The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 1: Breaking News Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes in Test Flight — One Test Pilot Killed and One Test Pilot Seriously Injured — Are You Going Into Space — You Bet — The X Prize Vision — Videos
STATEMENT FROM VIRGIN GALACTIC
Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.
Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash in Mojave Desert During Flight Test (VIDEO)
USA: Virgin Galactic spaceship crashes in desert, one dead
Pilot killed in Virgin spaceship crash -VIRGIN GALACTIC SPACESHIPTWO CRASHES, OCT. 31, 2014
Press conference on SpaceShipTwo deadly crash
$500 Million Spaceship Explodes, Crashes in Calif. Desert
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test (VIDEO)
Virgin Atlantic Spaceship 2 Explodes In Flight and Crashes Virgin Calls it an “Anomaly” happened
BREAKING NEWS SPACE ROCKET ACCIDENT VIRGIN GALACTIC SPACESHIP TWO TEST MOJAVE CALIFORNIA 10/31/2014
Virgin Galactic spaceship crash in Mojave desert – the remains of the spacecraft – October 31 2014
Virgin Galactic Majestic Flight Showreel – Long Version
Stunning video shows Virgin Galactic test flight
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made its third rocket-powered supersonic flight in the Mojave Desert, soaring to a record 71,000 feet
Virgin Galactic’s Second Rocket Powered Flight Tail Footage
SpaceShipTwo — First Rocket-Powered, Supersonic Test Flight [HD]
SS2 First Feather Flight
Exclusive footage of the first feather flight, Mojave, CA, May 2011. Filmed by Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System (MARS) & The Clay Center Observatory.
Your Journey To Space Starts Here June 2013
Your Journey Into Space Starts Here
Sir Richard Branson’s thoughts on SpaceShipTwo’s First Rocket-Powered Test Flight [HD]
The X PRIZE Vision
Ansari XPRIZE 10th Anniversary Webcast
Virgin Galactic SpaceShip VSS Enterprise Unveil
Virgin Galactic Film 2009
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashes during testing
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed after it had an “in-flight anomaly” during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson.
The status of its pilots is unknown.
A statement from Virgin Galactic said its partner Scaled Composites conducted the test flight Friday, during which a “serious anomaly” led to the “loss of the vehicle.”
This was the company’s first rocket-powered test flight in nine months. In January, SpaceShipTwo reached 71,000 feet – its highest altitude so far.
Virgin Galactic has conducted testing for the spacecraft in the Mojave Desert at Mojave Air and Space Port, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture in May announced an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration that helped clear the path to send paying customers on a suborbital flight.
The agreement sets the parameters for how routine missions to space will take place in national airspace. It does not yet give the company a license to launch these missions.
The company’s plans have been repeatedly delayed. Branson said earlier this month at a celebration in Mojave that it was “on the verge” of going to space, but he did not give a timeframe.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a powered test flight on Friday, resulting in one fatality and one injury, authorities said.
The explosion occurred after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.
“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement. “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”
Jesse Borne, an officer at the California Highway Patrol, told NBC News that there was one fatality and one major injury.
The flight originated from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The Federal Aviation Administration said two crew members were aboard SpaceShipTwo — which is consistent with Virgin Galactic’s practice of having two test pilots who are equipped with parachutes. The pilots have not yet been identified.
Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, said the craft crashed north of Mojave. He deferred further comment pending a news conference that is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET).
Keith Holloway, a Washington-based spokesman for the National Transportation and Safety Board, said “we are in the process of collecting information.” The FAA said it was also investigating the incident.
New kind of fuel tested
During the nine months since the previous rocket-powered test in January, Virgin Galactic switched SpaceShipTwo’s fuel mixture from a rubber-based compound to a plastic-based mix — in hopes that the new formulation would boost the hybrid rocket engine’s performance.
Before Friday’s flight, the most recent aerial outing was on Oct. 7, when SpaceShipTwo took an unpowered, gliding flight back to the Mojave runway.
The latest test got off to a slow start. SpaceShipTwo spent more than three hours on the Mojave runway, slung beneath its WhiteKnightTwo mothership, while the ground team assessed whether the weather was right for flight. The go-ahead was finally given for takeoff at 9:19 a.m. PT (12:19 p.m. ET).
It took WhiteKnightTwo about 45 minutes to get to 50,000 feet, the altitude at which it released SpaceShipTwo for free flight.
The flight was part of Virgin Galactic’s long-running program to test SpaceShipTwo in preparation for suborbital trips to the edge of outer space. Virgin Galactic had said the first trip to an outer-space altitude — usually defined as 100 kilometers, or 62 miles — could have taken place before the end of the year, depending on how the tests went. The company’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, was hoping to ride on the first commercial flight next year.
More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for a ride on the rocket plane.
Branson’s Virgin Galactic Spaceship in catastrophic explosion and crash: One pilot dead and another critical as experimental plane blows up on test flight over California
- SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power and then tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly’
- Virgin Galactic confirmed craft had exploded
- Images show parts of the craft on the ground
- Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Kate Winslet among those who have signed up to fly in the spacecraft
- Second space disaster in a week after Antares rocket exploded
- Sir Richard Branson had pledged to be on first commercial flight with his family
- More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for a seat on the plane, which cost $500 million to develop
Virgin Galactic’sSpaceShipTwo spacecraft has exploded during a test flight over the Mojave desert, killing one of the two pilots onboard.
Onlookers reported seeing an explosion and debris from the craft.
Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter.
Scroll down for videos
Parts of the crashed spacecraft in the Mojave desert. SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership – then Virgin tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’
Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster with serious injuries aboard a helicopter (pictured)
Part of SpaceShip Two’s fuselage on the desert floor
Onlookers saw at least one parachute from the craft, which has two crew members.
‘Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today,’ Virgin Galactic said in a tweeted statement.
‘During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely.
‘Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time.
‘We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.’
The company earlier tweeted that SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power and then tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’
Richard Branson said in a statement, ‘Thoughts with all at Virgin Galactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.’
Wreckage of Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket
Parachutes were spotted in the area, and ABC captured this image of them on the ground
Twitter users have begun posting pictures of the debris to Twitter
Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship 2 in flight. The rocket exploded today, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another
The FAA is investigating and released a statement saying, ‘Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle.
‘The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft.
‘Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident. WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident.’
HOW VIRGIN GALACTIC WILL TAKE PASSENGERS TO SPACE
SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.
SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by a specially designed mothership and then released before igniting its rocket for suborbital thrill ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.
Ticket cost: The starting price for flights is $250,000 (£150,000) – the first ceremonial flight will be undertaken by Richard Branson and his family.
Training: Passengers are required to go through a ‘Pre-Flight Experience Programme’, including three days of pre-flight preparing onsite at the spaceport to ensure passengers are physically and mentally fit to fly.
Once aboard: SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.
A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II. The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph – or nearly four times the speed of sound
The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.
Flight path: A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II.
The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.
The spaceship accelerates to approximately 3,000 mph – or nearly four times the speed of sound
Flight frequency: Initially one per week, eventually to have two flights per day.
Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw a midflight explosion and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert.
Two pilots fly in SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit during a test.
Those pilots are equipped with parachutes, and after the anomaly, at least one chute was reportedly sighted over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the base from which SpaceShipTwo and its WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane took off.
Bakersfield’s KGET-TV quoted the Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, as saying that the craft crashed east of Mojave.
A tweet from Virgin Galactic said more information would be forthcoming.
Kern County Fire Department reports it is heading to a location in the Mojave Desert.
California Highway Patrol Officer Darlena Dotson says the agency is responding to a report of a crash in the Cantil area.
SpaceShipTwo made its last powered test flight on Jan. 10.
The Virgin logo is seen clearly in this image of the wreckage
Cars and emergency vehicles line up near the crash site
A closer look at the wreckage from the explosion
SpaceShipTwo’s pilots include, among other, Frederick ‘CJ’ Sturckow, Michael Masucci and Peter Siebold.
Sturckow, 53, is a former NASA pilot and was snapped up by Virgin Galactic in May 2013 after an illustrious career including 1,200 hours in space and lengthy military service.
He lives in Lakeside, California with his wife, earned his aviator wings in 1987 and was deployed overseas with the military to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Bahrain. He flew 41 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and led 30 plane airstrikes into Iraq and Kuwait. During his service, he logged more than 6,500 fight hours in more than 60 different aircraft.
According to his NASA profile, he was selected by the space agency in December 1994 and subsequently worked in roles including the Lead for Kennedy Space Center and Chief of the Astronaut Office International Space Station Branch. He went on to log 1,200 hours in space, including during the first International Space Station assembly mission in 1998 and aboard three other missions to the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009.
In 2011, he was named as the backup commander for the penultimate mission of the Space Shuttle program, allowing Commander Mark Kelly to support his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as she recovered from an attempted assassination in Tuscon.
CJ Sturckow gets splashed with water after guiding Virgin Galactic’s private SpaceShipTwo through an unpowered ‘glide flight’
Pilot Michael Masucci celebrates as well with a little water
Sturckow (in red hat), Pete Siebold (with arms crossed in sunglasses) and Masucci (far right)
Along with Sturckow, 51-year-old Michael Masucci – known as ‘Sooch’ – works out of Virgin Galactic’s Mojave, California location to conduct flight training and testing. He joined the team in 2013.
Masucci, a retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Lieutenant Colonel has more than 30 years of civilian and military operational and test flying experience and has logged more than 9,000 flying hours in 70 different types of airplanes and gliders.
Before joining Virgin Galactic, he served as a U-2 combat pilot in several operations and instructed at the USAF Test Pilot School, while also serving as a Branch Chief. As a U-2 test pilot he was instrumental in the development and testing of the aircraft’s glass cockpit and power upgrade programs, according to AeroNews. The married dad also worked for XOJET Inc., a private company based in Brisbane, California where he captained a Citation X, a business jet aircraft.
FAA Inspector John Penney, pilot Todd ‘Leif’ Ericson and Masucci
SpaceShip2 coming in for a safe landing during a previous run
Branson christening the WhiteKnightTwo, which landed safely today
Siebold flew his first solo flight and gained his pilot’s license at 16 – the youngest age possible – and went on to teach flight classes at the San Luis Obispo Airport while he was a student at Cal Poly. He completed his degree in 2001.
The 43-year-old, who lives in Tehachapi, California with his wife, was one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, a experimental spaceplane that completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. As a design engineer at its aerospace company Scaled Composites, Siebold was responsible for the simulator, navigation system, and ground control system for the SpaceShipOne project.
In 2009, he was awarded the Iven C. Kincheloe award – the most prestigious award a test pilot can receive – for his role as chief test pilot on the Model 348 WhiteKnightTwo plane, used to lift the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft to release altitude.
By the time of his award, he had logged about 2,500 hours of flight time in 40 different types of fixed wing aircraft, MustangNews reported.
On October 7, Virgin Galactic tweeted: ‘Pilots Pete Siebold (Scaled) and CJ Sturckow (Virgin Galactic) have landed #SpaceShipTwo safely after another great test flight.’
Incredible footage of Virgin Galactic’s third flight (Archive)
SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership – then Virgin tweeted that it had ‘experienced an in-flight anomaly.’
In May, the company announced it was switching the fuel used in the vehicle’s hybrid rocket motor, hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, a form of rubber, to a polyamide-based plastic.
During a media tour of Virgin Galactic’s Mojave facilities on Oct. 4 that marked the tenth anniversary of the final flight of SpaceShipOne, the suborbital vehicle that won the $10-million Ansari X Prize, company officials said they expected to resume powered test flights ‘imminently’ once qualification tests of the new motor were done.
At the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Oct. 15, Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides said the company had completed those qualification tests.
‘We expect to get back into powered test flight quite soon,’ he said.
A HISTORY OF DELAYS
July 2008 – Branson predicts that the maiden space voyage will take place within 18 months
October 2009 – Virgin Galactic says initial flights will take place from Spaceport America ‘within two years’
December 7, 2009 – SpaceShipTwo unveiled and Branson tells ticket holders that flights will being in 2011
April 2011 – Branson says that due to delays flights will not begin for another 18 months
April 29, 2013 – SpaceShipTwo has first test flight, but only achieves a speed of 920 mph, less than half the speed Branson predicted
May 14, 2013 - Branson says first flight will take place on December 25, 2013
September 2014 – Branson says first flight will happen in February or March of 2015
SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.
SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by a specially designed jet and then released before igniting its rocket for suborbital thrill ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.
Seats on the flights into space are already being snapped for £250,000 ahead of the spring launch at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Branson’s big project has also attracted a slew of big name passengers happy to pay for this once in a lifetime experience, including newlyweds Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun; Lady Gaga, who plans to try and sing in space; former pop star Lance Bass, who has long been vocal about his desire to head to space; and Ashton Kutcher, who was the 500th customer to purchase a ticket. Russell Brand also got a ticket for his birthday from ex-wife Katy Perry when the two were married. Perry bought a ticket as well so Brand would not have to go alone.
Stephen Hawking and Kate Winslet are also set to fly, but got their seats for free. Winslet because she is married to Branson’s nephew, Ned RocknRoll, and Hawking because Branson wanted to offer the legendary astrophysicist a chance to go into space.
The ship attached to its mothership
However, Sir Richard is facing a ‘backlash’ from some of the nearly 700 passengers who have already paid for a ticket on the craft.
Some stumped up the fee as long ago as 2005, but still have no idea when they will eventually reach space.
The 600-plus takers for the flights are already benefiting from their ticket purchase, which by extension enters them into an exclusive club that has seen them visit Necker Island and the Mojave Desert with Branson along with undertaking G-force training.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2816224/Virgin-Galactic-spaceship-flight-problem.html#ixzz3Hl17hd8L
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo (SS2) is a suborbital, air-launched spaceplane designed for space tourism. It is under development as part of the Tier 1b program under contract to The Spaceship Company, a California-based company that is wholly owned by its sister company Virgin Galactic. The Spaceship Company was formerly a joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, but Virgin became the company’s sole owner in 2012.
SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude by a jet-powered mothership, the Scaled Composites White Knight Two, before being released to fly on into the upper atmosphere, powered by a rocket motor. It then glides back to Earth and performs a conventional runway landing. The spaceship was officially unveiled to the public on 7 December 2009 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. On 29 April 2013, after nearly three years of unpowered testing, the spacecraft successfully performed its first powered test flight.
Virgin Galactic plans to operate a fleet of five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes in a private passenger-carrying service, starting in 2014, and have been taking bookings for some time, with a suborbital flight carrying an initial ticket price of US$200,000. The spaceplane could also be used to carry scientific payloads for NASA and other organizations.
On 31 October 2014 during a test flight, VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo craft, experienced an in-flight anomaly followed by a catastrophic explosion and crash in the Mojave desert. One pilot was confirmed dead, another is being treated for serious injuries. 
A schematic diagram of SpaceShipTwo.
The SpaceShipTwo project is based in part on technology developed for the first-generation SpaceShipOne, which was part of the Scaled Composites Tier One program, funded by Paul Allen. The Spaceship Company licenses this technology from Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a joint venture of Paul Allen and Burt Rutan, the designer of the predecessor technology.
SpaceShipTwo is a low-aspect-ratio passenger spaceplane. Its capacity will be eight people: six passengers and two pilots. The apogee of the new craft will be approximately 110 km (68 mi) in the lower thermosphere, 10 km (6.2 mi) higher than the Kármán line which was SpaceShipOne’s target (though the last flight of SpaceShipOne reached a one-time altitude of 112 km (70 mi)). SpaceShipTwo will reach 4,200 km/h (2,600 mph), using a single hybrid rocket motor – the RocketMotorTwo. It launches from its mothership,White Knight Two, at an altitude of 15,000 metres (50,000 ft), and reaches supersonic speed within 8 seconds. After 70 seconds, the rocket motor cuts out and the spacecraft will coast to its peak altitude. SpaceShipTwo’s crew cabin is 3.7 m (12 ft) long and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in diameter. The wing span is 8.2 m (27 ft), the length is 18 m (60 ft) and the tail height is 4.6 m (15 ft) .
