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Story 1: Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch Says Illegal Aliens Have A Right To Work in America — No They Do Not — They Should Be Deported — It Is The Law — Vote Against Nominee — Who Broke The Immigration System By Not Enforcing The Law — Presidents Bush and Obama — Videos
AG Nominee: ‘Right To Work Is Shared By Everyone In This Country Regardless’ Of Immigration Status
Senator Sessions, Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, questioned Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch at today’s Judiciary hearing to consider her nomination. Sessions asked Lynch about the President’s decision to bypass Congress to order an amnesty, and how this action undermined the rights of disadvantaged American workers.
In addition to suspending enforcement for nearly all of the 12 million individuals unlawfully present in the United States, President Obama issue an executive decree on November 20th, 2014, extending work permits, Social Security, Medicare, tax credits, and government identification to 5 million illegal immigrants and illegal visa violators. This would allow illegal immigrants to take any job in America, regardless of chronic high unemployment for Americans—including a 10.4 percent unemployment rate for African-American workers. Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, explained—contra AG Holder’s “breathtaking” contention that amnesty was a civil right—that unlawful amnesty for illegal immigrants violated the rights of U.S. citizens to the full protection of their laws, including those laws passed by Congress to protect their jobs and wages from illegal competition. The President’s executive edict (an edict he said previously only an Emperor would deign to issue) voids Americans’ legal protections in law, supplanting them with a new executive policy that Congress and voters have rejected, a policy which forces unemployed Americans to compete against a large and growing illegal workforce.
Senator Sessions Attorney General Comfirmation Hearing jan 28 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz Second Q&A with Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch
Sen. Ted Cruz Third Q&A with Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch
AG Nominee Lynch: Obama’s Executive Action Did Not Provide Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
Loretta Lynch, attorney general nominee, defends migrant policy
Loretta Lynch on Waterboarding: “It Is Torture And Illegal”
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on Obama’s comments about marijuana
Lee questions Loretta Lynch on Prosecutorial Discretion, Operation Chokepoint, and Asset Forfeiture
Graham Questions U.S. Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch During Confirmation Hearing
Obama’s New Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch Hearing, Day 1, Part 1
AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Committee
Sen. Sessions Blasts President Obama’s Executive Immigration Order
The Problems with Loretta Lynch
Obama’s New Placeholder: Loretta Lynch
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch Picked As Attorney General Nominee
Megyn Kelly: Loretta Lynch Should Be ‘Most Acceptable’ AG Choice for GOP
Opening Statement from Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch (C-SPAN)
Speaker John Boehner on Executive Action on Immigration (C-SPAN)
24+ States File Lawsuit Against Obama’s Executive Amnesty
Up to December 10 a total of 24 States have Filed a Lawsuit Against Obama’s Executive Amnesty. Expect the number of states joining this lawsuit to rise over the next weeks. Originally 18 states, led by Texas, filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas challenging President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The suit claims that the White House overstepped its authority by granting amnesty and work permits for 5 million illegal aliens.
After filing the federal suit, Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott wrote in a statement that President Obama’s executive amnesty “tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law.”
Also included in Attorney General Abbott’s statement were the states’ legal challenges to President Obama’s executive action:
• The executive action on immigration conflicts with the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The Take Care Clause limits the scope of presidential power and ensures that the chief executive will uphold and enforce Congress’s laws – not unilaterally rewrite them under the cover of “prosecutorial discretion.”
• The DHS Directive failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s required notice and comment rulemaking process before providing that legal benefits like federal work permits, Medicare, and Social Security be awarded to individuals who are openly violating immigration laws.
• The executive action to dispense with federal immigration law will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, which will affect increased state investment in law enforcement, health care and education.
The other states involved in the suit include: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
UPDATE: Arizona has joined the lawsuit. In a statement, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said, “Obama has exceeded his power as clearly defined in the United States Constitution and federal law and deliberately ignored the will of the American people. Such federal overreach cannot stand.”
Florida has joined the lawsuit. In a statement, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “The President repeatedly said he would not violate the law, then decided to do just that. The powers granted to the President are expressly laid out in the United States Constitution, yet President Obama has decided to ignore those parameters.”
As of December 10, Arkansas, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma have also joined the lawsuit.
The governors’ claim is in a 75-page document filed in a Texas federal district court that states “This lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law, presidential power and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.” President Obama’s unilateral immigration action, which was presented November 20, would allow for work permits and tentative status to nearly five million illegal immigrants, and would protect many others from deportation. However, those not included would not have the same legal standing as the five million officially granted the amnesty.
The governors have said that their reasoning for suing is due to the cost and responsibility that comes with allowing five million people to stay. Their state taxpayers would be required to pay for the expenses entailed with schooling, health care, and police to handle a sudden influx of illegal border crossings. Texas is joined in the lawsuit by the states Alabama, Georgia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Maine, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin and South Dakota. Attorney General Greg Abbot of Texas leads the charge of spurring lawsuits against immigration amnesty by President Obama. Mr. Abbot has challenged the Obama administration 31 times and this will be his 34th against the federal government. This current lawsuit is being utilized by Republicans as a temporary method to stall President Obama’s amnesty action through the courts.
Jay Sekulow on Fox News: Resetting Obama’s Executive Power
Graham Questions U.S. Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch During Confirmation Hearing
Will Loretta Lynch Be Confirmed As Attorney General?
Federal Judge Rules Obama’s Immigration Orders Unconstitutional • Hannity • 12/17/14
December 17th, 2014 • A Federal Judge has ruled that President Obama’s executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional and a violation of the separation of powers clause. Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley examines the ruling with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Rep. Gowdy’s Floor Speech on Stopping Executive Action on Immigration
Cornyn: Executive Action on Immigration an Unconstitutional Abuse of Power
Is Obama’s executive action on immigration legal?
Gowdy: ‘President Obama is wrong’ on immigration executive action
Brooks and Marcus on immigration executive action precedent
Obama Immigration Reform 2014 Speech: Announcing Executive Action [FULL] Today on November 20th
Weekly Address: Immigration Accountability Executive Action
Cato Connects: Executive Action on Immigration
[FULL] Stewart Jabs Obama for Going All ‘Emperor’ on Immigration Action
26 states suing Obama over immigration executive action as Boehner plans his own legal action
By Morgan Chalfant
It appears the majority of states believe President Obama’s executive action on immigration to be illegal.
A grand total of 26 states have joined a lawsuit led by Texas against Obama for the executive action he announced last November, according to the Huffington Post.
The suit was filed in December and, as of Monday, has gained the support of more half the states in the country.
“The momentum against the president’s lawlessness continues to build with Tennessee and Nevada joining the effort to protect our states from the economic and public safety implications of illegal amnesty,” explained Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Monday. “As President Obama himself has said numerous times, he lacks the authority to impose amnesty. His actions represent a blatant case of overreach and clear abuse of power.”
Some states — 12 in addition to Washington, D.C., to be precise — have alternatively expressed their support of Obama’s executive action by filing an amicus brief. A group of 30 mayors have done the same.
However, the president certainly does not have the support of the Republican-led Congress on the issue. In fact, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told GOP members of the House Tuesday that the government body will also pursue a lawsuit against Obama over his immigration action, as reports CNN.
“We are finalizing a plan to authorize litigation on this issue — one we believe gives us the best chance of success,” he reportedly said, according to a source.
This comes just months after the House filed a suit against the president over his executive action on Obamacare, which was itself seen by many as the House GOP’s response to Obama’s immigration announcement in November.
The 26 states that have joined in the immigration lawsuit are as follows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
http://redalertpolitics.com/2015/01/27/26-states-suing-obama-immigration-executive-action-boehner-plans-legal-action/Lynch defends Obama’s immigration policies
By ERICA WERNER and ERIC TUCKER
WASHINGTON (AP) — Challenged by Republicans, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on Wednesday defended President Barack Obama’s decision to shelter millions of immigrants from deportation though they live in the country illegally.
She said that under the administration’s policy, the Department of Homeland Security is focusing its efforts on the removal of “the most dangerous of the undocumented immigrants among us.”
“It seems to be a reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem” of illegal immigration, she said.
Lynch made her remarks in the opening moments of a hearing into her appointment as the nation’s first black female attorney general. It is the first confirmation proceeding since Republicans took control of the Senate this month.
Lynch, a daughter of the segregated South, was accompanied at the hearing by about 30 family members and friends. Among them were her father, who is a retired minister, her husband and several members of her college sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, wearing their trademark red.Settling into the witness chair for what promised to be a long day of questioning, Lynch promised a fresh relationship with law enforcement and with Congress.
“I pledge to all of you and to the American people that I will fulfill my responsibilities with integrity and independence,” she said in remarks prepared for the panel led by Republicans who say Attorney General Eric Holder has been too willing to follow President Barack Obama’s political agenda.
Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican and committee chairman, said as much in the opening moments of the hearing. He said the department is “deeply politicized. But that’s what happens when the attorney general of the United States views himself, in his own words, as the president’s ‘wingman.'”
Grassley did not press further after Lynch offered her defense of Obama’s immigration policies, even though he said they amount to rewriting the law rather than enforcing it.
Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, is widely expected to win confirmation easily, if only because Republicans are so eager for Holder’s tenure to end. He has been a lightning rod for conservative criticism, clashing with Republicans and becoming the first sitting attorney general held in contempt of Congress.In testimony delivered before she was questioned, Lynch said that if confirmed she would focus on combatting terrorism and cybercrime and would protect the vulnerable from criminal predators.
And she was at pains to promise what Republican critics demanded in advance.
“I look forward to fostering a new and improved relationship with this committee, the United States Senate and the entire United States Congress, a relationship based on mutual respect and constitutional balance,” she said.
Holder also battled the perception from critics that he aligned himself more with protesters of police violence than with members of law enforcement, a charge he and the Justice Department have strongly denied — but one that resonated in the aftermath of high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers.
In her prepared testimony, Lynch promised a fresh start in that relationship, too.“Few things have pained me more than the recent reports of tension and division between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Lynch said, pledging to “work to strengthen the vital relationships” if confirmed.
Lynch already has earned praise from several GOP senators for her impressive credentials and accomplishments. But she faced tough questions from Republicans who now control the Senate.
“She certainly has the credentials. We don’t want a repeat of what we had,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a senior committee member. “I look upon her as a pretty good appointment, but I have to listen along with everybody else.”
In answer to a question from Hatch, she said Wednesday, “Every lawyer has to be independent, the attorney general even more so, and I pledge to you that I take that independence seriously.”
The Judiciary Committee includes some of the Senate’s most outspoken Republicans, among them Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a potential presidential candidate who promised to quiz Lynch on Obama’s executive actions on immigration that granted reprieves from deportation to millions.
“We need an attorney general who will stop being a partisan attack dog and instead get back to the traditions of upholding the Constitution and the law in a fair and impartial manner,” Cruz said.
Lynch’s hearing comes amid a nationwide spotlight on police tactics in the wake of deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers, as well as the slaying last month of two officers in New York City. It’s an issue Lynch, 55, is deeply familiar with.
Lynch helped prosecute the New York City police officers who severely beat and sexually assaulted Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997. Her office in New York is currently leading a civil rights investigation into the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island last summer.
Lynch has been the top prosecutor since 2010 for a district that includes Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, a role she also held from 1999 to 2001.
Lynch grew up with humble beginnings in North Carolina, the daughter of a school librarian and a Baptist minister. She received undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. testimony.
Govt tells agents to ID which immigrants not to deport
By ALICIA A. CALDWELL
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has ordered immigration agents to ask immigrants they encounter living in the country illegally whether they might qualify under President Barack Obama’s plans to avoid deporting them, according to internal training materials obtained by The Associated Press.
Agents also have been told to review government files to identify any jailed immigrants they might be able to release under the program.
The directives from the Homeland Security Department mark an unusual change for U.S. immigration enforcement, placing the obligation on the government for identifying immigrants who might qualify for lenient treatment. Previously, it was the responsibility of immigrants or their lawyers to assert that they might qualify under rules that could keep them out of jail and inside the United States.
It’s akin to the Internal Revenue Service calling taxpayers to recommend they should have used certain exemptions or deductions.
