According to the letter, ATF may have had probable cause to arrest two firearms dealers before they bought and trafficked a weapon used to murder Zapata, who was on assignment in Mexico. "Only after Agent Zapata was murdered...and one of the weapons was traced back" to suspect Otilio Osorio "did ATF finally arrest Otilio, his brother and a third suspect for their gun trafficking activity," reads the letter.
Congressional investigators say ATF had earlier witnessed the Osorio brothers in a Walmart parking lot providing 40 weapons with obliterated serial numbers to be trafficked to Mexico. It was what's known as a "controlled delivery," meaning law enforcement officials were monitoring the sale. In this case it was part of a joint investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But "ATF failed to confront the two individuals" leaving them to continue to allegedly traffic weapons, including one used in Zapata's killing, according to the letter.Continue »
Dawood Hospital treats wounded Afghan soldiers and is primarily funded with American tax dollars.
Four U.S. military advisers testified last July that they observed human suffering and corruption at Dawood Hospital in 2010 that was so serious, it warranted an urgent probe. However, they say the American officer in charge of the Afghan Training Mission, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, admonished them for suggesting an outside investigation.
Sources familiar with the upcoming hearing say Lt. Gen. Caldwell is expected to testify. It's expected to be the first time he'll publicly tell his side of the story.Continue »
(CBS News) CBS News has learned the House Oversight Committee will vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. It's the fourth time in 30 years that Congress has launched a contempt action against an executive branch member.
This time, the dispute stems from Holder failing to turn over documents subpoenaed on October 12, 2011 in the Fast and Furious "gunwalking" investigation.
The Justice Department has maintained it has cooperated fully with the congressional investigation, turning over tens of thousands of documents and having Holder testify to Congress on the topic at least eight times.
However, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., says the Justice Department has refused to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents. Those include materials created after Feb. 4, 2011, when the Justice Department wrote a letter to Congress saying no gunwalking had occurred. The Justice Department later retracted the denial.Continue »
Updated June 6, 11:54 a.m. ET
(CBS News) The lead House Republican investigating Operation Fast and Furious, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), today said senior Justice Department officials had specific information that their federal agents were using controversial "gunwalking" tactics.
Justice Department officials have consistently denied that was the case. But today in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Issa revealed that he has reviewed sealed wiretap applications in the case, which were signed off on the authority of Holder's Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. Issa wrote Holder "having seen the wiretap applications, we now know that the information coming from the (Justice) Department has been misleading. That must stop."
Issa and others familiar with the wiretap applications say they contain a "remarkable level of detail about these objectionable tactics." That appears contrary to Holder's testimony to Congress on Nov. 8, 2011 when Holder stated, "I'd be surprised if the tactics themselves about gunwalking were actually contained in those, in those [wiretap] applications. I have not seen them, but I would be surprised [if] that were the case." Holder later made a similar statement to Congress on Feb. 2, 2012.Continue »
(CBS News) House Speaker John Boehner is ratcheting up the pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in conjunction with an investigation into the government's role in letting thousands of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
Boehner and his top two deputies, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, joined Rep. Darrell Issa in their pursuit of documents related to the case, known as "Fast and Furious." Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been aggressively investigating the situation.Continue »
(CBS News) Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious "gunwalking" operation, CBS News has learned.
The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee's investigation, which is now in its second year.
The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, "false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts."Continue »
(CBS News) WASHINGTON - On the heels of the government's embarrassing scandal in Las Vegas involving the General Services Administration, or GSA, comes word that a high-ranking Homeland Security official has pleaded guilty in a travel fraud ring that defrauded taxpayers out of at least $600,000.
Forty-eight-year old James Woosley headed Intelligence for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under Homeland Security (DHS). Justice Department officials say that, among other crimes, Woosley faked expense reports for more than a dozen trips, and helped others do the same in exchange for kickbacks. Woosley used $5,000 of the taxpayer's money to buy a boat, and nearly $16,000 for a real estate investment.Continue »
UPDATED 6:45 p.m. ET
(CBS News) -- House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious scandal plan to pursue a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, senior congressional aides told CBS News.
The resolution will accuse Holder and his Justice Department of obstructing the congressional probe into the allegations that the government let thousands of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
The citation would attempt to force Holder to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents related to the probe, which has entered its second year.
