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tv   Subpoenas Issued for ATF Witnesses at Oversight Hearing on Jaime Zapata...  CSPAN  March 13, 2017 3:28am-6:01am EDT

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republican efforts to repeal the affordable care act and proposed changes to medicare and medicaid. then, grace marie turner talks about the gop plan to replace the health care law. seniorhington examiner writer jamie mcintyre will discuss the terminal high altitude defense missile system and its ability to keep warheads from striking the u.s. the system was recently sent to south korea in light of north korean missile launches. watch "washington journal," coming up at 7:00 a.m. this morning. join the discussion. next, a health oversight hearing on the circumstances surrounding the death of an immigration and customs enforcement agent and operations at the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. officials from the agency were invited to testify at this hearing, but did not appear. those that did show up included
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acting atf director thomas brandon and justice department inspector general michael horwitz. this is two and a half hours. >> committee on oversight and government reform will come to order and without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a >> we are here today to talk about atf's failures in the death of aice agent jaime zaptaata. the zapata family deserves some answers. a wonderful family. jaime was one of i think five
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children, five kids. serve inose brothers law enforcement in various capacities. patan't know if the za family is here. i hope they are able to watch on television, but it breaks your heart when you have somebody that young who is serving their life is and their taken. and it was violent and many people believe, preventable. the it is also a responsibility, i believe, of the united states and the congress to understand what happened so we can try to help prevent it and make sure it never happens again. it is also an imperative, it is in my heart, to give answers to the family so they can understand what happened and what went well and what did not. as you will hear me say time and time again in this committee, we are different in the united
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states. we are so critical. look atke a good, hard ourselves and ask difficult questions. it is one of the things that differentiates the united states of america from just about every other country on the planet. you can speak truth to power and bring people in. you can grill them and talk to them and ask hard questions and get those answers and we are self critical. we are not just here to protect the politically elite or the higher ups in government. so, what happened on february 15 of 2011, more than six years ago now, cartel members in mexico murdered an immigration and customs enforcement agent, jaime zapata. he was driving their on ice business. one of the firearms recovered from the attack traced back to purchase from a dallas-fort worth gun show.
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the evidence uncovered by the department of justice inspector will ofshows the peer alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, thae atf, failed to investigate the associates who were part of a purchasing ring. it is illegal in the united states of america. it is illegal to purchase a gun for somebody else and it you certainly cannot do that for others in mass. it is against the law. evidently, the atf missed chances to prevent the firearms from question from being trafficking- from to mexico. the atf knew in june of 2010 brothers were associated with an organization that was likely trafficking firearms to mexico. inside, the inspector general found that by september of 2010, have beenould
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investigating the brothers and their associates. as the i.g. summarized, and i quote, these were dangerous individuals involved in criminal activities that represented a substantial risk to public safety in the united states and mexico. the inspector general also found a scenario where the atf have a legal authority and the opportunity to take a firearms in their possession but failed to seize them. those firearms were also later found at a crime scene. unlike the fast and furious case, which this committee has been vigorously pursuing, we are refraining from contacting strong purchasers as part of the strategy. the inspector general found the dallas field division failed to do its job. we will never know if agent zapata would still be alive if the atf had done its job properly.
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we rely heavily on the inspector general and their expertise. our hearts and minds and prayers go to the zapata family. in september of 2012, nearly five years ago, this committee and senator chuck grassley requested an investigation of atf actions relating to agent zapata's. we presented evidence from the i.g. obtained from confidential sources and whistleblowers. we were told by the inspector general that the atf have probable cause to arrest the osorio brothers in 2010 when the atf witness them or choosing 40 weapons to an undercover atf informant at a walmart parking lot for the purpose of trafficking those weapons to mexico. the department of justice inspector general report confirms these facts. atf's first contact with the osorios and morrison however, did not occur until three months after agent zapata's murder. again, information is there, but
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it was three-month after agent zapata was murdered. that the atf first made contact. it has been more than six years since zapata was murdered in the ambush attack. it has been nearly five years since the probe was requested. today we want to examine atf's past practices with respect to investigating straw purchasers and firearms trafficking cases. we have had the atf year on a couple different occasions dealing with these issues an we are concerned his problems are still happening. the atf must aggressively stop illegally purchased firearms. repeated excuses that the u.s. attorney office will not prosecute or that heightened probable cause is necessary, i think, should be rejected. you know, i think we do have a further problem with prosecutors prosecuting gun crimes.
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this committee is into this anticipating having hearings on the subject. it is frustrating on the atf level, but with the tsa. i mean, everyday we are taking guns off of airplanes and yet, try to find a case that is prosecuted. it is rare to none. there seems to be virtually no consequence. today we aim to bring renewed focus on the incident not only for the zapata family, but the other families that serve in our nation and the overall general well-being of the united states of america. invited atf deputy director ronald kirk and special agent in charge william temple to testify today because they can provide some of the answers that the zapata family and the public deserve. the justice department does not think we need to hear from them. you'll notice there are five seats there it only two have bothered to show up. -- know, when congress
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certainly, the oversight committee invites you to testify , it is not optional. it is not an exercise of whether or not it is convenient. they will show up. we will get to that in a moment. mr. temple is the head of the dallas field office, the special agent in charge and he can provide a unique perspective in the field, one of the most challenging environments for fighting firearms trafficking. in light of the serious problems that we covered in this i.g. report, we have to fear from the atf officials outside of washington. i am tired of hearing from just management. i want to hear from the people on the front lines. as you know, mr. temple is not here either. the department of justice continues to insist we should not talk to mr. turk or mr. temple.
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i will get back to that later as we go to the questioning. atf andto encourage other law enforcement agencies to place more emphasis on taking down criminals and their tools before they work their will. no law passed by congress can require federal law enforcement officers to simply do their job. it is tough, it is difficult. i have been on a lot of ride alongs. i blow in and out in a few hours. they do this day in and day out. they have to know we have their back, we love them and care for them. and if there are problems and challenges at the frontline, we need to know it. we cannot get that perspective if when we ask them to be here the management says, they don't need to be here. no, i speak for the agency, i speak for the mass.
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that is not how that is going to work, certainly not in this congress. two who are here. mr. braden, you have some questions to answer about why the people who work for you are not here. you will get to that. as for mr. kraft, when you work agassistant u.s. attorney, are going to have to have some hard discussions with the department of justice because they are not above oversight either it they will be here in the future as well. i am well over my time. i recognize miss maloney from new york for her opening statements. >> i want to thank the chairman for holding the steering and -- holding this hearing and him for his sensitivity of the sacrifice of law enforcement and the pain of families. this is an important hearing. when special agent jaime zapata was shot and killed in mexico in
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february of 2011, he was only 32 years old. he was as enthusiastic and hard-working as any law enforcement agent can be. six years ago, this remarkable young man was murdered in an ambush while working in service of his nation. his partner, special agent victor avila, was gravely injured alongside him. examining the circumstances of agent zapata's death and the requiredof agent avila a thorough and diligent investigation. that is by the office of inspector general. mr. porter was his staff for the report we are discussing today. this report identifies a number of serious problems in the way that atf, the drug enforcement administration, and the u.s. attorney's office investigated
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the trafficking of weapons to mexico in 2010 and 2011. new of these issues are not to us on this committee. we have investigated them over and over again, for several years, and we have worked to ensure that these agencies make serious and lasting improvements. i.g.'s report highlights some very important new facts. for example, it describes how a federal prosecutor in texas made a very serious mistake in agreeing to release a man from federal custody. that was in july of 2010. according to the i.g., that prosecutor had dea reports with mr. barber claiming he was heavily involved in drug trafficking. the i.g. found that this decision had terrible consequences and i quote.
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informatione reasonably knowable to the agents and the prosecutors, it is clear that they should not have agreed to tbarber's release from federal custody and left at liberty to direct the straw purchase of one of the assault weapons and its to mexico, where it was used in the shooting."a this prosecutor's supervisor, the district attorney for the eastern district of dresses said later, we dropped the ball. i have got to say that this congress has dropped the ball in its support of law enforcement. committee,re this the fast and. case where the agents said, give us a tough, anti-drug trafficking law. authoredcommittee, i
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along with our chairman, a bill that did that, made it a felony. they said, we don't even bother to prosecute it because it is a slap on the wrist, and give us the tools. i am proud to say it is the one bill addressing gun safety that has bipartisan support. i am reintroducing it again republican support. it is the only gun safety bill the nra has not come out against because it makes so much sense. enforcement agency in the country has endorsed this bill. we haveventure to say hearings about it, but it involves illegal trafficking of guns, and i hope that some members of this committee will join me and the chairman and having a hearing on the bill and actually doing something to keep these guns out of criminal
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hands. report also proved an unfounded assertion made by republicans on this committee at the time. they claimed that the agents may have been shot by the guns that as partcalled "walked" of operation fast and furious. these claims have turned out to be wrong. let me be clear, this new information in no way diminishes our committees obligation to ask tough questions and demand answers, but it does caution against members rushing to .udgment without all the facts with that in mind, today we will also discuss the recent "new york times" article alleging the atf failed to properly oversee "turning accounts" between 2011 and 2013 while investigating cigarette smuggling.