The training materials apply to agents for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They instruct agents “to immediately begin identifying persons in their custody, as well as newly encountered persons” who may be eligible for protection from deportation.One training document includes scenarios describing encounters between agents and immigrants with guidance about how agents should proceed, with a checklist of questions to determine whether immigrants might qualify under the president’s plans. ICE officials earlier began releasing immigrants who qualified for leniency from federal immigration jails.
Obama in November announced a program to allow roughly 4 million parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for permission to stay in the country for up to three years and get a work permit. The program mirrors one announced in 2012 that provides protection from deportation for young immigrants brought to the country as children.
A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, Carlos Diaz, said immigrants caught crossing the border illegally remain a top priority for the agency. The training documents for border agents, he said, “provide clear guidance on immigration enforcement operations so that both time and resources are allocated appropriately.”
Crystal Williams, executive director for the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Washington, said the training will help filter people the government said should not be a priority anyway. She said the training marked the first she has heard of officers being directed to screen immigrants for potential leniency before they were arrested.
“Just because it’s a change doesn’t mean it’s anything particularly radical,” Williams said.Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat and vocal supporter of Obama’s immigration plans, said having CBP officers screen immigrants out of the deportation line lets the government “move criminals and recent arrivals to the front of the deportation line. The emphasis now is on who should be deported first, not just who can be deported.”
A former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, John Malcolm, said the new instructions limit immigration agents.
“Agents are being discouraged away from anything other than a cursory view” of an immigrant’s status and qualification for leniency, said Malcolm, who works as a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.
Under Obama’s plans, the government is focused on deporting immigrants with serious criminal records or who otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. For the most part, under the new policy, immigrants whose only offense is being in the country without permission aren’t supposed to be a priority for immigration officers.
While the administration has estimated that as many as 4 million people will be eligible for protection from deportation, the Congressional Budget Office estimated about 2 million to 2.5 million immigrants are expected to be approved for the program by 2017. As many as 1.7 million young immigrants were estimated to be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but since its 2012 creation only about 610,000 people have successfully signed up.
Three things that are illegal about Obama’s immigration plan
It’s official. By executive fiat, President Obama will grant amnesty to up to 5 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.
How did we get here? Didn’t the president say, even last year, that he couldn’t, and wouldn’t take executive action on immigration?
If Obama ever finds himself in a court of law, he would surely be advised to invoke the Fifth Amendment. He is prone to contradiction and tends to be a good witness against himself.
President Obama’s favorite justification for his executive action is that “Congress failed to act.” No, Mr. President, Congress did not fail to act, it chose not to act in granting amnesty.
Consider his self-incriminating statements on immigration and executive powers. A year ago, when asked if he had the authority to end deportations of illegal aliens he said, “Actually, I don’t.” Three years earlier, when pressed as to why he could not act on his own on immigration he said, “The notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true.”
Well, now the president says it is true — he can alter the laws unilaterally. Why the metamorphosis? What changed? The law and the Constitution are still the same. Which leaves Obama. When it comes to the truth, inconvenient or otherwise, he is a chameleon like no other politician. He never hesitates to contradict himself, conjuring a new breadth of hypocrisy.
President Obama’s favorite justification for his executive action is that “Congress failed to act.” No, Mr. President, Congress did not fail to act, it chose not to act in granting amnesty.
There is a difference. A determination not to act is, by itself, a deliberate act. This is how the framers constructed our system of government. Congress considers and debates a great many bills. Not all of them pass. This is not “failure” in the conventional sense, but decision by declination. It constitutes a prudent and calculated process.
But the president uses this contrived “failure” as a pretext to arrogate the authority of another branch of government. He wields his pen to legislate by executive decree. He well knows he is exceeding his power. In 2011, he said, “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the (immigration) on my own. But that‘s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” He was right. It was a rare moment of clarity for a man who fancies himself a constitutional scholar.
Now, however, by granting legal status to roughly half the nation’s population of illegal immigrants, Obama is twisting the law, ignoring the Constitution, and forsaking his primary responsibility as chief executive. For years, he argued publicly it would be unconstitutional for him to take such action because he said, “I’m president, I’m not king.” Apparently, he now favors a crown on his noggin. In truth, he is king of self-confutation, negating himself with his own words.
Recently, when asked why he disagreed with himself, the president insisted, “Well, actually, my position hasn’t changed”. After the laughter died down, the Washington Post Fact Checker gave Obama an upside-down Pinocchio for his tortured denial of a blatant flip-flop.
The president’s executive action to legalize illegals by nullifying existing law, constitutes a stunning abuse of office: usurping the power of Congress, while abdicating his duty to uphold and enforce the laws. Here are three ways this is happening:
1. Distorting Prosecutorial Discretion
President Obama claims he is entitled to overhaul immigration laws in the name of “prosecutorial discretion.” It is one of those wonderfully fungible phrases in the law. Elastic because it is vague and ambiguous. Useful because it can be easily abused. Mr. Obama has appropriated this doctrine to argue he has near boundless discretion to amend, revise, waive or suspend the execution of immigration laws. As chief executive, he is empowering himself to decide what laws may be enforced or ignored and what persons may come or go across our southern border irrespective of what the law actually states.
In past decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has cautioned the executive branch that its prosecutorial discretion, while broad, is not “unfettered.” It is subject to restrictions. The doctrine may not be used to adopt a sweeping policy of non-enforcement of the law. It applies only to decisions not to prosecute or expelspecific individuals or small groups of people, typically for exigent reasons like war, civil unrest or political persecution.
By contrast, President Obama is bestowing a wholesale, blanket amnesty for an entire class of nearly 5 million people. He is doing so not for the reasons allowed by law, but for purposes that appear to be purely political. This is a flagrant abuse of prosecutorial discretion. His expansive action exceeds his authority in ways that none of his predecessors ever envisioned. And it is a radical departure from any of the executive actions issued by previous presidents.
It is true that President Ronald Reagan utilized executive action in 1987 to grant a limited deportation reprieve to certain spouses and young children of immigrants. But his action was a logical and direct extension of, not a departure from, an existing amnesty law Congress had already passed. His exemption and a subsequent extension by his successor, President George H. W. Bush, were later incorporated into a new law passed by Congress. The point is instructive. The actions by Reagan and Bush are not a supporting precedent for Mr. Obama, but an important limiting principle of presidential authority.
However, President Obama has commandeered this elastic doctrine of prosecutorial discretion and stretched or manipulated it beyond all recognition and reason. It has become his political Gumby toy with which he exerts his will whenever he fails to get his way with Congress. He contorts the word “discretion” to adopt a capacious policy — his own policy — to ban full enforcement of a duly enacted immigration statute. He treats the doctrine as a magical incantation shielding his arbitrariness.
2. Usurping Legislative Authority
Our Constitution clearly delineates a separation of powers. Congress is vested with writing laws and the President is charged with executing those laws. This is especially true when it comes to immigration.
At the end of the 19th century, the Supreme Court declared that Congress had “plenary power” (meaning full and complete) to regulate immigration. Derived from Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the doctrine is based on the concept that immigration is a question of national sovereignty, relating to a nation’s right to define its own borders and restrict entrance therein. As the high court observed, “Over no conceivable subject is the legislative power of Congress more complete.”
Yet President Obama has decided to usurp this power by unilateral directive, unconstrained by established checks and balances. In so doing, he is granting himself extra-constitutional authority and upsetting the carefully balanced separation of powers. He is also subverting the nucleus of our constitutional design: the rule of law.
3. Breaching His Sworn Duty
President Obama’s decision that existing laws shall not be enforced against some 5 million illegal immigrants violates his sworn constitutional duty. Article II, Section 3 requires that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Nowhere is it written that the chief executive is granted the latitude to pick and choose which laws he wants to enforce. He cannot ignore or nullify laws he does not like because the constitution gives him no power not to execute laws. To infer such latitude would invite an authoritarian rule anathema to our founding fathers’ vision. President Obama admitted as much when he said, “The fact of the matter is, there are laws on the books that I have to enforce.” He was specifically talking about immigration laws.
In 1996, Congress passed a law which requires federal immigration agents to deport illegal immigrants, with few exceptions. The statutory language is mandatory. Thus, whatever prosecutorial discretion which may have existed previously, was specifically eliminated by that legislative act. Yet, the President is now, in effect, ordering those agents to break the law. He cannot, on his own, engage in a de facto repeal of this law by executive action. To do so would be, quite simply, lawlessness and a dereliction of his duty.
If President Obama can refuse to enforce a valid federal law affecting millions of people, are there any limits to his powers? After all, he has frequently threatened, “Where Congress won’t act, I will.” What is to stop him from rewriting other laws with which he disagrees? Or to act where Congress has declined or refused to act? Can he abolish certain tax laws because Congress chooses to keep them? Can he banish all sources of energy except renewables to advance his agenda on climate change? If so, why even have a legislative branch of government? What’s the point of a Constitution which enumerates and circumscribes powers and duties?
Men like Madison, Jefferson and Adams were keenly aware of the tyranny and corruption of authority concentrated in too few hands. They knew the thirst for power posed an existential danger to those who cherish freedom. Their genius was in crafting a sustaining document that would end the arrogance of one man rule and protect the inherent rights of all men. They knew that absolute power corrupts.
And they feared future presidents like Mr. Obama.
In the history of our republic, no president has dared turn his high office into an instrument of unrestrained power. They held too much respect for their fellow citizens than to abuse or misuse the principles of our democracy. Even Lincoln’s actions to preserve the nation during the Civil War were grounded in the Constitution and the rule of law.
But, like the title of his autobiography, Mr. Obama’s measure of himself seems defined by the word “audacity.” It is no more evident than now.
FACT SHEET: Immigration Accountability Executive Action
The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules. Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.
These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.
Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:
- Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border: The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.
- Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.
- Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes: The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.
The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.
For more than a half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration. President Obama is now taking another commonsense step. As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that: continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents; cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers; creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line; and boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.
CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AT THE BORDER
Under the Obama Administration, the resources that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dedicates to security at the Southwest border are at an all-time high. Today, there are 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents along the Southwest Border and our border fencing, unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, and ground surveillance systems have more than doubled since 2008. Taken as a whole, the additional boots on the ground, technology, and resources provided in the last six years represent the most serious and sustained effort to secure our border in our Nation’s history, cutting illegal border crossings by more than half.
And this effort is producing results. From 1990 to 2007, the population of undocumented individuals in the United States grew from 3.5 million to 11 million people. Since then, the size of the undocumented population has stopped growing for the first time in decades. Border apprehensions—a key indicator of border security— are at their lowest level since the 1970s. This past summer, the President and the entire Administration responded to the influx of unaccompanied children with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response focused on heightened deterrence, enhanced enforcement, stronger foreign cooperation, and greater capacity for Federal agencies to ensure that our border remains secure. As a result, the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the Southwest border has declined precipitously, and the Administration continues to focus its resources to prevent a similar situation from developing in the future.
To build on these efforts and to ensure that our limited enforcement resources are used effectively, the President has announced the following actions:
- Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to the Southwest border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers. This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure. In addition, Secretary Johnson is announcing a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan which will strengthen the efforts of the agencies who work to keep our border secure. And by establishing clearer priorities for interior enforcement, DHS is increasing the likelihood that people attempting to cross the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.
- Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.
- Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers. The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations. An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of retaliation.
DEPORTING FELONS, NOT FAMILIES
By setting priorities and focusing its enforcement resources, the Obama Administration has already increased the removal of criminals by more than 80%. These actions build on that strong record by:
- Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats. To better focus on the priorities that matter, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS-wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers. DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing these highest priorities for removal.
- Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community’s trust. To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses. DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.
ACCOUNTABILITY – CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS AND TAXES
Every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration. Consistent with this long history, DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes.
The President is taking the following actions to hold accountable certain undocumented immigrants:
- Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years. Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement. By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals are playing by the rules and paying their fair share of taxes.
- Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under the initial DACA program, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were born after 1981 and entered the country before June 15, 2007. DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today. Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.
The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:
- Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses. Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available. DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily. DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.
- Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs. DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy. The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
- Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.
- Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.
- Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.
- Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).
- Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum directing an interagency group to recommend areas for improvement.
- Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.
- Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.
- Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.
