Thursday, January 24, 2013

Who is Deep in the Cheese? Lanny Breuer


I love the intro to these "newsreports - "after leading the agency’s efforts to clamp down on public corruption and financial fraud at the nation’s largest banks, according to several people familiar with the matter." Those big banks are just too big and too much for a dedicated public servant who is tough on crime.

A couple of posts here last summer asked about executive privilege once the Obama administration asserted it in Fast & Furious. It seemed clear to me then that the administration strategy would be to use the litigation process to delay, so that Fast & Furious would have minimal impact in the Presidential election. I also looked at what information was public about Fast & Furious. I concluded then that Lanny Breuer was Deep in the Cheese. I explained then that, once a congressional probe looks into official misconduct, evaluative process executive privilege (The President can talk freely and privately to his advisers) would not be enough to protect the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division in the DOJ, who is one step down from Eric Holder.

In essence, an OCDETF Strike Force, which are coordinated at a very high level in the DOJ, targeted investigation of weapons recovered at crime scenes which were sold to straw purchasers with the knowledge of the ATF.  Mr. Breuer wrote in an email stating that he thought that treating the recovery of such weapons in one gang unit case was a "terrific idea."  By December 18, 2009, ATF identified fifteen interconnected straw purchasers that sold about 500 firearms.  By January 5, 2010 senior ATF officials had a summary of all of the weapons that could be linked to known straw purchasers, who bought 685 guns in under two months.  On January 5, 2010, Mr. Breuer met with ATF officials, including Deputy Director Billy Hoover and Assistant Director for Field Operations Mark Chait at the Robert F. Kennedy Building, Room 2107, Jan. 5, 2010, 10:00 AM. We will never know what was said at this meeting.  But, by then, Mr. Hoover had received numerous communications from the ATF Phoenix Field Division about recovery of Fast and Furious weapons in Mexico. While all this was ongoing, DOJ authorized several wiretaps to further the investigation, all of which were supported by DOJ affidavits that would give a Judge enough information to allow the wiretap.  Justice knew exactly what was going on.

The DOJ then delivered a February 4, 2011 letter to Congress advising that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico."  DOJ later retracted this letter, with Breuer diving on his sword. DOJ then, as I saw it, employed an executive privilege delay strategy.

Fast & Furious under achieved as a scandal because Lanny did a good job. He has a bright future in Washington.

1 comment:

ikaika said...

Great Work Frith.

Turning over rocks in DC part-time you reveal more than professional journo's are paid to do.

The Press is not the 4th Estate. It is the 5th Column.