State Response to FOIA Lawsuit Questions ATF Arms Export Criminality

Hillary and boss: What did she know and when did she know it? (obamawhitehouse.archives.gov)

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Did the State Department issue the Justice Department a license or a written waiver in order to allow for the transfer of thousands of weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border?” an internal Oct. 31, 2011 email anticipating questions for closed hearings with the full Senate and House asked (see pg. 10 of response, below).

“Under the Arms Export Control Act the Justice Department was required to receive a written waiver from the State Department to account for their intent to cause arms to be exported to drug cartels in Mexico.

“If no such waiver was received, Justice Department officials have violated the law,” the inquiry continued. “And you would agree with that, correct?”

If an answer was provided to those questions, it is not reflected in the 100 page June 29 response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against State by attorney Stephen Stamboulieh representing Kent Terry, the brother of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, and me. State’s response prior to this has been essentially non-responsive, to include material not asked for, copies of material already widely and publicly available, blank pages and copies of heavily-redacted documents where it’s impossible to tell who said what to whom.

This latest response, while hardly candid and comprehensive, offers glimpses of previously unseen internal concerns, and the question of Arms Export Control Act violations goes to the heart of what our FOIA was attempting to determine. It actually, and for the first time, officially discusses concerns raised in July 2011:

“Did Fast & Furious violate the Arms Export Control Act?” attorney and author David T. Hardy asks on his Of Arms and the Law blog. He’s referring to the Arms Export Control Act that “authorizes the President to define defense articles and regulate their export.”

There’s no exemption from the State Department permit requirement for “official use” since no one is admitting walked guns are part of approved U.S. foreign policy, so the bottom line seems to be: Any person who willfully violates these provisions “shall upon conviction be fined for each violation not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.” Hardy also notes that U.S. Code also includes provisions for “principals” who “induce” or “willfully cause” offenses, so presumably those who did not physically walk guns but nonetheless induced lawbreaking could be in for a world of hurt if caught.

That understanding is reflected in another item appearing in State’s document production from the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (see pg. 40) “prepared for the Secretary’s upcoming budget testimony”:

When did the State Department find out about Fast and Furious, and what was the Department’s role? Were you aware that Operation Fast and Furious was part of Project Gunrunner?

Put another way, what did Hillary Clinton know and when did she know it? If the answer is she knew, then where are the authorizing documents and why was the ATF attaché to Mexico kept in the dark and told to “stand down” (see pg. 36 of Joint Staff Report) when he found out? If the answer is Clinton did not know and no such authorizing documents exist, why have charges not been filed against ATF officials as “principals” who “induced” or “willfully caused” offenses?

Also of direct interest to the FOIA inquiry is an email forwarded by Kevin M. O’Reilly at State (see pg. __ of response) reporting on an Amnesty International-backed letter to the president by that, among other things, recommended:

  • “Expand the reporting rule for assault weapons that is currently in effect for the border state” and
  • “Ratify the Arms Trade Treaty recently approved by the UN General Assembly.”

O’Reilly’s inclusion is relevant because requests for communications involving him have met repeated dead ends over the years. He was the National Security Council North American Affairs Director, with a White House office, who got information from the Phoenix SAC about gun running operations along with the disclaimer “You didn’t get this from me.”

They moved O’Reilly out of country to a State Department position in Iraq when House Oversight initially wanted to talk to him, he declined though his lawyer to speak with the Office of Inspector General, and finally, Barack Obama’s White House Counsel told Oversight and Judiciary they were not going to allow O’Reilly to speak with them.

Why?

That’s part of what we’re trying to find out, and despite specifically asking, State’s latest response continues to avoid the issue.

A lot of noise has been made in recent months about the Department of Justice giving up more Fast and Furious documents to the House Oversight Committee. Those documents will not address any of this, because no one else has been asking about the issues raised in our FOIA.

Until such time as someone with power and reach gets serious about going after lawbreaking officials on criminal charges for an operation with an untold (and still accumulating) death count, all we will continue to hear is noise. No one will be held truly accountable.