SpaceShipTwo uses a feathered reentry system, feasible due to the low speed of reentry – by contrast, the Space Shuttle and other orbital spacecraft re-enter at orbital speeds, closer to 25,000 km/h (16,000 mph) , using heat shields. SpaceShipTwo is furthermore designed to re-enter the atmosphere at any angle. It will decelerate through the atmosphere, switching to a gliding position at an altitude of 24 km (15 mi), and will take 25 minutes to glide back to the spaceport.
SpaceShipTwo and White Knight Two are, respectively, roughly twice the size of the first-generation SpaceShipOne and mothership White Knight, which won theAnsari X Prize in 2004. SpaceShipTwo has 43 and 33 cm (17 and 13 in) -diameter windows for the passengers’ viewing pleasure, and all seats will recline back during landing to decrease the discomfort of G-forces. Reportedly, the craft can land safely even if a catastrophic failure occurs during flight. In 2008, Burt Rutan remarked on the safety of the vehicle:
This vehicle is designed to go into the atmosphere in the worst case straight in or upside down and it’ll correct. This is designed to be at least as safe as the early airliners in the 1920s…Don’t believe anyone that tells you that the safety will be the same as a modern airliner, which has been around for 70 years.
In September 2011, the safety of SpaceShipTwo’s feathered reentry system was tested when the crew briefly lost control of the craft during a gliding test flight. Control was reestablished after the spaceplane entered its feathered configuration, and it landed safely after a 7-minute flight.
Fleet and launch site
The launch customer of SpaceShipTwo is Virgin Galactic, who have ordered five vehicles. The first two were named VSS (Virgin Space Ship) Enterpriseand VSS Voyager. As of August 2013, only VSS Enterprise has been flown; VSS Voyager has yet to begin flight tests. The WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo crafts will take off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California during testing. Spaceport America – formerly Southwest Regional Spaceport, a US$212 million spaceport in New Mexico partly funded by the state government – will become the permanent launch site when commercial launches begin.
On 28 September 2006, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson unveiled a mock-up of the SpaceShipTwo passenger cabin at the NextFest exposition at theJavits Convention Center in New York. The design of the vehicle was revealed to the press in January 2008, with the statement that the vehicle itself was around 60% complete. On 7 December 2009, the official unveiling and rollout of SpaceShipTwo took place. The event involved the first SpaceShipTwo being christened by then-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger as the VSS Enterprise.
2007 test explosion
On 26 July 2007, an explosion occurred during an oxidizer flow test at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where early-stage tests were being conducted on SpaceShipTwo’s systems. The oxidizer test included filling the oxidizer tank with 4,500 kilograms (10,000 lb) of nitrous oxide, followed by a 15-second cold-flow injector test. Although the tests did not ignite the gas, three employees were killed and three injured, two critically and one seriously, by flying shrapnel.
The hybrid rocket engine design for SpaceShipTwo has been problematic and caused extensive delays to the flight test program. The original rocket motor design was based on hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) fuel and nitrous oxide oxidizer – sometimes referred to as an N2O/HTPB engine – from 2009–early 2014. In May 2014, the engine design was switched from a HTPB to a polyamide fuel formulation.
Main article: RocketMotorTwo
Between 2005 and 2009, Scaled Composites conducted numerous small-scale rocket tests to evaluate SpaceShipTwo’s engine design. After settling on the RocketMotorTwo hybrid rocket design, the company began performing full-scale hot-fire rocket tests in April 2009. By December 2012, 15 full-scale tests had been successfully conducted, and additional ground tests continued into March 2013. In June 2012, the FAA issued a rocket testing permit to Scaled Composites, allowing it to begin SS2 test flights powered by RocketMotorTwo; the first such powered flight took place on 29 April 2013. The HTPB RocketMotorTwo design generated 60,000 lbf (270 kN) of thrust.
2014 Change of fuel
In May 2014, Virgin Galactic announced a change to the fuel to be used in the SpaceShipTwo rocket engine. Rather than the rubber-based HTPB—HTPB engines had experienced serious engine stability issues on firings longer than approximately 20 seconds—the engine will now use a type of plastic called thermoplasticpolyamide as the solid fuel. The plastic fuel is projected to have better performance (by several unspecified measures) and will allow SpaceShipTwo to make flights to a higher altitude.
As of May 2014, the new engine has already completed full-duration burns of over 60 seconds in ground tests on an engine test stand.
SpaceShipTwo test flights
Main article: VSS Enterprise
A view of the firing of SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motors during its first powered flight in April 2013.
As of October 2014, SpaceShipTwo has conducted 54 test flights. The spacecraft has used its “feathered” wing configuration during ten of these test flights.
In September 2012, Virgin Galactic announced that the unpowered subsonic glide flight test program was essentially complete. In October 2012, Scaled Composites installed key components of the rocket motor, and SpaceShipTwo performed its first glide flight with the engine installed in December 2012.
The spacecraft’s first powered test flight took place on 29 April 2013. Spaceshiptwo reached supersonic speeds in this first powered flight. On 5 September 2013, the second powered flight was made by SpaceShipTwo. The first powered test flight of 2014—and third overall—occurred 10 January 2014. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 22,000 metres (71,000 ft) (the highest to date) and a speed of Mach 1.4. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft released SpaceShipTwo (VSS Enterprise) at an altitude of 14,000 metres (46,000 ft) .
SpaceShipTwo’s total development costs were estimated at around $400 million in May 2011, a significant increase over the 2007 estimate of $108 million.
October 2014 crash
On October 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo suffered an “anomaly” during a powered flight test, resulting in a crash killing one pilot and injuring the other. It was the first flight to use the new type of fuel.
The duration of the flights will be approximately 2.5 hours, though only a few minutes of that will be in space. The price will initially be $200,000. More than 65,000 would-be space tourists applied for the first batch of 100 tickets. By December 2007, Virgin Galactic had 200 paid-up customers on its books for the early flights, and 95% were passing the 6-8 g centrifuge tests. By the start of 2011, that number had increased to over 400 paid customers, and to 575 by early 2013. In April 2013, Virgin Galactic announced that the price for a seat would increase 25 percent to $250,000 before the middle of May 2013, and would remain at $250,000 “until the first 1,000 people have traveled, so that it matches up with inflation since [Virgin Galactic] started.”
Following 50–100 test flights, the first paying customers are expected to fly aboard the craft in 2014. Refining the projected schedule in late 2009, Virgin Galactic declined to announce a firm timetable for commercial flights, but did reiterate that initial flights would take place from Spaceport America. Operational roll-out will be based on a “safety-driven schedule”. In addition to making suborbital passenger launches, Virgin Galactic will market SpaceShipTwo for suborbital space sciencemissions.
NASA sRLV program
By March 2011, Virgin Galactic had submitted SpaceShipTwo as a reusable launch vehicle for carrying research payloads in response to NASA‘s suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV) solicitation, which is a part of the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program. Virgin projects research flights with a peak altitude of 110 km (68 mi) and a duration of approximately 90 minutes. These flights will provide approximately four minutes of microgravity for research payloads. Payload mass and microgravity levels have not yet been specified. The NASA research flights could begin during the test flight certification program for SpaceShipTwo.
In August 2005, the president of Virgin Galactic stated that if the suborbital service with SpaceShipTwo is successful, the follow-up SpaceShipThree will be an orbital craft. In 2008, Virgin Galactic changed their plans and decided to make it a high-speed passenger vehicle, offering transport through point-to-point suborbital spaceflight.
While the first WhiteKnightTwo and the first SpaceShipTwo were built by Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company has responsibility for the manufacture of the second WK2 aircraft and the second SS2 spacecraft for Virgin Galactic, as well as additional production craft as other customers for the vehicles emerge. In October 2010, TSC announced plans to build three WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes.
- Crew: 2
- Capacity: 6 passengers
- Length: 18.3 m (60 ft)
- Wingspan: 8.3 m (27 ft)
- Height: 5.5 m (18 ft – rudders down)
- Loaded weight: 9,740 kg (21,428 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × RocketMotorTwo liquid/solid hybrid rocket engine
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo.net”. 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Jump up^ “The Spaceship Company: Virgin Galactic acquires full ownership of The Spaceship Company”. Virgin Galactic. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “sRLV platforms compared”. NASA. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011. “SpaceShipTwo: Type: HTHL/Piloted”
- Jump up^ Amos, Jonathan (8 December 2009). “Richard Branson unveils Virgin Galactic spaceplane”. BBC News. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- Jump up^ “Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship ignites engine in flight”. BBC. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Space Ship Completes 24th Test Flight in Mojave”. HispanicBusiness.com. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic to Launch Passengers on Private Spaceship in 2013″. Space.com. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic space tourism could begin in 2013″. BBC. 26 October 2011.
- Jump up^ John Schwartz (23 January 2008). “New Tourist Spacecraft Unveiled”. New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
- Jump up^ Booking. Virgin Galactic. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- Jump up^ “Virgin spaceship aims to be science lab”. BBC. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- Jump up^ Foust, Jeff (2014-10-31). “SpaceShipTwo Destroyed in Fatal Test Flight Accident”. Space News. Retrieved 2014-10-31.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test”. October 31, 2014.
- Jump up^ Durden, Rick (31 October 2014). “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes”.AVweb. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane crashes”. October 31, 2014.
- Jump up^ Scaled Composites LLC. “Project Test Summaries”. Scaled.com. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Rob Coppinger. “Pictures: Virgin Galactic unveils Dyna-Soar style SpaceShipTwo design and twin-fuselage White Knight II configuration”. flightglobal.com. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Spaceship Unveil Presspack”. Virgin Galactic. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Dignan, Larry (23 January 2008). “Virgin Galactic unveils SpaceShipTwo; Plans open architecture spaceship”. Between the lines. ZDnet.com. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Jump up^ Tariq Malik (28 September 2006). “Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo Interior Concept”. Space News. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
- Jump up^ Peter de Selding. “Virgin Galactic Customers Parting with Their Cash”. Space News. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s private spaceship makes safe landing after tense test flight”.Space.com. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Jump up^ “Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company”.Space.com. 27 July 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- Jump up^ Malik, Tariq (23 January 2008). “Virgin Galactic Unveils Suborbital Spaceliner Design”. Space.com. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic to Offer Public Space Flights”. Space.com. 27 September 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2007.
- Jump up^ “Scale comparison chart of Spaceshipone and Spaceshiptwo”. Gizmodo. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
- Jump up^ New era draws closer: Spaceport dedicates runway on New Mexico ranch. El Paso Times. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. “two-thirds of the $212 million required to build the spaceport came from the state of New Mexico…The rest came from construction bonds backed by a tax approved by voters in Doña Ana and Sierra counties.”
- Jump up^ Sophie Morrison (30 September 2006). “Buckled up for white knuckle ride”. BBC News. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
- Jump up^ Richard Branson unveils Virgin Galactic spaceplane. BBC News, 7 December 2009.
- Jump up^ Abdollah, Tami and Silverstein, Stuart (27 June 2007). “Test Site Explosion Kills Three”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2007.
- Jump up^ “Propulsion Systems: multiple-burn, green and low-cost” (PDF). Sierra Nevada. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- Jump up^ “Safe Hybrid Rocket”. Overview – Safety. Virgin Galactic. 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b RocketMotorTwo Hot-Fire Test Summaries. Scaled.com. Updated 9 August 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic successfully completes SpaceShipTwo glide flight test and rocket motor firing on same day”. SpaceRef.com. 28 June 2012.
- Jump up^ Richard Branson (5 March 2013). “This isn’t sci-fi”. Virgin.com. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo Gets Thumbs Up for Rocket-Powered Flights”. Flying Magazine. 1 June 2012.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo Test Summaries”. Scaled Composites. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo performs first Rocket-Powered Flight”. Spaceflight101.com. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Jump up^ Foust, Jeff (2014-05-24). “Virgin Galactic changes fuels as it prepares for its next round of test flights”. NewSpace Journal. Retrieved 2014-05-25.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Boyle, Alan (2014-05-23). “Virgin Galactic Makes a Switch in SpaceShipTwo’s Rocket Motor”. NBC News. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- Jump up^ “New Fuel to Boost SpaceShip Two”. Aviation Week. 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Wall, Mike (8 October 2014). “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Aces Glide Test Flight”. Space.com. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Jump up^ “Feather flight and nitrous vent test success”. Virgin Galactic. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic Reaches New Heights in Third Supersonic Test Flight”.virgingalactic.com. 10 Jan 2014. Retrieved 13 Jan 2014.
- Jump up^ Rosenberg, Zach. “Virgin Galactic finishes unpowered flight test”. FlightGlobal.com. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo straps on its engine”. NBC. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo Fitted With Rocket Propulsion System”. Aviation Week. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipTwo Test Summaries”. Scaled Composites. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- Jump up^ “VIRGIN GALACTIC BREAKS SPEED OF SOUND IN FIRST ROCKET-POWERED FLIGHT OF SPACESHIPTWO”. Virgin Galactic. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Succeeds In Second Rocket-Powered Flight”. Forbes. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Jump up^ http://www.universetoday.com/107979/spaceshiptwo-goes-supersonic-in-third-test-flight/
- Jump up^ “A Look at Cost Overuns and Schedule Delays in Major Space Programs”. ParabolicArc.com. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- Jump up^ http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1143260271/SpaceShipTwo-experiences-in-flight-anomaly
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane crashes”. October 31, 2014.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Has Crashed, Possible Casualties”. Gizmodo. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- Jump up^ “Rich Chinese buying tickets to space”. Zee News. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
- Jump up^ “Virgin Galactic’s timetable for progress”. Spaceflight. Volume 50. British Interplanetary Society. February 2008. p.48.
- Jump up^ “Hold tight: SpaceShipTwo makes near-vertical plunge towards Earth on test flight as space tourism dream edges closer”. Daily Mail (London). 5 May 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Messier, Doug (29 April 2013). “Reserve Your SpaceShipTwo Seat Now — Big Price Increase Coming Soon”. ParabolicArc.com. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- Jump up^ “Ticket Price for Private Spaceflights on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Going Up”. Space.com. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Will Whitehorn (27 October 2009). International Astronautical Congress 2009: Civilian Access to Space (Video – comments at c. 20:00). Daejeon, Korea:Flightglobal Hyperbola. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Jump up^ “SpaceShipThree poised to follow if SS2 succeeds”. Flight International. 23 August 2005. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
- Jump up^ Norris, Guy (8 July 2011). “An Inside Look At A New Spaceship Factory”.Aviation Week and Space Technology. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Jump up^ “Spacecraft factory to break ground in Mojave”. Los Angeles Times. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- Jump up^ Overview – Spaceships. Virgin Galactic. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Jump up^ “How Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Passenger Space Plane Works (Infographic)”. Space.com. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio
Read Full Post
| Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 1: Obama Asserts Executive Privilege Claim Over Holder’s Wife Emails Pertaining To Fast and Furious — Cover up Of Crimes — Article 1 of Impeachment Bill — What are They Hiding? — Aiding and Abetting Homicides –Videos
President Obama Evokes Executive Privilege for Eric Holder – 2007 v. 2012
Obama announces Eric Holder’s resignation
Is Obama involved in Fast and Furious, obstructing a congressional investigation or both?
Congress Votes to Hold Eric Holder in Contempt Perjury Lied to House Congress Vote Passes
Jon Stewart Slams Obama Executive Privilege, Fast & Furious, and Eric Holder
Remember Brian Terry, the murdered Border Patrol Agent
Judge Napolitano: Executive Privilege Only Applies If Obama Involved
Mark Levin Explains How GOP Should Handle Holder Contempt Charge & Executive Privilege Claim
Issa on Fast and Furious, Holder Contempt, Obama Executive Privilege on Fox News Sunday
Obama Perpetuates The ’90 Percent Of Mexico’s Weapons Come From The U.S.’ Lie — In Mexico!
Eric Holder – We Must “Brainwash” People Against Guns! – (1995)
Holder on 2nd Amendment
Eric Holder Attacking The Second Amendment To Help Mexico?