8 U.S. Code § 1227 – Deportable aliens
(a) Classes of deportable aliens
Any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the alien is within one or more of the following classes of deportable aliens:
(1) Inadmissible at time of entry or of adjustment of status or violates status
(A) Inadmissible aliens
Any alien who at the time of entry or adjustment of status was within one or more of the classes of aliens inadmissible by the law existing at such time is deportable.
(B) Present in violation of law
Any alien who is present in the United States in violation of this chapter or any other law of the United States, or whose nonimmigrant visa (or other documentation authorizing admission into the United States as a nonimmigrant) has been revoked under section 1201 (i)
of this title, is deportable.
(C) Violated nonimmigrant status or condition of entry
(i) Nonimmigrant status violators Any alien who was admitted as a nonimmigrant and who has failed to maintain the nonimmigrant status in which the alien was admitted or to which it was changed under section 1258 of this title, or to comply with the conditions of any such status, is deportable.
(ii) Violators of conditions of entry Any alien whom the Secretary of Health and Human Services certifies has failed to comply with terms, conditions, and controls that were imposed under section 1182 (g) of this title is deportable.
(D) Termination of conditional permanent residence
(i) In general Any alien with permanent resident status on a conditional basis under section 1186a of this title (relating to conditional permanent resident status for certain alien spouses and sons and daughters) or under section 1186b of this title (relating to conditional permanent resident status for certain alien entrepreneurs, spouses, and children) who has had such status terminated under such respective section is deportable.
(ii) Exception Clause (i) shall not apply in the cases described in section 1186a (c)(4) of this title (relating to certain hardship waivers).
(i) In general Any alien who (prior to the date of entry, at the time of any entry, or within 5 years of the date of any entry) knowingly has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided any other alien to enter or to try to enter the United States in violation of law is deportable.
(ii) Special rule in the case of family reunification Clause (i) shall not apply in the case of alien who is an eligible immigrant (as defined in section 301(b)(1) of the Immigration Act of 1990), was physically present in the United States on May 5, 1988, and is seeking admission as an immediate relative or under section 1153 (a)(2) of this title (including under section 112 of the Immigration Act of 1990) or benefits under section 301(a) of the Immigration Act of 1990 if the alien, before May 5, 1988, has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided only the alien’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter (and no other individual) to enter the United States in violation of law.
(iii) Waiver authorized The Attorney General may, in his discretion for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest, waive application of clause (i) in the case of any alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided only an individual who at the time of the offense was the alien’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter (and no other individual) to enter the United States in violation of law.
(F) Repealed. Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title VI, § 671(d)(1)(C),Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–723
(G) Marriage fraud
An alien shall be considered to be deportable as having procured a visa or other documentation by fraud (within the meaning of section 1182 (a)(6)(C)(i)
of this title) and to be in the United States in violation of this chapter (within the meaning of subparagraph (B)) if—
(i) the alien obtains any admission into the United States with an immigrant visa or other documentation procured on the basis of a marriage entered into less than 2 years prior to such admission of the alien and which, within 2 years subsequent to any admission of the alien in the United States, shall be judicially annulled or terminated, unless the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that such marriage was not contracted for the purpose of evading any provisions of the immigration laws, or
(ii) it appears to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that the alien has failed or refused to fulfill the alien’s marital agreement which in the opinion of the Attorney General was made for the purpose of procuring the alien’s admission as an immigrant.
(H) Waiver authorized for certain misrepresentations
The provisions of this paragraph relating to the removal of aliens within the United States on the ground that they were inadmissible at the time of admission as aliens described in section 1182 (a)(6)(C)(i)
of this title, whether willful or innocent, may, in the discretion of the Attorney General, be waived for any alien (other than an alien described in paragraph (4)(D)) who—
(I) is the spouse, parent, son, or daughter of a citizen of the United States or of an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; and
(II) was in possession of an immigrant visa or equivalent document and was otherwise admissible to the United States at the time of such admission except for those grounds of inadmissibility specified under paragraphs (5)(A) and (7)(A) of section 1182 (a) of this title which were a direct result of that fraud or misrepresentation.
(ii) is a VAWA self-petitioner.
A waiver of removal for fraud or misrepresentation granted under this subparagraph shall also operate to waive removal based on the grounds of inadmissibility directly resulting from such fraud or misrepresentation.
(2) Criminal offenses
(A) General crimes
(i) Crimes of moral turpitude Any alien who—
(I) is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude committed within five years (or 10 years in the case of an alien provided lawful permanent resident status under section 1255 (j) of this title) after the date of admission, and
(II) is convicted of a crime for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed,
(ii) Multiple criminal convictions Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct, regardless of whether confined therefor and regardless of whether the convictions were in a single trial, is deportable.
(iii) Aggravated felony Any alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time after admission is deportable.
(iv) High speed flight Any alien who is convicted of a violation of section 758 of title 18 (relating to high speed flight from an immigration checkpoint) is deportable.
(v) Failure to register as a sex offender Any alien who is convicted under section 2250 of title 18 is deportable.
(vi) Waiver authorized Clauses (i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) shall not apply in the case of an alien with respect to a criminal conviction if the alien subsequent to the criminal conviction has been granted a full and unconditional pardon by the President of the United States or by the Governor of any of the several States.
(B) Controlled substances
(i) Conviction Any alien who at any time after admission has been convicted of a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of title 21), other than a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is deportable.
(ii) Drug abusers and addicts Any alien who is, or at any time after admission has been, a drug abuser or addict is deportable.
(C) Certain firearm offenses
Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted under any law of purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exchanging, using, owning, possessing, or carrying, or of attempting or conspiring to purchase, sell, offer for sale, exchange, use, own, possess, or carry, any weapon, part, or accessory which is a firearm or destructive device (as defined in section 921 (a)
of title 18
) in violation of any law is deportable.
(D) Miscellaneous crimes
Any alien who at any time has been convicted (the judgment on such conviction becoming final) of, or has been so convicted of a conspiracy or attempt to violate—
(i) any offense under chapter 37 (relating to espionage), chapter 105 (relating to sabotage), or chapter 115 (relating to treason and sedition) of title 18 for which a term of imprisonment of five or more years may be imposed;
(ii) any offense under section 871 or 960 of title 18;
(iii) a violation of any provision of the Military Selective Service Act (50 App. U.S.C. 451 et seq.) or the Trading With the Enemy Act (50 App. U.S.C. 1 et seq.); or
(iv) a violation of section 1185 or 1328 of this title,
(E) Crimes of domestic violence, stalking, or violation of protection order, crimes against children and
(i) Domestic violence, stalking, and child abuse Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment is deportable. For purposes of this clause, the term “crime of domestic violence” means any crime of violence (as defined in section 16 of title 18) against a person committed by a current or former spouse of the person, by an individual with whom the person shares a child in common, by an individual who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the person as a spouse, by an individual similarly situated to a spouse of the person under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction where the offense occurs, or by any other individual against a person who is protected from that individual’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the United States or any State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government.
(ii) Violators of protection orders Any alien who at any time after admission is enjoined under a protection order issued by a court and whom the court determines has engaged in conduct that violates the portion of a protection order that involves protection against credible threats of violence, repeated harassment, or bodily injury to the person or persons for whom the protection order was issued is deportable. For purposes of this clause, the term “protection order” means any injunction issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts of domestic violence, including temporary or final orders issued by civil or criminal courts (other than support or child custody orders or provisions) whether obtained by filing an independent action or as a pendente lite order in another proceeding.
Any alien described in section 1182 (a)(2)(H)
of this title is deportable.
(3) Failure to register and falsification of documents
(A) Change of address
An alien who has failed to comply with the provisions of section 1305
of this title is deportable, unless the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that such failure was reasonably excusable or was not willful.
(B) Failure to register or falsification of documents
Any alien who at any time has been convicted—
(i) under section 1306 (c) of this title or under section 36(c) of the Alien Registration Act, 1940,
(ii) of a violation of, or an attempt or a conspiracy to violate, any provision of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (22 U.S.C. 611 et seq.), or
(iii) of a violation of, or an attempt or a conspiracy to violate, section 1546 of title 18 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other entry documents),
(C) Document fraud
(i) In general An alien who is the subject of a final order for violation of section 1324c of this title is deportable.
(ii) Waiver authorized The Attorney General may waive clause (i) in the case of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if no previous civil money penalty was imposed against the alien under section1324c of this title and the offense was incurred solely to assist, aid, or support the alien’s spouse or child (and no other individual). No court shall have jurisdiction to review a decision of the Attorney General to grant or deny a waiver under this clause.
(D) Falsely claiming citizenship
(i) In general Any alien who falsely represents, or has falsely represented, himself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this chapter (including section 1324a of this title) or any Federal or State law is deportable.
(ii) Exception In the case of an alien making a representation described in clause (i), if each natural parent of the alien (or, in the case of an adopted alien, each adoptive parent of the alien) is or was a citizen (whether by birth or naturalization), the alien permanently resided in the United States prior to attaining the age of 16, and the alien reasonably believed at the time of making such representation that he or she was a citizen, the alien shall not be considered to be deportable under any provision of this subsection based on such representation.
(4) Security and related grounds
(A) In general
Any alien who has engaged, is engaged, or at any time after admission engages in—
(i) any activity to violate any law of the United States relating to espionage or sabotage or to violate or evade any law prohibiting the export from the United States of goods, technology, or sensitive information,
(ii) any other criminal activity which endangers public safety or national security, or
(iii) any activity a purpose of which is the opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States by force, violence, or other unlawful means,
(B) Terrorist activities
Any alien who is described in subparagraph (B) or (F) of section 1182 (a)(3)
of this title is deportable.
(C) Foreign policy
(i) In general An alien whose presence or activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable ground to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States is deportable.
(ii) Exceptions The exceptions described in clauses (ii) and (iii) of section 1182 (a)(3)(C) of this title shall apply to deportability under clause (i) in the same manner as they apply to inadmissibility under section1182 (a)(3)(C)(i) of this title.
(D) Participated in Nazi persecution, genocide, or the commission of any act of torture or extrajudicial killing
Any alien described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of section 1182 (a)(3)(E)
of this title is deportable.
(E) Participated in the commission of severe violations of religious freedom
Any alien described in section 1182 (a)(2)(G)
of this title is deportable.
(F) Recruitment or use of child soldiers
Any alien who has engaged in the recruitment or use of child soldiers in violation of section 2442
of title 18
(5) Public charge
Any alien who, within five years after the date of entry, has become a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen since entry is deportable.
(6) Unlawful voters
(A) In general
Any alien who has voted in violation of any Federal, State, or local constitutional provision, statute, ordinance, or regulation is deportable.
In the case of an alien who voted in a Federal, State, or local election (including an initiative, recall, or referendum) in violation of a lawful restriction of voting to citizens, if each natural parent of the alien (or, in the case of an adopted alien, each adoptive parent of the alien) is or was a citizen (whether by birth or naturalization), the alien permanently resided in the United States prior to attaining the age of 16, and the alien reasonably believed at the time of such violation that he or she was a citizen, the alien shall not be considered to be deportable under any provision of this subsection based on such violation.
(7) Waiver for victims of domestic violence
(A) In general
The Attorney General is not limited by the criminal court record and may waive the application of paragraph (2)(E)(i) (with respect to crimes of domestic violence and crimes of stalking) and (ii) in the case of an alien who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty and who is not and was not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship—
(i) upon a determination that—
(I) the alien was acting is self-defense;
(II) the alien was found to have violated a protection order intended to protect the alien; or
(III) the alien committed, was arrested for, was convicted of, or pled guilty to committing a crime—
(aa) that did not result in serious bodily injury; and
(bb) where there was a connection between the crime and the alien’s having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.
(B) Credible evidence considered
In acting on applications under this paragraph, the Attorney General shall consider any credible evidence relevant to the application. The determination of what evidence is credible and the weight to be given that evidence shall be within the sole discretion of the Attorney General.
