Saturday, March 16, 2013



Note: Meanwhile the hundreds, or more, Mexican citizens killed with
weapons provided to drug gangs by BATFE are still dead. Remember
also, the very light sentences handed out to the few middlemen
brought in. Still no one in authority held responsible.

Disagreements on Fast and Furious negotiations
Source: Arizona News
Originally published: Mar 16, 2013 - 10:45 am

FILE – In this June 28, 2012, file photo U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder speaks in New Orleans at a news conference called to address
the bungled gun trafficking program known as Operation Fast and
Furious. The Justice Department and a congressional committee now
disagree on the pace of their talks to settle a lawsuit over the
bungled program. In a joint filing Friday night, March 15, 2013, the
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told the judge in the
case that the Justice Department's settlement offer was a "grave
disappointment," adding it did not believe that Holder is serious
about a settlement. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department and a congressional
committee disagree on the pace of their talks to settle a lawsuit
over congressional efforts to get records related to Operation Fast
and Furious, a bungled gun-tracking operation.

In a joint filing Friday night, the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee told the judge in the case that a settlement offer
it received from the Justice Department this week was a "grave
disappointment" and that a settlement is not possible.

"The parties are very, very far apart," lawyers for the GOP-led
committee wrote. "Indeed, they are not even conceptually on the same
page. After nearly four months of negotiating in good faith, the
committee reluctantly has concluded- principally as a result of the
department's settlement document- that the attorney general is not
serious about settlement." The committee added that it didn't think
court-ordered mediation would help.

President Barack Obama has invoked executive privilege and Attorney
General Eric Holder has been found in contempt of the House for
refusing to turn over records that might explain what led the Justice
Department to reverse course, after initially denying to Congress
that federal agents had used a controversial tactic called gun-
walking in the failed law enforcement operation.

The department has already turned over 7,600 pages of documents on
the operation itself. The continuing dispute is over documents
describing how the department responded to the congressional
investigation of the operation.

In the same filing Friday, the Justice Department said it disagreed
with the committee's characterization of the settlement negotiations
and that a settlement is still possible.

Without getting into specifics, the department said it "provided a
meaningful offer to the committee to produce documents directly
responsive to the committee's identified outstanding interests." The
department added that mediation by a judge would be helpful.

"Mediation would provide the parties a forum within which to frankly
and confidentially present their respective positions before a
neutral third party, who could then offer assistance on how to bridge
the differences remaining between the parties," the department wrote.

In a January court filing, the Justice Department had reported
progress in settlement talks, prompting U.S. District Judge Amy
Berman Jackson to postpone a hearing that had been scheduled for the
following week. That hearing is scheduled to take place next month.

Since that filing, Holder told ABC News that the contempt voted
didn't bother him.

"But I have to tell you that for me to really be affected by what
happened, I'd have to have respect for the people who voted in that
way," Holder said in the interview last month. "And I didn't, so it
didn't have that huge an impact on me."

In a footnote in Friday's filing, the committee wrote that "recent
public statements by the attorney general also suggest that he is not
interested in compromise," citing the ABC News interview.

Fast and Furious was a flawed gun-tracking investigation focused on
Phoenix-area gun shops by the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Agents lost track of about 1,400
guns, and two guns in Operation Fast and Furious were found on the
U.S. side of the border at the scene of a shooting in which U.S.
border agent Brian Terry was killed.


No comments:

Post a Comment