General Info
Facts are STUBBORN Things...Connecting the Dots between Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 12 December 2011 09:58
Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Hearing with Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Nov. 1, 2011

Connection Between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious

 

Assistant Attorney General Breuer to Senator Grassley: “I regret that in April of 2010 that I did not draw the connection between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.”

FACT

In the spring of 2010, Criminal Division staff considered Operation Wide Receiver and Operation Fast and Furious related components of the same case.

On February 22, 2010, Gang Unit prosecutors Laura Gwinn and Joe Cooley, assigned respectively to Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious, emailed back and forth with each other about the connection between the two cases when some of the guns being trafficked in Fast and Furious were tracked to a stash house of one of the targets in Wide Receiver.

Because of those overlapping targets, Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious were considered associated cases.  When the ATF Phoenix Field Division assembled a PowerPoint presentation on Fast and Furious in March 2010, one of the slides listing “Associated Cases” with Fast and Furious listed Operation Wide Receiver.  This same PowerPoint was presented at ATF headquarters on March 5, 2010.  According to a March 11, 2010, memo from Gang Unit Chief Kevin Carwile, Gang Unit member Joe Cooley attended that briefing.

Concerns about those overlapping targets also led to delay in unsealing the indictments in Wide Receiver, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona had concerns that when the Wide Receiver indictments were unsealed it would tip off targets in Fast and Furious.  As the department wrote in its October 31, 2011, letter to Senator Leahy:

The documents produced today reflect that the Gang Unit prosecutor was ready to indict the Wide Receiver cases and unseal them beginning in the spring of 2010, but that the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona handling Fast and Furious believed that if the Wide Receiver indictments became public at that time they would negatively impact his case.  The Assistant U.S. Attorney therefore requested that the indictments and/or the unsealing of the indictments in Wide Receiver be delayed.  As a result of that request, Wide Receiver 1 was indicted under seal in May 2010, Wide Receiver 2 was indicted under seal in October 2010, and both cases were unsealed in November 2010.

In a July 1, 2010, memo to DAAG Weinstein and others, Gang Unit Chief Kevin Carwile described Fast and Furious as “a gun trafficking case with apparent ties to the Tucson case already indicted by [the Gang Unit],” which was a reference to Wide Receiver.

Finally, an October 18, 2010, memo under Assistant Attorney General Breuer’s name that is addressed to the Attorney General and Acting Deputy Attorney General reads: “On October 27, the Organized Crime and Gang Section (OCGS) plans to indict eight individuals under seal relating to the trafficking of hundreds of firearms into Mexico.  The sealing will likely last until another investigation, Phoenix-based ‘Operation Fast and Furious,’ is ready for takedown.”

Given all this evidence that the cases were seen as related by Criminal Division staff, Breuer’s claim that he failed to “draw the connection” between the cases is not credible.  Since Breuer knew of gunwalking in Wide Receiver, if he knew that the cases were related then it’s difficult to understand why he would not have prevented gunwalking in Fast and Furious.

Documents supporting the FACTS.

 
Coast Guard Cutters Bertholf, Boutwell nab drugs, smugglers on high seas PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by U.S. Coast Guard   
Monday, 12 December 2011 09:53

WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard announced Thursday the interdiction of more than 2,470 pounds of cocaine, and the detention of 12 suspects, during three separate missions in the Eastern Pacific the week of Nov. 21.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, a national security cutter, and the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, a Secretary Class high endurance cutter, were on counter-drug patrols in  the Eastern Pacific Ocean.  Boutwell’s crew intercepted a drug-laden fishing vessel more than 200 miles west of Ecuador while Bertholf’s crew recovered cocaine jettisoned from a speed boat they were pursuing near the coast of Panama.

Of the 771 metric tons of cocaine known to be bound for the U.S. in 2011, more than 85 percent was transported on the high seas.  In 2010 the U.S. Coast Guard kept 73.9 metric tons of cocaine, interdicted in the maritime transit zone between South America and Central and North America, from reaching our shores, nearly double the amount seized by one million federal, state, local and tribal officials located on our land borders and in communities across the U.S.

