Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Fast and Furious Timeline and News Links - June 2011
June 2, 2011 - A report published today at Examiner.com indicated that a .50 Cal rifle 'walked" into Mexico under the "Fast and Furious" operation may have been used to shoot down a Mexican government helicopter. In addition to the .50 Cal, it is suspected by the ATF that many other guns from the ill fated program were recovered at the shoot out, in which 11 people were killed. Although Examiner.com is not part of the mainstream press, it should be noted that they were among the first to break the Gunwalker story.
June 5, 2011 - Rep. Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, announces in a Fox News interview that he will hold public hearings on the ATF scandal this summer. He also stated that he has evidence that the program was approved at "the highest level". He made it clear that he believes it is possible that both Eric Holder and President Obama knew of the program. According to Issa, they have had excellent cooperation in the field and zero cooperation in Washington.
June 6, 2011 - CBS News Reports that Issa will hold public hearing beginning June 13th. CBS also reports that 31 House Democrats have joined Republicans in demanding that the administration "promptly provide complete answers to all Congressional inquiries on this issue." This is the first time any Democrats have brought their pressure to bear.
June 6, 2011 - CBS News confirms that "Gunwalker" guns - illegally bought in the US with the help of the BATFE, and then smuggled into Mexico under their watchful eyes - were used to shoot down a Mexican military helicopter.
Jun 6, 2011 - The Hill reports that Issa's committee will issue a large number of subpoenas to Washington based administration officials. The Hill also reports that interviews of cooperating witnesses in the BATFE and Justice Department have revealed who authorized the operation.
Jun 7, 2011 - The Daily Caller reports that the first hearings will focus upon possible obstruction of justice by the Obama administration.
Jun 7, 2011 - World Net Daily interviews David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner, one of the first reporters to break the story. The interview focuses upon Rep. Issa's strategy for the first congressional hearings.
June 9, 2011 - The Daily Caller Reports that Rep. Issa will hold additional hearings on Wednesday, June 15th. Witnesses will include Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, ATF agents, Justice Department officials and family members of dead Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
June 9, 2011 - UPI finally carries a story on the scandal, predictably downplaying the whole issue.
June 9, 2011 - The Wall Street Journal carries a report that Mexican authorities have recovered a large cache of weapons tied to Gunwalker.
June 10, 2011 - Fox News reports that DOJ is in "full panic mode" over next week's hearings. They report that the hearings will reveal that BATFE "knowingly and deliberately flooded Mexico with assault rifles" over the repeated objections of field agents.
June 10, 2011 - National Review Online Reports that Rep. Darrell Issa is set to issue a number of subpoenas to federal officials who have ties to “Fast and Furious". The article also notes that the mainstream media is basically ignoring the story. Fox also has an audio recording of an ATF agent instructing a gun dealer to make a sale to a known trafficker, over the objection of the dealer.
June 10, 2011 - The Herald and News reports that the DOJ is "stonewalling" the congressional investigation.
June 10, 2011 - The Pittsburgh Tribute calls for "sunshine" to be applied to the ATF scandal.
June 13, 2011 - Fox news reports that hearings held today will focus on the Obama Administration's refusal to respond to subpoenas and other requests for documents, as the first step in a process that will eventually compel compliance. Rep. Issa is quoted as saying, "Now the question is will DOJ give us the documents or will law enforcement officials, little by little, as whistleblowers give us what we want to show this problem goes to the highest levels."
June 13, 2011 - In an opinion piece, World Net Daily - the first non-gun media to carry the story - becomes the first outlet to raise the issue of IMPEACHMENT. Roger Hedgecock, reports that, behind the scenes, Republican Congress members consider the actions of the justice department an act of war against Mexico.
June 13, 2011 - In a Fox news interview, Rep. Issa accuses the Administration of a systematic cover up. He also links Gunwalker to a coordinated effort between DOJ and gun control groups.
June 13, 2011 - Rep. Issa's opening statement from today's hearing, detailing the Administration's cover up.
June 13, 2011 - Sharyl Attkisson reports on today's hearings.