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in 2003, the justice department argued in favor of allowing the atf to use turning accounts, asserting that congress should give atf authority to use money generated during undercover sting operations to offset their investigative expenses. in response, congress granted this authority in 2004, and president bush signed it into law. in 2013, the ig issued a report highlighting numerous accountability problems with these turning accounts between 2006-2011. the atf says it stopped using these accounts. the article alleges that this latest operation, and i quote "not authorized under justice department rules and went beyond what was in that audit." we do not have the full story
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yet. the chairman asked atf to submit documents but the due date is not until tomorrow. in addition, the negation in the press report is under seal. documents on the public docket are heavily redacted, it is unclear whether the atf submitted documents. nonetheless, if the allegations in this press report are true, they raise serious, serious questions. who authorized this program? how was the money used? did this activity violate department guidelines? has there been an audit of these accounts to determine whether funds were used improperly? has anyone been disciplined? and how has the activities described in this report any different than straight
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-- several atf whistleblowers testified at the witness table .bout abuses they saw firsthand they called for legislation to make gun trafficking a serious federal crime. they explained the current penalties are no more than paperwork violations, and they called them "toothless." in response, i authored legislation in the past two congresses. it had more than 100 cosponsors from both clinical parties. -- both political parties. it targeted criminals and help law enforcement.
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-- helped law enforcement do their job. organizations with members across this country. yet our bill received no action in this house. i will reintroduce it today, and i hope the chairman will grant the request of the ranking member for a hearing, so we can look at solving the problem of gun trafficking. it is often with drug cartels and gangs and criminals, and i think it is an important piece of legislation. it can save lives and prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals that kill good agents. my time is expired. i think the chairman for calling this important hearing. rep. chaffetz: i think the gentlewoman. we will hold the record open for
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any member who would like to -- we are pleased to welcome michael horowitz. we thank you and all the people who work with you for your service. one of the things we would like for you to adjust, why in the world it took so long to get to this point? a storied and rich career in serving our country, and we thank you for that. , we thank you for your service both in the military and united states marines, but also at atf and working on behalf of the united states of america in a very difficult job. we thank you for your service and being here today. pursuant to committee rules, all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. if you will rise and raise your right hand.
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do you swear or affirm that the testimony will be the testament -- will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? let the record reflect that both witnesses answered in the affirmative. we'll give you great latitude here, but your entire written statement and supporting documents will be made a part of the record. mr. horowitz, you are now recognized. horowitzrowitz: -- mr. 2011, twoary 15, special agents were attacked by members of a drug cartel while working in mexico. agent soap opera -- agent za pata did not survive the attack. two firearms in that attack were traced to texas.
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they were connected to ongoing doj criminal investigations. our review examined the information that the atf, epa, illegalined about narcotics and then trafficking activities -- and gun trafficking activities. our review of atf investigation found numerous problems with the time limits of atf's response to mounting evidence the individuals were committing. we found that atf had collected sufficient information prior to the purchase on november 10, 2010. if firearms were later used on -- zapata. potter
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the brothers were recorded transferring 40 firearms, 37 with alliterative serial numbers . despite this information, atf contact did not occur until 2011 following the attack. in addition, our review identified one incident which occurred after the attack on agents of the love and -- avila and zapata. firearms were later recovered at a crime scene in new mexico. that it was not officially proactive and failed to ensure that all of atf's leads were investigated. the consultations was started and there were adequate coronation within atf and the
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dea we further determined the atf related investigation and the arrest -- in the arrest for reasons that lacked sufficient just education. justification. the dea uncovered information about potential gun trafficking in may 2010. it never shared it with atf. as a result, atf only learned of the trafficking as a result of its own investigation in august 2010, after the sale of the firearm and we determined the handling the dea -- should not have agreed to the release from jail following his arrest. that decision left him at
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liberty to lead a group of to mexicoraffickers could we were not persuaded by dea explanations for not passing .n information -- to mexico we were not persuaded by dea expert nations for not passing on information. as part of our oversight work inserting atf's operations, we previously encouraged the dea to develop policies that provide clear guidance to its agents about when to contact atf but to date, dea has not implemented that recommendation. with respect to atf's own investigation, we found that atf agents in that investigation pursued leads, to effective investigative steps and consulted and coordinated with
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prosecutors. we did not identify any failure to take action by the atf agents that might have prevented the trafficking of the firearm. we did not make formal recommendations in this report, because we believe our and in ourions recent follow-up review on the operation were sufficient to address the deficiencies we found in this review. we look forward to working with this committee and department to adjust the concerns identified in our reviews with regard to then trafficking. -- two gun trafficking. >> mr. brandon, you are recognized for five minutes. opportunity for the to appear before you today. i welcome the opportunity to discuss the department of .ustice
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atf's use of incomes generated -- i appreciate the work. we agree with all of the findings in both reports. atf has implemented all of the recommendations from the 2013 report. i will work closely with the inspector general to further improve atf. before addressing those manners, i want to express a deep felt condolences of the men and women of atf, the fans -- the friends, families of jaime zapata. anytime law-enforcement officers are lost, it is a tragedy that affects everyone. in my career, i have had friends and colleagues killed in the line of duty. every morning i contemplate the sacrifice. i make my decisions with this in mind. mr. chairman, you know that i am a career special agent.
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i have worked the streets of detroit, l.a. and phoenix. i understand the impact a law enforcement career has on a family. so when i say that everyday investigators and professional -- i worked tirelessly speak from the heart. i have been there myself. it is not a talking point. i am honored and proud to lead the women and men of the atf. leadership requires to turn inward and examine ourselves. the doj has helped us do that. i closely repaired -- i closely read the report and i think the inspector general for the assessments of the events involved in those investigations. theag pointed out dissemination. atf could and should have done better. we make no excuses and i except for responsibility -- and i
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accept full responsibility. these events occurred more than seven years ago. atf 2010.7 is not the let me tell you how the atf has changed. focus toought a laser enhance communication, accountability to ensure our investigations are sufficiently executed. part lessons have taught us the level of complexity involved. -- hard lessons have taught us the level of complexity involved. to meet these demands, the atf has implemented a broad range of improvements during my tenure. includeprovements establishment of intelligence centers in every division.
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the focus hiring of specialists with an emphasis on military experience. establishment of a formal communications plan. enhancement of atf monitored case program. mandatory training for all agents on firearms trafficking techniques. i want to ensure the committee that as long as i'm privileged to lead the atf, mobile further --engthen our effectiveness we will further strengthen our effectiveness. that investigation is a subject of an ongoing civil lawsuit and the court has sealed the case pending trial. the united states is a party to that investigation. consequently, my ability to respond to questions specific to the investigation is limited at this time. i can advise the committee that they conducted a full
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investigation beginning in 2011 and issued a conference of report in 2013. identified serious deficiencies in atf's policies and controls. the for the issuing of the report, the atf recognized the investigations and began implementing enhancements in 2011. in april 2013, atf issued an investigation including strict rules on the income generating undercover activities. technique. used that its bigclosed all of accounts and deposited all remaining funds from those accounts into u.s. -- into the u.s. treasury general front --
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general fund. atf has implemented all of the oag's 2013 recommendations. the oag has closed all of its recommendations. mr. chairman and members, i am proud to be here today representing the men and women of atf. they work diligently every day to keep our communities safer. thank you for this opportunity and i am pleased to take questions. >> i will recognize myself for five minutes. mr. brandon, you have been the acting director for a year and 11 months now? they work for you? >> they do. >> why are they not hear? quirks when we received the request -- >> when we received the request, i met with my team, consulted with doj and wanted to quickly respond by having
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someone here from the atf and that person would be me. >> the invitation was for you and for mr. temple. >> no, i did not. >> who decided that they were not going to be here? .> the decision is theirs i did not order them not to be here, and no one from the department order them cannot be here. >> they personally chose not to be here? >> that is their decision but also i degrade -- i also agreed with them. >> they decided that come before congress was an optional activity, and they were not going to do it? understand that i -- you know what a subpoena is? >> yes i it yes -- yes i do. >> what does a subpoena require you to do? >> require you to appear before the court. >> we are here by subpoenaing mr. turk.
