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Tag: sen. chuck grassley

Two Influential Senators Demand to See Report on Protections for FBI Whistleblowers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two powerful U.S. senators are getting impatient with a long overdue Justice Department report that is supposed to examine the effectiveness of the FBI’s whistleblower protections for bureau employees.

The Oregonian reports that Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed frustration that the report has not yet been released, even though Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged to deliver a report by April 8, 2013.

Holder submitted the report in June, but no one has turned it over.

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in holding the government and its employees accountable,” Wyden wrote in a joint news release with Grassley. “The FBI has had special rules for its own employees for decades that desperately need to be updated. It’s important for the Justice Department to explain whether they will fix this on their own, or if Congress needs to step in.”

Ranking Senator Questions Quickness of Confirming New ATF Head B. Todd Jones Gets

Todd Jones

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ranking Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said “very troubling allegations” have surfaced that suggest B. Todd Jones, who is President Obama’s choice to head the ATF, retaliated against a whistleblower, The Washington Times reports.

The Iowa senator questioned why the confirmation hearings last week weren’t delayed while an investigation of Jones continues. 

When asked about the whistle-blowing complaints, Jones said he wasn’t familiar with the “substance of the complaints” and declined to comment.

“I must say that the allegations in the complaint are extremely troubling,” Grassley said.

Sen. Grassley: Secret Service Director Taking Scandal Seriously

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

UPDATE, Wed, 8 a.m.:  CBS News  is reporting that there were up to 20 prostitutes involved with the Secret Service agents and military aides, and that the Secret Service wants to polygraph the people involved.
 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Under the category of “He better be taking this seriously if he wants to keep his job” comes the conversation Sen. Chuck Grassley had with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.

Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican member, issued a press release Tuesday saying that he was briefed by Sullivan about the latest scandal involving allegations that 11 Secret Service employees hired prostitutes in Colombia before President Obama arrived for a summit.

And guess what? Sullivan is taking this seriously. Really. Does he have a choice?

Here’s what Grassley had to say:

“Director Sullivan called me today to provide the latest on the incident with Secret Service agents and prostitutes in Colombia.It sounds like he’s taking the situation very seriously.

“It was welcome news that he has called on the Inspector General for an independent review. The allegations against a few agents in the Secret Service have given the entire agency a black eye, and a transparent, independent review should help the agency regain some respect from the American taxpayers and from people around the world.”

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Az. U.S. Attorney’s Office Tried to Cover Up Murder Link in “Fast and Furious”, Congressional Members Say

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversial ATF program “Operation Fast and Furious” continues to generate plenty controversy.

The latest: CBS News reports that Congressional investigators say the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona tried covering up a link between Fast and Furious and the murder in Arizona of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.

Two assault rifles from the operation were found at the scene of Terry’s murder. The FBI was unable to make a determination whether the weapons were used in the murder.

The operation encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of the tracing the assault weapons to the Mexican cartels. The problems was that ATF lost track of many of the weapons, some which ended up at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

CBS reports that a letter by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) to Arizona’s Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel said Assistant U.S Attorney Emory Hurley, learned almost immediately that guns allowed onto the street in his case, had been recovered at Terry’s murder.

“(I)n the hours after Agent Terry’s death,” says the letter from Grassley and Issa, Hurley apparently “contemplated the connection between the two cases and sought to prevent the connection from being disclosed.” The Justice Department recently transferred Hurley out of the criminal division into the civil division, CBS reported.

Read Congressional Letter to Acting U.S. Atty. in Az. 

 

Guns from ATF Sting Linked to 11 More Violent Crime Scenes, La Times Reports

atf file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More damaging news about ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious.

The Los Angeles Times reports that weapons from the troubled operation have surfaced at at least 11 violent crime scenes, and the one in which Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed last year.

The Times reported that the Justice Department made the acknowledgement in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes Sen. Chuck Grassley, a major critic of the program.  The Times reported that the guns surfaced in several Arizona cities including Phoenix and in El Paso, where 42 weapons were seized at two crime scenes.

Operation Fast and Furious has stirred a big controversy. Congressional investigators and the Inspector General’s Office have been looking into the program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell weapons to middlemen or straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing them to the Mexican cartels.

ATF lost track of many of the guns.

The letter, signed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich, and obtained by the LA Times also suggested that ATF Director Ken Melson “likely became aware” of the operation as early as December 2009, a month after it began.” Melson has said he did not learn about details of the pperation was run until January of this year, when it was canceled, the Times wrote.

Sen. Grassley Accuses ATF of Being “Careless” in Gun Running Sting

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) is voicing concern that guns purchased in an ATF sting in Arizona may have been used by bandits in a gunfight that resulted in the death in December of  border patrol agent Brian Terry near the border town of Nogales, the Arizona Republic reported.

Grassley fired off a letter to the head of ATF Kenneth Melson on Thursday suggesting ATF was being negligent by letting criminals circulate the weapons after they purchased them during a sting.

“There are serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy,” he wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

The paper reported that Grassley said he had information that the AK-47s recovered at the shooting scene of the agent were traced to Project Gunrunner, a much touted gun-program aimed at curbing the flow of weapons to Mexico.

“Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the southwestern border area and into Mexico,” the senator wrote in the  letter, according to the paper.

“According to the allegations, one of these individuals purchased three assault rifles with cash in Glendale, Arizona, on January 16, 2010. Two of the weapons were then allegedly used in a firefight on December 14, 2010, against Customs and Border Protection agents, killing CBP Agent Brian Terry,” he wrote.

Tom Mangan, an ATF spokesman in Phoenix, told he Arizona Republic that he was “unaware of any guns allowed to go south of the border,” either intentionally or inadvertently. “I am not aware of any internal investigation that’s going on regarding Project Gunrunner.”

Manuel Johnson, an FBI agent in Phoenix, declined to comment, as did the U.S. Border Patrol, the Republic reported.