Posted: March 27, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Albuquerque Police Department, ATF gunwalking scandal, Classified information, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal government of the United States, Hillary Clinton, iPhone, Israel, Pantsuit Report, Tel Aviv, United States, United States Department of Justice
Del Quentin Wilber writes: Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.
“Legally it doesn’t matter if the emails were marked as classified or not, since government officials are obligated to recognize sensitive material and guard against its release. But legal experts noted that such labels would be helpful to prosecutors seeking to prove she knew the information was classified, a key element of the law.”
Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries.
No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.
The interviews by FBI agents and prosecutors will play a significant role in helping them better understand whether Clinton or her aides knowingly or negligently discussed classified government secrets over a non-secure email system when she served as secretary of State.
“This is clearly disruptive to the campaign. It will take her off message and coverage about important aides being questioned is not coverage you’d like to have. However, this issue is largely dismissed by Democratic primary voters and baked into the cake for the general electorate.”
— Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster.
The meetings also are an indication that much of the investigators’ background work – recovering deleted emails, understanding how the server operated and determining whether it was breached – is nearing completion.
“The interviews are critical to understand the volume of information they have accumulated,” said James McJunkin, former head of the FBI’s Washington field office. “They are likely nearing the end of the investigation and the agents need to interview these people to put the information in context. They will then spend time aligning these statements with other information, emails, classified documents, etc., to determine whether there is a prosecutable case.”
“The facts of the case do not fit the law. Reasonable folks may think that federal law ought to prohibit what Hillary did, but it’s just not clear to me that it currently does.”
— Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University
Many legal experts believe that Clinton faces little risk of being prosecuted for using the private email system to conduct official business when she served as secretary of State, though that decision has raised questions among some about her judgment. They noted that using a private email system was not banned at the time, and others in government had used personal email to transact official business.
The bigger question is whether she or her aides distributed classified material in email systems that fell outside of the department’s secure classified system. But even if prosecutors determine that she did, chances she will be found criminally liable are low. U.S. law makes it a crime for someone to knowingly or willfully retain classified information, handle it in a grossly negligent manner or to pass it to someone not entitled to see it. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 5, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, Think Tank | Tags: Ammunition, AR-15, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, Background check, Congress, Executive (government), Fast & Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firearms and Explosives, Gun Show, Gun Show Loophole Myth, Gun shows in the United States, Hillary Clinton, National Rifle Association, Sting operation, United States Border Patrol
The only problem with her gun show loophole proposal is that it would accomplish exactly nothing, because current law already covers her proposal.
“There is zero protection enshrined in law for transactions that happen to occur at a gun show or over the Internet. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The so-called ‘gun show loophole’ simply does not exist. Nor does any sort of Internet gun sale loophole.”
Here’s how Slate described Hillary Clinton’s proposal:
What makes Clinton’s plan particularly noteworthy, though, is her suggestion that she’d be able to go it alone on at least one of the proposals if elected president: the gun show loophole.
And just how would she do that? According to her campaign, even if Congress were unwilling to act, Clinton would be able to use her executive authority to tweak the existing rules to reclassify anyone who sells a “significant number of guns” as someone “in the business of selling firearms”—a distinction that would make those high-volume private vendors who sell guns at gun shows
and over the Internet subject to the same rules as larger, licensed brick-and-mortar retailers. Clinton doesn’t appear to have settled on an answer to the question of just how many guns constitutes a “significant” number, but even if her chosen definition didn’t close the loophole completely, it would at least shrink it.
[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist.com]
Such an effort could face legal challenges in the courts and, at the very least, a guaranteed NRA-led political freakout in Washington. And, even if the effort survived both, it wouldn’t come close to ending gun violence in the United States. But for gun safety advocates and like-minded voters who are desperate for action on a problem that can feel politically impossible, Clinton’s outside-the-box plan will be a welcome start.
[Also see – Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game by Kevin D. Williamson]
Slate’s Josh Voorhees characterized Clinton’s plan as “clever,” which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that neither Voorhees nor Hillary Clinton is even remotely familiar with existing federal gun laws.
“Now, if Hillary thinks Congress should pass a law regulating private transactions between private individuals who reside in the same state, that’s her prerogative. But she should at least be honest about what she’s doing and about what authority the president has to do it. The president cannot by fiat eliminate the existing exemption. It can be done only by Congress.”
