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Patrick Richardson

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February 1, 2012 - 8:45 pm
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Prior administrations have recognized that robust internal communications would be chilled, and the Executive Branch’s ability to respond to oversight requests thereby impeded, if our internal communications concerning our responses to congressional oversight were disclosed to Congress. For both Branches, this would be an undesirable outcome. The appropriate functioning of the separation of powers requires that Executive Branch officials have the ability to communicate confidentially as they discuss how to respond to inquiries from Congress. I want to note that the separation of powers concerns are particularly acute here, because the Committee has sought information about open criminal investigations and prosecutions.

No, they’re investigating Holder’s department. That’s been clear from the beginning of this mess a year ago. They haven’t asked for any information on investigations, just on the process. That is quite different, and as an attorney, Holder should know it.

This is an important start, but we have more to do. And no one knows this better than the members of our nation’s law enforcement community – including the ATF agents who testified before this Committee last summer. Not only did these agents bring the inappropriate and misguided tactics of Operation Fast and Furious to light, they also sounded the alarm for more effective laws to combat gun trafficking and improve public safety.

These agents explained that ATF’s ability to stem the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico suffers from a lack of effective enforcement tools. Unfortunately, in 2011, a majority of House Members – including all members of the majority on this Committee – voted to keep law enforcement in the dark when individuals purchase multiple semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and long guns – like AK-47s – in gun shops in four southwest-border states.

As the great Ronald Reagan said, “There he goes again.” Holder did this the last time he testified before Congress. He called for more gun control. How exactly would said reporting have changed a thing during this so-called “investigation”? Given that the gun shops in question were calling Holder’s agents, telling them some guy in a beat-up Dodge Dart who smelled like he rolled in week-old dead cat had just asked to buy $20,000 worth of AK-47s — and his agents told them to make the sale.

In this new year, I hope we can work together to provide law enforcement agents with the tools they desperately need – and have requested – to protect our citizens and ensure their own safety. Indeed, incidents of violence against law enforcement officers are approaching the highest levels we’ve seen in nearly two decades, even though violent crime is down overall. Last year, a total of 177 federal, state, and local officers lost their lives in the line of duty – a 16 percent increase over 2010. More than 70 of these deaths involved firearms – 20 percent more than the previous year. And, since the beginning of this year, an additional 14 officers have been killed – half of them in gun-related incidents.

And another call for more gun control. What does that have to do with Operation Fast and Furious, exactly?

I could go on for paragraphs more. Suffice to say, Holder should be in for an interesting day tomorrow — in the Chinese sense of the word. Issa has already threatened him with contempt charges and it boggles the mind that none of the Republican candidates have even mentioned this yet.

Enraged doesn’t even cover how people should feel about this. Tune in for full coverage tomorrow.

Also read: BREAKING: DOJ prosecutors took bribes from financial execs, still working at DOJ

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Patrick Richardson has been a journalist for almost 15 years and an inveterate geek all his life. He blogs regularly at www.otherwheregazette.com, which aims to be like another SF magazine, just not so serious.
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