Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fast and Furious A Flop?

US Attorney General Under Fire for Gun Tracking Operation

US General Eric Holder testified on Capitol Hill today in a hearing on about an operation named Fast and Furious, said to be designed to take illegally purchased weapons from Arizona gun stores across the  border for Mexican drug cartel use.

The operation, which began during the George Bush era, came under fire as hundreds of those weapons somehow were lost, untracked, and plainly unaccounted for.  Oddly enough, at least two of the missing weapons were found at a site where Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010.

Republican members of Congress are calling for Holder's job, alluding to Holder being impeached.

"There is really no responsibility within the Justice Department," Sensenbrenner said. "The thing is, if we don't get to the bottom of this -- and that requires your assistance on that -- there is only one alternative that Congress has and it is called impeachment."

When asked if the operation was flawed, Holder responded, "Under those circumstances, yes.

Fast and furious will continue in its efforts, although its practices will probably come under severe review and modification since Holder's handling of the operation is being heavily criticized.

Representative James Sensenberger, although not accusing Holder of any wrong doing, indicated that he believes "some heads should roll."

Listen in at the 49:00 mark at the exchange, and to hear Holder's response.

One item that will remain constant with F&F, unfortunately, is that more lives may be lost.
Fast and Furious is "going to continue to have tragic consequences," Holder frankly stated.

When Representatives implied that "more people are probably going to die", Holder responsded, "Unfortunately, I think that's probably true."

Coincidentally, as the Justice Department hearings on guns was in session, we learn of another shooting at Virginia Tech were two people were killed, setting off fears from the 2007 campus massacre. Click here for info.


Holder Also Faced First Amendment Question

In addition to answering questions about Fast and Furious, Attorney General Holder was also asked about First Amendement issues as it pertains to bloggers, and other owners of websites.

Representative Zoe Lofgren commented on ICE seizing web site domain names, in particularly one named (see 1:29:35 marker), raising issues of due process and free speech.

After the government seized the domain name, the owner filed a request to have the name returned.  It was finally returned, after one full year.

"I assume that you believe that the First Amendment doesn't allow the government to go in and shut down the press for year.. without any due process", said Lofgren.  "Do you think that is consistent with the 1st, 4th, 5th Amendments to the Constitution?", asked Lofgren suggesting there should be a sanction on such practices.

"If we did this to a magazine... people would be outraged, and since this is a blog, it's a Hip Hop artist and seems to me that a Hip Hop artist would have every right to due process and the First Amendement as any other American."

Answered Holder, "I'm not familiar with the reason why that domain name was seized, or the facts of this case. I will certainly look into that and get back to you", said Holder who informed the representative that he has two teen aged daughters who may know more about this issue than he, adding "I will hear about this when I get home."

Hopefully, Mr. Holder isn't too far removed from the Hip Hop generation at all to be concerned with the First Amendment rights of said blogger.

His relationship with that particular genre of the African American community may be in question, and brings to mind the time we witnessed him waving off  (or avoiding) speaking to a young African American journalist at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner as he wisked his wife off to speak with a major network.

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