“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 1
“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 2
“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 3
Fast and Furious: Management Failures at the Department of Justice – Part 1
Eric Holder Choking on his Testimony
Michael Savage offers concise summary of “Fast and Furious”, describes his own love of guns
Congress: Eric Holder Should Be In Jail!
Obama Asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege Claim for Holder’s Wife
OCTOBER 23, 2014
Judicial Watch announced today that it received from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) a “Vaughn index” detailing records about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. The index was forced out of the Obama administration thanks to JW’s June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). A federal court had ordered the production over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.
The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.
This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are “subject to the assertion of executive privilege.”
The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.
Based on a preliminary review of the massive document, Judicial Watch can disclose that the Vaughn index reveals:
Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.
President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.
Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.
The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.
Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton criticized President Obama and his disgraced Attorney General in a statement today:
This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.
Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.
On June 28, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over records explaining why the Obama administration may have lied to Congress and refused for months to disclose the truth about the gun running operation. It marked the first time in U.S. history that a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.
A week before the contempt finding, to protect Holder from criminal prosecution and stave off the contempt vote, President Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. Holder’s Justice Department wouldn’t budge (or follow the law), so JW filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012.
But then the Justice Department convinced U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to stay our lawsuit, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the Holder’s government lawyers and the House Committee to continue. Unsurprisingly, the “negotiations” between politicians running the House and the Justice Department went nowhere.
Fed up with the interminable delay caused Holder’s gamesmanship and stonewalling, JW renewed its request to the Court to allow our transparency lawsuit to continue. Thankfully, this past July, Judge John D. Bates ended the 16-month delay and ordered the Obama administration to produce a Vaughn index of the alleged “executive privilege” records by October 1. Judge Bates noted that no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s unprecedented executive privilege claims in the Fast and Furious matter.
Unhappy with having to produce the records prior to the elections, Justice lawyers asked the judge to give them one extra month, until November 3 (the day before Election Day!) to produce the info. Judge Bates rejected this gambit, suggested that the Holder’s agency did not take court order seriously. Rather than a month, Judge Bates gave Justice until yesterday to cough up the Vaughn index. Judge Bates issued his smack down on September 23.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation two days later.
Many share our opinion it was “no coincidence” that Holder’s resignation came “on the heels of another court ruling that the Justice Department must finally cough up information about how Holder’s Justice Department lied to Congress and the American people about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, for which Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives.”
The House had been separately litigating to obtain the records but had gotten nowhere until after Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ finally had to disclose information to Judicial Watch.
On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing Judicial Watch’s success, ordered the Justice Department to produce information to Congress by November 3.
Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun running” operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels hoping they would end up at crime scenes, advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico. Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal are expected to be used in criminal activity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for years to come.
Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal continue to be used in crimes. Just last week, Judicial Watch disclosed that a Fast and Furious gun was used in gang -style assault on a Phoenix apartment building that left two people wounded. We figured this out from information we uncovered through another public records lawsuit against the City of Phoenix.
Congress officially confirmed the AK-47 was used in the assault that terrorized residents in Phoenix. In an October 16 letter sent from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) to Deputy Attorney General James Cole discloses that “we have learned of another crime gun connected to Fast and Furious. The [Justice] Department did not provide any notice to the Congress or the public about this gun….This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”
We have many other active lawsuits over the Fast and Furious scandal:
On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.
On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee’s 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder’s refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.
On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.
Obama used executive privilege to shield Holder emails
President Obama used executive privilege to withhold the contents of more than 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder, his wife and his mother that a conservative watchdog group sought in connection with the federal government’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.
The document, according to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, “details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal.”
Judicial Watch said the White House is withholding the contents of the Holder emails between his wife and mother citing not only the executive privilege, but the “deliberative process” exemption, which is normally used to exclude from public disclosure any information “that could chill internal government deliberations.”
Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone, is a Washington, D.C., gynecologist.
The Republican-led House has been dueling with Holder for years in an effort to get documents and emails related to Fast and Furious.
In 2012, the House voted to find Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the operation and has sued to obtain them. Democrats have accused the GOP of a politically motivated witch hunt against Holder, who recently announced plans to step down.
The Fast and Furious program ran from 2006 to 2011 out of an Arizona division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It involved U.S. agents selling guns to Mexican drug traffickers in an effort to trace the weapons to the drug cartels. But agents lost track of the weapons and some of them were used to kill people, including U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
“Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.”
“This list of documents was provided in order to fulfill a procedural step in this case,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon told theExaminer. “We will make a further submission, related to these same materials, on Nov. 3 in connection to the case brought by the House Oversight Committee.”
Editor’s note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper’s federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.
Operation Fast and Furious Fast Facts
Here’s some background information about Operation Fast and Furious. From 2009 – 2011, under Operation Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Phoenix Field Division, along with other partners, allowed illegal gun sales believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels in order to track the sellers and purchasers.
An estimated 1,400 weapons were lost by the ATF in Mexico. Two of the missing weapons linked to the operation turned up at the Arizona murder scene of United States Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Whistle-blowing leads to a Congressional investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Attorney General Eric Holder is cited for contempt.
Operation Fast and Furious was one of the operations under Project Gunrunner, part of the Department of Justice’s broader Southwest Border Initiative, an “inter-agency effort to combat Mexico-based trafficking groups.” (DOJ)
“Straw purchasers (also called straw buyers) buy firearms on behalf of others without disclosing that fact on the forms required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.” (DOJ)
The operation lasted approximately 15 months, resulting in grand jury indictments of 34 suspects in drug and firearms trafficking organizations.
Operation Fast and Furious was not the first “gun walking” investigation by ATF; it was preceded by Operation Wide Receiver, which began in 2006.
April 2006 - Official launch of Project Gunrunner.
October 2009 – Operation Fast and Furious begins, based on a review of Project Gunrunner by the ATF Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
January 2010 – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms agents tell the staff of Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the ATF allowed straw buyer Jaime Avila to make repeated purchases of guns after his name had been entered into a “suspect person database” on January 13, 2009.
December 14, 2011 - Border patrol agent Brian Terry is killed in the Arizona desert, and two weapons the ATF allowed to be purchased earlier in 2010 by purported “straw buyer” Jaime Avila are found near the shooting scene. It is unknown whether any of the guns were used as the murder weapon.
January 25, 2011 – The Department of Justice announces the end of Operation Fast and Furious, with the indictments of 34 drug and firearm trafficking suspects.
March 3, 2011 – ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson announces the formation of a panel to “review the bureau’s current firearms trafficking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents.”
April 1, 2011 - Acting Director Melson is issued a subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
May 3, 2011 – Attorney General Eric Holder testifies for the first time before the House Judiciary Committee that he had first heard of Operation Fast and Furious only over the past few weeks.
June 2011 - Whistleblowers testify before the House Oversight committee. ATF agent John Dodson tells lawmakers, “I cannot begin to think how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”
July 26, 2011 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a second hearing.
August 30, 2011 – Melson is reassigned to the Justice Department, and is replaced by B. Todd Jones.
October 12, 2011 – Congressional investigators issue a subpoena for communications from Attorney General Holder relating to the federal gunrunning operation.
October 2011 - Investigators uncover memos indicating Attorney General Holder had known about Operation Fast and Furious for close to a year, not a few weeks as he had stated in May 2011.
November 7, 2011 - A federal grand jury in the District of Arizona hands up an 11-count indictment. It alleges that on December 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza) were involved in a firefight with Border Patrol agents during which Terry was fatally shot. The men are charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The indictment is unsealed on July 9th, 2012.
November 8, 2011 - Attorney General Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, “this operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution.”
February 1, 2012 – The family of ATF agent Brian Terry files a $25 million wrongful death claim against the United States.
February 2, 2012 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that firings and charges against Justice Department officials who oversaw Fast and Furious are likely to come in the next six months. He also denies any cover-up.
June 12, 2012 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and rejects calls for his resignation.
June 20, 2012 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Attorney General Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the Fast and Furious operation.
June 20, 2012 – President Barack Obama asserts executive privilege over the documents sought by the investigating committee. This prevents future prosecution of Holder.
June 28, 2012 – The House of Representatives votes 255-67 to hold Holder in criminal contempt. This is the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.
July 31, 2012 - The first of a three-part joint staff Congressional report is released, Fast and Furious: Anatomy of a Failed Operation, which lays blame for the failed gun-running probe on Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Director William Hoover.
July 31, 2012 – ATF Deputy Director William Hoover resigns.
August 13, 2012 – The House Oversight Committee files a civil lawsuit against Holder over Operation Fast and Furious documents.
September 6, 2012 - Mexican authorities arrest Leonel Sanchez Jesus Meza, wanted in the killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
September 19, 2012 – Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz releases a report on the operation. The report finds 14 employees of the ATF and the Justice Department responsible for management failures. After the release, former acting ATF head Kenneth Melson retires and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein resigns.
December 13, 2012 – Jaime Avila is sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in buying weapons that were found at the site of the killing of patrol agent Brian A. Terry.
June 17, 2014 – Lionel Portillo Meza, a suspect in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, is extradited from Mexico to the U.S.
ATF gunwalking scandal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Weapons recovered by Mexican military in Naco, Sonora, Mexico on November 20, 2009. They include weapons bought two weeks earlier by Operation Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, who bought 723 guns during the operation.
“Gunwalking“, or “letting guns walk“, was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations between 2006and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them.” These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. The Chambers case began in October 2009, and eventually became known in February 2010 as “Operation Fast and Furious” after agents discovered some of the suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.
The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers. During Operation Fast and Furious, the largest “gunwalking” probe, the ATF monitored the sale of about 2,000:203 firearms, of which only 710 were recovered as of February 2012.:203 A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures had been arrested.
Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, and the scene where United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed December 2010. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder. Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response. According to Humberto Benítez Treviño, former Mexican Attorney General and chair of the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, related firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico where at least 150 Mexican civilians were maimed or killed. Revelations of “gunwalking” led to controversy in both countries, and diplomatic relations were damaged.
As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of theCabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012. Earlier that month, President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilegefor the first time in his presidency over the same documents.
One 20-year veteran of ATF’s Tucson office told us that before Operation Wide Receiver, all of ATF’s trafficking cases were very similar in their simplicity: ATF would get a tip from an FFL[Federal Firearms Licensee] about a buyer who wanted a large number of firearms and information about when the transaction was scheduled to take place, and would set up surveillance and arrest the buyer when he headed southbound or at the border. Sometimes the initial buyer would cooperate with ATF, and agents would arrest the actual buyer when he showed up to take possession of the guns. If the guns went to a stash house, agents would speak with subjects at the stash house or conduct a search of the stash house. This agent told us that ATF interdicted guns as a matter of course and had been “content to make the little cases,” but that Wide Receiver represented a “different direction” from ATF’s typical practice.
—Report by the Office of the Inspector General on the Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, September 2012
ATF “gunwalking” operations were, in part, a response to longstanding criticism of the bureau for focusing on relatively minor gun violations while failing to target high-level gun smuggling figures. U.S. firearms laws currently govern the possession and transfer of firearms and provide penalties for the violation of such laws. “Gun trafficking”, although not defined by statute, essentially includes the movement or diversion of firearms from legal to illegal markets.:Summary A 2009 GAO report on efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico notes that straw purchasing is not in itself illegal, although it is illegal to provide false information in connection with a purchase.
Four federal statutes govern U.S. commerce of firearms domestically and internationally. Many states supplement these federal statutes and have firearms laws of their own that are stricter. For example, some states require permits to obtain firearms and impose a waiting period for firearm transfers. Domestic commerce and importations into the United States are generally regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The exportation of firearms from the United States is regulated by the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 and, to a lesser extent, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).:3
Defendants are often prosecuted and convicted under provisions of statutes such as the GCA that make it unlawful for certain persons to be in possession of firearms, govern the transaction process of obtaining firearms (e.g., straw purchases), and contain penalties for the use of a firearm in a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, or penalties for knowingly or fraudulently smuggling goods that would be contrary to U.S. law and regulation.:18
In a 2012 case in San Juan, Texas, under existing 1968 Gun Control Act provisions on straw purchasing (Title 18 United States Code, Section 924(a)(1)(A)), straw purchaser Taisa Garcia received 33 months and buyer Marco Villalobos received 46 months, plus two years supervision after release. In another Texas gun trafficking case, Oscar Bravo Hernandez received a sentence of 84 months for buying and sending to Mexico at least 55 firearms from a ring of nine straw purchasers who received sentences from 51 months for the most involved down to three years probation for the least involved.
According to twenty-year ATF veteran Jay Wachtel, letting guns “walk” has been a practice done in a controlled manner that involved surveillance and eventual seizure of the weapons. “The idea was that you would follow it long enough until you were sure you had enough probable cause” to initiate an arrest, Wachtel said.According to ATF field agents involved in Operation Fast and Furious, a part of Project Gunrunner, “ATF agents were trained to interdict guns and prevent criminals from obtaining them” and not to allow guns to walk and then disappear. ATF agents assigned to Phoenix from other districts to work on Fast and Furious were critical of the operation.
There have been allegations of “gunwalking” in at least 10 cities in five states. The most widely known and controversial operations took place in Arizona under the ATF’s Phoenix, Arizona field division.
2006–2008: Operation Wide Receiver and other probes
Operation Wide Receiver
The suspicious sale of AR-15s led to Operation Wide Receiver.
The first known ATF “gunwalking” operation to Mexican drug cartels, named Operation Wide Receiver, began in early 2006 and ran into late 2007. Licensed dealer Mike Detty of Mad Dawg Global informed the ATF of a suspicious gun purchase that took place in February 2006 in Tucson, Arizona. In March he was hired as a confidential informant working with the ATF’s Tucson office, part of their Phoenix, Arizona field division.
With the use of surveillance equipment, ATF agents monitored additional sales by Detty to straw purchasers. With assurance from ATF “that Mexican officials would be conducting surveillance or interdictions when guns got to the other side of the border”, Detty would sell a total of about 450 guns during the operation. These included AR-15s, semi-automatic AK-pattern rifles, and Colt .38s. The majority of the guns were eventually lost as they moved into Mexico.
As the later DOJ OIG Report documented, under Wide Receiver coordination of ATF Tucson with the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) and with Mexican law enforcement had been haphazard. Discussions of getting tracking devices from Raytheon were not followed up. ATF field agents and the cooperating gun dealer had been told by ATF supervisors that the guns were being interdicted before they could reach Mexico, but only 64 of the 474 guns had actually been seized. The kingpin sought by walking the guns, Israel Egurrola-Leon, turned out to be the target of a larger drug case Operation Iron River run by OCDETF. After Operation Wide Receiver was ended, several attorneys at the Phoenix USAO who reviewed the Wide Receiver cases for prosecution found the cases had been so poorly managed that they were reluctant to bring any of them to trial.
At the time, under the Bush administration Department of Justice (DOJ), no arrests or indictments were made. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the DOJ reviewed Wide Receiver and found that guns had been allowed into the hands of suspected gun traffickers. Indictments began in 2010, over three years after Wide Receiver concluded. As of October 4, 2011, nine people had been charged with making false statements in acquisition of firearms and illicit transfer, shipment or delivery of firearms. As of November, charges against one defendant had been dropped; five of them had pled guilty, and one had been sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Two of them remained fugitives.
The Hernandez case
Another, smaller probe occurred in 2007 under the same ATF Phoenix field division. The Fidel Hernandez case began when the ATF identified Mexican suspects who bought weapons from a Phoenix gun shop over a span of several months. The probe ultimately involved over 200 guns, a dozen of which were lost in Mexico. On September 27, 2007, ATF agents saw the original suspects buying weapons at the same store and followed them toward the Mexican border. The ATF informed the Mexican government when the suspects successfully crossed the border, but Mexican law enforcement were unable to track them.
Less than two weeks later, on October 6, William Newell, then ATF’s Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Phoenix field division, shut down the operation at the behest of William Hoover, ATF’s assistant director for the office of field operations. No charges were filed. Newell, who was Phoenix ATF SAC from June 2006 to May 2011, would later play a major role in Operation Fast and Furious.
