Project Gunrunner Update: ATF Ignored Warnings, DOJ Ignores Document Requests

Project Gunrunner Update: ATF Ignored Warnings, DOJ Ignores Document Requests – Michelle Malkin

Tick, tick, tick. Another Project Gunrunner disclosure deadline approaches for the Obama Department of Justice. And GOP watchdogs are hammering away at yet another stonewall erected by corruptocrat Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Late last week, Sen. Charles Grassley roasted the DOJ for failing to produce documents he requested in February – and released his own set of damning e-mails between a gun shop owner who had protested the ATF’s dangerous straw purchase scheme repeatedly. Via CBS News’s Sheryl Atkinson:

Damning, newly-obtained emails show that a key gun shop owner made explicit concerns in writing last year in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ “gunwalking” scandal.

Starting in late 2009, ATF allegedly directed an undetermined number of Phoenix-area gun shop owners to go ahead with sales of thousands of assault rifles and other weapons to suspicious buyers. Insiders claim ATF knew the buyers were connected to Mexico’s drug cartels, but let the guns “walk” onto the street anyway in a misguided attempt to obtain intelligence. ATF and the Justice Department have denied that.

Investigators from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) obtained the emails this week.

You can download the pdf file of Grassley’s letter to the DOJ and the e-mails here.

This will make your blood boil over:

On June 17, 2010, the gun dealer wrote to the ATF to again express concerns after seeing a report on Fox News about firearms and the border:

The segment, if the information was correct, is disturbing to me. When you, [the Assistant U.S. Attorney], and I met on May 13th, I shared my concerns with you guys that I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys… I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents‟ safety because I have some very close friends that are U.S. Border Patrol agents in southern AZ[.]5

Incredibly, the FFL sent this email six months before guns from the same ATF operation were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry‟s murder. So, not only were the ATF agents who later blew the whistle predicting that this operation would end in tragedy, so were the gun dealers – even as ATF urged them to make the sales. Furthermore, according to the FFL, there were “one or two” occasions on which his employees actually witnessed and recorded with surveillance cameras an exchange of money between the straw purchaser and another individual on the premises.6

Despite this actual knowledge of a straw purchase, the dealer said ATF officials wanted him to proceed with the transaction.7 However, his employees refused to process the sale.8

In light of this new evidence, the Justice Department‟s claim that the ATF never knowingly sanctioned or allowed the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers is simply not credible.

Grassley wants to know:

1.Do you stand by the assertion in the Department‟s reply that the ATF whistleblower allegations are “false” and specifically that ATF did not sanction or otherwise knowingly allow the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers? If so, please explain why in light of the mounting evidence to the contrary.

2. Will you commit to providing the Senate Judiciary Committee with documents, or access to documents, simultaneously with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform? If not, please explain why not.

Grassley’s deadline for a DOJ response to his continued inquiries is tomorrow.

Tick, tick, tick.

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Daily Benefactor News – Obama’s Ex-Car Czar Sued By Cuomo, Settles With SEC – More Articles


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Obama’s Ex-Car Czar Sued By Cuomo, Settles With SEC – ABC News

Former Obama administration auto industry czar Steven Rattner was sued by New York’s attorney general on Thursday for allegedly paying kickbacks to win investments from the state’s $130 billion pension fund.

Rattner separately settled a related U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil lawsuit, agreeing to pay $6.2 million and accept a two-year ban from working with an investment adviser or broker-dealer.

The former investment banker led the federal government’s auto task force that oversaw the restructuring and bankruptcy of General Motors Co.

The lawsuit was filed by Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general and governor-elect, on the same day that GM began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Only hours before the suit was filed, Rattner had been on CNBC television talking about the revamped GM’s stock market debut.

The allegations date back to when Rattner worked at Quadrangle, the private equity firm he co-founded. Relations between the firm and Rattner have become strained, however.

Court papers showed on Thursday that he is pursuing arbitration proceedings to recover money he believes Quadrangle owes him. He also accuses his former employer of trying to “shift responsibility for its penalty” to him.

In a letter to investors obtained by Reuters, Quadrangle said it was vigorously defending itself against Rattner’s claims, and that Rattner’s conduct “continues his pattern of failing to take responsibility for his actions”.

Cuomo filed two lawsuits seeking to recover at least $26 million from Rattner and permanently bar him from the securities industry in the state.