About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

  • 31 thoughts on “State Response to FOIA Lawsuit Questions ATF Arms Export Criminality

    1. D. Johnson- you, sir, are quite observant. We have seen for many years it’s slways about the guns. Except when it’s always about the drugs. And even then its always about the guns. Since the Democrats themselves are so basically down hard evil, they can’t bring up the FACT that it is actually about evil people in the world. Therefore, it must be the guns. I truly pray for the family and attorneys for Brian Terry to overcome and succeed at achieving as much justice as is possible in this terrible consequence to those evil bureaucrats self-serving actions. They need to be made to pay the fiddler for the dance they coordinated.

    2. Fast and Furious started out as “gun runner” in Houston ATF. The whole ATF group in Houston was specifically told that if the sold any guns to the cartels, or broke any laws, all the ATF personnel in the group would be arrested and prosecuted by HIDTA. Shortly thereafter, ATF moved the op from Houston to Arizona, and the name was changed to “fast and furious”.

    3. Comment to “PatrolAgent”- OCDETF can only operate and act upon information shared with it. If that info is withheld, they are powerless to do anything about it. Unless, of course, they act as normal citizens and lodge complaints upon discovering the illegal actions of withholding that info and proceeding without the proper authorizations. Citizenry is awakening quickly to the many illegal actions undertaken by the previous administration, and are, quite rightfully becoming increasingly alarmed by the breadth of its actions, and by the sheer numbers of individual participants in those activities. These laws are just like any other- without knowledge of or enforcement, they are just meaningless words on paper. While serving in SE Asia with 1st Marine Division I witnessed or heard of many atrocities and violations of Geneva Convention and our own Rules of Engagement. I did not agree with, nor did I support any of these actions by the men I served with, but in all cases my hands were bound by the mere fact that I was stranded there with no help from those in command. We did what was required and those of us who could, came back to the real world. At times some of the atrocities and violations were exposed and justice was rendered- if there can truly be any justice in such situations. I truly feel badly for any agents of any part of the operation(s) who believed that wrongs were being committed, but felt helpless to speak out or do anything to stop them. To those who felt justified in their actions and participation I say”if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime- you knew it was illegal when you did it!” Go directly to jail, do not pass Go, give back the $200! And anything else that profited you after, like pensions, health plans, security details, speaking tours, legal advisory jobs-like E Holder has done- and everything else acquired by the increased status achieved by your brown-nosing actions.

    4. As a former USBP Patrol Agent, and also having later served as a special agent assigned to the DoJ Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a major crime fighting program, Fast & Furious stinks to high heaven.

      The F&F operation was approved, and funded by OCDETF. There are nine federal law enforcement agencies that are partners with OCDETF. The OCDETF program has written guidelines that every member agency special agent has to follow. Before OCDETF will authorize, and fund an operation, a very detailed operational plan must be written identifying the criminal entity, who the target(s) are, and what has been done by law enforcement up to this point. The plan has to provide what measures are proposed to eliminate the organization, and resources needed.

      To my knowledge, the plan for F&F has never been produced. The form that was used back when Brian Terry was murdered was referred to as a G-819. Once the plan was written and approved by the member agency, in this case ATF, the plan would be submitted for review by the local U.S.Attorney, and the plan would/should be shared with all member agency representatives.

      The member agencies would check to see if there were any conflicts with their own investigations. Theses agencies should also contribute any information they hold that would help support the operation.

      So where is the G-819 operational plan?

      If such a plan was ever submitted, could they have proposed to do what we now know they did? What experienced agency OCDETF Coordinator ever sign off on a plan to allow straw purchases of thousands of guns, and allow them to be walked across an international border unchecked.

      There is also a section of the OCDETF Guidelines that talks about sensitive issues. One of which addresses if there is any part of the operation that is international in scope, like allowing guns to be taken to Mexican criminal cartels. The guidelines are clear that the proposing agency and the DoJ must seek the approval of the U.S. Department of State.

      The Secretary of State during the time of F&F was Hillary Clinton, and she is already on record saying she never knew about F&F until after reading reports of Brian Terry’s murder.

      Strange how she never took action against subordinates that were briefed by DoJ, approved, and never told her. Ditto for Janet Napolitano, former DHS Secretary , and Robert Mueller, former FBI Director (and a member agency of OCDETF).

      Strange how the congressional committee just let the White House refusal to allow Kevin M. O’Reilly to testify stand, without any follow up?

      I also find it strange that the current congressional investigative committee never called the two OCDETF Directors who served spanning period of F&F? Wouldn’t they have excellent witnesses, who could have provided insight on how the operation was approved/funded. They could have also supplied the G-819, with all of the signatures of those who approved it, if it ever existed.