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he is to testify before this committee. is there any reason he cannot attend at the time? >> i don't believe so. >> he will be served a subpoena. temple, he is going to present himself for deposition which is a much more difficult thing. these things go on for hours under both. any reason he can't be here on march 22? of.ot that i am aware >> you are the acting director so you can help make sure that his schedule is free. >> i just issued a subpoena for mr. temple as well. he will present himself before this committee. these are not optional exercises. we are going to have to have the discussion at the department of justice. he was a minority witness requested by mr. cummings to be here. his non-presence is totally
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unacceptable. these are not optional exercises. you're wasting this committee's time by allowing them to think anything other than when they are invited to come to congress, they will come to congress. when i send you a notice on thursday of last week for you to yourct your department, people, for them to contact our office last night in the 5:00 hour, it is totally unacceptable . there is no excuse for that, and we will not tolerate that. if i need to issue a subpoena at the get-go, you tell me. they should have been here today . if you would have given us the proper notice, which says he will contact this committee by march 6, which you did not, then we would've issued a subpoena. everybody in this audience, and especially the soap opera -- the -- are youly
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understand? >> i apologize. i was under the understanding that there was a communication. if there was a subpoena, obviously they would've been here. >> mr. vernon, the thing that concerns me more is when you said you agreed with the ,ecision of them not to come you understand the significance of a subpoena, do you not? here.est that your agents you just sat there and said you agree with the decision. apparently there was some back-and-forth and you being there false, i am try to figure out what part you played in all of that, because that bothers me . it also bothers me that the latent getting back to us, i mean i think we are trying to
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accommodate, but when we get a response the evening before, that is kind of rough. tell me what part you played? i want to be clear. boss, right? >> yes i am. we got invitations, not subpoenas. i was told that normally we would get more time to respond within a 14 day rule. wanted to appear here and be prepared. department to the which had a lot of things going wasith hearings, that this the proper way to handle -- next line >> you said you agree -- handle -- >> you said you agree. you have a boss that says, ok guys, you have to go. that sends a message to them. -- not anything
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disrespectful to this committee in trying to say, ok, who is going to represent the agency? >> thank you. >> jaime zapata was killed six years ago. there's been an investigation five years. when did you get the report from the inspector general? how long ago did you get the draft of the report? teame members of my received the report and it was a back-and-forth with edits. i received it a month ago to read it. >> a more specific time? . -- time? >> i can get you a more specific time but it was more than a month ago. >> your excuse, you needed more .ime -- that is not flying
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you had to know that we were deeply interested in this. if you get the report for the six weeks ago, you are going back to fourth -- back-and-forth with data, my understanding is members of the atf got a draft in december. >> that is correct, mr. chairman. quirks you get it in december but now your complaint is you didn't get it in time for this hearing. my concern is six years after we had an american killed that you all have not gotten the lesson. don't tell me you need more time. -- my guess is all those men and women, they haven't gotten the message either. that is the concern. you all try to dress it up so that you come to congress and put the best looking picture you can.
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we want the raw truth. so the idea that you need more time is a load of crack. crap.d of my time has expired. i recognize ms. maloney of new york. you.maloney: thank brandonlike to ask mr. to respond to my comments concerning congress not giving you the tools you need to get the job done. when congress first began working on this and we were looking into the shooting death wereent zapata in 2012, we -- 2011, we were already in the midst of an investigation in a
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so-called operation fast and furious. that was a botched attempt to target gun traffickers a connected to mexican -- traffickers connected to mexican drug cartels pit we had was the blowers -- cartels. whistleblowers testified. he said we don't even bother to go after serious gun traffickers because there is no enforcement, and even if you caught them, you cannot do anything to them. it is a paper violation -- "a paper violation." make it a crime and crackdown on these purchasers who buy guns for criminals and use them to kill our agents. we did. mr. cummings and i along with members of the republican party and senator duckworth, she was then a member of this committee, we drafted a bill that cracked
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down. it has been endorsed by law enforcement across the country. that was five years ago. i would like to ask mr. brandon, is it true that today there is no such dedicated statute targeting gun trafficking. is gun trafficking just a paper violation as your agent testified five is ago. >> nothing has changed. >> how big of a problem is it? that makes them flow throughout the world -- that makes gun flow throughout the world. there is no law against it. >> that is true. there is no doubt that a guns trafficking statute would help. >> i really want to ask my colleagues on the other side of ranking memberin cummings and other members of this committee -- ms. kelly was
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active in it. there was a lot of violence in the district in which she represents. i thought after -- we had new town when the 23 young children were killed. the one bill that has bipartisan thatrt, and the one bill law enforcement has come out almost universally in support of is give us the tools to do the job. my job is if we did make that a federal felony, if we did crackdown on purchases, would that help you? would that help our law enforcement -- not atf, but law enforcement do the job in a better way to protect people? >> it would in my opinion. >> the bill was supported by the american bar association, the association of prosecuting cities, keyajor
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associations, but most importantly, the police that on the front lines. -- police that are on the front lines. how serious is the problem of gun trafficking along the southwest order today? has the -- southwest border today? has the concern in any way gone away? >> the concern has not we at the atf -- has not. -- shoot and hurt people and we are doing the best with what we have. that is one of the strategies we have taken. firearms trafficking along the southwest border and across the united states still is a problem.
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>> it is one that we can address it follow the talk of building a wall that may cost of tens of billions of dollars along the border, there is remarkably little talk about passing this law which costs nothing. this would cost nothing to the whicher to enact this law then would give our law enforcement the ability to better detect the american people. it seems to me that it is just common sense. our chairman is a commonsense guide so i hope that he will join the ranking member and myself. it is interesting, all of the republican apostate is no the jobs -- republican prosecutors know the jobs. we could do a big step forward in combating violent crimes on the border in mexico and really the exporting of guns and the
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use of guns by criminals, even if you sell one to a drug cartel, a criminal, there is no penalty for it. i have got to think that if we made it a penalty and our bill has a 20 year visit to jail if you do so, then we could cut down on this violence. how many agents have to be killed by illegal guns that are sold into bad people because there is no enforcement against gun trafficking? it is a simple thing to do. we could pass it. i joined the ranking member and really plea for a hearing on this bill that we have had in for two different congresses for four years. i think it could help us solve the problem and give law enforcement stronger tools to crackdown on the bad guys and
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the bad guys that are buying these illegal guns. my time has expired. i feel very strongly about this. i'm very frustrated. i like to see some action. >> i think the gentlewoman -- i .hank the gentlewoman >> mr. horowitz, this committee depends on work by inspectors general and you have done a very good work for this committee in the past. on march 8, 2011, the department of justice referred questions about the firearms recovered at the scene of mr. zavala -- mr. sakata's death. senator grassley wrote a letter to ask some questions. yet your report did not come out
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until march 1, 2017. i think several of us are concerned about that length of time. quick's we got the request and the referral -- >> we got the request and the referral from 2012.mmittee in september the bottom line is there is no excuse. we should have gotten it done more probably. i can tell you about some of the staff issues we had and challenges we had people learned some new information late -- later on in the investigation -- challenges we had. it learned some new information later on in the investigation. believe there was probable cause to arrest both others after the atf witness after the completion
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2010?firearms in >> that is what we found in our report and i agree with you. >> mr. brandon, you said a few minutes ago that you were told this was the word you used -- this was a proper way to handle thisin telling them that was up to them. who told you this was the proper way to handle this? >> i was speaking with attorneys within atf, and also with members from the legislative affairs at doj. >> can you tell us specifically the people that told you this was the proper way to handle this? >> i had my chief of staff communicating with the department. with every thing going on, communication wasn't the best.
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, had i knowno you this was the feeling coming down that this was your feelings, that would be a different thing. .here is no option here i want to clarify that to you, that it was no disrespect as a leader in trying to show up to the committee. we have been trying to run to the truth and i want to make that clear of the intent and to look you right in the eyes, mr. chairman. icu glaring at me. -- i see you glaring at me. pini,itation is melissa it is not an option -- an invitation is a subpoena, it is not an option. i apologize for not having that political understanding of this.
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saying i was time to hide behind something, i am not the hiding type guy. basically, it was not bs. i want to share that. >> i want to get to one other thing. the inspector general found that the division failed to do its job. the report says the supervisor of atf was not as proactive and failed to ensure the lead the attack received about the investigation. what do you say? >> server, i agree with mr. -- sir, i agree with mr. horowitz and his team. the findings of the oag. >> heavy taken steps to make sure that something like that -- have you taken steps that something like this doesn't
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happen in the future? >> yes or. -- yes sir. one of the things is each division, we have 25 of them. i have to share that the main assessment with the u.s. attorney. that is important because of the communication that was lacking. if we are out of step with the u.s. attorney's office, and we don't want to waste our investigative time if they are not going to be prosecuted. that is how we have tightened it up. i will leave it at that. >> thank you very much. >> will go to the gentleman from just we will go to the gentleman from virginia. >> i would just say to you, mr. brendan, on a bipartisan basis, when executive branch officials
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are invited to testify before congress, it is an invitation, but it is also an obligation. i appreciate what you have said, by the don't think it requires a subpoena to get the executive -- i don't think we want to set the presidents -- set the precedent that the own way we can get you to testify is with a subpoena. >> if i understood the storm coming down on me right now, they would be sitting here are >> you are the acting director of the atf. in the last 10 years, how many confirmed directors have there been at the atf? .> in the last decade >> there's only been one. >> my former boss. >> for most of the decade you
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have been the active director. the reason is that -- the reason for that is what? >> president nominated in senate confirmed. -- and the senate confirmed. i would say that the process is slow. >> what has happened? >> like many in the federal government, you can do more with more. the budget with the atf is tight. being up in d.c., but the decimal does to the federal budget. >> in the last six or seven years, we are so concerned about things, the tragic death of mr.'s a pot of -- mr. is a -- my with a beefed up
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sign >> no sir, our budget has been eroding. >> really? we don't want to confirm a director? who deliberately left the organization with no disrespect to you or your predecessors, but the proper form is to have a confirmed director of the agency would reduce the resources to you. -- yourtestimony testimony is consistent with -- i agents who sat here believe there was the agent from phoenix, and i remember the chairman didn't like the answer. he started to direct the answer. it seems we cannot have it both ways in congress.