The Hernandez case was referenced in a briefing paper prepared for Attorney General Michael Mukasey prior to his meeting with the Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora on November 16, 2007. The paper stated, “ATF has recently worked jointly with Mexico on the first-ever attempt to have a controlled delivery of weapons being smuggled into Mexico by a major arms trafficker” and that “the first attempts at this controlled delivery have not been successful.” The paper also stated, “ATF would like to expand the possibility of such joint investigations and controlled deliveries — since only then will it be possible to investigate an entire smuggling network, rather than arresting simply a single smuggler.”
Investigators regarded the Hernandez Case as an example of “controlled delivery” with surveillance and involvement of Mexican authorities rather than “gunwalking” or failure to attempt interdiction.
The Medrano case[
The 2008 Alejandro Medrano case involved both ATF SAC William Newell and cooperating Tucson gun dealer Mike Detty of Operation Wide Receiver. ATF Phoenix allowed about 100 guns to be taken into Mexico over the objections of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel who became aware of the case. Phoenix ATF SAC Newell acknowledged to ICE “that letting guns cross the border was part of ATF’s plan”. In August 2010, Medrano was sentenced to 46 months, his associate Hernan Ramos received 50 months and their fellow conspirators received prison terms from 14 to 30 months, but the target, a Sinaloa Cartel kingpin, Javier Elenes Ruiz, nicknamed “Rambo,” remained untouched inside Mexico.
2009–2011: Operation Fast and Furious
On October 26, 2009, a teleconference was held at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to discuss U.S. strategy for combating Mexican drug cartels. Participating in the meeting were Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, acting ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller and the top federal prosecutors in theSouthwestern border states. They decided on a strategy to identify and eliminate entire arms trafficking networks rather than low-level buyers. Those at the meeting apparently did not suggest using the “gunwalking” tactic, but Phoenix ATF supervisors would soon use it in an attempt to achieve the desired goals.
The strategy of targeting high-level individuals, which was already ATF policy, would be implemented by Bill Newell, special agent in charge of ATF’s Phoenix field division. In order to accomplish it, the office decided to monitor suspicious firearms purchases which federal prosecutors had determined lacked sufficient evidence for prosecution, as laid out in a January 2010 briefing paper. This was said to be allowed under ATF regulations and given legal backing by U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis K. Burke. It was additionally approved and funded by a Justice Department task force. However, long-standing DOJ and ATF policy has required suspected illegal arms shipments to be intercepted.
The operation began on October 31, 2009, when a local gun store reported to the Phoenix ATF that four individuals had purchased multiple AK47 style rifles. In November 2009, the Phoenix office’s Group VII, which would be the lead investigative group in Fast and Furious, began to follow a prolific gun trafficker. He had bought 34 firearms in 24 days, and he and his associates bought 212 more in the next month. The case soon grew to over two dozen straw purchasers, the most prolific of which would ultimately buy more than 600 weapons. The effort would come to be called Operation Fast and Furious for the successful film franchise, because some of the suspects under investigation operated out of an auto repair store and street raced.
Under the previous Operation Wide Receiver, there had been a formal ATF contract with the cooperating gun dealer and efforts were made to involve the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) and Mexican law enforcement. Under Operation Fast and Furious, at Newell’s insistence the cooperating gun dealers did not have contracts with ATF, and MCO and Mexican police were left in the dark.
According to internal ATF documents, the operation was initially run in conjunction with the Phoenix DEA Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force(OCDETF). On January 26, 2010, ATF formally applied to the Justice Department in Washington for funding through the OCDETF program. When it won approval and received additional funding, Operation Fast and Furious was reorganized as a Strike Force that included agents from ATF, FBI, DEA, and the ICE component of the Department of Homeland Security, which would be run through the U.S. Attorney’s office rather than the ATF. This new Strike Force designation allowed the operation to take advantage of sophisticated surveillance techniques such as federal wiretaps, which would require court orders and interaction from Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C. since federal law requires certain individuals to review evidence and certify the necessity of such techniques.
The dealers involved became concerned as months went by and the same individuals they reported to ATF as suspected straw purchasers returned and repeatedly bought identical weapons. As they later told the DOJ OIG, their previous experience was that after they reported a suspected straw to ATF, they did not see the straw again unless subpoenaed to testify against the straw at trial. One cooperating dealer expressed his concerns in a series of emails in April and June 2010 to GS David Voth, who assured the dealer that ATF was monitoring the suspects using a variety of techniques that he could not discuss in detail.
The tactic of letting guns walk, rather than interdicting them and arresting the buyers, led to controversy within the ATF. As the case continued, several members of Group VII, including John Dodson and Olindo Casa, became increasingly upset at the tactic of allowing guns to walk. Their standard Project Gunrunner training was to follow the straw purchasers to the hand-off to the cartel buyers, then arrest both parties and seize the guns. But according to Dodson, they watched guns being bought illegally and stashed on a daily basis, while their supervisors, including David Voth and Hope MacAllister, prevented the agents from intervening.
However, other accounts of the operation insist that ATF agents were prevented from intervening not by ATF officials, but rather by federal prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office, who were unsure of whether the agents had sufficient evidence to arrest suspected straw-buyers. According to some reports, many agents insisted they were prevented from making arrests because prosecutors were unwilling to engage in what could become a potentially contentious political battle over Second Amendment rights during an election year, particularly given the difficult nature of prosecuting straw buyers, and the weak penalties associated with it, even if successful. Instead, prosecutors instructed ATF agents not to make arrests, but rather continue collecting evidence in order to build a stronger case. One tactic proposed for doing so was a wiretap of suspected straw-buyers, in an attempt to link the suspects to criminal activities taking place on the Mexican side of the border. Between March 20 and July 30, 2010, nine wiretaps were sought and approved by Justice Department officials, resulting in a significant delay in concluding the case.:247,274
One of the central targeted individuals was Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta. By December 2009, Celis-Acosta was being investigated by the ATF, which had placed a secret pole camera outside his Phoenix home to track his movements. Around this time, apparently by chance, ATF agents discovered Celis-Acosta was also a potential criminal target of the DEA, which was operating a wire room to monitor live wiretaps in order to track him. On April 2, 2010, Celis-Acosta was arrested on possession of cocaine and found in possession of a weapon purchased by Uriel Patino, who had already purchased at least 434 guns from cooperating gun dealers in the Phoenix area. By this time about a dozen ATF agents regularly surveilled Celis-Acosta as he recruited 20 friends and family to buy guns for him and regularly traveled to Texas to obtain funds from cartel associates to purchase firearms. On May 29, 2010, Celis-Acosta was detained in Lukeville, Arizona with 74 rounds of ammunition and 9 cell phones. He was then released by the chief ATF investigator on Fast and Furious, Hope MacAllister, after he promised to cooperate with her to find two specific Sinaloa cartel associates. After the redetention and arrest of Celis-Acosta in February 2011, the ATF learned that the associates they were after were FBI/DEA paid informants, and one of them was Celis-Acosta’s financier. Since they were informants, they were unindictable under Operation Fast and Furious.
Later, the DOJ inspector General concluded: “We did not find persuasive evidence that agents sought to seize firearms or make arrests during the investigative stage of the case and were rebuffed by the prosecutor. … We found that the lack of seizures and arrests was primarily attributable to the pursuit of a strategic goal shared by both the [Phoenix] ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office—to eliminate a trafficking organization—and the belief that confronting subjects and seizing firearms could compromise that goal.”
Weapons bought by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, seized by Border Patrol and Tucson ATF agents on the Tohono O’odham Reservation from a vehicle headed toward the Mexican border, February 20, 2010.
By June 2010, suspects had purchased 1,608 firearms at a cost of over US$1 million at Phoenix-area gun shops. At that time, the ATF was also aware of 179 of those weapons being found at crime scenes in Mexico, and 130 in the United States. As guns traced to Fast and Furious began turning up at violent crime scenes in Mexico, ATF agents stationed there also voiced opposition.
On the evening of December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others were patrolling Peck Canyon,Santa Cruz County, Arizona, 11 miles from the Mexican border. The group came across five suspected illegal immigrants. When they fired non-lethal beanbag guns, the suspects responded with their own weapons, leading to a firefight. Terry was shot and killed; four of the suspects were arrested and two AK-pattern rifles were found nearby. The Attorney General’s office was immediately notified of the shooting incident by email. The rifles were traced within hours of the shooting to a Phoenix store involved in the Fast and Furious operation, but the bullet that killed Terry was too badly damaged to be conclusively linked to either gun. Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and Deputy Chief of Staff Monty Wilkinson were informed about the guns, but they didn’t believe the information was sufficiently important to alert the Attorney General about it or to make any further inquiry regarding the development.:297
After hearing of the incident, Dodson contacted ATF headquarters, ATF’s chief counsel, the ATF ethics section and the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, none of whom immediately responded. He and other agents then contacted Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa (R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who would become a major figure in the investigation of “gunwalking.” At the same time, information began leaking to various bloggers and Web sites.
On January 25, 2011, Burke announced the first details of the case to become officially public, marking the end of Operation Fast and Furious. At a news conference in Phoenix, he reported a 53-count indictment of 20 suspects for buying hundreds of guns intended for illegal export between September 2009 and December 2010. Newell, who was at the conference, called Fast and Furious a “phenomenal case,” while denying that guns had been deliberately allowed to walk into Mexico.
Altogether, about 2,000 firearms were bought by straw purchasers during Fast and Furious.:203 These included AK-47 variants, Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, .38 caliber revolvers, and FN Five-sevens. As of October 20, 2011, 389 had been recovered in the US and 276 had been recovered in Mexico. The rest remained on the streets, unaccounted for. As of February 2012, the total number of recovered firearms was 710.:203 Most of the guns went to the Sinaloa Cartel, while others made their way to El Teo and La Familia.
Although most weapons were purchased by suspects under investigation by the program, there have been reports of at least one instance of ATF agents being directly involved in the transfer of weapons. On April 13, 2010, ATF Agent John Dodson, with assistance from Agents Casa and Alt, directed a cooperating straw purchaser to give three guns to Isaiah Fernandez, a suspected gun trafficker, and had taped the conversations without prosecutor approval.
After being instructed by his superiors to obtain approval from prosecutors (albeit retroactively), Dodson’s proposal was later rejected by his immediate superior David Voth, although he later received permission from Voth’s supervisor after submitting a written proposal for the program. On June 1, 2010, Dodson used $2,500 of ATF funds to purchase six AK Draco pistols from local gun dealers, which he then gave to Mr. Fernandez, who reimbursed him for the expense of the guns, plus $700 for his assistance. Two days later, Agent Dodson went on a scheduled vacation without interdicting the weapons. As a result, the weapons were never recovered, no arrests were ever made, and the case was closed without charges being filed.
According to the DOJ OIG report, Agent Dodson, as the undercover posing as a straw buyer, was not expected to surveil the weapons after hand-off to Fernandez. Other ATF agents followed the weapons to a storage facility; then surveillance was terminated without interdiction. The Fernandez case was dropped from Fast and Furious after it was determined that Fernandez was not connected to Mexican cartels and had ceased buying guns for resale.
Aftermath and reaction
Fate of walked guns
Since the end of Operation Fast and Furious, related firearms have continued to be discovered in criminal hands. As reported in September 2011, the Mexican government stated that an undisclosed number of guns found at about 170 crime scenes were linked to Fast and Furious. U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R–Calif.–49) estimated that more than 200 Mexicans were killed by guns linked to the operation. Reflecting on the operation, Attorney General Eric Holder said that theUnited States government is “…losing the battle to stop the flow of illegal guns to Mexico,” and that the effects of Operation Fast and Furious will most likely continue to be felt for years, as more walked guns appear at Mexican crime scenes.
In April 2011, a large cache of weapons, 40 traced to Fast and Furious but also including military-grade weapons difficult to obtain legally in the US such as an anti-aircraft machine gun and grenade launcher, was found in the home of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a prominent Sinaloa Cartel member, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Torres Marrufo was indicted, but evaded law enforcement for a brief time. Finally, on February 4, 2012, Marrufo was arrested by the Mexican Police.
On May 29, 2011, four Mexican Federal Police helicopters attacked a cartel compound, where they were met with heavy fire, including from a .50 caliber rifle. According to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, this rifle is likely linked to Fast and Furious.
There have been questions raised over a possible connection between Fast and Furious and the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011. The gun used to kill Zapata was purchased by Otilio Osorio in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas (outside the area of responsibility for the ATF Phoenix field division which conducted Fast and Furious), and then smuggled into Mexico. Congressional investigators have stated that Osorio was known by the ATF to be a straw purchaser months before he purchased the gun used to kill Zapata, leading them to question ATF surveillance tacticsand to suspect a Texas-based operation similar to Fast and Furious.
In addition to Otilio Osorio, a Texas-based drug and gun trafficker, Manuel Barba, was involved trafficking another of the guns recovered in the Zapata shooting. The timeline of this case, called “Baytown Crew”, shows guns were allowed to walk during surveillance that began June 7, 2010. On August 20, 2010, Barba received a rifle later recovered in the Zapata ambush and sent it with nine others to Mexico. The warrant for Barba’s arrest was issued February 14, 2011, the day before Zapata was shot. On January 30, 2012, Barba, who claimed to be working with Los Zetas in illegally exporting at least 44 weapons purchased through straw buyers, was sentenced to 100 months in prison.
On November 23, 2012, two firearms linked to the ATF were found at the scene of a shootout between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military. One of the weapons was an AK-47 type rifle trafficked by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, and the other was an FN Herstal pistol originally purchased by an ATF agent. Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez and four others were killed.
Investigations and fallout
In the U.S. Congress, Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA–49), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley(R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been leading investigations of “gunwalking” operations. There have also been investigations by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and others.
On January 27, 2011, Grassley wrote a letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson requesting information about the ATF-sanctioned sale of hundreds of firearms to straw purchasers. The letter mentioned a number of allegations that walked guns were used in the fight that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. A second letter from Grassley on January 31 accused the ATF of targeting whistleblowers.
On February 4, after review and comment from dozens of officials in the Justice Department Criminal Division, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and ATF Headquarters,:332 Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich sent a response to Grassley regarding his two letters. Weich said claims “…that (the) ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico [are] false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.” On February 28, Attorney GeneralEric Holder requested that the Department of Justice‘s Inspector General begin an investigation of Fast and Furious.
On March 23, President Barack Obama appeared on Univision and spoke about the “gunwalking” controversy. He said that neither he nor Attorney General Holder authorized Fast and Furious. He also stated, “There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made, and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”
On May 3, Attorney General Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he did not know who approved Fast and Furious, but that it was being investigated. He also stated that he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,” a claim which would later be questioned as explained below.
In June, ATF Agent Vince Cefalu, who helped to publicize Fast and Furious, was served with termination papers, in a move by the agency he described as politically motivated retaliation. He had been at odds with ATF management since he filed a complaint over tactics in an unrelated case in 2005. The ATF denied that the firing was retaliation, and Cefalu’s termination letter noted that he leaked documents to the Internet and showed a “lack of candor” in other operations.
On June 14, 2011, a preliminary joint staff report was released by Representative Issa and Senator Grassley. Among the findings: agents were told to stand down rather than interdict weapons, they complained about the strategy and were ignored, and Fast and Furious led to increased violence and death in Mexico. Agents were panicked, certain that “someone was going to die.”
Representative Issa continued to hold hearings in June and July where ATF officials based in Phoenix and Mexico, and at headquarters in Washington, testified before the committee. ATF agent John Dodson stated that he and other agents were ordered to observe the activities of gun smugglers but not to intervene. He testified:
Over the course of the next 10 months that I was involved in this operation, we monitored as they purchased hand guns, AK-47 variants, and .50 caliberrifles almost daily. Rather than conduct any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals for a short time after their purchases, but nothing more. Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing. …
I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.
A second joint staff report was released by the Republicans on July 26.