      Last March AG Sessions said he was releasing all of the documents held back former AG Holder on F&F, where are the documents?

      Stinks to high heaven, and the criminal conspiracy is on going!

      1. Stinks to high heaven is putting it very mildly. These types of illegal “thumb your nose at the regs” behavior and actions are totally unacceptable in our society. Everyone that was at the helm of this illegal operation very definitely needs to be held accountable, and no amount of prison time is long enough for any one of them. Tdy’ed at Gitmo fir a time and I don’t believe it is even large enough to House them all- but they all seemed to like Cuba so it would be s good place to start their”vacation from day to day drudgery if life”.

      2. What years did you serve Patrol Agent? Maybe we crossed paths. I went to Oz from ‘68-‘74 with a few outfits. I know this ain’t the forum fir this but I’m curious. I started life as 3/7 1st and we got reassigned quite a few times. MOS 00-23.

    5. I believe that somewhere (waiting to be dusted off and brought into federal court), is a federal statute that says (in effect), “any chargeable activity – criminal or civil – committed by an elected or appointed public official while in office cannot be used to bring said official to a court of law after they have left office – criminal or civil – if said elected or appointed public official believes that their actions/activities were in the public interest”. I have certainly NOT quoted it properly (the quotes being mine). My point being that former elected and appointed officials (especially at the federal level), are basically Teflon coated – the charges can’t even be brought – much less successfully prosecuted. That having been said, I would refer to the, “rules governing impeachment”, listed in our Constitution. “Treason, High Crimes, and misdemeanors”. If a sitting President, member of the House or Senate, or appointed official can be impeached and suffer the appropriate punishment; why cannot a FORMER public official (elected or appointed), be charged, tried and suffer the appropriate punishment? All you lawyer type folks out there need to sound off and either correct what I have typed here – or give the American Citizens a way around this alleged statute.

      1. The key to a “way to work around” this statute is to prove that the actions in question were NOT in the public interest. Not at all difficult to do with the case(s) in question here. There is absolutely no way in h^^l that providing arms illegally to a huge KNOWN Mexican cartel involved in smuggling drugs, human beings, and murder for hire is in the “public interest”. Not in my interest at any rate and I am part of the public.

      2. After searching my admittedly limited memory banks, and several volumes of digitized Federal Statutes, I am unable to locate the Statute you are trying to pull up, Mr. Morton. There are many, many statutes which are extremely specific as to what types of crimes are and are not chargeable. None, however appear to be quite as broad ax the one you posted here. If not, I’m glad of it! Such s statute would be a “golden ticket” to commit any and every crime imaginable.
        Wait, that seems to be what ALL of these folks have been doing, doesn’t it? Maybe they all know something they’ve been keeping well hidden from us.

      3. The only Federal Statute I find which is similar to shat you have posted is Article II section 3and4 if the Constitutiin. It covers the highest offices, but dies give a free walk by any means- Article II covers impeachment, and its consequences. Which we already know are no longer enforced as witnessed by Clinton’s impeachment for “various crimes and misdemeanors”. We all know he was not removed from office for his crime if perjury.

    6. “We work for the government. We are not required to answer to the people.”
      As long as government employees maintain this attitude the swamp will never be drained.
      [W3]

      1. I hate this attitude! Yes,
        They do work for the government,
        And yes that is who they answer to. This is s huge problem! These people are officials, granted powers if officiation by elected officials. There is no accountability and they know that fact well. These unelected “officials” ARE the deep state and as citizens we need to continually hound our ELECTED officials to bring these individuals to accountability. And limit the powers they are able to wield.

      1. I’ve never before see that photo. If you color-correct Hillary’s tunic to olive gray, it provides a whole new insight into what’s going on.

      2. Or maybe”hey, bro, as long as you’s writing there, what’d ya say you just pen up a presidential pardon for me ‘n Bill, you know, just in case”

    7. It is well known that “Fast & Furious” was intended to bolster the claim by Mexico that 90+% of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels were obtained from the United States. This was to be the foundation for the Obama administration’s effort to push more gun control down our throats. This was mainly directed toward assault-style rifles.

