Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Remember the name Dennis Burke? UPDATED

Former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke came forward Tuesday to take responsibility for his role in leaking a memo used to cast aspersions on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who had blown the whistle to Congress about a botched gun-trafficking operation.

Burke, who left the Justice Department in August as congressional scrutiny over Operation Fast and Furious intensified, acknowledged his actions on the same day Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, pressed the attorney general about who "smeared" agent John Dodson. Grassley said the leak may have violated the Privacy Act and run afoul from repeated warnings from lawmakers not to go after whistleblowers at ATF.

Chuck Rosenberg, a lawyer for Burke, told NPR that "Dennis regrets his role in disclosing the memo but he's a stand-up guy and is willing to take responsibility for what he did. It was absolutely not Dennis's intent to retaliate against Special Agent Dodson or anyone else for the information they provided Congress."
My opinion: Lying son of a bitch. His 'excuse':
Burke disclosed his role in a letter to Acting Inspector General Cynthia Schnedar on Tuesday afternoon. The letter, signed by his attorneys, said that Burke got the sense a reporter had already become aware of a memo about Dodson and that Burke wanted "to give context to information the reporter already had." The attorneys wrote that because topics in the memo involved closed investigations, the document "was not subject to any limitations on disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act."
"I was just trying to help keep the story straight." Sure. Right.

I don't know if he's agreed to be another guy with tire tread marks across his chest and take the blame, but whether he agreed to be or not, I don't think it'll work:
Update at 6:51 p.m. ET. 'Burke Did Not Act Alone':

Robert Driscoll, an attorney for Dodson, sent us this statement:

Special Agent Dodson demonstrated both tremendous courage and fidelity to the mission of ATF when he came forward to discuss the misguided "Fast and Furious" investigation. It is unfortunate that his superiors at ATF and DOJ did not listen to his attempts to address the matter internally, and instead chose to attack him once he, out of necessity, stepped forward. Today's public acknowledgement by former US Attorney Burke that he participated in such misguided efforts to smear Agent Dodson is welcome, but unfortunately Burke did not act alone in attempting to ruin Special Agent Dodson's career.

Update at 8:40 p.m. ET. 'Others ... May Be Involved':

Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, was one of the lawmakers asking questions of Attorney General Eric Holder when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. After news broke of the leaked documents, Grassley released this statement:

"Leaking sensitive documents to the press and retaliating against whistleblowers is not good faith cooperation with Congress. The Justice Department confirmed that the Inspector General continues to investigate the leak which means there are others who may be involved in drafting and distributing the talking points and document to the press.

"The Justice Department should not be allowed to continue scapegoating the one person who has resigned. We're in contact with Mr. Burke's attorneys and will continue to seek additional information about the document leak and retaliatory talking points."

UPDATE: I didn't know this part earlier:
The memo was leaked to press and had the names of criminal suspects deleted — but kept Dodson’s name on it. Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire during Tuesday morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when he wouldn’t answer any questions from Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley about the leaked memo, who was held accountable for it and how they were held accountable.
Add this in, it makes me think my conclusion below is correct: Holder hadn't done shit to 'punish the ones who leaked the memo' and thus did NOT want to have to answer questions about this.

It should be noted that AG Holder(Perjurer-in-Chief to President Obama) was all upset that Grassley had the nerve to mention something about this:
During questioning of Attorney General Eric Holder before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) referred to the leak as an effort to smear Dodson because of his disclosures and complaints about Fast and Furious. Grassley did not publicly identify Burke, but Holder was visibly disturbed by the senator's public mention of Holder's private assurances that someone had been disciplined for the leak.

"It almost pains me,” Holder said of Grassley’s disclosure of what the attorney general called a “private conversation. “I called you to try to indicate to you that I had taken that matter seriously....In a different time in Washington, I’m not sure what you just said would have been shared with everyone here."
Why a "I will see that the people who leaked this information are punished" would be considered a 'private matter', I'm not sure. Unless Holder said that, did nothing, and is upset that it's being publicly noted that he lied- again- to a member of the committee. I lean toward that explanation for Holder's 'disturbance'. Maybe because
Prior to his sudden exit in August, Burke was extremely well-regarded within the department and enjoyed close ties to President Barack Obama's cabinet. He served as a top aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, both in Washington and earlier when she was governor of Arizona. Burke was also frequently mentioned in Arizona as a potential Democratic candidate for statewide office.
Since Burke had all these connections, we not only have the fact of Burke leaking information about a whistleblower, but we have a man right in the middle of Gunwalker and connected to Napolitano and Obama and Holder; which makes the "I didn't know what was going on" from those high-rankers even harder to believe.

One more reason to think the "I was just trying to clear up some points" excuse is bullshit:
Technically, the Freedom of Information Act does not limit disclosure of any government information. However, Grassley has suggested that the disclosures about Dodson may have violated the Privacy Act, which provides civil penalties against the government for improper disclosures of private information about individuals.(Think a US Attorney might have been aware of this?)

Aides to Grassley have indicated that the leaked memo identifies Dodson as an undercover operative in a prior ATF operation. Names of low-level ATF agents or undercover operatives are not normally disclosed through the FOIA process.
Gee, ya think MAYBE?

Found both links at Sipsey Street. A little further down found this opinion on the hearing the other day; he thinks the Obama people were largely successful in painting the mess, to the average voter, as 'just a messed-up law-enforcement operation':
But of course, it is not the Democrat base that was the audience for this but rather the largely uninformed curious folks who would see what the cover-up artists wanted them to see when they watched the sound bites of topics One, Two and Three above in the media.

In this they were successful.

And yet.

And yet, as a retired Marine friend of mine reminded me last evening, "This isn't a sprint, Mike, it's a marathon." Grassley, he believes, knows exactly what he is doing. Another fellow, closer to the investigation, believes Issa has all the documents he needs to destroy the cover-up.

The question is, will he? Is the GOP, and Issa and Grassley specifically, in this deadly game to win, or just to be on the field?

The committee investigators believe -- indeed, I am told they are certain -- that they have plenty to seek an indictment of "Gunwalker Bill" Newell for perjury. Newell, last reported periodically haunting the corridors of ATF Phoenix like Banquo's ghost, cannot be pleased that the ENTIRE weight of the Obama administration APPEARS (important distinction) to be on his weary, gunwalking head. "Blame Phoenix" means "Blame Newell," first and foremost. He has got to be one scared rabbit right about now.

Yet we know that he met with Kevin O'Reilly and others in the White House in March of 2009. Two thousand and NINE, folks. Surely that is a bargaining chip he has in his pocket. And what of O'Reilly, so quickly stashed away from Senator Grassley when it became evident that Hillary's man at the National Security Council might be grilled about that meeting and other topics?

Have the international airlines all been grounded? Do they not still work both ways? Are Grassley and Issa aware that the aviation industry stands ready to fly one of their investigators to Baghdad, should they discover the cojones to but issue the order?

I say, charge Newell with perjury and convince the conspirators that the committee is serious. If they do so, it will be interesting to see how a simple show of authority by Issa, et. al, motivates the rest of the conspirators to sing like canaries.

Because right now most of them, like Holder, are sitting there with bored expressions on their faces thinking, "You putzes don't scare me."


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