In August, three important Fast and Furious supervisors were transferred to new management positions at ATF headquarters in Washington: William Newell and David Voth, field supervisors who oversaw the program from Phoenix, and William McMahon, an ATF deputy director of operations. The transfers were initially reported as promotions by the Los Angeles Times, but the ATF stated that they did not receive raises or take on greater responsibilities. In late August, it was announced that Acting ATF Director Melson had been reassigned to the Justice Department, and U.S. Attorney Burke announced his resignation after being questioned by Congressional investigators earlier that month.
In October, documents showing that Attorney General Holder’s office had been sent briefings on Fast and Furious as early as July 2010, prompted questions about his May statement that he wasn’t sure of the exact date, but had known about it for only a few weeks. The briefings were from the National Drug Intelligence Center andAssistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. The Justice Department said that those briefings were about a different case started before Holder became Attorney General, and that while he had known about Fast and Furious, he didn’t know the details of the tactics being used.
On October 31, 2011, after the release of subpoenaed documents, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated he found out about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver in April 2010, and that he wished he had alerted the deputy or the attorney general at the time. The following day, in testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee in a hearing on International Organized Crime, when asked if he had reviewed the letter before it was sent to Senator Charles Grassley on February 4, 2011 denying gunwalking, Breuer replied, “I cannot say for sure whether I saw a draft of the letter that was sent to you. What I can tell you, Senator, is that at that time I was in Mexico dealing with the very real issues that we’re all so committed to.”
On November 8, Holder stated for the first time in Congressional testimony that “gunwalking” was used in Fast and Furious. He remarked that the tactic is unacceptable, and that the operation was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution.” He further stated that his office had inaccurately described the program in previous letters sent to Congress, but that this was unintentional. Reiterating previous testimony, he said that he and other top officials had been unaware that the “gunwalking” tactic was being used. Holder stated that his staff had not showed him memos about the program, noting, “There is nothing in any of those memos that indicates any of those inappropriate tactics that are of concern. Those things were not brought to my attention, and my staff, I think, made the correct decision in that regard.”
That same month, ex-US Attorney Burke admitted to leaking sensitive documents about ATF agent and whistleblower Dodson. Senator Grassley expressed concern that the Justice Department was using Burke as a scapegoat to protect higher officials and vowed to continue his probe.
On December 2, 2011, the Justice Department formally withdrew its statement from February 4, 2011 denying gunwalking due to inaccuracies.
Later that month, documents showed that some ATF agents discussed using Fast and Furious to provide anecdotal cases to support controversial new rules about gun sales. The regulation, called Demand Letter 3, would require 8,500 firearms dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas that “have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico” to report multiple rifle sales.
Investigations by Congress and the DOJ Inspector General continued into 2012. In January, Patrick Cunningham, who was the criminal division chief at the Phoenix office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and has since resigned, asserted his innocence and his constitutional right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying. Cunningham worked directly under Burke during Fast and Furious. He was subpoenaed because of the role he might have played in the operation, and in the letter sent from the DOJ to Senator Grassley in February 2011 that claimed the ATF did not allow weapons to be trafficked to Mexico.
On January 31, 2012, Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report titled, “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona”. The report concluded that there was no evidence of involvement by high-ranking appointees at the Justice Department in “gunwalking.” Rather, Operation Fast and Furious was just one of four such operations conducted over five years during the Bush and Obama administrations, and was only “the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
In May, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General had begun to investigate Fast and Furious, with a report expected in October. The DHS had Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to the operation after becoming involved in late 2009.
On May 3, 2012, Congressman Issa released a letter to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that included a draft of a resolution to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt. In the letter, Issa described the connection between Operation Fast and Furious and the OCDETF program since at least January 2009, which would involve multiple executive agencies including the ATF, DOJ, DEA, FBI, ICE, and DHS. He questioned how, why, or if oversight by high level Justice Department did not occur in such an important case. He further described the tragic death of Brian Terry, the whistleblowers and their mistreatment, and the damage the operation had to US-Mexico relations.
On June 7, 2012, under the threat of being held in contempt of Congress for not turning over additional requested documents, Attorney General Holder appeared at his seventh Congressional hearing, where he continued to deny knowledge of “gunwalking” by high-level officials. By then, the Justice Department had turned over more than 7,000 pages of documents.
During the June 12, 2012, Senate hearing, Eric Holder stated, “If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I’m the Attorney General that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious. An Attorney General who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them—nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.” Holder cited a briefing paper on “Wide Receiver”; the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs later clarified that the briefing paper was about the Fidel Hernandez case, prepared for Holder’s predecessor, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey before his meeting with Mexican Attorney General Mora on November 16, 2007. The Hernandez Case had ended October 6, 2007,before Mukasey entered office November 9, 2007. The office further explained, “As Attorney General Holder also noted in his testimony, and as we have set forth in prior correspondence and testimony, he took measures and instituted a series of important reforms designed to ensure that the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious, Wide Receiver, Hernandez, and other matters about which the Department has informed Congress are not repeated.” The later DOJ OIG investigation concluded “Attorney General Mukasey was not briefed about Operation Wide Receiver or gun “walking,” but on a different and traditional law enforcement tactic that was employed in a different case.”
On June 20, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to recommend that Holder be held in contempt. At issue were 1,300 pages of documents that had not been turned over to Congress by the DOJ. Earlier that day, President Obama had invoked executive privilege over those documents, marking the first time the privilege has been asserted during his presidency. Issa contends that the Obama executive privilege claim is a cover-up or an obstruction to the congressional probe. Issa said the department has identified “140,000 pages of documents and communications responsive to the committee’s subpoena.”
On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. The vote was 255–67 in favor, with 17 Democrats voting yes and a large number of Democrats walking off the floor in protest and refusing to vote. A civil contempt measure was also voted on and passed, 258–95. The civil contempt vote allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit to look into the US Justice Department’s refusal to turn over some of the subpoenaed documents and to test Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Holder dismissed the votes as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and the White House called it “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight.” The National Rifle Association controversially lobbied for Holder to be held in contempt.
In June 2012, a six-month long investigation by Fortune magazine stated that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, in contrast to most other reports. Agents interviewed during the investigation repeatedly asserted that only one isolated incident of “gunwalking” ever occurred, and was performed independently by ATF Agent John Dodson (who later appeared on CBS News as a whistleblower to denounce the gunwalking scandal) as part of an unauthorized solo action outside the larger Fast and Furious operation.
On July 31, the first part of a new three-part report, Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation, was released by Republican lawmakers. The report singled out five ATF supervisors for responsibility in Fast and Furious, all of whom had been previously reassigned. The report also said that Fast and Furious resulted from a change in strategy by the Obama Administration. The Justice Department was dismissive of the report, saying that it contained “distortions” and “debunked conspiracy theories,” and that “gunwalking” tactics dated back to 2006. DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, while critical of the report, did credit it for acknowledging that the idea for “gun walking”—allowing illegal sales of weapons on the border—originated under the Republican administration before Eric Holder took office in 2009. Schmaler noted that Holder moved swiftly to replace the ATF’s management and instill reforms. On the same day, ATF Deputy Director William Hoover, who was one of the five blamed in the Congressional report, officially retired. The report included an appendix disputing claims in the Fortune article.Following its publication, Dodson’s lawyer wrote the managing editor of Fortune stating the article was “demonstrably false” and that a retraction was in order. AfterFortune did not retract the article, Dodson sued for libel on October 12, 2012.
On September 19, the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz publicly released a 471-page report detailing the results of the Justice Department’s own internal investigations. The Inspector General’s report, which had access to evidence and interviews with witnesses not permitted in previous Congressional reports, recommended 14 federal officials for disciplinary action, ranging from ATF agents to federal prosecutors involved in the Fast and Furious operation. It found “no evidence” that Attorney General Holder knew about Fast and Furious before early 2011. It found no evidence that previous Attorneys General had been advised about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver.
While the OIG report found no evidence that higher officials at the Justice Department in Washington had authorized or approved of the tactics used in the Fast and Furious investigations, it did fault 14 lower officials for related failures, including failures to take note of “red flags” uncovered by the investigation, as well as failures to follow up on information produced through Operation Fast and Furious and its predecessor, Operation Wide Receiver. The report also noted ATF agents’ apparent frustrations over legal obstacles from the Phoenix Attorney’s Office to prosecuting suspected “straw-buyers,” while also criticizing the agents’ failure to quickly intervene and interdict weapons obtained by low-level suspects in the case. The 14 Justice Department employees were referred for possible internal discipline. The Justice Department’s Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer, an Obama administration presidential appointee, was cited for not alerting his bosses in 2010 to the flaws of Operation Wide Receiver. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, who was responsible for authorizing a portion of the wiretap applications in Operation Fast and Furious and faulted in the report for not identifying the gunwalking tactics, resigned on the day of the report.
On December 4, 2012, the ATF Professional Review Board delivered its recommendations to high-level ATF managers, who will decide whether to accept them. The recommendations included firing William McMahon, ATF Deputy Assistant Director; Mark Chait, ATF Assistant Director for Field Operations; William Newell, Phoenix ATF Special Agent in Charge; and George Gillett, Newell’s second in command. Two additional ATF employees, Phoenix supervisor David Voth and lead agent Hope McAllister, received recommendations for demotion and disciplinary transfer to another ATF post, respectively. It was reported the next day that McMahon had been fired. It was also announced that Gary Grindler, Eric Holder’s chief of staff who was faulted in the OIG report, would be leaving the Justice Department. Later that month, the family of Brian Terry sued seven government officials and a gun shop involved in Operation Fast and Furious for negligence and wrongful death.
Agent John Dodson’s book on his experiences in Operation Fast and Furious was released by Simon and Schuster on December 3, 2013.
Related criminal prosecutions
On July 9, 2012, an indictment charging five men in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed. The FBI offered a reward of $250,000 per fugitive for information leading to their arrests. The indictment, originally handed up on November 7, 2011, charges Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and other crimes. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes pled guilty to avoid the death penalty and is expected to be sentenced in March 2013. As of December 12, 2012, another of the suspects is in custody, and three remain fugitives.
On October 15, 2012, Danny Cruz Morones, one of the twenty individuals indicted as a result of Fast and Furious, was sentenced to 57 months in prison. He was the first of the twenty to be sentenced. He pled guilty to straw purchasing and recruiting others to buy guns. According to prosecutors, he bought 27 AK-47s, and his recruits bought dozens more.
On December 12, Jaime Avila, Jr. received the maximum penalty of 57 months in prison for gun dealing and conspiracy. He pled guilty after two AK-47 type rifles purchased by him were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death. Federal prosecutors stated that, in addition to gun trafficking, he had recruited others to do the same. He was under ATF surveillance at the time.
As more information on Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver was revealed in 2011, Mexican officials, political commentators and media reacted with anger. Mexican officials stated in September that the U.S. government still had not briefed them on what went wrong nor had they apologized.
Due to several failed attempts at coordinating with Mexican law enforcement in the apprehension of suspected arms traffickers in the Wide Receiver and Hernandez cases, and concerns about widespread corruption, details of Operation Fast and Furious were not shared with Mexican government officials, and they were deliberately kept out of the loop after related firearms began turning up at crime scenes and in criminal arsenals in 2010. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) were also kept in the dark. According to Attorney General of Mexico Marisela Morales, the Mexican government was told about the undercover program in January 2011, but they were not provided details at the time.
Morales stated, “At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted. In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.” In addition, she expressed that allowing weapons to “walk” would represent a “betrayal” of Mexico. Morales said that her office would search “to the end” in order to clarify what happened in Fast and Furious. In November 2011, it was reported that the Mexican Attorney General’s office was seeking the extradition of six citizens of the United States implicated with smuggling weapons.
Mexican Senator Arturo Escobar stated after hearing about Operation Wide Receiver, “We can no longer tolerate what is occurring. There must be condemnation from the state,” and that the Mexican Senate condemned the actions of the ATF.
Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said “This is a serious violation of international law. What happens if next time they need to introduce trained assassins or nuclear weapons?”
Chihuahua state prosecutor Patricia Gonzalez, who had worked closely with the US for years, said, “The basic ineptitude of these officials [who ordered the Fast and Furious operation] caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims.” Her brother, Mario, had been kidnapped, tortured and killed by cartel hit men in fall 2010. Later, two AK-47 rifles found among the several weapons recovered after a gunfight between police and cartel members were traced to the Fast and Furious program.
Mexican Congressman Humberto Benítez Treviño, a former attorney general, called Fast and Furious “a bad business that got out of hand.” He had also characterized it as “an undercover program that wasn’t properly controlled.”
Like many politicians, Mexican pundits across the political spectrum expressed anger at news of both operations. La Jornada, a left-leaning newspaper, asked “US: ally or enemy?” The paper also argued that after news about Wide Receiver, the Mérida Initiative should be immediately suspended. A right-leaning paper accused the US of violating Mexican sovereignty. Manuel J. Jauregui of the Reforma newspaper wrote, “In sum, the gringo (American) government has been sending weapons to Mexico in a premeditated and systematic manner, knowing that their destinations were Mexican criminal organizations.”
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u “A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters”. U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. November 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Jonsson, Patrik. “How Mexican killers got US guns from ‘Fast and Furious’ operation”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l Horwitz, Sari (July 27, 2011). “A gunrunning sting gone fatally wrong”. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d “AP Exclusive: Second Bush-Era Gun-Smuggling Probe”. Associated Press. October 14, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Savage, Charlie (July 26, 2011). “Agent Who Supervised Gun-Trafficking Operation Testifies on His Failings”. New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Serrano, Richard (October 3, 2011). “Emails show top Justice Department officials knew of ATF gun program”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- Jump up^ “ATF Fact Sheet – Project Gunrunner”. ATF. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Congress starting ATF “gunwalker scandal” probe”. CBS News. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Attorney General Holder subpoenaed for documents in ATF Gunwalker Fast and Furious case”. CBS News. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Jason Ryan, “Documents Highlight Bush-Era Incident Pre-Dating ‘Fast and Furious’“, ABC News, October 14, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious: Accounts of ATF Agents, JOINT STAFF REPORT, Prepared for Rep. Darrell E. Issa and Senator Charles E. Grassley, 112th Congress, June 14, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Steller, Tim (October 12, 2011). “Newell’s role, Mexico’s participation and more on ATF’s Tucson operation”. Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Gun shop owner expressed concerns early on in “gunwalker” scandal”, CBS News Investigates, April 14, 2011 1:19 pm.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Letter from Senator Charles Grasseley to Attorney General Eric Holder, Apr 13, 2011, on e-mails between “Cooperating FFL” and ATF David Voth.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Yost, Pete. “2007 Justice memo mentioned gun-walking probe”. Yahoo! News. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- Jump up^ Sharyl Attkinsson, “Gunrunning scandal uncovered at the ATF”, CBS Evening News, February 23, 2011.
- Jump up^ “memo Feb 3, 2011 to ATF SAC Dallas from Gary M. Steyers, ATF SA Lubbock.” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Jump up^ Murphy, Kim (March 11, 2011). “Mexico demands answers on guns”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “House holds Holder in contempt”. CNN.com. June 28, 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b House Finds Holder in Contempt Over Inquiry on Guns; New York Times; Jonathan Weisman and Charlie Savage; June 28, 2012
- ^ Jump up to:a b Jackson, David (June 20, 2012). “Obama claims executive privilege; Holder held in contempt”. USA Today. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Dwyer, Devin; Parkinson, John R. (June 20, 2012). “Committee Votes Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress After Obama Asserts Executive Privilege”. ABC News. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Yost, Pete (October 5, 2011). “AP sources: Bush-era probe involved guns ‘walking'”. The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c “Gun Trafficking and the Southwest Border”. Congressional Research Service. September 21, 2009.
- Jump up^ United States Government Accountability Office (June 2009). “Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Arms Trafficking to Mexico Face Planning and Coordination Challenges”. p. 29. Retrieved 28 June 2012. “While straw purchasing is not in itself illegal, it is illegal to intentionally provide false information in connection with the acquisition of a firearm. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6). See also U.S. v. Moore, 109 F.3d 1456, 1460-63 (9th Cir. 1997) (explaining the straw man doctrine and applying it to a factual case).”