      1. From what I’ve read (a LOT) Mexico did not originate that claim. It were OUR boys in BATF and DOJ that took the raw numbers sent to them for trace then cooked them…. The “ninety percent” number WAS accurate, but it was 90% of a tiny subset of ALL guns recovered in Mexico at crime sehes. This figure was given their presidente (Señor Fox, if memory serves) who upon prompting from those inside the kinyun’s regime folllowed the script he was given and spread the lie. He even threw this number in the face of our Congress when he stood in front of them in session and braenl lied to them. This little charade led to a new “registry” of those who purchase more than five semi-automatic long guns within some short period of time, maybe per quarter. It was unnecessary then, and is even more so now, it remains on the books and enforceable despite its origins in corruption and perjury. Pelosi, DiFi, The Clinton She Unit, and the kinyun have all ballyhooed that falese figure. The bold and hard work of Mssrs. Codrea and Vanderbaugh, along with Senators Grassley and Issa went a long ways to putting a stop to the meme of “we’re feeding Mexico’s cartels with “high powered” “military weapons that are being used to kill their civilians”…. and, they REALLY don’t want to mention, our own, on both sides the boundary. Political theatre at its very worst and most lethal.

    8. How anyone in their right mind can still believe that BHO and HRC are not criminals is beyond comprehension!! Lock up the whole bunch! Put them in with scum they later helped to get arrested and we’ll see how long they last.

      1. At least charge them, arrest them and let them post bail. That will bring them to court to defend their actions/activities.

    9. Hillary and Obama did everything they could to weaken this nation. I believe they actually wanted to encourage the cartels so america would be so doped up that an entire generation of socialists might come to power. If Hillary had been elected that is exactly what would have happened and we would be headed towards a socialistic state with Hellary at the helm.

      1. they actually wanted to encourage the cartels so america would be so doped up

        Exactly so, Bud. But you’ve left out a few niggly “details” that make it even worse.

        The record, as now known, strongly indicates that the vast majority of the guns “walked” into Mexico were put into the hands of the Sinaloa cartel, in Northern Mexico bordering on Texas. The kinyun admin had decided to strengthen that cartel so as to make them the ingpin organisation. You may recall, about a year ago or so, the capture of their leader, whose name escapes me. ON searching the guy’s compound and personal “stuff” there was a Barrett Fifty, positively identified as a F&F piece, along with a few other less impressive firearms, also F&F connected. Those Barretts were highlu sought after for their capabilities agsinst helicopter gunships and other threats. It was quite evident at that time that the Sinaloa boys are deeply entwined with certain US counterparts. Its also been strongly suggested that Sinaloa drugs are the most often found on the US side of the “border”. My takeaway from all this and related is that the Sinaloa cartel are nothing more than a Mexico based extension of deep state operations seeking to flood this country with illegal and dangerous drugs that fuel huge operations on this side, seeking prifit and the destabilising of our natio. Further, the DEA and SoJ are heavily implicated in the direction of these operations. Seems just enough “product” is seized, and just enough low level operatives are “captured” to justify the conitnuance of the $65Bn/year “drug interdiction” operation, the retention of marinjuana as a “Schedule One” substance, the furtherance of disarmement efforts, the feeding of massive amounts of cash to the south, and the “welcoming” of equally outrageous numbers of “refugees” pouring in from Mexico.

        Had such an operation been uncovered fifty years ago there would be a signficant number of high ranking government officials had got acquainted with ther well-deserved hangman’s noose, or facing down the firing squads detailed to effectuate their well deserved sentences.

        Let us hope that David can continue to press this. its been his since the beginning, when he and Mike Van der Baugh broke the story soon after Brian Terry’s murder with one of the kinyun’s guns.

        1. You forget the hundreds of guns and tens of thousands of rounds that the McAllen AUSA (Trevino), the feebs, and the ATF directed the cartels to purchase so that when the cartel member was made a surrender deal by the FBI, they could display all the brand new weapons, and ammo, on tables, for the press photos. Making the fake news point that guns need to be controlled (note they never said that criminals, the democrat voter base-need to be controlled). If the Mexican arresting forces are not SEMAR, consoder the press op, and arrest, as staged for U.S. political points.

    10. Great article Mr. C! An underlying crime has been discovered for the appointment of a special prosecutor! The Yantis City Attorney could do that case, from his guest bedroom.

    11. I heard a US Marshal speaking anonymously on the radio about a month ago say that the real bombshells of the Barry O and Hillary show are with the Fast and Furious documents.

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