for service, which made him eligible for benefits, according to AP.
Kreis was a High School dropout who joined the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey in the late 70s before working his way up the ranks of several white supremacist groups and gaining media attention through the years. ”Your relatives — weren’t they all turned into soap or lampshades?” he told the Jewish television host Jerry Springer during a 1995 show. “I’m looking for one of those lampshades,” he said.
At sentencing he appeared similarly hateful. “I don’t preach to hurt anybody, except the Jews, and I’ll keep doing that,” he said in court. “But that’s my First Amendment rights. As long as I obey God’s laws, I don’t care about anything else.”
To read more click here.
Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman told a group of Republican faithfuls on Oct. 28 that “Obama is allowing terror suspect groups to write the FBI’s terror training manual,” a wildly false statement, according to the Associated Press.
But that didn’t stop other Republican hopefuls from repeating the claims, reports the Associated Press in a story published on the Washington Post website. This past weekend primary candidate Newt Gingrich told a Des Moines, Iowa veterans’ forum that the Obama administration “issued instructions, for example, that in developing training papers on terrorism that no mention should be made of radical Islam.”
The latest, according to AP, was fellow candidate Rick Santorum’s statement, made to another Des Moine crowd, that Obama “actually ordered all references to Islam and Muslim sanitized out of our national security documents.”
The statement’s stem from FBI efforts to deal with problems that arose when it came to light that an FBI instructor was giving lectures highly critical of Islam. Investigating the matter, the FBI found a small amount of inappropriate material–suggestions that mainstream American Muslims are terrorist sympathizers, for example–and immediately got rid of it, AP reported.
To read more click here.
Senator Herb Kohl warned FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday morning about the danger of the FBI’s plan to close three FBI offices in the senator’s home state of Wisconsin, reports WXOW.
Kohl opposed the closures of offices in La Crosse, Kenosha and Wausau, Wisc., telling Mueller that if the closures go through “the Western District of Wisconsin will be especially hard hit, and will lose half of its FBI offices,” according to WXOW. “I have strong objections to these closures,” he said.
Mueller said that the FBI, looking at the Western part of Wisconsin, hopes the coverage will remain the same, with just as many agents overall, despite the office closures. He told Kohl there remained an open “crack” as to the final decision.
To read more click here.
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST
- FBI Never Sought Carrier IQ Data (Computerworld)
- Obama Withdraws Threat of Veto for Detainee Rule (Wall Street Journal)
- Atty. Gen. Holder Delivers Voting Rights Speech at LBJ Library (Huffington Post)
- NY U.S. Atty. Returns Dinnerware to Iraq (Reuters)
- U.S. Attorney Probing Food Stamp Fraud (Hartford Courant)
- Teen in Craigslist Case Transferred to Adult Court (AP)
- BigLaw Lawyers Pleads Guilty in Insider Trading Case (Wall Street Journal)