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02-27-2012, 11:29 PM #1
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- Sep 2010
- somewhere near Mexico I reckon!
BREAKING: Issa, Grassley push Holder for answers in Zapata slaying
BREAKING: Issa, Grassley push Holder for answers in Zapata slaying
By Dave Workman Feb. 27, 2012
Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers regarding the slaying of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata more than a year ago.
This column discussed new revelations in the Zapata murder, and now the two inquisitive Republicans are continuing to dig. They are specifically interested in the case against Manuel Barba, who had been under investigation for months. However, it now appears that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive had the same hands-off policy about Barba that the agency had in relation to several suspects in the Operation Fast and Furious investigation.
UPDATE: CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson is also reporting on this new development here.
Barba is a Texas resident, and a rifle he allegedly purchased in August 2010 was recovered at the Zapata murder scene along a Mexican highway in February 2011. However, there’s a curiosity about Barba: He was under indictment in relation to a 2006 case while ATF watched him buy guns, which is illegal. Grassley and Issa write:
Records indicate that ATF opened a case against Manuel Barba in June 2010, approximately two months before he took possession on August 20, 2010, of the rifle which was later trafficked to Mexico and also used in the murder of Agent Zapata. Additionally, the documents show that ATF had indications in October 2010 that Barba was obliterating serial numbers on weapons, the possession of which would have been a prosecutable offense. At least as of December 13, 2010, ATF also was aware that Barba was still under indictment for a 2006 state case, and thus had been unlawfully receiving firearms while under indictment. However, a warrant was not issued for Barba’s arrest in this case until February 14, 2011.
The questions in this new letter to Holder raise further suspicions about how the ATF conducts business, especially under the Obama/Holder Justice Department. Grassley and Issa want answers to a list of questions they submitted by March 9. If history is any indicator, Holder will hold out and not give them the information. Here’s what they want to know:
1. Did ATF have any contact with Barba, such as a “knock and talk,” between June 7, 2010, when Barba’s case was opened, and August 20, 2010, when he received the weapon that would later be used in the murder of Agent Zapata?
2. When did ATF agents first contact Barba in connection with this case?
3. Records indicate Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) interviews were conducted in this case by early October 2010. When were FFLs first contacted by ATF in this case?
4. What information about Barba or the individuals known to be working with him as straw purchasers was communicated to the FFLs?
5. What cooperation did any FFLs agree to provide ATF in this investigation?
6. Did any FFLs ever provide ATF with advance or contemporaneous (within three days) notice of purchases by the individuals suspected to be working with Barba as straw purchasers?
7. Why was Barba not arrested in October 2010 when ATF obtained audio evidence that Barba was obliterating serial numbers before trafficking weapons to Mexico?
8. Why was Barba not arrested in December 2010 when ATF knew he had been unlawfully receiving firearms from straw purchasers while under indictment?
9. How many weapons were purchased between June 7, 2010, and February 14, 2011, by the straw purchasing ring associated with Barba?
10. How many weapons purchased between June 7, 2010, and February 14, 2011, by the straw purchasing ring associated with Barba were interdicted?
Fast and Furious was confined to Arizona, so the investigation relating to guns involved in the Zapata murder is at least in theory separate, but remarkably similar in nature. Bottom line: ATF apparently allowed guns to walk, in the hands of someone they knew could not legally receive firearms.
In a joint press release, Issa and Grassley noted:
One of the major flaws found in the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious, where gunwalking was known to occur, was the failure to conduct surveillance of individuals known to be trafficking weapons to Mexico, which allowed such firearms to reach the border. Issa and Grassley said that the same irresponsible tactic appears to have been used as the ATF allowed guns to cross the border in Texas.
Gun owners are growing impatient with Congress on this issue. It is past the time, many believe, that Capitol Hill should be seriously looking at either reforming or abolishing the agency.
However, that does not solve a greater dilemma: Holding individuals responsible for what now appears to be an agency that got completely out of control, and not just in Arizona.
PLEASE FORWARD the link to this column and share with all of your chat lists and forums
Continue reading on Examiner.com BREAKING: Issa, Grassley push Holder for answers in Zapata slaying - Seattle gun rights | Examiner.com BREAKING: Issa, Grassley push Holder for answers in Zapata slaying - Seattle gun rights | Examiner.com
02-28-2012, 11:53 PM #2
Republicans Question Tactics in ATF Operation Linked to Murder of ICE Agent
By: Mickey McCarter
Republican lawmakers Monday continued to press the Department of Justice for information on gunwalking operations that contributed to the death of an agent of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) more than one year ago.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder answer questions about knowledge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) pertaining to an alleged criminal who purchased guns, one of which was used to kill ICE agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico on Feb. 15, 2011.
In a letter to Holder Monday, the lawmakers accused ATF agents of monitoring the illegal purchase of firearms but failing to intervene, in a manner similar to the controversial Operation Fast and Furious, where ATF agents allowed guns to walk so they could trace them back to the drug cartels using them for violent crime.
Investigators have discovered a gun identified under Fast and Furious was found on the scene of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010. In a similar manner, the Republican lawmakers have concluded a gun purchased by a man named Manuel Barba but tracked by ATF agents was used to kill ICE agent Zapata.
Grassley and Issa raised concerns about recent news reports that show ATF was aware of illegal gun purchasing by Barba.
"Records indicate that ATF opened a case against Manuel Barba in June 2010, approximately two months before he took possession on Aug. 20, 2010, of the rifle which was later trafficked to Mexico and also used in the murder of agent Zapata," the lawmakers wrote. "Additionally, the documents show that ATF had indications in October 2010 that Barba was obliterating serial numbers on weapons, the possession of which would have been a prosecutable offense. At least as of Dec. 13, 2010, ATF also was aware that Barba was still under indictment for a 2006 state case, and thus had been unlawfully receiving firearms while under indictment. However, a warrant was not issued for Barba's arrest in this case until Feb. 14, 2011."
The lawmakers already have been inquiring about ATF activities related to gunwalking connected to the murder of Zapata for nearly a year. They pointed to an investigation of alleged gun purchaser Otilio Osorio, who along with his brother Ranferi Osorio and neighbor Kelvin Morrison, apparently supplied an undercover ATF agent with 40 weapons without serial numbers for trafficking to Mexico.
The lawmakers previously inquired about investigations of Osorio on March 4, 2011, and March 28, 2011. The Justice Department has not responded to their inquiries nor a follow up letter sent on Oct. 25, 2011, to date.
ATF traced weapons to Osorio on Sept. 17, 2010, according to documentation, and the undercover ATF informant received the 40 guns on Nov. 9, 2010. A weapon traced to Osorio also was used in the murder of Zapata.
The tactics used in the case are very similar to those used in the failed Fast and Furious operation, Grassley and Issa charged, despite denials by an ATF spokesman of any similarity.
"Yet failure to conduct surveillance of individuals known to be trafficking weapons to Mexico was a core problem with the tactics used in Fast and Furious. Lack of surveillance is what allowed such firearms to reach the border. The same irresponsible tactic appears to have been used in this matter," the lawmakers wrote.
They demanded information from Holder by March 9 on any contact ATF had with Barba and anything known about his activities as a straw buyer for Mexican drug cartels. They also wanted to know why Barba was not arrested in either October or December 2010 when ATF received evidence of him committing crimes.
One Old Vet
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