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if we want you to do the job, and do it well, and we want to achieve the goals the agency has , it seems to me we have to do our jobs. i am not sure we have consistently done that. you can comment are not. >> look, i have a lot of friends . --i say racial hands if your i say raise your hands if you are in favor of gun violence and no hands go up. >> mr. horowitz, your office issued recommendations in 2012. >> that is correct. make major improvements pursuant to those recommendations? >> the atf made significant changes to their policies and practices. >> anything glaring that needs to be resolved? >> not from atf. >> ok.
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your office also issued a report reviewing -- uv the bloomington -- you reviewed the atf.mentation, as to but were two outstanding recommendations. -- >> there were two outstanding recommendations. notifications to out that played itself we are here today to talk about. >> thank you. mr. brandon, thank you for your service. i hope congress will back you up. i yield back. >> thank you, sir. >> and right on time. you have constituents in the crowd. is -- time is to conley
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how on time mr. connelly is, at least today. we will recognize, mr. farenthold of texas. z 's apostate -- mr. zapata was a constituent. >> agent zapata and his family grew up in brownsville. this is an important issue to me . i will do want to address -- i do want to address two things mr. connelly had said. it first of which, i think does need to be much more speedy in the confirmation process. i would urge mr. connelly to speak to members of his party over there. mr. brandon, you testified that you could do more with with more resources.
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i think everyone that i associate with congress wants to give law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to do what they need to do. i would imagine you would not want to see your taxes go significantly to fund that either. >> notes are, i am -- no sir, i am physically conservative. >> that is white we are asking you -- why we are asking you to do more with less, just like we are asking the vast majority of the government to do the same. let me get along to my lines of question. i don't want to pound on about the fact that the other folks for not here, but i want to explain the frustration that this committee faces. we face six years of stonewalling, a lot of which has to do with the fast and furious. to the point we held attorney general in contempt of congress
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pursued litigation against him to obtain documents of the department of justice. there is a frustration that we would hope would start to evaporate with the new leadership in the executive branch. -- i am not pounding on, i just wanted to explain that frustration to you and where we are coming from. let's talk about what is going .n now in the report let me start with mr. horowitz. let's talk about the fast and furious. can you tell me what we have learned and what still needs to be done as a result of your investigation into this?
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bullet points. >> in regard to fast and furious, a follow-up review in this review, the couple of open recommendations that are still involve, involved -- we found that one federal law-enforcement agency failed to tell another agency about gun trafficking activity that they knew about. that failure was significant and should not have occurred and they need to have a policy in place >> we have centers in place -- policy in place -- >> we have centers in place. you guys are supposed to be talking to each other. >> the lack of sharing of information is an issue that continues to arise, and these centers exist and need to be
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addressed. >> i have a lot of questions and not a lot of time. mr. brandon, i want to ask you to reassure me that we don't have any programs like fast and furious going on right now where we are letting weapons move across borders in an attempt to get the bigger guy. have we learned that lesson? >> yes sir. one of the things we have in response to that is a monitored case program. anything dealing with international trafficking, one of the things we put in their his progress and problems. communicate, collaborate and the conflict. lict.conf i was a street agent and was shot at. >> what programs did we implement in respect to our there is law enforcement agents detailed the countries with high
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drug violence like mexico to ensure that they are safe? at the time of the is a pot of shooting, they were unarmed. has anything changed -- time of the zapata shooting, they were unarmed. has anything changed? >> if i could get back to you on that, i would appreciate it. .> i think the gentleman i recognize mr. cummings of maryland. rep. cummings: your report deficienciesrious in the actions of the u.s. attorneys office for the eastern district of texas against the drug and firearms trafficker .amed barba according to your report, and i
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quote, "the assistant u.s. attorney handling the prosecution should not have fromd to the release federal custody in july 2010. following his indictment and ultimately in the houston district of texas, having liberty to leave the crew and ultimately direct the straw purchase in trafficking of the firearm to mexico." had recordedhe dea statements saying that he planned to traffic 20 a.k.a. ak-47s. the statements were included in the report. your report found, "no evidence"
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that the prosecutor read the eea report that recited -- the dea report that recited his statement. that sounds like a serious statement. it has significant repercussions. would you agree? >> yes. rep. cummings: in measured judges progress -- it measured children's progress in the first grade and wanted things they measured was following directions. seems like you would read a document. would you agree? he was released following the prosecutor's motion in july 2010. later, he purchased a firearm that was later used in the ziplocs of shooting -- the zapat shootinga. he was not rearrested until 2011. there were several months he was
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free to operate his gun trafficking ring. seven long months. mr. horowitz, do you know how many firearms were trafficked by his ring during that seven-month period. grexit the information that we have currently would require further investigations to determine at least the 10 .irearms purchased on august 20 we cannot rule out that there were others, but there are at least 10 posted to the july 10 release. release.ummings: -- attorneyings: the acknowledged that his office dropped the ball. mr. horowitz, you know whether the prosecutor who made the significant error was ever
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discipline -- was ever disciplined? >> i agree and i don't know the answer as i sit here, but we can follow up and get back. >> i can assume you can get back to me on that today. >> it depends on the department providing the information. i don't have the information on my file. we need to go to the justice department to get that and alert .hem to your request rep. cummings: mr. horowitz, i don't know if you are aware of this but my staff did a little research on that prosecutor. post"3, the "new york said that same prosecutor, he criticized trayvon martin on social media, called president llama obama."
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it said, "obama, why stupid people should not vote." that was the same prosecutor. do you know if the prosecutor was disciplined? >> i was aware of it, and i am limited in what i can say with regard to any personal action in a public setting. we would have to have further discussions about that. rep. cummings: it appears the prosecutor still works in the office. we invited him to appear today to provide him with an opportunity to respond to your findings. he declined. that kind of -- when we obtain to do the work of the
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federal government, and they have those kinds of attitudes, there is no place for them. there is no place for it. it concerns me greatly. i don't mind saying it. president obama is one of the most brilliant persons i have ever met. he is very principled. ,o these kind of comments simply have no place in our society. i will yield back. rep. chaffetz: i will recognize the gentleman from south carolina, mr. walker. walker:rk: are -- rep. how are you holding up? probably -- i don't want your distinguish career to be defined.
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you mentioned that your attorney since chief of staff -- attorneys and chief of staff -- you are privy to find that you agree with these decisions. did you not get good counsel from your attorneys about talking about the importance about coming to testify before congress? >> i believe there was a misunderstanding of what an invitation is to come before you . but also we are a component within the doj so we have to coordinate with the department of justice. i want to be fair to them. i take responsibility. i am not going to duck it. i thought it was the best thing to come. as you can see, i am plainspoken . i am not a polished, headquarters type person.