- Jump up^ “Two San Juan residents get federal prison time for firearms straw purchases”, YourValleyVoice.com, McAllen Texas, January 18, 2012.
- Jump up^ “10 Sentenced for Involvement in Straw Purchase and Export Ring”, USAO Southern District of Texas press release, March 1, 2012.
- Jump up^ Arrillaga, Pauline (July 30, 2011). “What Led to ‘Project Gunwalker’?”. ABC News. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ “The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious: Accounts of ATF Agents” Joint Staff Report Prepared for Rep. Darrell E. Issa and Senator Charles E. Grassley, 112th Congress, June 14, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Informant: ATF “gun walking” went on for years”. CBS news. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Barrett, Paul. “The Guns That Got Away”. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Horwitz, Sari (October 7, 2011). “Earlier ATF gun operation ‘Wide Receiver’ used same tactics as ‘Fast and Furious’”. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Documents point to ATF “gun running” since 2008″. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Jump up^ “ATF Emails Discuss Bush-Era ‘Gun Walking’ Program”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Letters of 14 Jun 2012 from Senator Charles E. Grassley to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and 18 Jun 2012 from U.S. DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs to Senator Charles E. Grassley.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona (Report of the Minority Staff, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member; Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, January 2012)
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation”. United States Congress. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Jump up^ “Department of Justice Cartel Strategy, October 2009″. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Judicial Watch Sues Department of Justice and ATF for Documents Pertaining to ATF’s “Fast and Furious” Gun-Running Operation”. Judicial Watch. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (August 11, 2011). “ATF’s gun surveillance program showed early signs of failure”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c “The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious: Fueling Cartel Violence”. United States Congress. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Jump up^ Statement of Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 20 Sep 2012.
- Jump up^ Savage, Charlie (August 30, 2011). “Gun Inquiry Costs Officials Their Jobs”.The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ Charles Grassley, “Charles Grassley Congressional testimony documents”U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, June 15, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Darrell Issa, “Update on Operation Fast and Furious” House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, May 3, 2012.
- Jump up^ Savage, Charlie (July 18, 2011). “Facts Sought on D.E.A. Informants”. The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Katherine Eban, “The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal”, Fortune Magazine, June 27, 2012.
- Jump up^ Richard A. Serrano, “Drug lords targeted by Fast and Furious were FBI informants” Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2012.
- Jump up^ Richard A. Serrano, “‘Fast and Furious’ probe: Chief suspect released more than once” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2012.
- Jump up^ Richard A. Serrano, “Informant helped smuggle guns to Mexico, investigators say” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2011.
- Jump up^ William La Jeunesse, “Main suspect in Operation Fast and Furious arrested twice before, report shows Fox News, April 14, 2012.
- Jump up^ Carrie Johnson, “Emails Show How ‘Fast And Furious’ Ambush News Unfolded At Justice Dept.” NPR, January 27, 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Joint Staff Report Part I Appendix III PDF “The Whole Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal”, 7-31-12.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard A. (September 11, 2011). “Gun store owner had misgivings about ATF sting”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Jump up^ “200 mexicanos murieron por armas de ‘Rápido y Furioso': congresista de EU”.CNN Mexico. October 28, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Eric Holder: Effects of Fast and Furious will linger”. Politico LLC. November 7, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Jump up^ Frieden, Terry (November 7, 2011). “El gobierno de EU admite que pierde la batalla contra el tráfico de armas”. CNN Mexico. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Jump up^ Longbottom, Wil (October 13, 2011). “U.S. Attorney General issued with subpoena in probe over ‘Fast and Furious’ gun trafficking”. Daily Mail (London). Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (October 8, 2011). “Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer’s home”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Jump up^ Ugarte, Marco (February 4, 2012). “Mexico arrested Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, the reputed enforcer for the Sinaloa drug cartel.”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (July 17, 2011). “Family of U.S. agent slain in Mexico demands to know gun source”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Jump up^ Carroll, Susan. “Slain ICE agent’s family still searching for answers”. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Perez-Trevino, Emma. “Straw purchaser of guns pleads guilty in Dallas; defendant linked to Zapata death”. The Brownsville Herald. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Phoenix Field Division”. ATF. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Jump up^ Titus, Elizabeth. “Cornyn Presses Holder on Alleged Texas Operation”. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Timeline of “Baytown Crew” case.” (PDF). CBS News. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Second gun used in ICE agent murder linked to ATF undercover operation”, CBS News, February 22, 2012.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl (19 December 2012). “Pistol purchased by ATF agent found at alleged cartel crime scene in Mexico”. CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl (18 December 2012). “Fast and Furious gun found at Mexican crime scene”. CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Serrano, Richard (August 16, 2011). “Supervisors in ATF gun operation are promoted”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Wagner, Dennis. “Phoenix-area gun store, ATF sting may be linked to shootout”. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
- Jump up^ Lott, Maxim (February 2, 2011). “Senator Calls ATF on Allegations Agency Is Allowing Guns Into Mexico”. Fox News. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Jump up^ Salant, Jonathan (December 2, 2011). “Erroneous Gun Letter Based on U.S. Attorney, Documents Show”. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Weich, Ronald. “Judiciary ATF 02-04-11 letter from DOJ deny allegations”. United States Senate. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (December 24, 2011). “Angry former ATF chief blames subordinates for Fast and Furious”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Obama on “gunwalking”: Serious mistake may have been made”. CBS News. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Attorney General Eric Holder Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee; CSPAN; May 3, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Hennessey, Kathleen (November 9, 2011). “Senate grills Holder on Fast and Furious gun-trafficking sting”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Attorney General Eric Holder grilled by Congress on ATF “Gunwalker” controversy”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Attkisson, Sharyl. “ATF Fast and Furious: New documents show Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed in July 2010″. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Jump up^ Lott, Maxim (June 27, 2011). “‘Project Gunrunner’ Whistleblower Says ATF Sent Him Termination Notice”. Fox News. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- Jump up^ Lajeunesse, William (June 15, 2011). “House Panel Releases Scathing Report on ‘Fast and Furious’ Gun Operation, Sure to Anger Mexico”. Fox News. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Murphy, Kim (June 14, 2011). “Report describes gun agents’ ‘state of panic'”.Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ La Jeunesse, William (June 10, 2011). “Justice Officials in ‘Panic Mode’ as Hearing Nears on Failed Anti-Gun Trafficking Program”. Fox News. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Johnson, Kevin (June 16, 2011). “ATF agent calls gun-tracking program a ‘disaster'”. USA Today. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Holub, Hugh. “Statement of John Dodson about ATF gunwalker scandal: “The very idea of letting guns walk is unthinkable to most law enforcement.””. Tucson Citizen. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (August 17, 2011). “ATF denies it promoted Fast and Furious supervisors”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Gunwalker scandal: ATF director out of top job”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Jump up^ Terry Frieden, Top Justice official expresses regret for failure to warn on ‘gun walking’ CNN, November 1, 2011.
- Jump up^ Carrie Johnson, “Official Admits ‘Mistake’ In Gun-Trafficking Case” NPR, November 1, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Senate Committee Hearing on International Organized Crime” CSPAN, November 1, 2011.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Eric Holder calls “gunwalking” unacceptable, regrets tactic as part of Fast and Furious”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Jump up^ “Holder emails” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Jump up^ Dennis Wagner, “Ex-U.S. Attorney Burke admits to leaking whistle-blower’s records” The Arizona Republic, November 10, 2011.
- Jump up^ Carrie Johnson, “Justice Withdraws Inaccurate ‘Fast And Furious’ Letter It Sent To Congress” NPR, December 2, 2011.
- Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations”, CBS News, December 7, 2011.
- Jump up^ Savage, Charlie (January 31, 2012). “Report by House Democrats Absolves Administration in Gun Trafficking Case”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Jump up^ Yager, Jordy. “Federal officer invokes Fifth in ‘Fast and Furious’ investigation”. The Hill. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- Jump up^ Yost, Pete (February 1, 2012). “Dems: Fast & Furious just 1 of 4 misguided probes”. Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl (May 22, 2012). “Homeland Security IG Investigates Fast and Furious”. CBS News. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Jump up^ http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Update-on-Fast-and-Furious-with-attachment-FINAL.pdf
- Jump up^ Frieden, Terry (June 7, 2012). “Holder rejects GOP assertions on Fast and Furious at House hearing”. CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- Jump up^ “ATF Emails Discuss Bush-Era ‘Gun Walking’ Program” Page 2 email from William Newell to Carson W. Carroll 6 Oct 2007.
- Jump up^ Laurie Kellman (AP), “Mukasey confirmed as attorney general”, Washington Post, November 9, 2007.
- Jump up^ Issa: Obama executive privilege claim is cover-up or obstruction; Washington Times; June 26, 2012
- Jump up^ NRA sends Democrats a message over Holder contempt vote; CNN; July 2, 2012
- Jump up^ NRA Letter to the committee – June 20; National Rifle Association; June 20, 2012
- Jump up^ “House votes to hold attorney general in contempt”. Fox News. June 28, 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- Jump up^ Grant, David (June 27, 2012). “Why NRA wants Congress to vote Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- Jump up^ Hoyer Challenges Issa to Show E-Mails; New York Times; June 26, 2012
- Jump up^ Issa’s right: Tougher gun laws Fast and Furious goal; National Rifle Association; June 27, 2012
- Jump up^ “Justice Dept: Fast and Furious report distorted”. CBS News. August 1, 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Jump up^ Serrano, Richard A. (July 31, 2012). “Justice Department shrugs off Fast and Furious report”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Jump up^ Frieden, Terry (August 2, 2012). “Deputy Director William Hoover resigns from ATF in wake of critical report”. CNN. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Jump up^ “Letter from Robert N. Driscoll to Andy Serwer re: The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal”. Politico. September 27, 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- Jump up^ Dylan Byers, “Exclusive: Fast and Furious whistleblower sues Time Inc. for libel”, Politico, 24 Oct 2012.
- Jump up^ “Libel Complaint, John Dodson v Time Inc., 6:12-294-MGL”. Documentcloud.org. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Charlie Savage, “Guns Inquiry Urges Action Against 14 in Justice Dept.”,New York Times, 19 Sep 2012.
- Jump up^ Kevin Johnson (September 19, 2012). “Review: Holder did not know about ‘Fast and Furious'”. USA Today.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Attkisson, Sharyl (5 December 2012). “Heads roll after Fast and Furious investigation”. CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Jump up^ “Probe faults US agents over Mexico gunrunning”, Al Jazeera, 20 Sep 2012.
- Jump up^ Mary Jacoby, “Criminal Division Deputy Weinstein Resigns In Wake of Fast and Furious Report” Main Justice, September 19, 2012.
- Jump up^ Evan Perez, “Firings Set Over ‘Fast and Furious'”, The Wall Street Journal, 4 Dec 2012. Subscription required.
- Jump up^ Chuck Neubauer (2012-12-05). “Firings advised for 4 ATF leaders tied to Fast and Furious”. Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Brian Terry family sues ATF officials in Fast and Furious”CBS, December 17, 2012.
- Jump up^ John Dodson, The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious Hardcover, Threshold Editions, 3 Dec 2013, ISBN 978-1476727554. Hardcover: 304 pages.·
- Jump up^ Phillips, Whitney. “Feds name 4 suspects linked to Fast and Furious”. Independentmail.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Jump up^ “Feds unveil indictments in Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s slaying”. CNN. July 9, 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Fast and Furious suspect sentenced”. CBS/AP. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Jump up^ Perry, Tony (15 October 2012). “‘Fast and Furious’ defendant gets prison for buying guns”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Hernandez, Daniel (October 6, 2011). “MEXICO: News of another U.S. gun-tracking program stirs criticism”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Ellingwood, Ken (September 19, 2011). “Mexico still waiting for answers on Fast and Furious gun program”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Jump up^ “México pide la extradición de seis estadounidenses por tráfico de armas”. CNN Mexico. November 16, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Busca PGR extradición de implicados en ‘Rápido y furioso'”. Noticieros Televisa. November 16, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Exige Senado mexicano reclamo a EE.UU por armas ilegales”. Prensa Latina. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Jump up^ MEXICO: News of another U.S. gun-tracking program stirs criticism; Los Angeles Times; October 6, 2011
- ^ Jump up to:a b Murphy, Kim (March 10, 2011). “Mexico lawmakers demand answers about guns smuggled under ATF’s watch”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Jump up^ “EU: ¿aliado o enemigo?”. La Jornada. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government to access information and personnel relating to the executive branch. The concept of executive privilege is not mentioned explicitly in the United States Constitution, but the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine, and/or derived from the supremacy of executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a “sufficient showing” that the “Presidential material” is “essential to the justice of the case” (418 U.S. at 713-14).Chief Justice Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch’s national security concerns.
Historically, the uses of executive privilege underscore the untested nature of the doctrine, since Presidents have generally sidestepped open confrontations with the United States Congress and the courts over the issue by first asserting the privilege, then producing some of the documents requested on an assertedly voluntary basis.
Executive privilege is a specific instance of the more general common-law principle of deliberative process privilege and is believed to trace its roots to the English Crown Privilege.
In the context of privilege assertions by US Presidents, “In 1796, President George Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents related to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Therefore, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House.”
President Thomas Jefferson continued the precedent for this in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason in 1807. Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel Jefferson to provide his private letters concerning Burr. Chief Justice John Marshall, a strong proponent of the powers of the federal government but also a political opponent of Jefferson, ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for these sorts of court orders for criminal defendants, did not provide any exception for the president. As for Jefferson’s claim that disclosure of the document would imperil public safety, Marshall held that the court, not the president, would be the judge of that. Jefferson complied with Marshall’s order.
In 1833, President Andrew Jackson cited executive privilege when Senator Henry Clay demanded he produce documents concerning statements the president made to his cabinet about the removal of federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States during the Bank War.
During the period of 1947-49, several major security cases became known to Congress. There followed a series of investigations, culminating in the famous Hiss-Chambers case of 1948. At that point, the Truman Administration issued a sweeping secrecy order blocking congressional efforts from FBI and other executive data on security problems. Security files were moved to the White House and Administration officials were banned from testifying before Congress on security related matters. Investigation of the State Department and other cases was stymied and the matter left unresolved.
During the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954, Eisenhower used the claim of executive privilege to forbid the “provision of any data about internal conversations, meetings, or written communication among staffers, with no exception to topics or people.” Department of Defense employees were also instructed not to testify on any such conversations or produce any such documents or reproductions. This was done to refuse the McCarthy Committee subpoenas of transcripts of monitored telephone calls from Army officials, as well as information on meetings between Eisenhower officials relating to the hearings. This was done in the form of a letter from Eisenhower to the Department of Defense and an accompanying memo from Eisenhower Justice. The reasoning behind the order was that there was a need for “candid” exchanges among executive employees in giving “advice” to one another. In the end, Eisenhower would invoke the claim 44 times between 1955 and 1960.
U.S. v. Nixon
The Supreme Court addressed ‘executive privilege’ in United States v. Nixon, the 1974 case involving the demand by Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox that President Richard Nixon produce the audiotapes of conversations he and his colleagues had in the Oval Office of the White House in connection with criminal charges being brought against members of the Nixon Administration. Nixon invoked the privilege and refused to produce any records.
The Supreme Court did not reject the claim of privilege out of hand; it noted, in fact, “the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties” and that “[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process.” This is very similar to the logic that the Court had used in establishing an “executive immunity” defense for high office-holders charged with violating citizens’ constitutional rights in the course of performing their duties. The Supreme Court stated: “To read the Article II powers of the President as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government’ and gravely impair the role of the courts under Article III.” Because Nixon had asserted only a generalized need for confidentiality, the Court held that the larger public interest in obtaining the truth in the context of a criminal prosecution took precedence.
“Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive’s claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances. These ‘occasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches’ are likely to be avoided whenever possible. United States v. Nixon, supra, at 692.”