(b) Deportation of certain nonimmigrants
An alien, admitted as a nonimmigrant under the provisions of either section 1101 (a)(15)(A)(i)
or 1101 (a)(15)(G)(i)
of this title, and who fails to maintain a status under either of those provisions, shall not be required to depart from the United States without the approval of the Secretary of State, unless such alien is subject to deportation under paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Waiver of grounds for deportation
Paragraphs (1)(A), (1)(B), (1)(C), (1)(D), and (3)(A) of subsection (a) of this section (other than so much of paragraph (1) as relates to a ground of inadmissibility described in paragraph (2) or (3) of section 1182 (a)
of this title) shall not apply to a special immigrant described in section 1101 (a)(27)(J)
of this title based upon circumstances that existed before the date the alien was provided such special immigrant status.
(d) Administrative stay
(1) If the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that an application for nonimmigrant status under subparagraph (T) or (U) of section 1101 (a)(15) of this title filed for an alien in the United States sets forth a prima facie case for approval, the Secretary may grant the alien an administrative stay of a final order of removal under section 1231 (c)(2) of this title until—
(A) the application for nonimmigrant status under such subparagraph (T) or (U) is approved; or
(B) there is a final administrative denial of the application for such nonimmigrant status after the exhaustion of administrative appeals.
(2) The denial of a request for an administrative stay of removal under this subsection shall not preclude the alien from applying for a stay of removal, deferred action, or a continuance or abeyance of removal proceedings under any other provision of the immigration laws of the United States.
(3) During any period in which the administrative stay of removal is in effect, the alien shall not be removed.
(4) Nothing in this subsection may be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General to grant a stay of removal or deportation in any case not described in this subsection.
Loretta Elizabeth Lynch (born May 21, 1959) is the current United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Her current tenure as U.S. Attorney began in 2010, and she previously held the position from 1999−2001. As U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch oversees federal prosecutions in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated her to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States.
Early life and education
Lynch was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on May 21, 1959. Her mother was a school librarian and her father was a Baptist minister. As a child, she spent hours with her father, watching court proceedings in the courthouse of Durham, North Carolina. Her early fascination with court proceedings was compounded by stories of her grandfather, also a pastor, who in the 1930s helped people move to the north to escape persecution under the Jim Crow laws of the time. Lynch earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and American literature from Harvard College in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1984.
Lynch’s first legal job was as a litigation associate for Cahill Gordon & Reindel. She joined the Eastern District as a drug and violent-crime prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1990. From 1994 to 1998, she served as the chief of the Long Island office and worked on several political corruption cases involving the government of Brookhaven, New York. From 1998 to 1999, she was the chief assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District and headed the Brooklyn office. In 1999, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. During her term as U.S. Attorney, Lynch oversaw prosecution of New York City police officers in the Abner Louima case.
In 2001, Lynch left the U.S. Attorney’s office to become a partner at Hogan & Hartson (later Hogan Lovells). She remained there until January 20, 2010, when President Barack Obama nominated Lynch to again serve as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. From 2003 to 2005, she was a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Following the July 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died of a heart attack after resisting arrest and being held in a department-prohibited chokehold by a New York City police officer, Lynch agreed to meet with Garner’s family to discuss possible federal prosecution of the officer believed to be responsible in his death.
Lynch’s office indicted Republican congressman Michael Grimm; prosecuted Democratic politicians Pedro Espada Jr. and William Boyland, Jr.; investigated Citigroup over mortgage securities sold by the bank, resulting in a US$7 billion settlement; and was involved in the US$1.2 billion settlement with HSBC over violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Lynch for the position of U.S. Attorney General, succeeding Eric Holder, who had previously announced his resignation pending confirmation of his replacement. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would be the first African-American woman; the second African-American, after Holder; and the second woman, after Janet Reno; to hold this office.
Lynch and her husband, Stephen Hargrove, married in 2007. In her personal life she uses her married name, Loretta Lynch Hargrove. Her husband has two children from a previous marriage.
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Story 2: Breaking News: Grand Jury Does Not Indict New York Police Department (NYPD) Officer in Death of Eric Garner Using A Chokehold — “I can’t breathe.” — Videos
President Obama makes statement on Eric Garner grand jury decision
U.S. Justice Department launching civil rights investigation in Eric Garner case
How will NYPD respond to the Eric Garner grand jury verdict?
Eric Garner Protesters Stage “Die-In” at Grand Central Station
CNN Panel Devolves into Shoutfest over Eric Garner Chokehold Non-Indictment
Rev. Sharpton Joins Family Of Eric Garner To Discuss Grand Jury Decision
Eric Garner protesters flood New York after grand jury clears NYPD officer in chokehold death case
BREAKING: Grand Jury Does Not Indict NYPD Officer for Eric Garner Chokehold Death
MSNBC Host Ari Melber Surprises Himself by Agreeing with Bill O’Reilly
(FULL) Black Man KILLED After NYPD Cop Puts Him In CHOKEHOLD For Breaking Up a FIGHT
Grand Jury NO indictment For Officer in Chokehold – Death of Eric Garner No Indictment For NYPD Cop
Medical Examiner: Police Chokehold Killed Eric Garner, Death Ruled A Homicide
NYPD Cop Accused Of Using Choke Hold On Eric Garner Who Died While Being Arrested
NYPD Publicly Executes Eric Garner For Illegal Cigarettes
Eric Garner Dies After Police Put Him In Choke Hold | RAW VIDEO
Press conference – NYPD Commissioner Bratton & Mayor de Blasio on Eric Garner murder 7/18/14
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton hold a press conference on July 18th, 2014 regarding the murder of Eric Garner, a Staten Island resident, by police officers. Garner, 43, a married father with six children and two grandchildren was put in handcuffs, head slammed against the ground, and placed in a chokehold while shouting, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”
Cop cleared in chokehold death of Eric Garner
A Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner during his caught-on-video arrest for peddling loose cigarettes, the Staten Island district attorney confirmed Wednesday.
The panel voted a “no-bill” and dismissed all potential charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
The blockbuster decision capped weeks of investigation by the special grand jury, which was empaneled in September specifically to review evidence in Garner’s racially charged death.
In a statement released by his union, Pantaleo said: “I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”
“It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner,” he added.
“My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said it was clear that Pantaleo had tried “to do nothing more than take Mr. Garner into custody as instructed and that he used the take-down technique that he learned in the academy when Mr. Garner refused.”
“While we are pleased with the grand jury’s decision, there are no winners here today,” Lynch said.
“There was a loss of life that both a family and a police officer will always have to live with. … No police officer starts a shift intending to take another human being’s life and we are all saddened by this tragedy.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled his events for the day — including attending the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting — and headed to Staten Island to meet with elected officials, clergy members and activists.
In a statement, the mayor called Garner’s death “a terrible tragedy that no family should have to endure” and which “put a spotlight on police-community relations and civil rights — some of most critical issues our nation faces today.”
De Blasio also said the grand jury’s decision was “one that many in our city did not want,” but cautioned against “violence and disorder” in its wake.
“New York City owns a proud and powerful tradition of expressing ourselves through non-violent protest. We trust that those unhappy with today’s grand jury decision will make their views known in the same peaceful, constructive way,” he said.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called the ruling “a terribly disappointing outcome” that ran counter to “the events that led to Eric Garner’s death.”
“What makes this even more infuriating is the frequent lack of accountability, which is why I urge the US Department of Justice to launch its own investigation,” she added.
A lawyer for Garner’s family, Jonathan Moore, told the Associated Press he was “astonished by the decision.”
At the scene of Garner’s death, outside a beauty supply shop on Bay Street, his stepfather railed at the ruling as he paced back and forth.
“It ain’t worth a damn, there are two sets of laws. It’s just a license to kill a black man. Who can control the Police Department? They can shoot me the f- -k down and nobody can say anything,” Benjamin Carr said.
“Imagine if it was your kid? It’s just like getting a knife and stabbing my heart. You might as well choke me.”
As he spoke, a man hurled a garbage can at a nearby TV news truck, prompting Carr to call for peace.
“I don’t want it, and Eric wouldn’t want it,” Carr said.
Carr was later seen entering the building that houses the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office.
In a lengthy statement, DA Dan Donovan said New York law barred him from disclosing any details of what took place during the grand jury’s closed-door proceedings, but said all 23 members had attended every session that took place between Sept. 29 and Wednesday.
Donovan also said he had applied for court permission to “publicly release specific information in connection with this grand jury investigation.”
It was unclear exactly what charges prosecutors asked the grand jury to consider filing, or how the vote went.
Under New York law, an indictment must be agreed upon by at least 12 members of a grand jury, which can have up to 23 members.
Cellphone video of Garner’s July 17 arrest shows Pantaleo wrestling him to the sidewalk on Bay Street, with the white cop’s arms wrapped around the neck of the black suspect.
On the ground, Garner was heard repeatedly yelling “I can’t breathe!” as Pantaleo and other cops held him down and handcuffed him.
Police union leaders denied that Pantaleo used a chokehold — which is banned by the NYPD — and blasted the autopsy as part of a “political” witch hunt.The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Garner’s family has filed notice it plans to sue the city for $75 million on grounds including wrongful death, pre-death pain and suffering, and civil rights violations.
The family and adviser Rev. Al Sharpton have also repeatedly called on the feds to investigate his death.
In July, US Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was monitoring the case, and a group including Garner’s mom, widow and Sharpton met in August with Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch.
She has since been nominated by President Obama to replace Holder.
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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.
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- Jump up^ “ATF Fact Sheet – Project Gunrunner”. ATF. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
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- 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
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EXCLUSIVE–SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: OBAMA ‘COMMITTED TO ESCALATING’ LAWLESSNESS AT BORDER
There’s only a few weeks left until the summer recess swallows Congress’ legislative agenda for 2014, but a group of key Republicans haven’t given up immigration quite yet.
by JONATHAN STRONG
Helping guide a secretive effort to informally gauge support for legislative action on the issue before August are two expected names: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Paul Ryan (R-WI).
But joining them is a young conservative lawmaker whose efforts on the issue have shocked conservative power brokers and prompted a behind-the-scenes backlash.
“Absolutely,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) told Breitbart News, “I have been talking about immigration with my colleagues for months. Talking about important issues is part of my job.”
Mulvaney was quick to add he isn’t “whipping” support for a bill per se – “I haven’t even seen a bill on immigration reform that I could whip even if I wanted to,” he said – and that he remains firmly opposed to the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill.
“I have absolutely no interest in taking up the Senate bill or going to conference on the Senate bill. Securing our borders is my first priority on any immigration reform, and the Senate bill falls woefully short on that point. Furthermore, I will not support a special pathway to citizenship for those who are here illegally. The Senate bill has always been and remains a non-starter,” Mulvaney said.
Still, his support for House action on the issue this year, and his backing for a separate issue, reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, has prompted new scrutiny on Mulvaney from the right.
“He needs to be called out for this,” one prominent conservative says.
Mulvaney not only has one of the most conservative voting records in the House Republican conference, he has been a leader of a group of conservative dissidents looking to push Speaker John Boehner to the right. In 2013, Mulvaney pointedly took a seat near the front of the House chamber and sat silently as his name was called repeatedly during the Boehner’s reelection as speaker.
His new movement on immigration isn’t his first foray into the issue. In February, he was profiled by a New York Times reporter who traveled to his South Carolina district to witness his first town hall conducted in Spanish.
But then, he said legislative action was out of the question because President Obama is an untrustworthy partner. “We are afraid that if we reach an agreement, he will take the parts he likes and he won’t take the parts that he doesn’t like,” Mulvaney told the audience in Spanish, according to the Times.
Mulvaney’s active involvement on the issue now suggests that calculation may have changed for him, although the sentiment is felt even more deeply by top immigration hawks who note President Obama has continued to aggressively wield his executive action pen in the months since.
At a town hall last week, Mulvaney used rhetoric on the issue similar to that of top amnesty proponents.
“Immigration is not a simple issue. There are at least three major parts of it: there’s border security, legal immigration, and the status of the 11 million, 15 million, 30 million … pick a number – it’s the status of the folks who are here illegally. People say, ‘oh, comprehensive reform is a bad idea.’ Ok? But, unless you deal with all three of those you haven’t dealt with immigration,” Mulvaney said.
“There are jobs that American citizens will not do. There are jobs that American citizens will not do. We can talk about why that is. We can talk about how our welfare state is broken, how we encourage people not to work, but that doesn’t help the farmer pick his peaches this summer. We have businesses that rely on migrant – legal – migrant workers, and a lot of them are in this state,” he added.
