U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The Secret Service will not say why they changed their position regarding a government watchdog’s records request into Hunter Biden’s gun investigation records,” Fox News reports. In conflicting on-again/off-again responses to a Freedom of Information Act Request by Judicial Watch, the federal law enforcement agency first admitted having responsive records, then said they were wrong and had no such records.
That didn‘t remain the official line for long:
“A month later, the Secret Service flipped again, telling the Washington, D.C., district court on Nov. 10 that they located over 100 records totaling over 400 pages that could be responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.”
There’s a bigger story here, one I told Judicial Watch about when they ended up filing a lawsuit for non-responsiveness against the Department of Homeland Security (which the Secret Service folds into) in September.
“Last year I got them to sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury as a condition to dismiss my lawsuit for those records,” I informed them via their comment form, including a link to my AmmoLand report. “If you have evidence that they falsified their response, that is huge.”
I had filed a FOIA request in November 2020, and like Judicial Watch, was subjected to apparent stonewalling and denials that did not jibe with media reports alleging Secret Service involvement. Because they, like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were not forthcoming with a compliant response, my attorney Stephen Stamboulieh filed a complaint in April 2021.
By way of a recap on that case, ATF continued changing its story, from questioning my credentials to saying they didn’t have information, to saying they did and then saying they shouldn’t have told me that because Hunter Biden’s privacy concerns trump any public right to know. That also prompted Stamboulieh to file a complaint on my behalf, and after a legal filing supporting their position by the Justice Department, the judge in the case ultimately sided with the government and said it’s none of our business. As we’re not being financed by any gun groups, at this point our feeling is an appeal would be cost-prohibitive and unlikely to result in a reversal.
Perhaps Secret Service’s admission to Judicial Watch could change that.
Unlike ATF, they did not fall back on a Hunter Biden privacy excuse. Instead, they told us they had no responsive records and backed that up with an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury by the Supervisory Freedom of Information Act Officer. He swore to us he had checked with “the Uniformed Division and Vice Presidential Protective Division, both within the Office of Protective Operations, and the Office of Investigations … the Office of the Chief Information Officer [and] the Wilmington Resident Office,” and that they all came up empty.
With that assurance, we filed a Plaintiff’s stipulation of Dismissal, with prejudice, meaning we cannot refile the same claim in that court. Now though, if the Secret Service’s response to Judicial Watch is true, that suggests both perjury and fraud upon the court, criminal offenses demanding investigation and prosecution if the facts lead to those conclusions.
Back when the Hunter Biden gun story first broke, reports were focused on Halle Biden throwing the gun in the trash, how this was another example of the president’s son being a mess, and the rules-for-thee-but-not-for-me hypocrisy of Joe Biden demanding our guns under the pretext of safety while his own kid broke all the rules. Missing from those reports was a more explosive story, reported two days later in my AmmoLand column, that this raised the question of how a known substance abuser obtained a firearm without lying on ATF’s Form 4473, Firearm Transaction Record, which is a felony with a substantial fine and prison sentence if convicted.
Once more, the story missing from other reports that no one else is yet talking about: If the Secret Service has “100 records totaling over 400 pages,” why did they tell me — and by extension, the court — under penalty of perjury that they had none?
It’s a cinch the Democrats have no interest in even acknowledging this, let alone getting to the bottom of it, nor do their media allies, meaning if there’s any hope for an investigation it will probably have to wait for the Republicans to assume majority leadership of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. And then we need to hope that they get serious and play hardball, unlike the disappointingly tepid way they handled Operation Fast and Furious, mostly for headlines but with no official punishments or systemic changes (aside from ATF getting a border state long gun sale reporting edict to impose on the law-abiding).
There is one other possibility: Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the same district where we filed and dismisses our complaint. Perhaps the evident discrepancy will not sit well with the judges there, and they will call the right people on the carpet, demand some answers, and wreak judicial hell if they feel they’re being lied to.
I discussed these developments on Armed American Radio Daily Defense with host Mark Walters, beginning around 33 minutes into the broadcast.
About 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. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.