Cuomo and the SEC alleged that Rattner entered quid pro quo arrangements with the New York State Common Retirement Fund to win $150 million in business for Quadrangle in 2005 and 2006.

The attorney general’s allegations include fraud charges under the Martin Act, a powerful state law used to combat securities fraud.

“Steve Rattner was willing to do whatever it took to get his hands on pension fund money,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Through these lawsuits, we will recover his ill-gotten gains and hold Rattner accountable.”

Rattner, 58, said he would fight Cuomo’s lawsuits, which he called “politically motivated,” and clear his name.

“This episode is the first time during 35 years in business that anyone has questioned my ethics or integrity,” Rattner said in a statement. “I will not be bullied simply because the Attorney General’s office prefers political considerations instead of a reasoned assessment of the facts.”

Rattner is the most prominent outside executive to face charges in the “pay to play” corruption probe involving the now $132.4 billion Common Retirement Fund.

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Florida Airport To Opt Out Of TSA Screening – The Examiner

Amid concerns over radiation from scanners, civil lawsuits over pat-downs, and general ineptitude on the part of TSA airport personnel, one Florida airport has thrown in the towel.

Orlando Sanford International Airport has announced that it will opt out of the TSA’s screening program. How, you may wonder, can an airport get away with this? Suffice it to say the law is on their side.

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House Ethics Panel Backs Censure Of Rangel – Washington Post

Despite an impassioned, tearful apology and a plea for leniency, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Thursday became the first House member in nearly three decades to be recommended for censure.

The House ethics committee voted 9 to 1 in favor of censuring Rangel, who was found guilty this week of 11 violations of House rules, including improperly using his office to raise money and failing to pay taxes.

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2,000 Fetuses Found At Thai Buddhist Temple – Associated Press

Thai police investigating a strong smell emanating from a Buddhist temple have found more than 2,000 fetuses hidden in the complex’s morgue that appear to have come from illegal abortion clinics.

During an initial investigation Tuesday, police discovered piles of plastic bags containing more than 300 fetuses. Police Lt. Col. Kanathud Musiganont said workers pulled more from the temple’s morgue Friday.

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Elderly Woman Describes Sexual Assault By TSA In St. Louis: “I Was Shaking And Crying… I likened It To Being Raped” – Gateway Pundit

A Chicago woman with two artificial knees set off the metal detectors at Lambert St. Louis Airport this week. TSA agents then took her aside and groped her. The woman said they touched her “private parts.”

She told KMOV reporters, “I felt like I had been raped.” “I was shaking and crying when I left that room… (She told agents) I would prefer to use the body scanner and I was told they were not available.”

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At Least 27 Missing After New Zealand Mine Explosion – Yahoo News

Desperate efforts to reach at least 27 coal miners missing after an explosion tore through an underground mine in New Zealand stalled Friday as fears of another blast frustrated rescue attempts.

The explosion at the coal mine on the South Island’s west coast appeared to have crippled the mine’s ventilation system but locals said they were were drawing hope from the rescue of 33 miners in Chile last month.

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House Republicans Adopt Earmark Ban For 112th Congress – RTT News

House Republicans unanimously decided Wednesday to join their Senate colleagues in adopting a ban on earmarks set to begin in January. The move extends a ban the House GOP initiated earlier this year.

The earmark ban was offered by Rep.-elect Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who won the election for the seat of retiring Rep. Dave Obey, D-Wis., who has been chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

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Mexican Troops Kill 11 In Clash With Drug Gang – NewsMeat

Mexican troops clashed in the northern state of Tamaulipas with gunmen believed to belong to the “Los Zetas” drug cartel, killing 11 of them, the Defense Ministry said.

The gunfight occurred Wednesday night when a patrol responded to reports of armed men in Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, the ministry said in a statement. It said the gunmen fired on the patrol, triggering the firefight.

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Daily Benefactor News – Protesters In Haiti Attack UN Peacekeepers In Cholera Backlash – More Articles


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Protesters In Haiti Attack UN Peacekeepers In Cholera Backlash – The Guardian

Protesters in Haiti have attacked UN peacekeepers over a suspicion that Nepalese soldiers brought the cholera epidemic which has swept the country and killed 1,000 people.

Crowds in two northern towns hurled rocks, set up burning barricades and blocked roads to protest against the foreign troops and the government’s response to the crisis, rattling authorities and the UN in the runup to a 28 November election.