The secretive immigration talks by Diaz-Balart, Ryan and Mulvaney still face severe hurdles if they are to successfully bring legislation to the floor in June or July.
Many top GOP aides say the tide has not turned since February, when the House GOP leadership’s immigration principles were unveiled to an outcry that foisting a civil war on the party just ahead of a midterm election was political suicide.
Still, last week, Rep. Mark Amodei told a local newspaper that what he described as a “quiet whip effort” was making progress.
“They started a quiet whip count, trying to gauge what the support was for doing something on immigration within the Republican conference. We want to see where we stand on that whip count because, obviously, the Speaker does not want to get out in front of it and then have the limb sawed off behind him,” Amodei said.
“But I said, you know what? I’m hopeful. My sense — and I could be wrong — but I think there are 165 to 180 people in the Republican conference that will be open minded to this and support it,” he added.
Asked for comment about Ryan’s involvement in the issue, his spokesman, Kevin Seifert, said, “Congressman Ryan has laid out his principles for immigration reform. He’s said that the House should not take up or conference with the Senate bill and that there should be no special pathway to citizenship for those here illegally. Congressman Ryan has also said that any reform effort should begin by securing our border and enforcing our laws.”
TED CRUZ: ‘OBAMA’S LAWLESSNESS’ RESPONSIBLE FOR SPIKE IN ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
A sharp spike in illegal immigration has caused facilities and resources along the U.S.-Mexico border to become overwhelmed. As a result, U.S. Border Patrol has been releasing thousands of illegal immigrants onto U.S. soil each week. Some released immigrants are even criminals–as Breitbart Texas previously reported, more than 36,000 convicted criminal illegal alienswere released by U.S. authorities in 2013 alone.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz told Breitbart Texas that this “humanitarian crisis” is a “direct consequence” of the Obama Administration’s actions and rhetoric surrounding illegal immigration.
“We need a president who is willing to uphold the law,” Cruz said. “On issue after issue the Obama Administration has openly ignored, defied, and unilaterally tried to change the law. With respect to securing the border, the Obama Administration has handcuffed the courageous men and women who serve in Border Patrol. Morale in ICE is at an all-time low because the political operatives leading this Administration are preventing them from doing their job and upholding the law.”
He continued, “Just a few months before the last election the president illegally and unconstitutionally granted amnesty to some 800,000 people illegally. If the president wants to change federal immigration laws, the Constitution lays out a way to do so–you go and make your case to Congress and you convince Congress to change the laws…unfortunately for President Obama, following the Constitutional structure is apparently too cumbersome. One of the consequences were seeing on the border is a humanitarian crisis that is a direct consequence of Obama’s lawlessness.”
Cruz argued that by granting amnesty to such large numbers of illegal immigrants, Obama prompted a “change in behavior.” In Cruz’s view, the recent spike in illegal immigration can be attributed to such actions by the Administration.
Earlier this week, Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby released leaked photos of children in U.S. processing cells who entered the U.S. illegally and unaccompanied. The photos encapsulated the humanitarian crisis in relation to young, often unaccompanied, border crossers.
Cruz said of the skyrocketing number of children crossers, “When I was down at the border, Border Patrol agents were telling me with horror that roughly 10 percent of apprehended people were unaccompanied minors.”
He continued, “The people who are bringing men, women, and children in illegally are not pleasant, happy, placid coyotes. These are criminal cartels. These are ruthless, brutal, nasty criminals. The idea that you have parents handing their teenage daughter or son over to a global criminal cartel is a humanitarian crisis. Untold numbers of these teens are facing assault, are facing a life of hell being turned over to drug kingpins.”
“It is a direct consequence of the presidents illegal actions,” he said. “The parents think, ‘If I send my child [to the U.S.], my child will have amnesty.’ That’s what the president of the U.S. has said. It is the exact opposite of a humane approach to immigration or to securing our borders.”
Ultimately, Cruz said there are many areas where the left and right can find common ground.
“There is overwhelming bipartisan support outside of Washington that we need to finally secure our borders, enforce our laws, and stop the problem of illegal immigration,” he concluded. “But that’s not going to happen as long as the president is ordering Border Patrol officers not to enforce the law.”
Border crisis: Why the surge in illegal border-crossers with children? (+video)
US Border Patrol is struggling to cope with throngs of mothers and even unaccompanied children, apparently drawn by rumors that the Obama administration will let undocumented families stay. Critics say Obama’s policies are in fact largely to blame.
A recent wave of migrant mothers with children, as well as unaccompanied children, crossing theUS southern border is, to President Obama, an “urgent humanitarian crisis.” To critics, the surge of humanity on America’s doorstep stems at least in part from Mr. Obama’s own policies that appear to lay out the welcome mat for illegal immigrants.
With the surge in needy immigrant families, makeshift camps are springing up at Arizona bus depots, and the US is opening military barracks in Texas to house the growing number of unaccompanied children.
According to press reports, rumors are flying throughout Central America that parents won’t be detained by the US Border Patrol if a child is by their side. That’s true, for the most part. They are sent to live with relatives, or anywhere else, until their deportation hearings (usually within 15 days).
The Border Patrol, in an internal memo, acknowledges it is having to take its eyes off securing the border and busting human- and drug-trafficking rings in the Rio Grande Valley sector in south Texas to focus instead on a wave of migrants, mostly from strife-torn Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
After Arizona officials complained about the Border Patrol shipping migrants in from Texas and dropping them at bus stations, the Department of Homeland Security on Friday halted that policy. The US has instead begun housing unaccompanied migrant children on military installations in Texas and California, under the supervision of Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate.
The new wave of illegal immigrants may also affect the politicking in Washington over immigration reform, given that the emerging crisis appears to be drawing into question the government’s ability to contain the border. An adequately sealed border is a key sticking point in negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over a proposed immigration reform measure that includes a path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants already in the US.
“For those who are friendly to migration, this gets highlighted for the same reason they highlighted DREAM-ers: There’s a very clear moral proposition” around protecting innocent children, says Allert Brown-Gort, an immigration policy expert at the University of Notre Dame, citing a proposed law to give legal status to undocumented young people brought to the US as minors.
“The other side wants to highlight … the idea of migrants on the other side with catapults, just flinging their children across [the border],” because the US has been signaling that it’s become friendlier, under Mr. Obama, to undocumented migrants, Mr. Brown-Gort adds.
Critics say Obama’s 2012 executive order that lets young people brought to the US illegally as children apply for a two-year deferral from deportation, as well as the Bush administration’s 2008 decision to close a major detention facility in Texas, have helped to create conditions for a new wave of illegal immigration.
Some migrants are telling reporters on the border that they’ve heard in their home countries that there’s a “new opportunity” to emigrate to the US illegally and stay indefinitely, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Cindy Carcamo on Friday.
“The word has gotten back that [the Obama administration] is letting people stay – not just unaccompanied minors, but women with children – which is creating an opportunity to sneak in and get while the getting’s good,” says Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, which backs “low migration.”
“What it means is they haven’t locked down the border, and all this talk about how tough the administration is on enforcement is being exposed as false,” he adds.
The border patrol just tripled its projection of how many “unaccompanied alien children” are expected to cross the border. New estimates project 90,000 so-called unaccompanied children will try to cross this year and as many as 165,000 will try in 2015 (up from about 13,000 in 2012 and 24,000 in 2013).
Overall, illegal immigration from Central America is now inching toward 180,000 people a year – about half of the flow at the 2005 peak, but up from 130,000 two years ago.
Children are about 10 percent of that flow, and as many as 70 percent of those children are unaccompanied, Brown-Gort says. Many of the children are 12 and older, and most are boys. At home, boys that age are chief targets of cartels, and rising violence is pushing them to head north.
“It sounds easy to say, ‘Well, they’re being told that all they have to do is show up and everything will be OK,’ but people are balancing that with the really horribly increased dangers of migration,” including shakedowns and sexual violence, he says. “This kind of migration is a big roll of the dice, and not easy.”
Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello raised alarms about the current policy in an unsigned May 30 memo obtained by the Washington Times and reported by the Associated Press. Releasing mothers with kids and reuniting unaccompanied children with relatives in the US are serving as “incentives to additional individuals to follow the same path,” Mr. Vitiello wrote.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) complained in a recent letter to Obama that the policy has resulted in women and children with few connections in the US lingering in makeshift camps while awaiting deportation hearings, including one at the Phoenix Greyhound station. Meanwhile, churches and nonprofit groups have kicked into overdrive to try to keep susceptible families and children fed and safe in the 110-degree desert heat.
Obama’s two-year ‘amnesty’ for illegal immigrant minors sparks TWELVE-FOLD spike in numbers pouring across border
- A San Antonio Air Force base, a California Navy base, and a makeshift detention center in Nogales, Arizona have become temporary shelters for children and youths caught crossing the border without their parents
- Republicans blame the Obama administration for the problem, citing a 2012 policy that relaxed deportations
- It’s ‘an administration-made disaster,’ says the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
- President Obama now concedes that it’s an ‘urgent humanitarian situation’ and is setting aside $2 million to pay lawyers for the children
- The US government expects as many as 80,000 child immigrants to illegally enter the US this year, a twelve-fold jump in just three years
- More than 33,000 have been picked up in Texas since October; the Arizona facility has ordered 2,000 mattresses to handle its overload
- ‘Instead of having an application of the immigration law, we are taking mothers and children and dumping them,’ another claimed
- A federal judge castigated the Obama administration in December, saying it was ‘completing the criminal mission’ of human traffickers
President Barack Obama is calling tens of thousands of illegal-immigrant children languishing in temporary U.S. holding pens an ‘urgent humanitarian situation,’ but Republicans are pointing the finger of blame squarely at the White House.
Obama instituted an immigration policy that the GOP says enticed tens of thousands of Central American children to cross America’s southern border illegally without any parents to guide them.
More than 33,000 have been picked up in Texas alone since October. The U.S. border patrol says its forces are overwhelmed, and the courts are bracing for a flood of immigration cases from children held in temporary detention facilities designed to handle a fraction of the numbers. Sanitation problems are beginning to rear their ugly heads.
Obama rolled out a controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, allowing many illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to escape deportation for two years. The White House gave them another two-year window last week.
As a result, say some GOP leaders, America’s system for handling illegal immigration has been strained to the breaking point and is attracting hundreds of new illegal-immigrant children every day.
Compared to the year before Obama’s policy took effect, twelve times as many kids are coming north illegally this year.
Overflowing: Immigration authorities have opened a shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to house a rising number of unaccompanied minors who have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally
Hundreds of immigrants believed to be in the country illegally from Central America and Mexico being held in crowded concrete rooms similar to a jail cell
Many of the children appear to be teenagers but some clearly are younger
Lackland has become a temporary shelter for youths caught crossing the border illegally and alone
A half-century-old section of a U.S. Air Force base in Texas is now a holding and processing center for thousands of children who managed to enter the U.S. alone. The same is true of a Navy base in California.
And a makeshift detention center in Arizona holding 700 illegal immigrant children has ordered 2,000 mattresses to keep up with an expected influx in the coming months.
Judge: US ‘has simply chosen not to enforce … border security laws’
In a landmark court ruling in December, a federal judge ruled against the Department of Homeland Security for releasing a Salvadoran girl to her mother.
The mom had hired a smuggler to transport her daughter into the U.S., and was herself in the country illegally.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hansen wrote that ‘this court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing the criminal mission of those who are violating the border security of the United States.’
‘The DHS,’ Hansen added, ‘should enforce the laws of the United States – not break them.’
Many of the children there were sleeping on plastic boards.
According to the Associated Press, toothbrushes and toothpaste hadn’t arrived yet and were expected Monday.
Hundreds of children had not bathed in days, and were taking turns using just four showers.
Tony Banegas, Honduras’ honorary consul in Phoenix, told the AP that there were 236 Honduran children there on Saturday, including an 8-year-old.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are beyond angry.
Leaked photos from the base, which were obtained by the Breitbart.com news blog, show hundreds of children holed up in crowded concrete rooms, many of them sleeping on the bare floor without blankets or pillows.
‘The recent surge of children and teenagers from Central America showing up at our southern border is an administration-made disaster,’ Virginia GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News last week.