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to answer your question, knowing what i know now, like i previously said, and to be respectful, i would have a different view of things weighing in. >> you made a couple of comments . you are not a suit in the city -- in the sea. how long have you been the active director? >> if i may say so, to answer questions, since april 1. that doesn't measured someone's intelligence. it is my style. up on two you understand the responsibility. even though you may not be on every street -- on the street, you wear a suit and tie. >> i have been living in reading it seven days a week. >> with that, comes the
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responsibility of the fulfilling the obligation that comes with the addition. ago, myion, two weeks committee requested documents reported on in the "your times." -- in the "new york times." tomorrow is the deadline for that request. >> i have a team inside headquarters, and they pulled people off the street that have knowledge of these types of investigations. working through the weekend and .verything for us to document >> the "new york times" wrote about having written you guys. precisely how much did each receive? >> this is what i mentioned in my opening statement. the u.s. government is named in that lawsuit, and the judge has
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it under seal and i cannot comment before the committee. >> you cannot comment on the amounts? >> i am told not to comment on anything. >> cannot say what the purpose of what these payments were? paid on behalf of the government? were all of the moneys properly accounted for? any of those questions, you cannot address at all? >> yes sir, that is what i am saying. >> you said earlier, go back to 2010 -- can you tell me how much -- strawsus the dtf gun purchases the atf? books i will take them back and report back to the committee. >> you don't have those numbers as far as how many of those cases were prosecuted either? >> with our system, i would be
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able to get the system to you, as far as recommended for prosecution, once they get prosecuted. >> a few more questions but i am going to wrap it up because my time is expiring. what is atf doing to make sure its agents as early as possible in their investigations? >> part of what i mentioned far asrontline, even as strategic plans for the year, we have to coordinate. in atf agent cannot open up an investigation anymore. this came after the fast and furious, and they have to note that they consulted. >> will recognize the gentlewoman from new jersey, ms. watson coleman. rep. watson coleman: first of family,he zapata please accept my condolences i
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know it is difficult to revisit this years later. mr. hurwitz, this is basically for you. in light of the recent reporting of the atf, i would like to ask about the status of the recommendation in the audit of atf's turning operations. the order was released in 2013? >> that is correct. >> how many of these recommendations are closed out? .> all 17 are closed out >> there is no need for a follow-up than. >> there might've been but we are informed as the acting director said, the atf has shut down there operation. there would be nothing for us. >> we appreciate the work that you do and how important your function is. i would like to bring us up-to-date with questions i have it seems like every day there is a new revelation about the
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contacts between this president's campaign and his administration, and his associates and family with russian officials. advisor, carter page travel to moscow. it was denied but it was admitted. we have indications that there have been interactions between page and roger stone, paul manafort, coughlin and now the .ttorney general, jared kushner even reports of donald junior and jd gordon, in light of this, i would like to ask you, do you realize why congress would be so very concerned about these things? >> just broadly speaking, i certainly understand why folks would have questions about
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various issues. senatorson coleman: schumer recently sent a letter asking to open an investigation that is related to president trump's campaign, transition and administration's contact with russia, as well as attempts by russia to interfere with our election. i would like to add my strong support his sinister schumer's -- support to senator schumer's request. will you be investigating other there was any integration -- any interference in this manner? >> we have senator schumer's letter, the chairman's letter related. we are reviewing that an considering what if anything we should be doing. >> could you pledge to us that any investigation will be faxed
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fact-based ande the amerco people will be informed guess the american people will be informed. >> absolutely, congresswoman. >> we operate under to -- independence and transparency. we would do the same thing you see from us ans. thirstye definitely and hungry for the truth. some of the concerns raised by my chairman and my ranking member, as it relates to the absence of the two individuals that have been expected to be a part of this today. i think that is very unfortunate. i thank you for acknowledging that perhaps this was a wrong call on your part and i certainly hope that we have
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better corroboration in the future. we now recognize mr. hice for five minutes. i think it is unavoidable connecting dots fast and furious. the program lasted from 2009-2011, allowing weapons, suspected gunman smugglers. we lost 1400 firearms, many of which ended up being used in crimes including the death of border patrol agent ryan a terrier -0- in 2010. is a fascinating process to make, just highlights some of the issues that take place.
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in october 2011, documents were obtained after eric holder was subpoenaed, documents found that his test money was inconsistent. fast and furious for a few weeks. it revealed he knew for over a year. february 2012. he tells this committee the firings and charges against doj officials who oversaw fast and furious are likely to come within six months. he denies any cover up involvement. june of that year, this committee recommends holder to be held in contempt of congress for telling them to turn over the documents that solved by the committee. on that same day, president obama asserts executive privilege over the documents sought by this committee. later, the house votes to hold eric holder in terminal contempt.
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the next month, a congressional placing blameased on the acting agf director and deputy director. the deputy director resigns that day and a report a few months later says there were 14 80 of individuals -- agf individuals and employees responsible for management failures. a polite way of putting it. it takes two years before the doj turns over the 65,000 pages. why did it take so long? >> i would not know the answer on that. we were not involved. >> you are not involved? you know of any action was taken against those involved?
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yes, that would be me as the deciding official. but if the people retired believe it was a july of last year a document was provided to this committee regarding each person listed and their status and any discipline they received and respect the privacy laws. it is doj policy that i not speak publicly. >> there was some action? >> things were resolved. >> could you provide this committee with what was taken? it appears as if there was some criminal activity involved. would you agree with that? you used the phrase management ,ailures but in congress holding eric holder and criminal
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contempt, if their criminal activity involved in this fast and furious? did not secret all activity by the agents or prosecutors involved in the case. we did find very serious failures in what occurred and how they handled themselves and their responsibilities. holder?eric >> given our independence as an independent entity we were not in the middle of any of the back and forth and i only know what i have read in the newspaper. do you have any idea how much of the 65,000 pages were redacted percentagewise? as result of fast and furious you testify lessons are learned and things have changed. does atf have a responsibility
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to disrupt purchasing even if they are unable to attain a prosecution? >> what -- that is one of the things that came up are saying that it is to not get credits. i will give you an example. i was in detroit and i got sent to phoenix over fast and furious. i was sitting down with people looking at information coming in on multiple sales. it was we don't have a time to build a credible case. that was the deterrence. question, we give credit for atf agents who do exactly that investigative work where previously they did not -- toedit to prevent guns prevent it from happening. >> i yield back. >> recognizing the gentlewoman from the virgin islands. >> thank you.
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we were talking no about fast and furious. several members are familiar with the atf problem's in previous years through the investigation that occurred on this committee. your office issued recommendations from fast and furious cannot review in 2012, correct? >> correct. >> you say there aren't key lessons the atf has learned in the aftermath and how the agency has changed? >> yes. >> would you say they were substantial? x yes, and cultural. >> was that based on the ig report or this committee as well? >> a commendation of both. -- >> i think maybe you should have a seat of here as well. often, maybeify so
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not appear but you can have a staff seat. we rely on you so tremendously for the work you do. it leads to other investigations, hearings that we have as in fast and furious. last week, a number of senate judiciary members wrote to your office requesting a investigation of jeff sessions and his recusal decision. russian officials and testimony to the senate about those contacts. did you receive this letter? >> yes. >> can you tell us whether you plan on conducting that investigation customer >> one of the things we do when we get a question like that, we have gotten one from senator schumer as well, related to certain issues. we take them under advisement assess, then to make a determination. at this point i do not have an answer for you.
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we obviously take requests like that seriously. >> you're taking it under advisement and at some point would you let us know if you're going to make an investigation or would you just conduct the investigation? response to the member to let them know what we are intending to do. we appreciate that because it is the independence and transparency of the ig's office that makes your work so important. that we believe everybody understands the department of justice's own rules and regulations on refusals. the code of federal regulations state that no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecute if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization he knows has specific and substantial interests directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution. the regulations go on to state a alitical relationship needs
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close identification with an elected official or candidate arising from services the principal advisor there to or official thereof. we know that attorney general sessions was the first senator to endorse donald trump for his presidential bid. the current that he served as a surrogate including since march of 2016, his official role as chairman of mr. trump's national security advisory committee. would you agree that attorney general sessions of -- session'' role fits recusal? >> that is obviously something we would be thinking about in terms of the claims allegations. >> would you say that as well as my question to whether you agree or not whether the attorney general has a political relationship with president trump and his campaign for president? >> i would differ on that for now. >> do you agree or would you
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differ that president trump has a significant interest that would be directed by the outcome of any investigation into russian interference in the 26 election? 2016 election. 's announcement that he would recuse himself, would then have us conclude that he is recusing himself because of his role in the trump campaign. would you agree or not agree? >> i would differ, given our review of the allegation that we have been getting. >> ok. following the logical conclusion of that, shouldn't other officials working at the device -- justice department to work for the trump campaign also recuse themselves from the investigations related to the truck campaign and russian interference? if i would want to know there are such officials and the justice department and whether they have or have not recused beforehand. your investigation as
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presented by the senators requesting that you investigative this, which is in table you looking to see if there were other officials or would it merely be within the scope of attorney general sessions? >> once we undertake a review, if we found other issues, we look at if they are closely related. thank you so much for responding to my question. i thank you for your indulgence. recognizing the german from oklahoma for five minutes. >> think both of you for being here. the store with, your continued renton for and mr. your service. i have a lot of respect for the field agents. there are some troubling questions that have not been answered. 2010 we had the -- we know these firearms are being trafficked.
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obliterated serial numbers and notwithstanding what we have seen from you about the uncertainty of how whether or not something can be seized or we need more laws, it is particular that you should know that serial numbers obliterated constitute a real problem. we can go into it those codes are. 2010, an atfo agent is tipped off by an ssl -- ffl. problem.onized as the reality is they are the ones linking this because of their own alertness. that pointis made at to allow the struck purchase to try to continue when we already have the osorio's link and tied with the eagle pass seizures.