June 13, 2011 - Video and transcripts from today's hearings.
June 14, 2011 - The Tucson Citizen refers to the next day's hearing as "Custer's last stand" for the ATF. They publish a witness list which includes Sen. Grassley, Brian Terry's family, three ATF agents and Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.
June 14, 2011 - The Hill reports the the Dems are trying to blunt the impact of the hearings by asserting that it will impede ongoing criminal investigations.
June 14, 2011 18:00 ET - Just ahead of Wednesday's hearing, the House oversight committee releases it's first report. It confirms the worst of the Gunwalker accusations - including that ATF managers were "giddy" when they heard that both violence in Mexico and "gunwalker" gun recoveries were rising. They showed no concern for the innocent Mexicans who were dying. In an earlier video report, Fox News reported that at least one goal of the program was to blame US gun dealers and provide justification for tighter US gun laws.
June 15, 2011 - C-Span video of today's hearings. Highlights: ATF has disclosed nothing that was not available on the net or had not be completely blacked out. Agent: There is not one rookie cop in this country who could not have told you this program was not going to work. Agent: The gun dealers are our friends. They were ready to help us. They don't like being accused of operating in a "grey market". Question from Rep. Isaa: Is it possible that the real goal of this operation was political?
June 14, 2011 - Fox News Interviews Larry Pratt - Was Motive Behind ‘Operation Gunrunner’ to Help Gun Control Agenda?
June 15, 2011 - Greta Van Susteren interviews Peter Forcelli, ATF Supervisory Agent after his testimony.
June 15, 2011 - NY Times: Top Agency Officials Knew of Disputed Gun Program
June 15, 2011 - SF Chronicle: Federal agents testify on guns smuggled to Mexico
June 15, 2011 - Washington Post: Wayward policy blamed for agent’s slaying
June 15, 2011 - Two LA Times Reports HERE AND HERE
June 15, 2011 -Wall Street Journal - Top Brass Cited in Gun Sting
June 15, 2011 - USA Today: ATF agent calls gun-tracking program a 'disaster'
June 15, 2011 - CBS News: Congress irate over ATF guns-to-Mexico program
June 15, 2011 - NPR: ATF Agents: Higher-Ups Let Guns Go To Cartels
June 15, 2011 - Newsmax: Issa: ATF Mexican Gun Scandal a Lot Like Iran-Contra
June 16, 2011 - 24hrs later, NBC, ABC and PBS continue IGNORE THE STORY. How many dead does it take?
June 17, 2011 - Approximately 21;00pt - According to Fox News, in a classic "avoid the news cycle move" the Obama administration has leaked word that the current acting head of ATF will be fired. They are also floating the idea that Obama's choice to head ATF, Andrew Traver, could be named the new acting director. Traver, who is from - you guessed it - Chicago, has a long history of pushing for the very same gun control measures that the Gunwalker operation may have been designed to justify - often by providing misleading information and "demonstrations" to the media. His confirmation has been held up for years by gun rights groups. The Wall Street Journal has a longer report.
June 17, 2011 - Dallas Morning News Editorial: ‘We don’t know’ isn’t good enough from Justice Dept.
June 17, 2011 Fox News story: Two AK-47s Used to Murder Mexican Lawyer Were 'Fast and Furious' Guns
June 17, 2011 - CNS News interviews Rep. Issa: Holder 'Absolutely' Knew About Fast & Furious Earlier Than He Testified ----- Four Minute Report - Ten minute Report
June 18, 2011 World Net Daily Editorial: Did White House approve Project Gunrunner? What the goal to justify more gun control?
June 19, 2011 - The Nevada Appeal publishes an editorial by Jim Bagwell, graduate of the FBI National Academy with 31 years law enforcement experience. In it he states that one objective of Gunwalker was the passage of new federal gun control laws.
June 19, 2011 - Washington Examiner: Don't make Melson a Fast and Furious scapegoat
June 20, 2011 - The Wall Street Journal publishes another article, entitled A Drug-War Plan Goes Awry.
June 20, 2011 - LA Times reports acting ATF direct to resign. They also report that rank and file agents to not have faith in Traver.