‘Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration enforcement policies and it has encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally,’ Goodlatte said in a statement.
‘Enforcement at the border and in the interior of the U.S.,’ not ‘another bureaucratic task force’ is needed, he claimed.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Friday that ‘instead of having an application of the immigration law, we are taking mothers and children and dumping them … and violating the rule[s] over and over.’
Policy shift: President Barack Obama announced on June 15, 2012 that the U.S. would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who satisfied a broad set of criteria; the move has enticed tens of thousands of children to sneak across the border even though the policy doesn’t apply to them
Immediately contentious: Neil Munro (C), the White House Correspondent for the Daily Caller, peppered Obama with unexpected questions during the announcement, during which the president hadn’t planned to take questions at all
At the base, children are provided with three hot meals and two snacks a day. They can call home twice a week. They have access to mental health clinicians and on-site medical care
The minors flooding over the border are often teenagers leaving behind poverty or violence in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala
The Obama administration expects as many as 80,000 of these ‘unaccompanied minors’ to cross the border in 2014, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
That number is twelve times what it was in 2011, the year before Obama announced his deferred-action plan.
The administration now estimates the holding facilities where the youngsters are being held cost taxpayers $252 per child per day, far more than the cost of a hotel and more than the children could expect to earn in two weeks of hard work picking crops, work that many were slated to do.
Facing the question of whether to deport the minors or play a game of catch-and-release, the administration has set aside $2 million to pay for their lawyers.
‘We’re taking a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society,’ Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday in a statement.
‘How we treat those in need, particularly young people who must appear in immigration proceedings – many of whom are fleeing violence, persecution, abuse or trafficking – goes to the core of who we are as a nation.’
Obama’s ‘deferred action’ program for minors, which he announced in a fanfare-laden June 15, 2012 Rose Garden press conference, applies only to children who came to America before mid-2007.
‘It makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans,’ the president said then.
Photos leaked to U.S. and Mexican media outlets on Thursday show unaccompanied children crammed into Border Patrol holding cells elsewhere, sleeping on concrete floors
About 850 that were being housed at the facility have been released to a vetted family member or a sponsor
Republicans blame President Obama for the situation, pointing to his 2012 policy that sent a message of hope to kids yearning to stay in the U.S.
Photos leaked Thursday from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in the Rio Grande Valley show overflowing holding facilities of immigrants, many of whom are children
Children between the ages of 12 and 17 are handed several sheets and towels when they arrive and checked for lice and scabies
But Capitol Hill is rife with fears that the message was garbled by the time it reach Guatemala, Honduras and other countries where poverty runs rampant. Many children traveling north on their own hope the policy will include them.
That’s what ‘coyotes,’ the smugglers who bring them in, are telling them to expect, according to Tania Chavez, a representative with La Union del Pueblo Entero, told KRGV-TV. in southern Texas.
The minors flooding over the border are often teenagers leaving behind poverty or violence in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
With the president traveling in Europe last week, there have been no press briefings at the White House where questions might be put to outgoing press secretary Jay Carney.
But Obama met privately Monday morning with a group of nurses from across the country ‘to discuss the importance of passing commonsense immigration reform,’ according to the White House.
The Associated Press reported Monday that in a May 30 memo to the National Security Council’s transborder security directorate, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello warned that the influx of unexpected illegals has stretched the border patrol beyond reason.
But releasing them or reuniting them with family members in the United States would serve as ‘incentives to additional individuals to follow the same path.’
President Barack Obama said the sharp influx of unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala was an ‘urgent humanitarian situation’
More than 33,000 minors were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas since October last year, it has been reported
Republicans angered about the situation point to a federal judge who castigated the Obama administration for relaxing its immigration policy and encouraging human traffickers.
In a December ruling, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hansen ripped the Department of Homeland Security for releasing a Salvadoran girl to her mother – a woman who had hired a smuggler to transport her daughter into the U.S., and was herself in the country illegally. of \
Hansen wrote that ‘this court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing the criminal mission of those who are violating the border security of the United States.’
‘The DHS,’ he added, ‘should enforce the laws of the United States – not break them.’
In a related case, the El Paso Times reported Monday that a Catholic charity was assisting 130 illegal immigrant children flown to El Paso, Texas.
Many were traveling with their parents when they were apprehended trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
One Guatemalan woman named Maria, who enter the United States with her two children, told the Times that she wanted to go to Tennessee to reunite with her sister.
Immigration officials, she said, had released her from custody and let her travel north.
‘Immigration told me, “You are free, you can leave”,’ she said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2653063/Republicans-claim-Obama-policy-enticed-tens-thousands-homeless-illegal-immigrant-children-cross-border-landing-secret-government-holding-pens.html#ixzz34Ac1wb5I
SURGE IN KIDS CROSSING BORDER ALONE STRAINS PATROL
Border Patrol agents could arrest as many as 90,000 children trying to illegally cross the Mexican border alone this year, more than three times the number of children apprehended in 2013, according to a draft internal Homeland Security memorandum reviewed by The Associated Press.
In the May 30 memo from Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello to the National Security Council’s transborder security directorate, Vitiello said Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics estimates that by 2015 the number of children apprehended while traveling alone could grow to 142,000.
The government has previously estimated that more than 60,000 children could be apprehended along the border this year. All the estimates are for the government’s fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Children apprehended with their parents are not part of this count of illegal border crossings.
Most of the children caught crossing alone are from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and have been apprehended in the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector in South Texas. That sector is the now the Border Patrol’s busiest area along the Mexican border and has seen a significant increase in the number of border crossers from Central America.
Customs and Border Protection said the memo “appears to be an internal, incomplete working document.”
The spike in children trying cross the border alone has forced DHS to divert resources away from other missions, including combating human and drug trafficking, Vitiello wrote in his four-page memo.
The increase in apprehensions has also led the government to fly some migrants who are from countries other than Mexico to other parts of the border, including Arizona, for processing by Border Patrol agents in less-busy sectors. Many families from countries other than Mexico have been released on their own recognizance in the U.S. while they await deportation proceedings in immigration court.
Releasing those people and taking other actions such as reuniting children caught alone at the border with parents or other relatives already in the U.S. serve as “incentives to additional individuals to follow the same path,” Vitiello wrote.
The number of children found trying to cross the Mexican border without parents has spiked in recent years. Between 2008 and 2011, 6,000 to 7,500 children per year ended up in the custody of the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. In 2012 border agents apprehended 13,625 unaccompanied children and that number surged to more than 24,000 last year.
Vitiello’s memo was drafted just days before President Barack Obama declared the situation on the border an “urgent humanitarian situation” and appointed the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, to manage the government’s response. In a presidential memo issued Monday, Obama said the government would temporarily house some of the children at two military bases.
Last month the Office of Management and Budget said in a two-page letter to the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee that the increase in the number of children crossing alone would likely cost the government at least $2.28 billion, about $1.4 billion more than the administration had initially asked lawmakers to budget for its “Unaccompanied Alien Children” program.
Rampant crime and poverty across Central America and a desire to reunite with parents or other relatives are thought to be driving many of the young immigrants.
Detained children are supposed to be transferred within 72 hours to HHS to be housed in shelters until they can be reunited with parents or guardians. Officials then begin searching for relatives or other potential guardians in the U.S.
The average stay for a child in a U.S. shelter last year was 45 days. Most are reunited with family to wait for their immigration cases to move forward. Migrant kids remain in removal proceedings even after they’re reunited with their parents here, though many have been able to win permission from a judge to stay in the U.S.
Surge in kids illegally crossing into U.S. alone strains Border Patrol
Numbers far worse than Obama administration had admitted
The flood of young children pouring across the southwestern border is worse than the administration has previously acknowledged, and efforts to deal with unaccompanied minors are overwhelming the Border Patrol, distracting it from going after smugglers and other illegal immigrants, according to an internal draft memo from the agency.
The four-page memo, authored by Deputy Border Patrol Chief Ronald D. Vitiello and dated May 30, contradicts the administration’s argument that the border is secure enough to begin legalizing current illegal aliens already in the U.S.
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Instead, Chief Vitiello paints a picture of a government struggling to cope, leaving the children suffering poor conditions, agents unable to focus on major security threats and little sense that it will get better.
Known within the Homeland Security Department as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), their numbers have skyrocketed this year, forcing the department to siphon manpower and money from its other critical border duties.
“The large quantity of DHS interdiction, intelligence, investigation, processing, detention and removal resources currently being dedicated to address UAC is compromising DHS capabilities to address other transborder criminal areas, such as human smuggling and trafficking and illicit drug, weapons, commercial and financial operations,” Chief Vitiello wrote in the memo, which was viewed by The Washington Times.
“Insufficient attention to these mission areas will have immediate and potentially long-lasting impacts on criminal enterprise operations within the Rio Grande Valley and across the country,” Chief Vitiello wrote.
According to the draft memo’s estimates, agents and officers will apprehend more than 90,000 unaccompanied children on the border this year, rising to 142,000 in 2015. By contrast, there were fewer than 40,000 caught last year.
The numbers represent a stunning percentage of the illegal crossers — and only account for those caught. An unknown number get by the Border Patrol and make their way into the interior of the country.
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Chiefly from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, they are usually fleeing horrendous poverty or gang violence. They brave harsh conditions and, in the case of the girls, often face being raped, during their journey through Mexico and across the U.S. border.
A Customs and Border Protection official said the memo was “an internal, incomplete working document, neither signed nor made official.”
But the official acknowledged the large increase in unaccompanied children crossing the border and the intense steps being taken to combat it.
“The rising flow of unaccompanied children and family units into the Rio Grande Valley present unique operational and resource challenges for CBP and [the Department of Health and Human Services],” the official told The Washington Times on condition of anonymity.
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress the problem is a top priority for him.
“I have been closely following this emerging issue since coming into office, with a particular focus on the Rio Grande Valley,” he said in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. “I traveled to McAllen, Texas, to view the situation and saw the children there firsthand — an overwhelming number of whom were under 12 years old.”
Earlier this week he and the White House announced that the government’s emergency management director will coordinate the response to the flood of children.
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Untold story of how activist once aided probes of NYC wiseguys
When friends and family members gathered recently at the White House for a private celebration of Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday, one of the invited partygoers was a former paid FBI Mafia informant.
That same man attended February’s state dinner in honor of French President Francois Hollande. He was seated with his girlfriend at a table adjacent to President Barack Obama, who is likely unaware that, according to federal agents, his guest once interacted with members of four of New York City’s five organized crime families. He even secretly taped some of those wiseguys using a briefcase that FBI technicians outfitted with a recording device.
The high-profile Obama supporter was also on the dais atop the U.S. Capitol steps last year when the president was sworn in for a second term. He was seated in front of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two rows behind Beyonce and Jay Z, and about 20 feet from Eric Holder, the country’s top law enforcement officer. As head of the Department of Justice, Attorney General Holder leads an agency that once reported that Obama’s inauguration guest also had La Cosa Nostra contacts beyond Gotham, and engaged in “conversations with LCN members from other parts of the United States.”
The former mob snitch has become a regular in the White House, where he has met with the 44th president in the East Room, the Roosevelt Room, and the Oval Office. He has also attended Obama Christmas parties, speeches, policy announcements, and even watched a Super Bowl with the First Family (an evening the man has called “one of the highlights of my life”). During these gatherings, he has mingled with cabinet members, top Obama aides, military leaders, business executives, and members of Congress. His former confederates were a decidedly dicier lot: ex-convicts, extortionists, heroin traffickers, and mob henchmen. The man’s surreptitious recordings, FBI records show, aided his government handlers in the successful targeting of powerful Mafia figures with nicknames like Benny Eggs, Chin, Fritzy, Corky, and Baldy Dom.
Later this week, Obama will travel to New York and appear in a Manhattan hotel ballroom at the side of the man whom FBI agents primarily referred to as “CI-7”–short for confidential informant #7–in secret court filings. In those documents, investigators vouched for him as a reliable, productive, and accurate source of information about underworld figures.