“The pervasive threat of maritime drug smuggling that we witnessed in fiscal year 2011 is a good example of why we need modern capabilities like the national security cutter to protect our nation, ”  said Coast Guard commandant Adm. Bob Papp.  “Dollar for dollar, the best investment of taxpayer money for ensuring U.S. security, defending our borders from threats, enforcing sovereignty, and guarding marine resources is in capabilities that enable Coast Guard persistent presence at sea where we can meet threats before they reach our shores.  With counterdrug operations, this strategy has enabled us to seize bulk quantities of narcotics at sea before they are offloaded ashore, separated between dealers, and then broken down for sale on our streets and in our neighborhoods.”

The Coast Guard executed 120 drug interdiction cases in fiscal year 2011, keeping 75.6 metric tons of cocaine and 17.3 metric tons of marijuana from reaching U.S. shores.  More than 23 metric tons of cocaine have been seized since Aug. 29.  The Coast Guard also seized 40 vessels and detained 191 suspects in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30.

“The nation relies on the Coast Guard to protect against seaborne threats,” Papp said.  “Our cutters are stationed in waters vital to U.S. interests and provide the law enforcement and military capability to respond to, interdict and deal with these threats.”

The primary method of maritime drug smuggling remains the “go-fast” boat, which accounted for 58 percent of interdiction cases.  Self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels, commonly referred to as drug subs, accounted for 19 percent, while fishing vessels accounted for four percent of maritime drug smuggling activity.

Boutwell’s interdiction began Nov. 23 when the cutter approached the Ecuadorian-flagged fishing vessel El Soberano, approximately 230 miles west of Ecuador.  The Coast Guard crew observed suspicious packages on board, saw there was no fishing gear on the deck and noted the El Soberano was towing a smaller launch.  The Boutwell’s boarding team conducted a search of the fishing vessel, discovering 40 bales of cocaine weighing between 50 to 56 pounds each.  The boarding team detained all nine individuals aboard the two vessels and brought them aboard Boutwell.

"I couldn't be prouder of my crew for their vigilance and decisive actions during this interdiction," said Capt. Matthew J. Gimple, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell.  "For more than 42 years, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell has safeguarded America’s maritime interests – at home and around the world – saving those in peril, defending our maritime border, and protecting the maritime transportation system, natural resources and the marine environment.  We’ve had three interdictions this month, all of which were 200 miles or more offshore;  the ability to operate multiple, over-the-horizon boats and aircraft from our cutter for sustained periods is key to success.”

Bertholf’s action began five nautical miles west of Punta Caracoles, Panama, while the cutter was on patrol in Panamanian waters under the authority of an embarked Panamanian shiprider.  Bertholf was alerted by a maritime patrol airplane that a “go-fast” drug smuggling speedboat was in the area.  The crew of the Bertholf located the “go-fast” using the ship’s Forward Looking Infrared sensor and radar.  The cutter’s over-the-horizon boat was launched and its crew intercepted the suspect boat.  The “go-fast” fled, jettisoning about nine bales, one of which was recovered by the crew of the pursuing Bertholf over-the horizon boat.  The suspect boat eluded law enforcement using the cover of coves and islands in the area of the chase.  The pursuit ended as the chase neared the territorial seas of Colombia.  The marine patrol airplane identified a debris field from which seven bales and one kilo of cocaine were subsequently recovered.

Two nights prior, the crew of the Bertholf intercepted another “go-fast,” netting two bales of cocaine and three suspects who were turned over to SENAN, the Panamanian Maritime service.

"My crew's response was exceptional during the prosecution of this case, and I'm proud to report we foiled these drug smugglers and kept the narcotics from reaching their ultimate destination - the United States," said Capt. Thomas E. Crabbs, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf.  “The Bertholf is one of the Coast Guard's newest cutters, unique to the United States and uniquely equipped to respond to all threats; it served the nation well during this case.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf is on a 70-day patrol conducting counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific.  Cutters like the Bertholf routinely conduct operations from South America to the Bering Sea where their unmatched combination of range, speed, and ability to operate in extreme weather provides the mission flexibility necessary to conduct alien migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and homeland security operations at great distances from shore keeping threats far from the U.S. mainland.

The Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell is on a 60-day deployment for counter-drug operations in the Eastern Pacific.  So far in this patrol they have been involved in three law enforcement cases resulting in the seizure or jettison of 3,800 pounds of cocaine worth $40 million.  The Boutwell and the Coast Guard's current fleet of cutters is from 30 to 45 years old, constituting one of the oldest fleets in the world while being one of the busiest.