June 20, 2011 - The Huffington Post reports that Melson will resign in one to two days.
June 20, 2011 - CNN reports that Melson will resign, says political damage is major.
June 20, 2011 - ABC News Online finally reports the story SIX MONTHS AFTER AGENT TERRY DIED. Surrounding the text story is a six month old video report on Terry's death and, you guessed it, links to stories pushing gun control.
June 20, 2011 - USA today reports that acting ATF director Melson is likely to resign. Very little about guns walking other than Terry's death.
June 20, 2011 - Newsmax reports: Acting ATF Director to Resign Over Gun-Buying Sting
June 20, 2011 - Greta Van Susteren interviews ATF Agent Jay Robbins. He states "fast and furious" was planned in the Attorney General's Office and was known "at the highest levels of government".
June 21, 2011 - Sen. Grassley releases his analysis disproving the ATF's bogus "river of guns" 70% figures, using their own data. Of the 26,813 weapons submitted to ATF by Mexico for tracing (by no means the total of guns recovered by Mexican law enforcement) only 5,800 traced back to US retail channels - and many of these were sent to Mexico by the ATF under Gunwalker. Even including the Gunwalker guns, the figure is 21.5%. This figure must be further reduced by the fact that Mexico only submits guns for tracing that they believe came from the US.
June 21, 2011 - Rep. Issa is interviewed on Fox News. He states that Eric Holder "should have known" about the program. Fox Video Newsmax Print Story
June 21, 2011 - The Daily Caller, citing an Issa staffer, reports that responsibility for "fast and Furious" goes "much higher" than acting head of ATF Melson.
June 21, 2011 - Main Justice reports Rep. Issa's call for Melson to resign, also quotes Sen. Grassley as saying that last week's 70% figure for US gun recoveries in Mexico was intentionally inaccurate and was intended to distract attention from the June 15th hearings.
June 21, 2011 - The Washington Post citing unnamed sources within ATF, reports that Rep. Isaa was fully briefed on "everything he is objecting to now" in April 2010.
June 22, 2011 - Investors Business Daily publishes an editorial demanding accountability for Gunwalker "as high as it goes". They are critical of Traver as well, questioning why the administration should benefit from a crisis they created. Finally, they strongly imply that Obama himself was behind the program and the motive was the create support for a new assusalt weapons ban.
June 22, 2011 - Main Justice reports the accusation against Issa. However they also report that House Oversight Committee spokesperson Fredrick Hill has denied the accusation - pointing out that the ATF cannot have it both ways. They cannot say that they did not know about guns going to Mexico, but Issa did know because they briefed him on it.
June 22, 2011 - The Huffington Post dutifully echoes the Washington post accusation.
June 22, 2011 - In a report posted to the internet this morning, Anderson Cooper casts profound doubt on Eric Holder's denial of prior knowledge of "Fast and Furious".
June 22, 2011 - CBS news reports Rep. Issa's denial of the Washington Post allegations. He blames "opponents of the investigation" within DOJ for the false reports. Similar reports are carried on June 23rd by The Daily Caller, Main Justice, and The Hill.
June 23, 2011 - Newsmax reports that aides to Rep. Issa state that the Washington Post story alleging that the Congressman was fully briefed on Gunwalker is "an outright lie". The spokesman further stated that the Justice Department "shopped the story around" the Washington media, and that several outlets refused to print it because they did not find it credible.
June 23, 2011 - The LA Times reports that Kenneth Melson is resisting pressure to step down. He reportedly does not want to be the "fall guy" for the Gunwalker scandal. The article notes that he has an open invitation to appear before Issa's committee, but has not been give permission to do so by the Justice Department.
June 24, 2011 - Main Justice reports that Rep. Issa has departed for Mexico, where he will meet with government officials in an effort to gather more evidence.
June 24, 2011 - Human Events publishes an article in which they make the case that the Washington Post has inadvertently provided convincing circumstantial evidence that the real adgenda behind "fast and furious" was the promotion of gun control in the US.