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yet we are going to continue on. my question, and your value couldn, what you determine that these agents allowing would find by dozens of a legally purchased firearms to continue to walk? in this review, like fast and furious, one of the significant concerns we had. this was a different scenario family outlined but when you see firearm violations and you have the opportunity to make arrests or take other investigative activity given the risk associated with them it is important to do that. the firearms you mentioned had today's to two weeks. can kind of look at within the next month they didn't make a purchase with an agent, but for the more ironic -- firearms with obliterated
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serial numbers, why not a instant arrest after mark scores illegally trafficked, fully aware of it, and nothing happens in november 2010. why was that? >> the explanation from the dallas field division, bill -->> we would have liked to hear from him. go is less than a year ago. i am not here to defend that. >> why was no arrests made? scores of firearms, they are going south am a white was tourist made? -- white was no arrests made? >> it was sensitive. >> let's move on from that. here's another problem. tied tothe osorio's this and there is uncertainty on part of the agents by the time they get to february 2011 they are not sure if they find in his bedroom the firearms, whether or
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not they are allowed to seize them. even i know that if you have your legal firearms in some of his bedroom and a good warrant to go in and check it out, you have to obliterate serial numbers, you are in a deep. the group supervisor for the firearms trafficking group failed to communicate that. again, i am not defending it. >> this is the frustration we have. we had dedicated agents like yourself who lost their life because people were not doing their job. desire on we had a the part which we have been trying to get to the bottom of, to allow these to walk south for reasons yet to be determined. everyone wants to sweep that under the rug. with regards to my colleagues that have stated about the need
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for more laws, i would remind everyone that the 1968 gun control act requires serial numbers and has 18 u.s. code 5861 g laying out requirements for what constitutes legal firearms. it is illegal to possess firearms that have serial numbers removed, obliterated, or altered. are you familiar with a don't lie for the other guy program? goodness,hem but my 17 years we have had that program. is it or is not a felony to make a straw purchase? we are talking about the need from your own mouth, and acknowledgment to the worries that we need to have a law to prevent this type of trafficking. law >> not aware of the ? i am aware of it. >> do you know what the
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colonies are -- penalties are? a 10 year penalty for federal crime and a $250,000 fine. u.s. code 18 section 924 see any. -- cne. we are talking about this issue. i have every believe that you are dedicated to your job. right now we have three empty chairs and you that does not even seem to know what the u.s. coast guard. i would like to believe that you do know those. mr. chairman, i would suggest that we had a regroup. the rating number has not allowed to have his witness. others we have not even gotten to get to the tobacco issues. we needed to have some follow on here. mr. horwitz i and grateful for the things you dug up.
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you are dedicated. i tell you what, it not looking too pretty here today. aware there are two statues. a 10 year. i also would like to comment about federal firearms licensees. we have built a better relationship and communication with the federal firearms licensee because they are the front line of defense. you want to the atf webpage things wasone of the the number of burglaries that have happened across the country. things that were not tracked until five years ago. i wanted to share that i have a passion for recognizing and regulating an industry and good honest hard-working men and women dealing in a lawful commodity. those are absolutely vital to the intelligence based business
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and they should have followed up when they gave those names. that should have been an alarm going off. thank you for making the left -- letting me make that comment. >> the children from massachusetts mr. lynch. lynch: i want to echo the request for a follow-up on this. i think we really do need to drill a down. last month in the new york times , a story raising troubling questions about atf's use of confidential informants in the tobacco operation underway from .011-2013 i ask unanimous consent to enter this story by matt puzo new york times february 22. atf fills a secret bank account with millions from shadowy
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cigarette sales. directinge reported inform us to engage in sham transactions with a collective of tobacco farmers. the books the off proceeds in an undercover atf investigation. this is called turning -- churning, you use those funds to turn your own operation. >> for continuing operations. in this case did possess a special authority granted to it under the bush administration, it allows the black like market cash -- , a news report further alleged that this operation exceeded that authority. do you believe that they exceeded the authority? >> like a testified previously and included in my opening statement, the united states government is party to civil
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litigation and i cannot comments that. the judge has it under seal. >> how long is it going to be in place? >> i believe it is until the 24th of this month. >> good. good. >> we will give you plenty of extra time to make up for this. you commented that we are allowed to do. what have you done to address the court and ask permission to comply with a congressional request for that material? you call the judge and petition the courts. we go through this regularly. we don't have these prohibitions. that information should be given to us. we need you to approach the court and tell them the. i'm a you are in in order to release that information. mr. chairman, we have had conversations with the doj, the u.s. attorneys over the civil litigation.
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the ball is in your hands and you need to approach the tort and make the request give them permission to comply with a congressional directive. >> i will take that back. >> thank you. i reclaim my time. are you familiar with this particular use of confidential informants for this cigarette scam which apparently generated millions of dollars and were put in these accounts? 2013'm familiar with the audit and the work we did there any problems we found. --vet thesewe best informants? under the reno guidelines there are certain conduct that would disqualify someone from being a
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confidential informant on behalf of the atf. were these folks invented -- vetted? broadly, weay more found in our audit that in 33 of the 35 instances we looked at in 2013, the critical information required i policy to start the operation wasn't present and we found a major investigation that has never been approved and the committee that was supposed to meet to review it never met. issuing a report on atf handling of the confidential informants more broadly beyond this matter and concert may discuss with you when we get that report over the next month or so, those issues further. >> i know your previous answer
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was limited, because of the seal, is there anything you wish to dispute that has put out here ? the allegations are very serious. >> the thing i would like to assert is what the oig, their thorough investigation of the cases as you said where we recognize there was a problem. , the policy was lacking. the oversight was lacking. the leadership was poor. there is not been a case since 2013 but a couple met the oig because they did an excellent report or we corroborated fully and there are no outstanding recommendations from the oig. that still out there? it came from the bush administration. is it just your own decision not to operate that way? ande put in a tight policy
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to us your question it is still out there. no request for churning investigations because it is a very tight policy and standard to open a investigation and we have not done so. >> from the accounts, the cash coming in and going back out, .elf-contained there is the opportunity for abuse. any recommendations that you have with the way this is handled? >> we made several in connection it ishat review and report that we made for the department. they made recommendations to the deputy ag's office because of the broader concern. clearly, there needs to be far stricter controls in place back then. atf has made changes in response and the --
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>> was anybody disciplined for wesley describes going on in the new york times officer -- article? >> i am limited in what i can say other than as we indicated in the audit, our auditors referred matters for further investigation into our agents. i know the chairman has a government request and i believe it is due tomorrow. prepared to deliver those documents? >> like i testified, i told people from the field they have been working for the weekend and we are diligently working to comply. >> i have exhausted my time. asterisk. a great big you're not going to provide us the things you believe are under seal by the court. i'm going to have to comply
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with the u.s. attorney office and doj dealing with those legal matters. as a follow-up, if we get to the away,nd that seal goes a.b. we reconvene this hearing with our folks and go at this again. >> we will no doubt have people back. it has been a long-term practice prior to me that this should not is not alitigation prohibition on congress being able to do its job. we plan to issue a subpoena. of what we asked for, we will send you a subpoena. we plan to send that on you the 13th.
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we would rather have you give us all the documents we request must we don't recognize the civil litigation. given our constitutional duties. just one question. i want to go back for a moment. this is a court seal, right? i assume it is a court. >> that is my understanding but i have not been involved. >> if the court seals it, the court has to unseal it. it does not matter. we are dealing with that on the report that we issued on another matter, we are asking the department to go back to the court and get it unsealed. it is our belief that a seal bars them from making it public but to provide it to the united states
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congress is not one of those prohibitions of the seal. the court seal, i should say. them -- somebody from making it public. asdon't recognize the seal something that prohibits congress from doing its job. that is our position. i know that puts you in a tough spot but kerry message back if you will. thank you. we recognize mr. grothman from the state of wisconsin for five minutes. >> you have seen a lot of interesting things today. are you aware of any other examples in the last five years -- that has lead to errors in investigations? as i sit here i cannot think
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of anything off the top of my head. i do think we found in the storefronts report that we did, i have to go back and refresh myself, concerns about its coordination and some of those storefronts that were several years back with state and federal prosecutors and the coordination between them on who would take which cases. what are youenton, doing to make sure that your agents coordinate with the u.s. attorneys as quickly as possible? he has established a frontline business model in the beginning of 2012. every special agent in charge of a division has to do a domain assessment. they had to share that with the u.s. attorney and the criminal chief to make sure that atf is in step with the u.s. attorney and it makes us more efficient
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and effective on our resources to make sure what we're investigation -- investigating that there will be a prosecution. prosecutors want good cases, i don't bring them. that is our job. -- i don't blame them. across the country, u.s. attorneys have different challenges and what they are wanting to investigate with their resources so it is not the same across the board a-- beard. >> you never change or method because you believe it is not likely to lead to prosecution? theif it did not look like u.s. attorney would take it, we would go to the state attorney general's office for secretion. you feel you have the responsibility to disrupt firearms trafficking even if you think you are unable to obtain a
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prosecution or conviction? >> yes and as i testified i believe the deterrence credit that we give agents has helped of storen a number purchases where they get scared off and let them know they have come under atf intention. i keep using the expression but beyond the left side of boom, in the culture. if we are not going to get a prosecution, we put in emphasis --public safety with deterrence of firearms getting into the wrong hands. >> and wants to go back to something that mr. lynch was talking about. situation, turning
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that really calls for some folks to be cooperating. peoplee to have several working together to make that happen, right? >> is my understanding. i know we cannot get into that too much, i was kind of surprised to even see that. were you? stas --s not audit identified some of situations and that circumstance may not only found a home with the controls over the bank accounts, the
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informants, but the spirit himself. frankly, i wasn't particularly surprised. >> you think this is people in the agency saying, we will use any method it necessary to get the job done? are there people that say we don't care? how does this appear? -- you can let any agency or any organization of iulled into a culture do it the way i want to do it. i was asking about taking several people. how to be even get there? i don't want to see is happening again.