The high was $29 billion in 2006.
Tom Schatz's watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste, publishes the Pig Book. He says the decline in earmarks is due to the House banning them in 2010 and the Senate following suit in 2011, after several years of anger from taxpayers.
"The good news is it's the smallest amount of money since 1992, and the lowest number of earmarks since we issued the first Pig Book in 1991," Schatz told CBS News.Continue »
Tea Party-linked GOP Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is taking the possibility that the Republican establishment wants him out of office -- as suggested by a number of conservative bloggers -- in stride.
In an interview Thursday, West discussed CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson the newly-drawn political map in Florida that made his own district more competitive -- a map drawn by the GOP-controlled Florida legislature. West announced earlier this week that he will seek re-election in a new district to increase his odds of victory.
"No one's gonna lay a trap for me," he said.Continue »
Updated at 4:15 ET
Sen. Chuck Grassley called on Lanny Breuer, a senior level official at the Justice Department, to step down on Wednesday, the most recent move by the Iowa Republican to "hold people accountable for gunwalking."
Breuer, head of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, signed off on detailed wiretaps for "Fast and Furious," a revelation Grassley called "shocking."
Breuer's office also played a major role in drafting the initial letter of response to Congress on the gunwalker scandal last January.
Attorney General Eric Holder has since acknowledged that the response, which denied any gunwalking had occurred, contained "inaccurate information." Holder said his staff inadvertently relied on incorrect information provided to them and Breuer later admitted he does not remember if he reviewed the letter in question before it was sent to Congress.
On the Senate floor Wednesday, Grassley said of Breuer, "it is time for him to go."
"If you can't be straight with Congress, you don't need to be running the Criminal Division," the ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said.Continue »
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday suggested that current service members might be spared some proposed deep cuts to the military's generous retirement plan .
CBS News reported Monday that the current military retirement system is a potential target for budget cutters and the Pentagon may begin offering a 401(k) style savings plan instead of the defined benefit plan now in place.
Asked about the report at a joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Panetta said "no decisions have been made," but "you've got to look at everything on the table." Panetta was interrupted by applause from audience members at the National Defense University when he suggested current service members might be exempt from changes.
"You have to do it in a way that doesn't break faith...with our troops and with their families," he said, "if you're going to do something like this, you've got to think very seriously about grandfathering in order to protect the benefits that are there."
"So it wouldn't affect the people in this room," asked moderator Frank Sesno of George Washington University.
"Exactly..." answered Panetta who was then drowned out by applause.
"You know what they say about 'know your audience,'" quipped Sesno.
"I know my audience," answered Panetta.
Panetta said the Defense Business Board, which devised the military retirement proposal, would be issuing a more complete report later this month.
Any changes would ultimately require congressional approval.
Updated 4 p.m. ET
A new investigation by the Government Accountability Office finds taxpayers are getting ripped off to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by companies that received tens of billions of stimulus funds.
At least 3,700 contract and grant recipients of the government's 2009 effort to stimulate the economy owe more than $750 million in unpaid federal taxes.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to block those companies from receiving new grants or contracts.Continue »
White House press secretary Jay Carney did not shed any light Monday on the allegations uncovered by CBS News that ATF intentionally let thousands of assault rifles and other weapons fall into the hands of Mexico's drug cartels. Insiders call the controversial practice letting guns "walk."
In the wake of our CBS News investigation, Mexico has asked the U.S. for more information. Two AK-47 type variant assault rifles that ATF allegedly let "walk" were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. Here's the excerpt from today's White House briefing:Continue »
Details of the subpoena might make more than a few powerful people nervous. This is the first time anyone has sought records regarding all government officials who may have benefitted from the so-called "Friends of Angelo" and other VIP programs that Countrywide had. Congressional investigations have revealed Countrywide extended favorable terms to powerful shakers-and-movers in government in hopes of wielding influence.
In the past, when his party was a less-influential minority in the House, Issa pushed for a wide-ranging subpoena of Countrywide documents. But he was rebuffed by then-Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.). As CBS News previously reported in 2009, Towns was one of the VIP's who received loans from Countrywide. Towns eventually agreed to issuing a subpoena, but it was much narrower than Issa requested, and did not include gathering information on public officials.Continue »
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