Cap-Haitien, the country’s second city, was this morning cut off from the rest of Haiti after a day of rioting shut its roads and airport and left more than a dozen people wounded. Clashes in the town of Hinche injured seven Nepalese peacekeepers, according to local radio.

The flare-ups followed mounting anger and fear over a disease which many blame on effluent from a base used by Nepalese troops in the Artibonite valley, where the outbreak began three weeks ago.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found that the strain, which has infected more than 15,000 people and reached all 10 departments, resembled one from south Asia. Haiti’s first epidemic in living memory began in the valley a week after the Nepalese arrived.

UN officials have admitted problems with the base’s sanitation but denied its soldiers brought the disease, which is spread by contaminated faeces. No official investigation into the epidemic’s origin has been launched despite appeals from Haitian leaders and foreign epidemiologists.

“In Haiti most of the population believes it came from the Nepalese and that the UN will do its best to hide it,” said Prospery Raymond, country director of the UK-based NGO Christian Aid. “If it is confirmed to be from them this will be damaging for the UN and their peacekeeping all over the world.”

The outbreak has flooded clinics and hospitals with vomiting, diarrhea-stricken patients. Experts say more than 200,000 could become infected in coming months.

With no previous knowlege of cholera many Haitians are unsure how to avoid contagion. Experts say washing hands with soap, especially after going to the toilet, is the best prevention. Treatment – usually an IV drip and rehydration – is relatively simple and fast and saves the vast majority of those infected.

Even so, emergency teams are worried. “If it keeps accelerating we will not be able to keep up,” said Francois Servranckx, spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders, a non-governmental organisation which has treated 10,000 patients at improvised tent clinics.

Donors credit the UN peacekeeping force, known as Minustah, with keeping the Caribbean nation relatively stable in recent years despite food price riots, hurricanes and January’s earthquake. Many Haitians however brand the blue helmets an expensive and useless occupation force.

Haitians are also critical of their government for letting the disease spread from the Artibonite valley to cities where millions live in slums, rubble and tents. “Now it’s here and they’re wringing their hands. Not good enough!” said Alfred Roberts, a father of two in the capital Port-au-Prince.

The outbreak has put a question mark over whether presidential and legislative elections, already troubled by logistical and political problems, will go ahead on schedule later this month.

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Government Employees Owe Billions In Delinquent Taxes – CNBC

Deficit cutters struggling to make ends meet in Washington are eyeballing an unusual pot of potential revenue: back taxes owed to the government by federal employees themselves.

According to an IRS study, those employees and federal retirees owed a staggering $3.3 billion in delinquent tax payments to the government. The agency with the largest back-tax bill? The US Postal Service.

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Rangel Convicted On 11 Counts Of Rule Violations – The Hill

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), once one of the most powerful members of the House, was convicted Tuesday on eleven counts of violating ethics rules and now faces punishment.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the House ethics committee, announced the decision late Tuesday morning following a public trial and nearly six hours of deliberations.

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TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers’ Pants – Prison Planet

Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as “OhDoctah,” related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening.

When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, “I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants,” after which he did precisely that. Stone chose to conduct the search in public.

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TSA To Investigate Body Scan Resister – San Diego Union-Tribune

The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

Tyner recorded the encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers.

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Deval Patrick To Push For In-State Tuition For Illegals – Boston Herald

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Tuesday vowed to adopt the rest of an advisory panel’s immigration reform recommendations, including pushing for in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students at state colleges, during his second term.

The Democrat made the announcement to cheers at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition’s Thanksgiving luncheon.

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Bond Market Defies Fed – Wall Street Journal

Bucking the Fed’s efforts to push interest rates lower, investors are selling off U.S. government debt, driving rates in many cases to their highest levels in more than three months.

The Federal Reserve’s $600 billion program to buy Treasury bonds began late last week and is kicking into high gear this week, with the central bank buying up tens of billions of dollars of debt.

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Obama’s Prospects For Russia Arms Pact Fade – Daily Caller

An agreement between the U.S. and Russia to slash their nuclear arsenals was in danger of collapse after an influential Republican senator said Tuesday it should not be voted on this year.

With a terse statement, Senator Jon Kyl dealt a major setback to President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve ties with Russia and to his broader strategy for reducing nuclear arms worldwide.

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