For starters, the federal government already has the statutory authority to define who does and does not qualify as an individual “in the business of selling firearms.” It derives that authority from 18 U.S. Code § 921. Here’s how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) specifically defines whether an individual is engaged in the business of selling firearms and should therefore be subject to federal firearms licensee (FFL) requirements:
Dealer in firearms — a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or
for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C));
[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]
Here’s the federal statute from which the ATF derives its existing authority to define who is and isn’t engaged in the business of selling guns:
(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—
(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the
(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as
a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;
(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported;
(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a
regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.
Contra Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “high-volume private vendors” cannot legally exist under current law. Under the ATF’s existing definition, it is impossible to sell high volumes of firearms without triggering the definition of a dealer in firearms. The “repetitive purchase and resale of firearms” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Anything other than “occasional sales” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Unlicensed dealing is against the law. Refusing to conduct background checks as a dealer (licensed or not) is against the law.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 24, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Associated Press, ATF gunwalking scandal, Frat House, Fraternity, Freedom of Information Act (United States), Frostbite, Hazing, Hillary Clinton, Internal Revenue Service, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Syracuse University, The Pantsuit Report
Forgive me for my cynicism, but that makes me think she just might not mean it
At The Corner, Katherine Timpf writes:
In a speech in front of a crowd full of journalists at Syracuse University on Monday, Hillary Clinton declared that she had a new hairstyle and would have a new, open relationship with the press along with it — and then didn’t take questions afterwards.
“Why not a new relationship with the press? …No more secrecy. No more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do for me?”
“With a room full of political reporters, I thought to myself, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’” Clinton joked, apparently considering the press busting her for illegal e-mail practices that may have put national security at risk to be something to joke about…(read more)
Posted: December 8, 2014 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: ATF gunwalking scandal, Barack Obama, Benghazi, Chicago machine (political machine), fraud, Freedom of Information Act (United States), Internal Revenue Service, Judicial Watch, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Under the Obama administration there are accusations of retaliation by inspectors general against whistleblowers who help to expose corruption and abuse.
The Obama’s administration’s 72 inspectors general, who are appointed to investigate wrongdoing in their respective departments such as the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Veteran’s Administration and other federal agencies, appear to require an inspector general to investigate them.
“Imagine police officers punishing or threatening their confidential informants, or snitches, when they bring them information and you can see how ludicrous it has become within the federal government…”
— Former police detective and corporate security director Michael Snopes
They allegedly do more ignoring or covering up misconduct, malfeasance and even out-and-out criminal activity, than they do weeding out corruption and crime, according to a report released on Friday by non-governmental, public-interest group that probes and exposes government and political corruption.
Courtesy of Police Times
Inspectors General Needed to Investigate Obama Administration’s Corrupt Inspectors General
“The [supposedly] ‘independent’ watchdogs that are supposed to root out waste, fraud and corruption inside U.S. government agencies often help cover it up,” noted officials from Judicial Watch. The group of investigators and attorneys — who use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the civil court system to probe and “prosecute” federal, state and local government agencies and individuals — points to a four-part newspaper exposé that accuses these high-paid inspectors general of sometimes becoming “the lapdogs of the agencies they’re charged with overseeing.”
Under the Obama administration there are accusations of retaliation by inspectors general against whistleblowers who help to expose corruption and abuse.
The newspaper’s investigative reporter, Mark Flatten, penetrated the veil of deceit — so common in President Barack Obama’s so-called transparent administration — to reveal the present reality of inspectors general tasked with keeping an eye on the government. The 72 inspectors general, with superiors appointed by the president, is a decades-old practice that became law with both Democrats and Republicans supporting the legislation in both houses of Congress.
Each government department is required to have an independent section that functions the way a police department’s internal affairs bureau functions: with total access to all information, documents and materials and a total absence of any conflict of interest or any apprehension of retaliation by superiors including the President of the United States. Any findings by an inspector general with the appropriate House of Representatives’ committee or Senate committee charged with oversight. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 23, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, U.S. News, White House | Tags: ATF gunwalking scandal, Congress, Eric Holder, Executive privilege, Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch, Obama, Obama administration, United States Department of Justice, Vaughn
Judicial Watch: Obama Asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege Claim for Holder’s Wife
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.
“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.”
[Check out John’s Fund’s book, authored with Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky: “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s 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.