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i should not be opening the new york times and reading about this kind of stuff. the issues that we identified, the issues in fast and furious, the storefronts report, things before the committee on the da side, those were not generally speaking as you just indicated one of person running,. they were multiple people without adequate controls being able to do what they thought in most of those instances. were advancing law enforcement interests when in fact they weren't. >> thank you. along lines of the ranking member mentioning, when you have come testified before, on lessons learned and doing recent nonpartisan interventions.
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does atf maintain a database of federal law enforcement weapons lost or stolen? >> no we do not. in the san francisco bay area, there has been a lot of lost andention in the stolen weapons by state and local and federal officers. their livesave lost because of lost and stolen federal weapons. one by an agent from the bureau of land management that led to the tragic death of case finally -- a larger discussion from the president and congress about immigration status. the gun that was used in that were federal law enforcement officers who had weapons stolen.
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could you at least, led by atf, traded policy for all federal law enforcement on proper storage of weapons so we would not have the situation in san francisco that happens a lot. san francisco, if there's anything in the car, thieves will bring a window and grabbed and snatch and grab anything in there. sense,s to me, common that you would it lead an effort to make sure that there best policy possible whether it requires statute or not. you would make sure that these kinds of things would minimized. the fact that you don't even create a database to follow these things seems to me to be negligence in the extreme. personally, having seen people suffer the consequences, my question is the state of
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california responded to this by passing a statute that required federal and state agencies, because they have been guilty of the same thing and white tragically to law enforcement officers. i had a constituent who is a police chief and his weapons were still in a driveway. there used to commit a crime and he was horrified. i have heard the culture question. friends of mine and saying you should not be imposing these. let us take care of it. i think it is incumbent on you outthe ig has pointed this to develop better inventory control and better accountability and consequences for federal law enforcement officers and better preventative practice. federal agents will have to comply with that and if you are aware of how you are helping to comply with that effort and why we don't do it on a national
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level, i don't think it needs a statute. i think you can do it administratively as it would help a great deal. could you respond to those observations? >> yes. you describe tragedies. i remember reading in the paper. as far as atf and the other , our inventoryl is annual, a count for every firearm. i share my sensitivity to what you are saying. , in i was a deputy director increased the penalty if an agent had a firearms stolen out of their car to a mandatory five year -- five days off without compensation and it could not be reduced. i was sending a message because of the sensitivity which has become a prominent amongst people stealing guns out of cars. ,'ve got to st. petersburg
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please lock your car up and secure your firearm. in memphis the police chief was saying the same thing. i support that whether or not atf would be the custodian of everyone's firearms. i believe it is being done at each law enforcement bureau or component and we do and annual inventory and any firearm that is stolen is investigated by internal affairs. the oig has a chance to review the files and it will go through four process for discipline. >> i hope all those changes actually result in a positive thing that we both want but it is not working so far. we just had another incident with an fbi agent in the california office in my hometown. multiple weapons were taken. it is not working. that lawon is, given enforcement has said over and over again, we are doing things as you pointed out.
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it is not working. there will be some margin of error and there will be some instances but we are doing enough. request is we need to do things across the board to all federal agencies in the state of california and make sure particularly on the front end on the storage of the notons and when they are used. if they are not on your person a new law says they have to be locked in your trunk and have a lock. i would ask you and the committee that we continue to pursue this in the prevention area. so we do not have these tragic situations, knowing they may happen on occasion. they are happening far too often. is secureolicy firearms in the vehicle. it has to not just be in the trunk but in a container in the trunk that is designed for firearms storage. >> my only observation is that
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is great but it is not working across all federal agencies to the degree you have enforced that. >> we have a quarterly meeting at doj with the fbi, dea marshals and the fbi. i will bring us up at the meeting as a topic of firearm storage. >> i appreciate that. >> that is a good point. the committee is happy to follow-up and perhaps we could get an inventory or some sort of indication as to what they are doing or not doing. let us work with you on that. i will recognize myself. you said earlier that your office found no criminal conduct from anyone involved in fast and furious. i want to ask about former atf phoenix filled division assistant special agent george to let --
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fast and.volved in free of he personally purchased a firearm. what happens to that firearm? >> it was transferred by him to a non-u.s. national. >> he sold it to a non-us national. what happened with that gun? where did they find it? >> if i recall correctly it was the scene of a crime i don't -- i would have to go back and make sure i remember. >> i definitely recall it as well. 4473,ou filled out form are you allowed to use the work address or are you supposed to use your home address question mark >> the residence you live at. if you put something other than the home address can you prosecute those crimes? is that a crime? >> if you knowingly put
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something false on a form it is. >> the form says put your home address. >> i believe so. >> something other than your home address would be inaccurate. >> i bought a gun last summer and i put my apartment. >> so, did the inspector general's office make any recommendation to the department of justice to consider lightingng him for about his address on form 4473? mr. borowitz? >> i don't believe we did. what we have been told or were law enforcement agents of the department, many -- do not use their home address for security purposes but instead use a po
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box or ups box or some other location and that was not sufficient evidence of intent to war in a criminal prosecution. >> even though he sold it to a non-us national and it used -- it used an apparatus -- use an address different on a form. that is hard for the american people to understand, white that waiver or these forms -- where they publicly available? if you look on the internet. up, let's gook find an atf agent and a look at his forms. there his address. what are we trying to protect from? is that common practice? are they putting their work address? >> i was surprised at his
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response. i'm glad he is off of atf. he was not one of our best. the people who were doing undercover work, atf would provide undercover identification and that would be the permissible type. if i remember correctly he was dropbox as a meal place, a po box, bash at eight meal place, a po box -- at a mail obc -- box. >> there's a group supervisor who is supposed to have responsibility year. at thease used, asleep switch. did it take for you to
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figure out -- not you personally but the organization -- how long did it take atf to figure out there was someone asleep at the switch? what happened to him? was he fired, disciplined, bonuses? >> the person retired from atf. this?a result of tell me the time span. >> i knew the employee, the oig interviewed him. he retired before the report came out and his reputation was leadert of a dynamic that was engaged. >> can you weigh in? >> i understanding he's -- my understanding is he retired in june 2012. before december 2012 when we began our review.
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we have talked in general that access issues to a host of things. are you having access issues at the atf? >> we are not. i want to be clear. the delay had nothing to do with any access issues. >> on a broader sense, are there access issues that you care to highlight here? >> currently we do not. the atf has been very good. even having fights with the dea as the eye. actually was in connection with the fast and furious matter. good news. congratulations, we thank you for that. my time is expired. >> i did not want anyone to think i am lying. there was another employee that
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retired at the end of 2016 that the oig was critical of in documenting his surveillance and interview of an ssl. that is what i was referring to my head. >> thank you. >> back to mr. lynch of massachusetts. the want to go back to cigarette smuggling case. you had atf agents working with at least a couple of informants in that case. it says here in the new york times article that they were funneling tens of millions of dollars. they are using the black market cash to pay the informants. is that a usual practice? if i can comment, not particularly to this investigation. in general and how the oig's report was spot on. deficient, policy
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was deficient and it is a hot mess. that's why we shut it down. since 2013 13 there is not been a number one. i welcome when everything that in case the government as a part of it. i am trying to follow your investigation. you did a very good report. i think it was 2013, you went 2006 to aboutuary june of 2011. we have that block of time. whered reports there informants were being paid. some of them a million dollars. $1 million per year to pay an informant. at that point working with the dea.
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now we have another report from the new york times that goes to january and february 2011. it is within the scope of your study. there is some overlap. is your investigation -- did you cover this? accounts?ver the i am trying to figure out is the money being reported properly? who did it go to? how much money are these folks getting? >> i don't know all the specifics of the matter and what is under seal -- even what my auditors looked at and the accounts they looked at, i believe we looked at the breadth of the accounts atf was using
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covers audit report those in full and the problems we identified covered that. june 2011 inhed in our fieldwork, one of the reasons it took time to issue that report was because as we 2011, atf our work in was making many of the changes that acting director brandon outlined. what we ended up doing was updating our audit report which caused us to want to make sure we were picking up some of the changes they made. they asked us to look at some of the changes they made. the am trying to get timeline down to make sure you are looking at this case. it appears that you did.