The Clinton administration invoked executive privilege on fourteen occasions.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton became the first President since Nixon to assert executive privilege and lose in court, when a Federal judge ruled that Clinton aides could be called to testify in the Lewinsky scandal.
Later, Clinton exercised a form of negotiated executive privilege when he agreed to testify before the grand jury called by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr only after negotiating the terms under which he would appear. Declaring that “absolutely no one is above the law”, Starr said such a privilege “must give way” and evidence “must be turned over” to prosecutors if it is relevant to an investigation.
George W. Bush administration
The Bush administration invoked executive privilege on six occasions.
President George W. Bush first asserted executive privilege to deny disclosure of sought details regarding former Attorney General Janet Reno, the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized-crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in Boston, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton’s fundraising tactics, in December 2001.
Bush invoked executive privilege “in substance” in refusing to disclose the details of Vice President Dick Cheney‘s meetings with energy executives, which was not appealed by the GAO. In a separate Supreme Court decision in 2004, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted “Executive privilege is an extraordinary assertion of power ‘not to be lightly invoked.’ United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 7 (1953).
Further, on June 28, 2007, Bush invoked executive privilege in response to congressional subpoenas requesting documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor, citing that:
The reason for these distinctions rests upon a bedrock presidential prerogative: for the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch.
On July 9, 2007, Bush again invoked executive privilege to block a congressional subpoena requiring the testimonies of Taylor and Miers. Furthermore, White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding refused to comply with a deadline set by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain its privilege claim, prove that the president personally invoked it, and provide logs of which documents were being withheld. On July 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted to cite Miers andWhite House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten for contempt of Congress.
On July 13, less than a week after claiming executive privilege for Miers and Taylor, Counsel Fielding effectively claimed the privilege once again, this time in relation to documents related to the 2004 death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Fielding claimed certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and would therefore not be turned over to the committee.
On August 1, 2007, Bush invoked the privilege for the fourth time in little over a month, this time rejecting a subpoena for Karl Rove. The subpoena would have required the President’s Senior Advisor to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors. In a letter to Senate Judiciary ChairmanPatrick Leahy, Fielding claimed that “Mr. Rove, as an immediate presidential advisor, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties in that capacity….”
Leahy claimed that President Bush was not involved with the employment terminations of U.S. attorneys. Furthermore, he asserted that the president’s executive privilege claims protecting Josh Bolten, and Karl Rove are illegal. The Senator demanded that Bolten, Rove, Sara Taylor, and J. Scott Jennings comply “immediately” with their subpoenas, presumably to await a further review of these matters. This development paved the way for a Senate panel vote on whether to advance the citations to the full Senate. “It is obvious that the reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort”, Leahy concluded about these incidents.
As of July 17, 2008, Rove still claimed executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena. Rove’s lawyer wrote that his client is “constitutionally immune from compelled congressional testimony.”
House Investigation of the SEC
Leaders of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission testified on February 4, 2009 before the United States House Committee on Financial Servicessubcommittee including Linda Chatman Thomsen S.E.C. enforcement director, acting General Counsel Andy Vollmer, Andrew Donohue, Erik Sirri, and Lori Richards and Stephen Luparello of FINRA. The subject of the hearings were on why the SEC had failed to act when Harry Markopolos, a private fraud investigator from Boston alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing his persistent and unsuccessful efforts to get the SEC to investigate Bernard Madoff, beginning in 1999.Vollmer claimed executive privilege in declining to answer some questions. Subcommittee chairman Paul E. Kanjorski asked Mr. Vollmer if he had obtained executive privilege from the U.S. attorney general. “No … this is the position of the agency,” said Vollmer. “Did the SEC instruct him not to respond to questions?” Mr. Kanjorski asked. Vollmer replied that it was the position of the Commission and that “the answer is no.” The SEC announced Vollmer would “leave the Commission and return to the private sector,” just 14 days after making the claim.
On June 20, 2012, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege, his first, to withhold certain Department of Justice documents related to the ongoingOperation Fast and Furious controversy ahead of a United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder inContempt of Congress for refusing to produce the documents. Later the same day, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted 23-17 along party lines to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress over not releasing documents regarding Fast and Furious.
- Jump up^ Chief Justice Burger, writing for the majority in US v. Nixon noted: “Whatever the nature of the privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications in the exercise of Art. II powers, the privilege can be said to derive from the supremacy of each branch within its own assigned area of constitutional duties. Certain powers and privileges flow from the nature of enumerated powers; the protection of the confidentiality of Presidential communications has similar constitutional underpinnings.United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) (Supreme Court opinion at FindLaw)
- Jump up^ Proper Assertion of the Deliberative Process Principle, S Narayan, p 6
- Jump up^ FindLaw’s Writ – Dorf: A Brief History Of Executive Privilege, From George Washington Through Dick Cheney
- Jump up^ David and Jeanne Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American (2010) p.264
- Jump up^ Blacklisted by History, p. 23
- Jump up^ Blacklisted by History p.575
- Jump up^ Holding, Reynolds. Time, March 21, 2007. Holding, Reynolds (March 21, 2007). “The Executive Privilege Showdown”. Time. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- Jump up^ Baker, Peter; and Schmidt, Susan. “President is Denied Executive Privilege”. The Washington Post. July 22, 1998. Retrieved 2007-03-27. Washington Post, May 6, 1998.
- Jump up^ Lewis, Neil A. (2001-12-14). “Bush Claims Executive Privilege in Response to House Inquiry”. New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
- Jump up^ 
- Jump up^ “House inches toward constitutional showdown with contempt vote”. Politics (CNN). July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- Jump up^ “House Judiciary Reports Contempt Citations to the House of Representatives” (Press release). U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
- Jump up^ “White House Rebuffs Congress on Tillman Papers”. Politics (The Seattle Times). August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- Jump up^ “Bush won’t let aide Rove testify to Congress”. Politics (Reuters). August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- Jump up^ “Leahy: Bush not involved in firings”. Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Jump up^ “Leahy: Rove, others must comply with subpoenas”. CNN. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Jump up^ “Leahy again orders Karl Rove to appear”. Bennington Banner. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Jump up^ “Leahy again demands U.S. attorney info”. Earth Times. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Jump up^ “Rove ignores committee’s subpoena, refuses to testify”. CNN. July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- Jump up^ Henriques, Diana (February 4, 2009). “Anger and Drama at a House Hearing on Madoff”. The New York Times.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Jamieson, Dan (February 4, 2009). “SEC officials dodge questions; one claims privilege”. InvestmentNews.
- Jump up^ Ahrens, Frank (February 5, 2009). “Lawmakers Sink Teeth Into the SEC: Agency Mocked for Not Catching Madoff”. The Washington Post. pp. D01.
- Jump up^ “Acting General Counsel Andrew Vollmer to Leave SEC”. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Feb 18, 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
- Jump up^ Jackson, David (June 20, 2012). “Obama team: ‘Fast and Furious’ documents are privileged”. USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Jump up^ Madhani and Davis, Aamer and Susan (June 20, 2012). “House panel votes to cite Holder for contempt of Congress”. USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
President Asserts Executive Privilege in Bid to Forestall Contempt Vote By JOHN H. CUSHMAN Jr. Published: June 20, 2012 NY Times
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio
Read Full Post
| Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 1: Obama Recklessly Endangers The Health of The American People By Allowing West Africans From Ebola Infected Countries To Fly Into United States — Open Borders To Illegal Aliens Fleeing Ebola Pandemic — Obama Panics And Appoints New Ebola Czar — Another Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) Washington Insider With No Executive Leadership or Medical Experience — Videos
Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory Spacesuits
Biosafety Level 4 Hospital Spacesuits
CDC warns against travel ban on Ebola-affected countries
Bill Johnson Discusses the Congressional Ebola Hearing with Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson
Ebola outbreak: Nebraska Medical Center ready at moment’s notice
Activation- A Nebraska Medical Center Biocontainment Unit Story
NEIDL: Biosafety Level 4
A Mission of Safety
In the Hot Zone with Virus X – Richard Preston
Elbows-Deep in Ebola Virus – Richard Preston
CNN Reporter To WH: What Does Obama’s Ebola Czar Know About Ebola?
Dr Nicole Lurie on National Health Security and Resiliency
Nicole Lurie, HHS: Flu Pandemic Lessons for Future Biothreats
How to Prioritize Flu Vaccine in Future (Panel discussion)
How Influenza Pandemics Occur
Hospitals “Full-Up”: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Dr. Nicole Lurie – HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response
Ebola Czar hides away in bunker — Dr. Nicole Lurie
Weekly Examiner: Obama appoints Ebola czar
Obama Appoints Ebola ‘czar’ As Anxiety Mounts
Source: Obama to name Ron Klain as Ebola czar
President Obama appoints Ron Klain as Ebola “czar”
Remarks of Ron Klain
Actor Kevin Spacey, Georgetown’s Ron Klain Discuss Politics and Ethics
Obama’s New Ebola ‘Czar’ Has NO Health or Medical Background!
Krauthammer: Obama Is a Narcissist ‘Surrounded by Sycophants’
President Obama Speaks on Ebola
Fast Facts on US Hospitals
The American Hospital Association conducts an annual survey of hospitals in the United States. The data below, from the 2012 AHA Annual Survey, are a sample of what you will find in AHA Hospital Statistics, 2014 edition. The definitive source for aggregate hospital data and trend analysis, AHA Hospital Statistics includes current and historical data on utilization, personnel, revenue, expenses, managed care contracts, community health indicators, physician models, and much more.
AHA Hospital Statistics is published annually by Health Forum, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. Additional details on AHA Hospital Statistics and other Health Forum data products are available at www.ahadataviewer.com. To order AHA Hospital Statistics, call (800) AHA-2626 or click on www.ahaonlinestore.com.
For further information or customized data and research, contact the AHA Resource Center at (312) 422-2050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Total Number of All U.S. Registered * Hospitals
| Number of U.S. Community ** Hospitals
| Number of Nongovernment Not-for-Profit Community Hospitals
| Number of Investor-Owned (For-Profit) Community Hospitals
| Number of State and Local Government Community Hospitals
| Number of Federal Government Hospitals
| Number of Nonfederal Psychiatric Hospitals
| Number of Nonfederal Long Term Care Hospitals
| Number of Hospital Units of Institutions
(Prison Hospitals, College Infirmaries, Etc.)
| Total Staffed Beds in All U.S. Registered * Hospitals
| Staffed Beds in Community** Hospitals
| Total Admissions in All U.S. Registered * Hospitals
| Admissions in Community** Hospitals
| Total Expenses for All U.S. Registered * Hospitals
| Expenses for Community** Hospitals
| Number of Rural Community** Hospitals
| Number of Urban Community** Hospitals
| Number of Community Hospitals in a System ***
| Number of Community Hospitals in a Network ****
*Registered hospitals are those hospitals that meet AHA’s criteria for registration as a hospital facility. Registered hospitals include AHA member hospitals as well as nonmember hospitals. For a complete listing of the criteria used for registration, please see Registration Requirements for Hospitals.
**Community hospitals are defined as all nonfederal, short-term general, and other special hospitals. Other special hospitals include obstetrics and gynecology; eye, ear, nose, and throat; rehabilitation; orthopedic; and other individually described specialty services. Community hospitals include academic medical centers or other teaching hospitals if they are nonfederal short-term hospitals. Excluded are hospitals not accessible by the general public, such as prison hospitals or college infirmaries.
***System is defined by AHA as either a multihospital or a diversified single hospital system. A multihospital system is two or more hospitals owned, leased, sponsored, or contract managed by a central organization. Single, freestanding hospitals may be categorized as a system by bringing into membership three or more, and at least 25 percent, of their owned or leased non-hospital preacute or postacute health care organizations. System affiliation does not preclude network participation.
**** Network is a group of hospitals, physicians, other providers, insurers and/or community agencies that work together to coordinate and deliver a broad spectrum of services to their community. Network participation does not preclude system affiliation.
Inside The Isolation Wards That Keep Americans Safe From Ebola
Ebola has officially made it to the US, but there is absolutely no reason to freak out. That’s in large part thanks to Emory University Hospital’s state-of-the-art isolation ward, which is better-equipped to field Ebola cases than any ordinary hospital in the country. Here’s a look at the tech that keeps doctors and nurses safe.
Emory is one of four high-level biocontainment patient care units in the US; the others are located at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. We spoke with Dr. Angela Hewlett, associate medical director at the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit — the largest of the four facilities — about biocontainment suits, wearing three pairs of gloves, and custom air pressure systems.
Perhaps the most comfort Hewlett was able to provide is that none of the super-fancy tech that these four high-level isolation wards have at their disposal is even necessary for Ebola. “There’s a big fear factor with this illness but really, these types of patients can taken care of at any good healthcare facility,” says Dr. Hewlett.
That’s because the Ebola virus easily dies outside of the human body, so unless you’ve been handling a sick person’s blood or feces, you are almost certainly A-OK. Ebola is pretty darn hard to get compared to an airborne disease like SARS or even the regular old flu. But with a mortality rate of up to 90 per cent — and over 50 per cent with the strain in the current outbreak — we still need to keep doctors and nurses as safe as we can. Here’s how Nebraska Biocontainment Unit keeps diseases like Ebola — and much, much worse — from spreading in the hospital.
Negative air pressure. As with Emory in Atlanta, the isolation unit in Nebraska is isolated from the rest of the general hospital. It runs on its own air circulation system, and the air is passed through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter before it is vented outside of the building. That’s the same kind of precautions that you would see in a biosafety level 4 lab (the highest) that works with deadly or highly contagious diseases.
In addition, the biocontainment unit has negative air pressure, which means that air pressure inside the isolation rooms is slightly lower than that outside. Essentially, air is gently sucked into the room, so particles from inside the room can’t float out when you open a door. As another line of protection, ultraviolet lights zap any viruses or bacteria in the air or on surfaces.
Full-body suits and THREE pairs of gloves. The Biocontainment Unit is equipped with gear that covers you head to toe, in some places three times over. That includes personal respirators, headgear, full-body suits and gloves. Healthcare workers wear three pairs, including one thick pair that protects against needle accidents, and then two pairs of ordinary gloves so they have an extra pair to work with patients.
Entering and exiting the room becomes an elaborate production because putting on and taking off all the gear can take more than 10 minutes each way. A second person assists to make sure every piece of equipment is put on right and there are no rips or tears in any of the protective gear. Afterwards, every piece of equipment is wiped down to kill the pathogen; in the case of Ebola, simple bleach is enough to do the trick. The full-body suit is discarded after each use.
Training and training and training. Having fancy technology is great but not if you don’t know how to use it properly. “They have to go through really extensive training,” says Hewlett of the the 30-person team that works in the unit. They get 80 hours of training before they can begin, followed by monthly meetings and quarterly drills, where the photos in this post were taken.
It’s worth reiterating that most of this equipment and these procedures go above and beyond protecting for Ebola. The air systems and full-body suits are really there to guard against possible airborne diseases, like smallpox or SARS or some highly contagious avian flu viruses that may emerge in the future.
In fact, the CDC’s current guidelines for treating Ebola in U.S. hospitals require only gloves, goggles, a facemask, and a gown in most situations. Even if someone inadvertently brings Ebola to other hospitals, it’s highly unlikely to spread in the U.S. The situation is different in Africa, where inadequate equipment and fear of healthcare workers has contributed to the worsening situation.
A State Department official did visit Nebraska to see whether the unit would be ready to accept any Ebola patients in the future, though the facility hasn’t yet been used despite being open for nine years. There hasn’t been a disease serious enough to merit it. “This is good thing,” says Dr. Hewlett, “However with world travel the way it is, it is inevitable these things are going to come eventually.” If and when Ebola does come to the U.S. again, we are definitely prepared, which is not something we can say about what else may be coming down the line.
Pictures: University of Nebraska Medical Center
Obama names Ron Klain as Ebola ‘czar’
President Obama tapped veteran government insider Ron Klain to coordinate his administration’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus Friday.
Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is well-known by Obama and White House aides. He was selected for his management experience and contacts throughout the government, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
“He is the right person for the job,” Earnest said, particularly the challenge of “integrating the interagency response.”
Klain’s appointment marks a swift turnabout for Obama, who until Thursday had resisted calls to appoint a single official to run the government’s response to Ebola.
Asked Thursday about the prospect of an “Ebola czar,” Obama said, “It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward.”
Obama did not mention Klain’s appointment during a speech Friday to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but he said his administration is taking an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to fighting Ebola.
The administration has come under increased pressure to name an anti-Ebola coordinator in the wake of news that two nurses in Dallas contracted the deadly virus. Both had treated a man who died of Ebola.
Klain played a high-profile file in Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey portrayed him in an HBO movie on that year’s Florida recount.
The Ebola response includes efforts to screen travelers from West African nations where Ebola has reached epidemic proportions and killed more than 4,500 people. Klain will help coordinate the assistance the U.S. military provides in West Africa.
Some Republican lawmakers criticized Obama for entrusting the job to a former government manager rather than a professional.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., tweeted, “Worst ebola epidemic in world history and Pres. Obama puts a government bureaucrat with no healthcare experience in charge. Is he serious?”
Members of the public health community expressed surprise.
“When are they going to stop making mistakes?” said Robert Murphy, the director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “We need a czar, but optimally a strong public health expert. I am so disappointed. This is not what we need.”
Physician Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said, “It’s clear that there’s a desperate desire for an organized approach to dealing with this outbreak. I don’t necessarily think we need a disease-specific czar — we have one for HIV — but more of an emerging infectious diseases/biosecurity coordinator who reports to the president.”
The Ebola position is designed to be more managerial in nature, involving an array of government agencies ranging from the Pentagon to Health and Human Services.
“This is much broader than a medical response,” Earnest said.
As for Republican criticism, Earnest joked, “That’s a shocking development.” He noted that national elections are less than three weeks away.
Klain may weigh in on another question facing the administration: the prospect of a U.S. travel ban from West African nations where there have been Ebola outbreaks.
Obama and aides have disputed the need for a travel ban, questioning whether it would work and arguing that it might create unintended problems.
Thursday, Obama said experts in infectious diseases have told him “a travel ban is less effective than the measures that we are currently instituting that involve screening passengers who are coming from West Africa.”
Klain is likely to take a low key role publicly.
Earnest said Obama wasn’t looking for an Ebola expert but “an implementation expert.”
He confirmed Klain’s title: “Ebola response coordinator.”
Klain will report to two officials involved in the anti-Ebola effort: homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and national security adviser Susan Rice.
Obama is pleased with the work of Monaco and Rice, but “given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response,” a White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The president has long known Klain, who helped prepare him for debates with Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.
Klain has been out of government since leaving Biden’s staff during Obama’s first term.
Who Do They Think We Are?
By PEGGY NOONAN
The administration’s Ebola evasions reveal its disdain for the American people.
The administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis continues to be marked by double talk, runaround and gobbledygook. And its logic is worse than its language. In many of its actions, especially its public pronouncements, the government is functioning not as a soother of public anxiety but the cause of it.
An example this week came in the dialogue between Megyn Kelly of Fox News andThomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control.
Their conversation focused largely on the government’s refusal to stop travel into the United States by citizens of plague nations. “Why not put a travel ban in place,” Ms. Kelly asked, while we shore up the U.S. public-health system?
Dr. Frieden replied that we now have screening at airports, and “we’ve already recommended that all nonessential travel to these countries be stopped for Americans.” He added: “We’re always looking at ways that we can better protect Americans.”
“But this is one,” Ms. Kelly responded.
Dr. Frieden implied a travel ban would be harmful: “If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it’s going to spread to other parts of—”
Ms. Kelly interjected, asking how keeping citizens from the affected regions out of America would make it harder to stop Ebola in Africa.
“Because you can’t get people in and out.”
“Why can’t we have charter flights?”
“You know, charter flights don’t do the same thing commercial airliners do.”
“What do you mean? They fly in and fly out.”
Dr. Frieden replied that limiting travel between African nations would slow relief efforts. “If we isolate these countries, what’s not going to happen is disease staying there. It’s going to spread more all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.”
Later in the interview, Ms. Kelly noted that we still have airplanes coming into the U.S. from Liberia, with passengers expected to self-report Ebola exposure.
Dr. Frieden responded: “Ultimately the only way—and you may not like this—but the only way we will get our risk to zero here is to stop the outbreak in Africa.”
Ms. Kelly said yes, that’s why we’re sending troops. But why can’t we do that and have a travel ban?
“If it spreads more in Africa, it’s going to be more of a risk to us here. Our only goal is protecting Americans—that’s our mission. We do that by protecting people here and by stopping threats abroad. That protects Americans.”
Dr. Frieden’s logic was a bit of a heart-stopper. In fact his responses were more non sequiturs than answers. We cannot ban people at high risk of Ebola from entering the U.S. because people in West Africa have Ebola, and we don’t want it to spread. Huh?
In testimony before Congress Thursday, Dr. Frieden was not much more straightforward. His answers often sound like filibusters: long, rolling paragraphs of benign assertion, advertising slogans—“We know how to stop Ebola,” “Our focus is protecting people”—occasionally extraneous data, and testimony to the excellence of our health-care professionals.
It is my impression that everyone who speaks for the government on this issue has been instructed to imagine his audience as anxious children. It feels like how the pediatrician talks to the child, not the parents. It’s as if they’ve been told: “Talk, talk, talk, but don’t say anything. Clarity is the enemy.”
The language of government now is word-spew.
Dr. Frieden did not explain his or the government’s thinking on the reasons for opposition to a travel ban. On the other hand, he noted that the government will consider all options in stopping the virus from spreading here, so perhaps that marks the beginning of a possible concession.
It is one thing that Dr. Frieden, and those who are presumably making the big decisions, have been so far incapable of making a believable and compelling case for not instituting a ban. A separate issue is how poor a decision it is. To call it childish would be unfair to children. In fact, if you had a group of 11-year-olds, they would surely have a superior answer to the question: “Sick people are coming through the door of the house, and we are not sure how to make them well. Meanwhile they are starting to make us sick, too. What is the first thing to do?”
The children would reply: “Close the door.” One would add: “Just for a while, while you figure out how to treat everyone getting sick.” Another might say: “And keep going outside the door in protective clothing with medical help.” Eleven-year-olds would get this one right without a lot of struggle.
If we don’t momentarily close the door to citizens of the affected nations, it is certain that more cases will come into the U.S. It is hard to see how that helps anyone. Closing the door would be no guarantee of safety—nothing is guaranteed, and the world is porous. But it would reduce risk and likelihood, which itself is worthwhile.
Africa, by the way, seems to understand this. The Associated Press on Thursday reported the continent’s health-care officials had limited the threat to only five countries with the help of border controls, travel restrictions, and aggressive and sophisticated tracking.
All of which returns me to my thoughts the past few weeks. Back then I’d hear the official wordage that doesn’t amount to a logical thought, and the unspoken air of “We don’t want to panic you savages,” and I’d look at various public officials and muse: “Who do you think you are?”
Now I think, “Who do they think we are?”
Does the government think if America is made to feel safer, she will forget the needs of the Ebola nations? But Americans, more than anyone else, are the volunteers, altruists and in a few cases saints who go to the Ebola nations to help. And they were doing it long before the Western media was talking about the disease, and long before America was experiencing it.
At the Ebola hearings Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said, I guess to the American people: “Don’t panic.” No one’s panicking—except perhaps the administration, which might explain its decisions.
Is it always the most frightened people who run around telling others to calm down?
This week the president canceled a fundraiser and returned to the White House to deal with the crisis. He made a statement and came across as about three days behind the story—“rapid response teams” and so forth. It reminded some people of the statement in July, during another crisis, of the president’s communications director, who said that when a president rushes back to Washington, it “can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people.” Yes, we’re such sissies. Actually, when Mr. Obama eschews a fundraiser to go to his office to deal with a public problem we are not scared, only surprised.
But again, who do they think we are? You gather they see us as poor, panic-stricken people who want a travel ban because we’re beside ourselves with fear and loathing. Instead of practical, realistic people who are way ahead of our government.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ronald A. “Ron” Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011). He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White during the Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during theClarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election. On October 17, 2014, President Obama named Klain the newly created “Ebola response coordinator” (or, less officially, Ebola “czar”).
Klain was born on August 8, 1961 in Indianapolis, He is a member of the DayBreak Boys Band and grew up in a Jewish home. He graduated from North Central High School in 1979 and was on the school’s Brain Game team, which finished as season runner-up. He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University in 1983. In 1987, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was one of several to win the Sears Prize for the highest grade point average in 1984–85. While at Harvard Law School, Klain was also an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Capitol Hill career
Klain’s early experience on Capitol Hill included serving as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Markey. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, overseeing the legal staff’s work on matters of constitutional law, criminal law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court nominations. In 1995, Senator Tom Daschle appointed him the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.
Klain joined the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992. He ultimately was involved in both of Bill Clinton‘s campaigns, oversaw Clinton’s judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore’s recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath. Some published reports have given him credit for Clinton’s “100,000 cops” proposal during the 1992 campaign; at a minimum, he worked closely with Clinton aide Bruce Reed in formulating it. In the White House, he was Associate Counsel to the President, directing judicial selection efforts, and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Klain left the judicial selection role in 1994 to become Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno. In 1995, he became Assistant to the President, and Chief of Staff and Counselor to Al Gore.
During Klain’s tenure as Gore’s Chief of Staff, Gore consolidated his position as the likely Democratic nominee in 2000. Still, Klain was seen as too loyal to Clinton by some longtime Gore advisors. Feuding broke out between Clinton and Gore loyalists in the White House in 1999, and Klain was ousted by Gore campaign chairmanTony Coelho in August of that year. In October 1999, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. A year later, Klain returned to the Gore campaign, once Coelho was replaced by William M. Daley. Daley hired Klain for a senior position in the Gore campaign and then named him General Counsel of Gore’s Recount Committee.
In 1994, Time named Klain one of the “50 most promising leaders in America” under the age of 40. In 1999, Washingtonian magazine named him the top lawyer in Washington under the age of 40, and the American Bar Association’s Barrister magazine named him one of the top 20 young lawyers nationwide. The National Law Journal named him one of its Lawyers of the Year for 2000.
Klain helped Fannie Mae overcome “regulatory issues”.Lobbying on “regulatory issues concerning Fannie Mae” in 2004, as disclosure forms indicate Klain did, involved convincing Congress and Fannie Mae’s regulators that Fannie Mae wasn’t doing anything dangerous, and wasn’t exposing taxpayers to risk. In other words, Ron Klain got paid to help fuel the housing bubble up until a couple of years before it popped.
During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Klain worked as an adviser to Wesley Clark in the early primaries. Later, during the General Election, Klain was heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry‘s campaign and is widely credited for his role in preparing Senator Kerry for a strong performance in the debates against President George W. Bush, which gave Kerry a significant boost in the polls. He then acted as an informal adviser to Evan Bayh, who is from Klain’s home state of Indiana. Klain has also commented on matters of law and policy on televised programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Capital Report,NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Crossfire.
In 2005, Klain left his partnership at O’Melveny & Myers to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a new investment firm, Revolution LLC, launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case.
On November 12, 2008, Roll Call announced that Klain had been chosen to serve as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden, the same role he served for Gore.Klain had worked with Biden previously, having served as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary while Biden chaired that committee and assisted Biden’s speechwriting team during the 1988 presidential campaign.
Klain was mentioned as a possible replacement for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, but opted to leave the White House for a position in the private sector in January 2011.
Klain apparently signed off on President Obama’s support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra. Despite concerns about whether the company was viable, Klain approved an Obama visit, stating, “The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012.”
On October 17, 2014, Klain was appointed the “Ebola response coordinator” (or, less officially, Ebola “czar”) by President Obama, to help coordinate the nation’s response to the Ebola virus.
Dr. Lurie is the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The mission of her office is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters, ranging from hurricanes to bioterrorism.
Dr. Lurie was previously Senior Natural Scientist and the Paul O’ Neill Alcoa Professor of Health Policy at the RAND Corporation. There she directed RAND’s public health and preparedness work as well as RAND’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. She also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services; in state government, as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health; and in academia, as Professor in the University of Minnesota Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Lurie has a long history in the health services research field, primarily in the areas of access to and quality of care, mental health, prevention, public health infrastructure and preparedness and health disparities.
Dr. Lurie attended college and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency and MSPH at UCLA, where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar. She is the recipient of numerous awards, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.
Finally, Dr. Lurie continues to practice clinical medicine in the health care safety net in Washington, DC. She has three sons.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H., is the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Lurie is a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.
The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response serves as the Secretary’s principal advisor on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. The ASPR also coordinates interagency activities between HHS, other Federal departments, agencies, and offices, and State and local officials responsible for emergency preparedness and the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. The mission of her office is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters. Dr. Lurie was nominated to the position by President Obama on May 12, 2009 and her confirmation by the U.S. Senate was announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 10, 2009.
Led by The Federalist website her absence from the media has been noted with regards to the events of the Ebola virus disease affair.
Dr. Lurie has served as the Senior Natural Scientist and the Paul O’ Neill Alcoa Professor of Health Policy at the RAND Corporation. There she directed RAND’s public health and preparedness work as well as RAND’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. She has previously served in federal government, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services; in state government, as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health; and in academia, as Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Lurie has a long history in the health services research field, primarily in the areas of access to and quality of care, managed care, mental health, prevention, public health infrastructure and preparedness and health disparities.
Lurie has served as the Senior Editor for Health Services Research and has served on editorial boards and as a reviewer for numerous journals. She has served on the council and was President of the Society of General Internal Medicine, and on the board of directors for Academy Health, and has served on multiple other national committees.
Lurie attended college and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency and Master of Science of Public Health (MSPH) at UCLA, where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar.
Lurie is the recipient of numerous awards, including the AHSR Young Investigator Award, the Nellie Westerman Prize for Research in Ethics, the Heroine in Health Care Award, the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.
- Jump up^ Biography of Dr. Lurie
- Jump up^ Emergency Support Function #8. Public Health and Medical Services Annex. Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Jump up^ President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
- Jump up^ Nominations Confirmed (Civilian) – United States Senate
- Jump up^ HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Senate Confirmation of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie
- Jump up^ http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/10/15/editor-from-the-federalist-as-ebola-outbreak-surges-on-where-is-the-secretary-for-preparedness-and-response/
- Jump up^ RAND Awards Paul O’ Neill Alcoa Chair to Dr. Nicole Lurie. RAND Corporation. January 3, 2002
- Jump up^ Past Presidents. Society of General Internal Medicine.
- Interview with Dr. Lurie
- Haiti: Overview by Dr. Lurie
- H1N1 Influenza, Public Health Preparedness, and Health Care Reform
- Health Care Volunteers and Disaster Response – First, Be Prepared
- Biography of Dr. Nicole Lurie. UPMC Center for Biosecurity.
- Dr. Nicole Luri Testifies on Children and Disasters before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery. December 10, 2009
- Dr. Nicole Lurie Testifies on Safeguarding our Nation: HHS Response to the H1N1 Outbreak before Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Subcommittee on Health, U.S. House of Representatives. November, 2009.
- Nicole Lurie Testifies on Safeguarding our Nation: HHS Response to the H1N1 Outbreak before Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, CyberSecurity, and Science Technology, United States House of Representatives. October, 2009.
- Dr. Lurie Testifies on Focusing on Children in Disasters: Evacuation Planning and Mental Health Recovery before Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery. August 4, 2009
- HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Senate Confirmation of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. AllBusiness. July 10, 2009
- Testimony by Dr. Nicole Lurie presented before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness on March 28, 2006.
- Dr. Nicole Lurie testifies on Public Health Preparedness in California before the California Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on June 2, 2004.
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio
Read Full Post
| Make a Comment ( None so far )