The ex-informant has been one of Obama’s most unwavering backers, a cheerleader who has nightly bludgeoned the president’s Republican opponents in televised broadsides. For his part, Obama has sought the man’s counsel, embraced him publicly, and saluted his “commitment to fight injustice and inequality.” The president has even commented favorably on his friend’s svelte figure, the physical manifestation of a rehabilitation effort that coincided with Obama’s ascension to the White House. This radical makeover has brought the man wealth, a daily TV show, bespoke suits, a luxury Upper West Side apartment, and a spot on best seller lists.
Most importantly, he has the ear of the President of the United States, an equally remarkable and perplexing achievement for the former FBI asset known as “CI-7,” the Rev. Al Sharpton.
A lengthy investigation by The Smoking Gun has uncovered remarkable details about Sharpton’s past work as an informant for a joint organized crime task force comprised of FBI agents and NYPD detectives, as well as his dealings with an assortment of wiseguys.
Beginning in the mid-1980s and spanning several years, Sharpton’s cooperation was fraught with danger since the FBI’s principal targets were leaders of the Genovese crime family, the country’s largest and most feared Mafia outfit. In addition to aiding the FBI/NYPD task force, which was known as the “Genovese squad,” Sharpton’s cooperation extended to several other investigative agencies.
TSG’s account of Sharpton’s secret life as “CI-7” is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records, and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance.
Like almost every other FBI informant, Sharpton was solely an information source. The parameters of his cooperation did not include Sharpton ever surfacing publicly or testifying on a witness stand.
Genovese squad investigators–representing both the FBI and NYPD–recalled how Sharpton, now 59, deftly extracted information from wiseguys. In fact, one Gambino crime family figure became so comfortable with the protest leader that he spoke openly–during ten wired face-to-face meetings–about a wide range of mob business, from shylocking and extortions to death threats and the sanity of Vincent “Chin” Gigante, the Genovese boss who long feigned mental illness in a bid to deflect law enforcement scrutiny. As the mafioso expounded on these topics, Sharpton’s briefcase–a specially customized Hartman model–recorded his every word.
Task force members, who were interviewed separately, spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing Sharpton’s work as an informant and the Genovese squad’s activities. Some of these investigators provided internal FBI documents to a reporter.
Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders, and more than a dozen phone lines. These listening devices and wiretaps were approved during the course of a major racketeering investigation targeting the Genovese family’s hierarchy.
A total of eight separate U.S. District Court judges–presiding in four federal jurisdictions–signed interception orders that were based on sworn FBI affidavits including information gathered by Sharpton. The phones bugged as a result of these court orders included two lines in Gigante’s Manhattan townhouse, the home phone of Genovese captain Dominick “Baldy Dom” Canterino, and the office lines of music industry power Morris Levy, a longtime Genovese family associate. The resulting surreptitious recordings were eventually used to help convict an assortment of Mafia members and associates.
Investigators also used Sharpton’s information in an application for a wiretap on the telephone in the Queens residence of Federico “Fritzy” Giovanelli, a Genovese soldier. Giovanelli was sentenced to 20 years in prison for racketeering following a trial during which those recordings were played for jurors. In a recent interview, the 82-year-old Giovanelli–now three years removed from his latest stint in federal custody–said that he was unaware that Sharpton contributed in any fashion to his phone’s bugging. He then jokingly chided a reporter for inquiring about the civil rights leader’s past. “Poor Sharpton, he cleaned up his life and you want to ruin him,” Giovanelli laughed.
While Sharpton’s acrimonious history with law enforcement–especially the NYPD–rankled some Genovese squad investigators, they nonetheless grudgingly acknowledged in interviews that the activist produced for those he would go on to frequently pillory.
Genovese squad members, however, did not share with Sharpton specific details about how they were using the information he was gathering for them. This is standard practice since FBI affidavits in support of wiretap applications are filed under seal by Department of Justice prosecutors. Still, Sharpton was briefed in advance of his undercover sorties, so he was well aware of the squad’s investigative interest in Gigante and his Mafia cronies.
Sharpton vehemently denies having worked as an FBI informant. He has alleged that claims of government cooperation were attempts by dark forces to stunt his aggressive brand of civil rights advocacy or, perhaps, get him killed. In his most recent book, “The Rejected Stone,” which hit best seller lists following its October 2013 publication, Sharpton claimed to have once been “set up by the government,” whose agents later leaked “false information” that “could have gotten me killed.” He added, “So I have been seriously tested in what I believe over the years.”
In an interview Saturday, Sharpton again denied working as a confidential informant, claiming that his prior cooperation with FBI agents was limited to efforts to prompt investigations of drug dealing in minority communities, as well as the swindling of black artists in the recording industry. He also repeatedly denied being “flipped” by federal agents in the course of an undercover operation. When asked specifically about his recording of the Gambino crime family member, Sharpton was noncommittal: “I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no.”
If Sharpton’s account is to be believed, he was simply a concerned citizen who voluntarily (and briefly) joined arm-in-arm with federal agents, perhaps risking peril in the process. The other explanation for Sharpton’s cooperation–one that has uniformly been offered by knowledgeable law enforcement agents–presents the reverend in a less noble light. Worried that he could face criminal charges, Sharpton opted for the path of self-preservation and did what the FBI asked. Which is usually how someone is compelled to repeatedly record a gangster discussing murder, extortion, and loan sharking.
Sharpton spoke for an hour in an office at the House of Justice, his Harlem headquarters, where he had just finished addressing a crowd of about 200 people that included his two adult daughters and his second wife (from whom he hasbeen separated for ten years). A few minutes into the interview, Sharpton asked, “Are you taping this?” A TSG reporter answered that he was not recording their interview, but had a digital recorder and wished to do so. Sharpton declined that request.
In the absence of any real examination/exhumation of Sharpton’s past involvement with the FBI and the Mafia, his denials have served the civil rights leader well. Scores of articles and broadcast reports about the Obama-era “rehabilitation” of Sharpton have mentioned his inflammatory past–Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights, Freddy’s Fashion Mart, and various anti-Semitic and homophobic statements. But his organized crime connections and related informant work have received no such scrutiny.
In a “60 Minutes” profile aired three months before the August 2011 launch of Sharpton’s MSNBC show, correspondent Lesley Stahl reported on the “tame” Sharpton’s metamorphosis from “loud mouth activist” to “trusted White House advisor who’s become the president’s go-to black leader.” As for prior underworld entanglements, those were quickly dispatched: “There were allegations of mob ties, never proved,” Stahl flatly declared.
As host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation,” Sharpton now reluctantly identifies himself as a member of the media, if not actually a journalist. He spends his time at 30 Rockefeller Plaza surrounded by reporters, editors, and researchers committed to accuracy and the exposure of those who violate the public trust. In fact, Sharpton himself delights in a daily feature that seeks to expose liars, hypocrites, and others engaged in deceit (his targets tend to be Republican opponents of the Obama administration). As he wraps this segment, Sharpton points his finger at the camera and addresses his quarry: “Nice try, but we gotcha!”
In addition to his MSNBC post, Sharpton heads the National Action Network, which describes itself as a “Christian activist organization.” Obama, who refers to Sharpton as “Rev” or “Reverend Al,” is scheduled to deliver a keynote address Friday at the group’s annual convention in New York City. Mayor Bill DeBlasio will preside Wednesday over the convention’s ribbon cutting ceremony, while Holder and three Obama cabinet secretaries will deliver speeches.
Sharpton has been a leading supporter of Holder, who spoke at the National Action Network’s 2012 convention and saluted the reverend for “your partnership, your friendship, and also for your tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless, and to shine a light on the problems we must solve, and the promises we must fulfill.” Last Friday, Sharpton appeared on a panel at a Department of Justice forum led by Tony West, the agency’s third-ranking official. West thanked Sharpton for his “leadership, day in and day out, on issues of reconciliation and community restoration.”
According to its most recent IRS return, which Sharpton signed in mid-November 2013, the National Action Network pays him $241,402 annually for serving as president and CEO. In return for that hefty salary, Sharpton–who hosts a three-hour daily radio show in addition to his nightly cable TV program–reportedly works a 40-hour week for the not-for-profit (which lists unpaid tax liabilities totaling $813,576).
For longtime observers, the “new” Sharpton’s public prominence and West Wing access is bewildering considering that his history, mob ties included, could charitably be described as checkered. In fact, Obama has banished others guilty of lesser transgressions (see: Wright, Jeremiah).
Sharpton now calls himself a “refined agitator,” an activist no longer prone to incendiary language or careless provocations. Indeed, a Google check confirms that it has been years since he labeled a detractor a “faggot,” used the term “homos,” or derisively referred to Jewish diamond merchants.
* * *
As an “informant in development,” as one federal investigator referred to Sharpton, the protest leader was seen as an intriguing prospective source, since he had significant contacts in politics, boxing, and the music industry.
Before he was “flipped” in the course of an FBI sting operation in 1983, Sharpton had established relationships with promoter Don King, various elected officials, and several powerful New York hoodlums involved in concert promotion, record distribution, and talent management. At the time, the music business was “overrun by hustlers, con artists, black and white,” Sharpton recalled in his 1996autobiography. A federal agent who was not part of the Genovese squad–but who also used Sharpton as an informant–recalled that “everyone was trying to mine” his music industry ties.
In fact, by any measure, Sharpton himself was a Mafia “associate,” the law enforcement designation given to mob affiliates who, while not initiated, work with and for crime family members. While occupying the lowest rung on the LCN org chart–which is topped by a boss-underboss-consigliere triumvirate–associates far outnumber “made” men, and play central roles in a crime family’s operation, from money-making pursuits to more violent endeavors.
For more than four years, the fact that Sharpton was working as an informant was known only to members of the Genovese squad and a small number of other law enforcement agents. As with any Mafia informant, protecting Sharpton’s identity was crucial to maintaining the viability of ongoing investigations. Not to mention keeping him alive.
For example, an episode recounted by TSG sources highlighted the sensitive nature of Sharpton’s cooperation with the FBI/NYPD task force.
In advance of seeking court authorization to bug a pair of Genovese family social clubs and a Cadillac used by Gigante and Canterino, a draft version of a wiretap affidavit was circulated for review within the Genovese squad, which operated from the FBI’s lower Manhattan headquarters. The 53-page document, which detailed the “probable cause” to believe that listening devices would yield incriminatingconversations, concerned some investigators due to the degree to which the activities of Sharpton were described in the document.
While the affidavit prepared by FBI Agent Gerald King and a federal prosecutor only referred to Sharpton as “CI-7,” the document included the name of a Gambino mobster whom Sharpton taped, as well as the dates and details of five of their recorded meetings. Such specificity was problematic since the possibility existed that the affidavit’s finalized version could someday be turned over to defense lawyers in the discovery phase of a criminal trial.
Investigators fretted that Sharpton could easily be unmasked by the Gambino member, who, if ever questioned about his meetings with “CI-7,” would surely realize that Sharpton was the wired informant referred to in the FBI affidavit. That discovery, of course, could have placed Sharpton’s life in grave danger. The Gambino wiseguy, too, likely would have faced trouble, since he was recorded speaking about a wide range of Mafia matters, including Gigante’s illegal operations. The Genovese power–rightly paranoid about bugged phones and listening devices–famously forbid fellow gangsters from even speaking his name. In fact, if a wiseguy had to refer to Gigante during an in-person meeting, a quick stroke of the chin was the acceptable means of identification.
In response to concerns about the King affidavit, the draft, which a source provided to TSG, was rewritten to carefully shroud Sharpton’s work with government agents. The affidavit’s final version–which was submitted to two federal judges–no longer included the disclosure that “CI-7” had “consensually recorded his conversations” with a gangster. The wiseguy’s name was also deleted from the document, as was any reference to the Gambino family or the informant’s sex.
Instead, the revamped affidavit simply noted that “CI-7 reported” to the FBI various details of Genovese family rackets. The actual source of that valuable intelligence about Gigante & Co. had been carefully obscured. As were the details of how that information was obtained via Sharpton’s battery-powered valise.
But despite efforts like this to protect Sharpton, some details of his informant work leaked out in January 1988, when New York Newsday reported that the civil rights activist had cooperated with federal investigations targeting organized crime figures and Don King. Though he reportedly made incriminating admissions to the newspaper, Sharpton quickly issued vehement denials that he had snitched on anyone.