June 24, 2011 - NPR covers the story again, ending with, "One thing's for sure: Issa and Grassley say they're planning more hearings this summer."
June 26, 2011 - The Washington Post publishes an editorial blaming Gunwalker on the NRA. According to the Post, weak gun laws and the gun rights movement have tied ATF's hands.
June 27, 2011 - The Weekly Standard responds to the Washington Post editorial. They question the wisdom of giving more power to an agency that is out of control.
June 27, 2011 - The LA times publishes an editorial on Gunwalker, blaming the problem on the "impossible task of enforcing weak gun laws". No mention of the fact that dealers reported the straw purchases to ATF and never would have sold the guns if they had not been ordered to do so. 2006 congressional investigation into ATF excesses in Virginia is cited as an example of how hard it is to enforce gun laws. No mention of the fact that ATF targeted women and mixed race couples, made felony car stops and seized guns with zero probable cause, or that local PD refused to assist when they saw the tactics.
June 27, 2011 - Fox News reports that BATFE has served one of the "Gunwalker" whistleblowers with a termination notice.
June 27, 2011 - The Daily Beast reports that Senators Charles Grassley and Patrick Leahy have reached an agreement that will give Grassley and fellow Republicans access to ATF acting head Kenneth Melson, as well full access to ATF documents and other key witnesses. In return, Sen. Grassley will release holds on three Obama nominees awaiting confirmation. As a result Melson, who has reportedly stated that he will not "take the fall" for the scandal, will definitely testify before the House, the Senate or both.
June 28, 2011 - The Beaufort Observer calls for the abolition of the ATF and the dismissal of Attorney General Holder.
June 28, 2011 - The Sacramento Bee reprints the LA Times editorial blaming 'lax guns laws" for the ATF scandal.
June 28, 2011 - CNN confirms the deal that will give Senate investigators access to ATF acting director Kenneth Melson.
June 29, 2011 - President Obama is asked about the ATF scandal at his news conference. He once again denied that Eric Holder, his Attorney General, had authorized the operation. In their report CBS notes that Kenneth Melson, acting head of BATFE, will be interviewed by Senate investigators in mid-July.
June 29, 2011 - Town Hall reports on President Obama's remarks. Their report includes the following response from Rep. Issa: ""President Obama's remarks today on Operation Fast and Furious were disappointing. There was no sign of urgency to provide answers or explain why no one at the Justice Department has accepted responsibility for authorizing an illegal gunwalking operation six months after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder. The American people expect more from the President than unsubstantiated assertions that the Attorney General didn't know about this reckless program and no explanation about who authorized it."
June 29, 2011 - The Daily Caller reports that lawyers for the defendants in "Gunwalker" are using their discovery rights to conduct their own investigation of BATFE's actions.
June 30, 2011 - Democrats in Congress, lead by Rep. Elijah Cummings, conduct a "full court press" aimed at changing the subject from BATFE misconduct to "weak gun laws". In other words, they are trying to use Gunwalker to pass more gun control laws. Wasn't that the very accusation made by gun rights groups? Articles: Politico - Chron - Washington Post - Wall Street Journal - Baltimore Sun - Newsmax - Main Justice - The Hill
June 30, 2011 - ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu appears on the Fox News program the O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Laura Ingraham. We learn that prior to exposing the Gunwalker scandal, Cefalu served in many posts within BATFE and had glowing reviews - yet he was terminated after "blowing the whistle". Cefalu states that many people high in DOJ were fully aware of Gunwalker. Speaking of why he went public, he said, "I had been exposing what I saw as a deterioration in the senior leadership in ATF to the point where it started crossing pretty huge ethical and legal boundaries. Other agents were coming to me from across the country just because I'm as senior as I am, and I became vocal and open and public about it. The straw that broke the back for me was when one of our own was killed with a gun that we allowed to walk."
June 30, 2011 - ABC News 15 - a local Phoenix outlet reports that Gunwalker firearms are turning up at crime scenes in the Phoenix area.
June 30, 2011 - John Hayward, writing in Human Events, authors an article entitled: The Gun Walker Pushback - The scandal which can no longer be ignored.