“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’.”
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.”
“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.”
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 26, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: ATF gunwalking scandal, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, John D. Bates, Judicial Watch, Justice Department, United States Department of Justice, United States district court, Vaughn
Sharyl Attkisson writes: The unexpected resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder follows a series of court rulings against his Department of Justice over its failure to produce documents related to the government’s “Fast and Furious” firearms operation.
Holder also has come under increasing congressional criticism for a tepid investigation of evidence that IRS officials deliberately targeted tea party and other conservative groups for greater scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
Calling the government’s arguments for “even more time … unconvincing,” a federal judge this week refused to grant Holder’s Justice Department the additional time it requested to turn over a list of Operation Fast and Furious documents withheld under executive privilege exerted by President Obama.
The list is referred to as a “Vaughn index” and requires the Justice Department to justify document-by-document the reasons it hasn’t released the materials. This exercise alone often prompts the release of documents.
The Justice Department sought to delay the Vaughn index until one day before the Nov. 4 midterm elections. But the court ordered the index produced by Oct. 22 instead. The order comes in a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 10, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: ATF gunwalking scandal, Contempt of Congress, Eric Holder, Gohmert, Holder, John Boehner, Louie Gohmert, United States Department of Justice
From Mike Levin, ABC’s The Note
…with a finger raised, Holder told the crowd in New York that his tenure as attorney general has been “defined by significant strides … even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”
The day before, after Gohmert ran out of time to ask questions, Holder leaned into the microphone in front of him and wished Gohmert “good luck with your asparagus.” It was a not-so-subtle dig at Gohmert’s bizarre remark last year when he warned Holder not to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
“You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
— Divisive, controversial U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Holder has had a tense relationship with several Republican lawmakers since the Republican-led House held him in contempt of Congress two years ago for failing to turn over certain documents tied to the Fast and Furious scandal involving botched firearms sting operations despite a congressional subpoena seeking those documents.
“I don’t need lectures from you about contempt.”
— Louie Gohmert
In asking Holder on Tuesday about the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over documents in an unrelated terrorism case, Gohmert again raised the issue of contempt, saying, “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight.”
“The American people have not been told the truth about what happened in Fast and Furious. We’ve been going through all of these hearings, having to hold people in contempt because they’ve made it impossible to get to the documents… ”
— House Speaker John Boehner
A visibly upset Holder, leaning back in his chair, shot back, “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
“You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me,” Holder added, pointing a finger toward the congressman. “I think it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 19, 2013 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice | Tags: Amy Berman Jackson, ATF gunwalking scandal, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, United States Department of Justice
JOSH GERSTEIN reports: A federal judge has refused Attorney General Eric Holder‘s request that he be allowed to proceed now with an appeal in a case where the House of Representatives is seeking to enforce subpoenas for documents related to the controversial Operation Fast and Furious gun investigation.
In a ruling Monday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said her September 30 ruling rejecting Holder’s request to dismiss the lawsuit was not such a close call that it deserved immediate review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“While the Court agrees with defendant’s characterization of the matter as significant, that is not the test,” Jackson wrote in her new four-page decision (posted here). ”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 7, 2013 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: American Civil Liberties Union, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Dodson, Drug Enforcement Administration, John Dodson, Special agent
ALICIA A. CALDWELL reports: The Obama administration is blocking a federal law enforcement agent from publishing a book about the failed “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling sting operation because of concerns that the book would negatively affect morale, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday.
The ACLU charged that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is worried that the book proposed by an ATF agent would hurt relationships with other U.S. law enforcement agencies.
In a six-page letter to ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, the ACLU said the bureau’s decision to block the book proposed by Special Agent John Dodson was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The ACLU described Dodson as a whistle-blower.
According to the letter, the ATF denied Dodson’s request to try to publish a book about his version of the Fast and Furious scandal because the bureau predicted it would have “a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix (Field Division) and would have a detrimental” impact on ATF relationships with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The ATF didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 25, 2013 Filed under: U.S. News | Tags: Associated Press, ATF, ATF gunwalking scandal, B. Todd Jones, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Informant, Jones, United States Department of Justice
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Braun reports: Government agents acting without authorization conducted dozens of undercover investigations of illegal tobacco sales, misused some of $162 million in profits from the stings and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes, the Justice Department‘s inspector general said Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »