November 15, 2012

Homeland Security Inspector General’s report on Fast and Furious still unfiled

A review of press releases issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the latest being filed Sunday and dealing with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s visit to Staten Island for a Hurricane Sandy follow-up, reveals the department is crediting itself with all kinds of activities and accomplishments except for its commitment to produce an Inspector General report on Fast and Furious gunwalking independent of the Department of Justice report released in September. A review of the DHS OIG press releases on its website, with the latest filing also being yesterday, also does not mention such a report.

The second IG investigation was revealed in May by Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, who reported at the time “The DHS IG has told Congressional staffers it expects to have a final report ready to deliver to Congress in early October.” It was also referenced in the DOJ OIG report, which acknowledged “The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS-OIG), the parent agency for ICE, is conducting a review of ICE’s involvement in and knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious.”

Such a review is critical, because while the completed DOJ report details an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who cooperated with their investigation had “direct involvement with Operation Fast and Furious” up until a “January, 2010 meeting … ICE’s Phoenix office assigned another agent to serve as point of contact for ATF, and eventually detailed this agent to ATF’s Group VII to work on the investigation full-time.”

A footnote in the report following that revelation then explains “The ICE agent who was assigned to ATF’s Group VII declined our request for a voluntary interview.”
Why? And why is no one asking that?

In December, 2011, Gun Rights Examiner reported on a memo written the previous February by an ATF agent, revealing among other things that “Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) participated—specifically, the Co-Case Agent named in the memo was Lane [sic] France.

“This provides direct documentary evidence of group participation outside of Justice, in this case Homeland Security, and should provide an entirely new avenue to explore in terms of authorizations, reports and memos/communications,” that column observed.

The name Layne France, spelled correctly this time, surfaced again in a column from April of this year that noted “Another significant piece of information contained in the report, yet so far largely unexplored by major media: The participation in the contact interview with Celis-Acosta by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Layne France, a person first called to the attention of Gun Rights Examiner readers following revelation of a February 3, 2011 letter from ATF Agent Gary Styer that supported allegations by whistleblowing Agent John Dodson and refuted since-withdrawn denials of ‘gunwalking’ by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.”

“As a member of the Fast and Furious task force, France received copies of all ATF investigative reports, and sources say France knew the operation in detail,” William La Jeunesse of Fox News reported in February. “Congressional investigators want to know who at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security saw France’s reports, and how much he reported up the chain of command about the operation.”

Indeed. And since France is evidently the ICE agent who declined to cooperate with the Department of Justice investigation, it’s fair to wonder if the DHS investigation fared any better.

It’s also fair to ask why a report anticipated over a month ago has still not been released, and if a hearing with Acting DHS OIG Charles K. Edwards similar to the one conducted with DOJ OIG Michael E. Horowitz will be forthcoming. After all, we’re talking about information that was first reported nine months back. How hard can it be to just tell the American people what happened, and why it’s taken so long, that is, assuming the powers that be want them to know?

Whether dragging things on until after the election and after current Secretary Napolitano has jockeyed herself into a new gig are playing a part in the delay also seem fair questions to wonder about, not that it appears the answers are forthcoming.


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