The Boutwell and the 11 other original Secretary-class, high endurance cutters, are being replaced by eight Legend-class, national security cutters like the cutter Bertholf. The NCSs are faster, better equipped, more durable, safer and more efficient than their predecessor, and will allow the Coast Guard to continue and build on the proud history of service provided by their predecessor class, delivering a unique blend of military capability, law enforcement authority and lifesaving expertise wherever needed to protect American interests, today and for decades to come.

 
LONG GROVE MAN UNAWARE OF $10,000 WIN PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Amy Garringer   
Friday, 09 December 2011 15:42

Allen Phelps Wins $10,000 Prize in Nov. 19 Powerball® Drawing

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Long Grove man was unaware he’d won a $10,000 prize in the Nov. 19 Powerball® drawing until he had his ticket validated.

Allen Phelps, 48, just happened to have his ticket validated at a local retailer and was shocked to learn what he’d won.

“[The clerk] said, ‘Do you know what you won?’ And I said, ‘No.’” Phelps said. “And she said, ‘Ten grand!’”

Phelps said he was celebrating his wife, Nancy’s, birthday the night of the drawing and wasn’t near a television to watch the Powerball drawing, so he was totally unaware of how much he’d won.

“The clerk was so excited. She asked to take a picture of the ticket!” Phelps said.

Phelps said Nancy didn’t believe the news and he had to show her the ticket to prove it.

“I said, ‘I’ll be home in ten minutes to prove it!’” Phelps said with a laugh.

Phelps purchased his winning ticket at DeWitt Travel Mart, 630 S. Sixth Ave. in DeWitt. He won the $10,000 prize using his own numbers.

“I always use my own numbers,” Phelps said. “Some are special to me, like my dad’s birthday and date of death.”

Phelps claimed his prize Nov. 22 at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids. He said he plans to use some of his winnings to purchase a newer tractor for his property.

The winning numbers in the $59.9 million Powerball jackpot drawing on Nov. 19 were: 9-16-17-28-30 and Powerball 11. The Power Play® multiplier was 3. Phelps won a $10,000 prize by matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball. Had he added the Power Play to his ticket, Phelps would have multiplied his $10,000 win by three to win a $30,000 prize.

There was one jackpot winner in the Nov. 19 drawing from Pennsylvania.

Players can increase their prizes with the Power Play (except the jackpot) up to five times. The cost is $1 per play. The Power Play number, 2 through 5, is chosen at the beginning of the drawing indicating the amount prizes (except the jackpot) will be multiplied if that number is drawn.

For players who choose the Power Play and match five white balls (regularly a $200,000 prize), the multiplier will always be 5, so those players would win an instant $1 million.

Winning numbers may be checked at the lottery website at www.ialottery.com or through the winning numbers' hot line at (515) 323-4633. Winning numbers may also be checked with lottery retail outlets or by calling the lottery at (515) 725-7900 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Players may visit the Iowa Lottery at 2323 Grand Ave. in Des Moines or go to one of the lottery’s regional offices in Council Bluffs, Storm Lake, Mason City or Cedar Rapids to claim prizes.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.7 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

###

 
Facts are STUBBORN Things, the Connection between Fast and Furious and Agent Terry's Death PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 09 December 2011 15:18

Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, Nov. 8, 2011

Connection between Fast and Furious and Agent Terry’s Death

Attorney General Holder to Senator Cornyn: “It is not fair, however, to assume that the mistakes that happened in Fast and Furious led directly to the death of Agent Terry.”

FACT

According to the FBI, two weapons were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  The bullet removed from Agent Terry matched the caliber of those two weapons, not the caliber of the weapons in possession of the Border Patrol agents, so it appears he did not die from friendly fire.  Congressional investigators have asked the FBI to explain its theory of the case, since if there was no third gun at the scene and the bullet didn’t come from the Border Patrol, there must still be an unknown third gun which law enforcement has not yet recovered.  It is possible that that third gun is not related to Fast and Furious.  However, since two guns walked in Fast and Furious were present, it is possible that a third may have been as well.  The two found at the scene were both part of a lot of three weapons purchased by known straw buyer Jaime Avila on the same day in January 2010.