While acknowledging contact with law enforcement officials, Sharpton–then involved in the early stages of the Tawana Brawley hoax–said he sought the help of investigators to combat the crack cocaine epidemic ravaging New York’s poorest communities. Sharpton also claimed to have contacted agents (and pledged his assistance) after a Mafia associate allegedly threatened him over a music industry dispute.
Sharpton asserted that a phone installed in his Brooklyn apartment by federal investigators in mid-1987 was there to serve as a “hotline” for the public to report drug dealing. He flatly denied recording phone conversations at the direction of law enforcement agents. In one radio interview, Sharpton even declared, “We have an ethical thing against wiretapping.”
In fact, Sharpton had been cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn as part of an investigation targeting Don King. According to a source involved with that probe, federal agents “ran him for a couple of months,” during which time Sharpton “did some recordings” via his new home telephone. But the nascent Department of Justice operation was abruptly shuttered in the wake of the New York Newsday story.
The Brooklyn investigators were introduced to Sharpton in late-1987 by Joseph Spinelli, one of the reverend’s former FBI handlers (and one of the agents who initially secured his cooperation with the bureau). While Spinelli had left the FBI for another government post, he still helped facilitate Sharpton’s interaction with other investigators. “Joe was shopping him around,” one source recalled.
For example, in July 1987, Spinelli called a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles and offered Sharpton’s assistance with a matter the lawyer was handling. The case involved Salvatore Pisello, a mobbed-up music industry figure who had just been indicted for tax evasion (and whom Sharpton had previously accused of threatening his life).
Referring to Sharpton, ex-prosecutor Marvin Rudnick said in an interview, “I didn’t know who he was” when Spinelli called. In subsequent conversations with Rudnick, Sharpton provided information about Pisello and a related music industry matter that was being scrutinized by Justice Department investigators.
While Sharpton would not prove particularly helpful to Rudnick, the attorney clearly recalled his brief, unorthodox dealings with the New York activist. “I remember having to go to a pay phone to take the call because he didn’t want it to be traced,” Rudnick laughed.
* * *
So why did Sharpton agree to become an FBI informant? And why was he willing to risk the dangers inherent in such cooperation?
“He thought he didn’t have a choice,” one Genovese squad agent recalled.
In the course of an investigation being run by Spinelli and his partner John Pritchard, Sharpton was secretly recorded in meetings with an FBI undercover agent posing as a wealthy drug dealer seeking to promote boxing matches.
As previously reported, Colombo crime family captain Michael Franzese, who knew Sharpton, enlisted the activist’s help in connecting with Don King. Franzese and Sharpton were later surreptitiously filmed during one meeting with the undercover, while Sharpton and Daniel Pagano, a Genovese soldier, were recorded at another sit-down. Pagano’s father Joseph was a Genovese power deeply involved in the entertainment industry (and who also managed the crime family’s rackets in counties north of New York City).
During one meeting with Sharpton, the undercover agent offered to get him “pure coke” at $35,000 a kilo. As the phony drug kingpin spoke, Sharpton nodded his head and said, “I hear you.” When the undercover promised Sharpton a 10 percent finder’s fee if he could arrange the purchase of several kilos, the reverend referred to an unnamed buyer and said, “If he’s gonna do it, he’ll do it much more than that.” The FBI agent steered the conversation toward the possible procurement of cocaine, sources said, since investigators believed that Sharpton acquaintance Daniel Pagano–who was not present–was looking to consummate drug deals. Joseph Pagano, an East Harlem native who rose through a Genovese crew notorious for narcotics trafficking, spent nearly seven years in federal prison for heroin distribution.
While Sharpton did not explicitly offer to arrange a drug deal, some investigators thought his interaction with the undercover agent could be construed as a violation of federal conspiracy laws. Though an actual prosecution, an ex-FBI agent acknowledged, would have been “a reach,” agents decided to approach Sharpton and attempt to “flip” the activist, who was then shy of his 30th birthday. In light of Sharpton’s relationship with Don King, FBI agents wanted his help in connection with the bureau’s three-year-old boxing investigation, code named “Crown Royal” and headed by Spinelli and Pritchard.
The FBI agents confronted Sharpton with the undercover videos and warned that he could face criminal charges as a result of the secret recordings. Sharpton, of course, could have walked out and ran to King, Franzese, or Pagano and reported the FBI approach (and the fact that drug dealer “Victor Quintana” was actually a federal agent).
In subsequent denials that he had been “flipped,” Sharpton has contended that he stiffened in the face of the FBI agents, meeting their bluff with bluster and bravado. He claimed to have turned away Spinelli & Co., daring them to “Indict me” and “Prosecute.” Sharpton has complained that the seasoned investigators were “trying to sting me, entrap me…a young minister.”
In fact, Sharpton fell for the FBI ruse and agreed to cooperate, a far-reaching decision he made without input from a lawyer, according to sources. “I think there was some fear [of prosecution] on his part,” recalled a former federal agent. In a TSG interview, Sharpton claimed that he rebuffed the FBI agents, who, he added, threatened to serve him with a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury investigating King. After being confronted by the bureau, Sharpton said he consulted with an attorney (whom he declined to identify).
Following bureau guidelines, agents formally opened a “137” informant file on Sharpton, a move that was approved by FBI supervisors, according to several sources. Agents anticipated using Sharpton in the “Crown Royal” case focusing on King, but during initial debriefings of their new recruit, it became clear that his contacts in the music business were equally appealing.
Sharpton had met James Brown in the mid-70s, and became extremely close to the R&B superstar. He worked for and traveled with the mercurial performer, married one of Brown’s backup singers, and wore the same processed hairdo as the entertainer. Like Brown, Sharpton would sometimes even wear a cowboy hat atop his tribute conk.
It was first through executives at Spring Records, a small Manhattan-based label affiliated with Brown, that Sharpton–who worked from the firm’s office–was introduced to various wiseguys, including Franzese. His circle of mob contacts would grow to include, among others, the Paganos, Carmine DeNoia, an imposing Pagano associate known as “Wassel,” and Joseph “Joe Bana” Buonanno, a Gambino crime family figure involved in record distribution and production.
At one point before he was “flipped,” Sharpton participated in a mob scheme to create a business front that would seek a share of lucrative Con Edison set-asides intended for minority-owned businesses. That deal, which involved garbage collection contracts, cratered when the power company determined that Sharpton’s silent partner was Genovese captain Matthew “Matty the Horse” Ianniello. Details of the Con Ed plot emerged at a federal criminal trial of Ianniello and his business partner Benjamin Cohen. It was Cohen, who worked across the hall from Spring Records, who recruited Sharpton for the mob garbage gambit.
Meet Al Sharpton, “Confidential Informant No. 7.”
The longtime agitator, civil-rights activist and TV host was exposed Monday as an alleged former key FBI informant whose tips helped take down some of the biggest names in New York Mafia history.
The Rev. Al launched his sensational secret life as a paid mob snitch in the mid-1980s, pressured to cooperate after being ensnared in a developing drug sting, according to a bombshell report bythesmokinggun.com.
As “CI-7,” the then-portly Harlem leader would tote a customized Hartmann briefcase equipped with an FBI bug to hobnob with members of some of the city’s most notorious crime families, the site said.
Sharpton’s main job was to dig dirt on the Genovese crime family, according to sources and court documents.
He was so good at “playing dumb’’ that he wound up helping to bring down such names as Venero “Benny Eggs’’ Mangano, Dominick “Baldy Dom’’ Canterino and even the muttering “oddfather” of Greenwich Village, family boss Vincent “Chin’’ Gigante, the site said.
He was a “very reliable informant, and his information ‘has never been found to be false or inaccurate,’ ” the report said, quoting a 1986 court document.
While it was known that Sharpton had spied for the FBI on music- and sports-promotion figures, the new data said he also extracted juicy information from wiseguys.
The feds later used the dirt to obtain warrants to bug key Genovese spots.
Because of Sharpton’s undercover work, listening devices were surreptitiously installed in two crime-family social clubs, including Gigante’s Village headquarters, three cars used by Mafiosos and more than a dozen phone lines, the site said.
Information gleaned from those bugs then helped nail the mobsters.
One of Sharpton’s main unsuspecting founts of useful information was Joseph “Joe Bana’’ Buonanno.
During 10 face-to-face chats between the pair, “Joe Bana just gave him a whole insight into how ‘Chin’ and [music-industry honcho] Morris [Levy] operated,’’ said an NYPD source with the joint FBI-Police Department “Genovese Squad.”
Before his rapt audience of one, Buonanno expounded on the mob’s past extortions and death threats.
He even allegedly revealed to Sharpton a few not-so-flattering details about his boss, Gigante, who for years pretended he was crazy by shuffling around the West Village in a bathrobe to escape prosecution from the feds.
Buonanno told Sharpton of the godfather’s purported illiteracy and the fact that he “hates everyone not Italian,” the site said.
The mob soldier even detailed how Gigante “was present” at the hit of Genovese captain Thomas “Tommy Ryan’’ Eboli, to “make sure it was done right,” the site said.
Still, while Sharpton had the gift of gab and got Buonanno to unwittingly spill his guts, the mob soldier snottily referred to the preacher as “a nose picker’’ behind his back, an associate told the site.
Both Buonanno and Gigante are now dead.
The revelation of Sharpton’s involvement with the feds couldn’t have come at a more embarrassing time.
Sharpton is set to convene the annual convention of his National Action Network in New York this week — with Mayor de Blasio cutting the opening-ceremony ribbon Wednesday and President Obama flying in to give the keynote address Friday.
Sharpton, in an interview with The Post on Monday, didn’t deny that he cooperated with the FBI — but said the thesmokinggun.com report was the equivalent of a mob hit.
“It’s crazy. If I provided all the information they claimed I provided, I should be given a ticker-tape parade,” said Sharpton, 59, who now regularly rubs elbows with Obama and his wife Michelle, Attorney General Eric Holder and congressmen and other national leaders.
“What did Al Sharpton do wrong? Eliot Spitzer did do something wrong, and he got a TV show,” said the Rev. Al, referring to the hooker-loving former governor.
Sharpton is currently the host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.’’ He regularly wraps up one segment by pointing a finger at the camera and yelling, “Nice try, but we gotcha!”
He denied being paid to snitch and said he never carried a brief case with a listening device.
He insisted that if he did cooperate with the feds, it was because he’d been threatened by a mobster while working with black concert promoters.
“The article is embellished. The real story is I told the FBI about being threatened because I was a civil-rights leader helping black concert promoters,” Sharpton said.
He griped that the report was simply an attempt to “muddy’’ him before this week’s NAN convention.
A Sharpton confidante who’s known him for decades was caught off guard by the extent of the activist’s alleged dealings with the FBI.
“Holy s- -t,’’ the source said. “This comes out of left for me. I’m actually driving off the road.’’
But veteran Democratic political consultant George Arzt said the report is more likely to boost Sharpton’s standing with the public rather than hurt it.
“This is just going to add to his luster of being a character,” Arzt said. “It does raise questions about an anti-establishment guy cooperating with the FBI. But now he is establishment.”
Sharpton was considered prime fodder as a mole for the FBI’s Mafia unit because of his already-existing connections to the underworld, the site said.
For example, he knew Genovese soldier Joseph Pagano, who was involved in entertainment-industry schemes for decades, allegedly controlled “Rat Pack’’ singer Sammy Davis Jr. and once even “lost a big roll [of money] to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra,’’ FBI sources said.
Sharpton allegedly told the feds he had an in with Pagano because he’d introduced him to boxer Muhammad Ali and his reps.
In trying to nail the Genovese Mafiosos with Sharpton’s help, the feds embarked on their bugging scheme — sometimes producing hilarious results, the report said.
At one point, the Genovese Squad tried to wire mobster Dominick Canterino’s Cadillac in front of his Gravesend, Brooklyn, home.
An agent broke into and hot-wired the car to briefly drive it off to plant the bug before returning it.
“Piece of cake,’’ he radioed to fellow agents down the block.
“You’re burned!” an NYPD detective shouted back a minute later, as he spotted Canterino watching the agent drive away with his car.
“In retrospect, it was like a Keystone comedy,’’ chuckled a former FBI agent who was there that day. “But it wasn’t so funny when it occurred.”
Canterino has since died.
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