Prior to the purchase of the weapons found at the Terry murder scene, Avila had already been identified by the ATF as a likely straw purchaser at least two-and-a-half months earlier.  In November 2009 Uriel Patino, the largest purchasing target in Operation Fast and Furious, brought Avila into a cooperating gun dealer to buy five weapons.  ATF received real-time notice from the gun dealer and knew the purchases were significant enough that agents rushed to the store to follow them.  However, they arrived too late.  Yet rather than going to Avila’s address to question him, ATF opted to sit back.  Avila continued to purchase through December 2009 and into January 2010.

When the weapons found at the Terry murder scene were bought by Avila on January 16, 2010, the cooperating gun dealer gave the ATF same-day notice via fax.  One business day later, the ATF entered the purchases in their Suspect Gun Database.  Nevertheless, the ATF still failed to question Avila the day of the purchase, the day the purchase was entered into the Suspect Gun Database—or at all, until Avila was arrested 11 months later in direct response to Agent Terry’s death.  The falsification of forms charge for which Avila was arrested on December 15 could have been made months earlier.

Regardless, by using the word ‘directly,’ Holder seems to be echoing the statement of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer: “The tragic truth is that if those criminals who killed Agent Terry had not gotten the guns from this one source, they would have gotten the gun from another source.”  That is hardly an excuse for federal law enforcement to watch criminals collect more than a thousand firearms without acting to stop them.

Documents supporting the FACTS.

 
Another Fact today...Facts are STUBBORN Things...Whistleblower Retaliation Leak PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 09 December 2011 15:17

Senator Grassley: “Someone in the Justice Department leaked a document to the press along with talking points in an attempt to smear one of the ATF whistleblowers who have testified before the House.  This document was supposed to be so sensitive that you refused to provide it to Congress, but then someone provided it to the press.  The name of the criminal suspect in the document was deleted. But the name of the ATF agent was not.  This looks like a clear and intentional violation of the Privacy Act as well as an attempt at whistleblower retaliation. In a private phone conversation with me, you already told me that someone has been held accountable for this.  But your staff refused to provide my staff with any details.  Who was held accountable and how?”

Attorney General Holder: “You know, it – it’s – it – it almost pains me and please don’t take this away from Senator Grassley – pains me that as you said we had a private conversation.  You sent me a handwritten note that I took very seriously.  You and I have worked together on a variety of things, I think I have a good relationship with you. You sent me a handwritten note that I looked at, took serious, referred that letter to OPR, the I.G., I’m not sure which of the two, and asked them to try to find out what happened.  I called you to try to indicate to you that I had taken that matter seriously, that action had been taken.  You know, in a different time in Washington, I’m not sure that what you just said necessarily would have been shared with everyone here, but, you know, so be it, it’s a different time I suppose.”

FACT

A week and a half before the November 8th oversight hearing with the Attorney General, Senator Grassley was informed that the Attorney General wanted to speak with him.  Their discussion was a follow-up to a handwritten letter which Senator Grassley had sent to Attorney General Holder on June 30, 2011, but had never released or discussed publicly.  The letter raised concerns about the leak of a sensitive document to the press regarding a whistleblower who had come forward with allegations of gunwalking.

In the Attorney General’s call, he assured Senator Grassley that someone had been held accountable for the leak of the document.  However, Attorney General Holder would not identify who had been held accountable.  At that time, Senator Grassley informed Attorney General Holder that in order to refrain from raising the issue publicly, Senator Grassley’s staff would need more detailed information on the issue from Justice Department staff, such as who had been held accountable and how.  After the phone call, Justice Department staff contacted Senator Grassley’s staff, but refused to provide any further details.

 

The evening of the November 8th hearing, attorneys for former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke acknowledged that Mr. Burke had leaked the sensitive document to the press.  The Justice Department Inspector General confirmed that the office continues to investigate the leak, which means there are others who may be involved in drafting and distributing the talking points and document to the press.  In addition to the Inspector General investigation into the leak, the Justice Department has confirmed that its Office of Professional Responsibility is conducting a separate investigation of other leaks.  However, the department has refused to provide additional details.

 
<< Start < Prev 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 Next > End >>

Page 392 of 470