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>> i do not know all the specifics of what is under seal but if it fell into a poco between june 2 thousand 11, i think it is safe to say that our auditors looked at the scope of their accounts through june 2011 and my guess is the acting andctor, given our back forth, can probably speak to that as well as whether we looked at all the accounts. the 24thl wait until and have another bite at that. i yield back. it would be legislative malpractice. if i did not ask these questions. ,n the inner city of baltimore you have situations where young men it can get a gun as fast as a cigarette.
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it is interesting that there has been a proliferation sale of guns. , how doesondering that make your job harder? how do you deal with that? you don't have to sugarcoat. i believe the atf has been treated like a stepchild. some if they are had their way who would get rid of you guys immediately. the reasons why mr. lynch's questions are so significant and one of the reasons why fast and furious was so significant is because it then it gives people who do not like you and your organization
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justification to treat your organization the way it is treated. anybody who knows anything about , i believe that with my heart. i attended the funerals of young said, mr.ack men
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president, do me a favor. when you talk about the black community do not just talk about -- make it sound as if we are all in some bunker somewhere suffering. do not judge us by our weakest link. he keeps saying something that i am trying to figure out. he keeps saying that he is going to send in the feds -- i don't know who he is talking about, troops, atf? to help with places like baltimore. he loves to talk about
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baltimore. he loves to talk about chicago. we know we have limited resources. one of our members told you earlier that you just have to do more with less if the presidentd brandon, how can we use to helpurces best places like baltimore and chicago? what would you say? i would wonder how he does that. i know about the task force. we have that in baltimore. that, to me, is important. to send people in and say atf, look at this. do whatever you want. he is probably going to come to you if he is not already. somebody is going to come to you. >> i appreciate the question. to put you onying the spots. i'm curious because i want us to be effective and efficient in whatever we do. >> i would love the opportunity. like a said, i think everybody wants to be tight with the taxpayers money. one of the things from the major city chiefs, they all said what we would do is go in with
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enhanced enforcement initiative. there is a program called the national integrated ballistics information network, it has been a game changer. it is where the casings had shootings. i do not know if this was done with your nephew, but that is then entered in to a fancy microscope that puts a big nickel -- digital signature on the casing. when you have a conference of collection plan and it goes through, it will link up shootings in different states to go after people. i will give you an example. we havenot me asking -- done more with less but this is good for the american public. 50,000,000-100,000,000 dollars to the technology. not for another atf employee. when i was at san diego international association on the chiefs of police area the deputy
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made a choice -- he said our p.d. got shot at. within 12 hours, we collected that. had that scanned in and it went down into our correlation and training center where we said hoc we serve the state and locals better? within 12 hours we sent the response back and said that shooting is matched up to three other shootings. it went to our gun intelligence enter. where you collect, analyze, synthesize and disseminate information rapidly. they had four guys locked up within 24 hours. it is a game changer for investigative leads on what i refer to as trigger pullers and
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then to go after the trafficers supplying them with firearms. i think it is something everybody can wrap their arms around. i spent a lot of my career in detroit. the victims, it is painful to watch people being shot and the misery it does on the families and the shootings and even at funerals. i've done surveillances on those. to answer your question, i believe, even if i was a taxpayer outside of a.t.f., this is something worthy of attention to address the gun violence across america and to reiterate the point, i think we have made a lot of progress, working with local p.d.'s. last year, there were over 7,500 uns stolen during f.f.l. burglaries. we're trying to say -- prevent
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hat, working with the national sports shooting foundation, educating for security. it is different than an armed robbery where we can't hit them with 924-c. an f.f.l. burglary is a different animal. it is just the right thing. >> thank you very much. >> these machines, they cost how much? >> mr. chairman, i have to go back. it may be $129,000. the cost of this, which is just like fire departments have come across the country and tactical teams doing regionalizeation, not every p.d. needs a machine where you can have where they have memorandums of agreement and i know of other p.d.'s that
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say come down on tuesday and enter all of your casings. it is an expensive item but it saves lives. >> we would like to work with you. i want to learn more about it. if you could educate us. >> i really appreciate it. >> that would be great. you said something that really caught my ear. it is something the committee has been looking at and we would really appreciate your help. i was encouraged when you say the statistics that you have at your disposal, you said "we don't want to waste our time on cases that won't be prosecuted." that's true of every law enforcement agency i have ever encountered. there is nothing more frustrating than the men and women who go out there and do the hard work and put a case together and then the prosecutor says it is not as sexy or jury friendly as we hoped it would be. so we're not going to do
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anything here. in order for us to get our arms providing nd that, us -- i think a three-year window unless someone else wants to weigh in here. i don't want to go back 15 years. if you can look back over the past three years and give us some statistics, here is how many straw purchasing cases we had. here is how many not -- i have to push the department of justice to find out what they are actually prosecutoring. they are not going prosecute it so why bother, right? i want to know what those cases are. i want to know what you have given them. the example and the parallel i'm giving is the t.s.a.. t.s.a. i cannot say enough about their instagram account. you want to go see an amazing
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instagram account, go to the t.s.a.. every day they are putting up pictures of guns and other types of weapons and knives and things people are trying to bring on airplanes. when you work with the local law enforcement, when you work with the prosecutors, it is crickets. they almost never prosecute anybody. and my guess is we're having the exact same phenomenon throughout the country with these gun violations. i need exposure to that. that's where your help providing statistics, sooner rather than later. i don't know what time frame to put on that but you said they were fairly easy to put together. can you get back to us in a reasonable time to provide us those statistics? >> mr. chairman, i would be happy to. >> that would be really helpful. we will be having a hearing about this. i need to know that you're perblely involved and engage --
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personally involved and engaged on this and willing to cooperate with us on that investigation? do i have your cooperation on this? >> mr. chairman, you absolutely do and whatever i'm legally allowed to do without getting in a jam with a federal judge, again, i'm all yours to testify. >> i know i said it a couple of times, but you're providing congress the information requested is not making that information public and not only o we not recognize the so to speak but we don't believe it binds you lu i know there are a lot -- but i know there are lots attorneys that will give you advice. we don't think you have to pursuit-sue it in court but if you think you have to, i want to make sure you're at least asking. >> let me say this to you. so often we have these hearings
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and things don't get tied up properly. i just want to you -- let me tell you what i told the chairman a few minutes ago about you. i said i believe this guy is a good guy. and that he may not have fully understood the -- because i do feel your sin air isity. i really do. i have interviewed a lot of witnesses in my career as a lawyer. i just want to thank you for your candor. but i have to tell you something about this guy. he can be kind of nice, but once he thinks you understand him, fury ink you saw some today? gets worse. all i'm saying is that you now -- as best you
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can. ok? >> my former boss said the education of tom brandon continues. meant no disrespect. trying to do the right thing. but hey, obviously it didn't go that well. but i appreciate your comments about me being candid and open. that's my m.o.. >> we also thank you for your service. >> i appreciate that. >> you have been through a lot. you have seen a lot. >> fast and furious, changed my life. i stayed in the game. i stayed in the fight because the men and women of a.t.f. do a vital and important mission of protecting the public. the a.t.f. of 2017 is not the a.t.f. of 2010 when much of this stuff happened. thank you for allowing me to say that. >> thank you very much. >> i want to thank you for your service and your candor. you're earning our respect the proof will be in the pudding as
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we move forward. i believe you too. hopefully we understand each other and d.o.j. understands us as well. back to your service in the united states marines and moving forward, you have done a lot for this nation. put your life on the line on a regular basis which is more than most people do and we admire and i can't say enough about the men and women who also serve with you in doing that because, you know, we're up here wearing tice and are real critical and yet you see the 16-hour days these people put in dealing with the worst scum you can possibly imagine and i want you to know we all recognize that and are grateful that people will step up and do that, not only with a.t.f. but other departments and agencies as well from border patrol to working in the
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prisons. it is tough. it is tough. we don't say or praise people enough for the good work and the sacrifices they make and their families make and their spouses, their kids, their friends, their family, their parents. it is tough. and they do amazing work. we never compensate them enough. but i do hope from time to time we stop and pause and recognize them. again, i think it is one of the beauties of this nation is that we have these kind of candid, really candid discussions, but we have also got a duty to do on both sides of these tables here and so we appreciate you working with us and helping us to ultimately get to the truth and make things better and to mr. horowitz again, the number of people that work with you know how much we appreciate them. thank all the members here today. it is an important topic and something we will continue to follow up on. the committee stands adjourned.
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that yeah don't have the luxury of sitting on decisions for six months, eight monthings before they have to make decisions and i think that they committed to that speed of action. announcer: coming up next, q&a. then, at 7:00 a.m., washington look atis live with a today's headlines and your phone calls. ♪ announcer: this week on "q&a," sandra navidi, founder and ceo of the consulting firm beyond global, she joins us this week to discuss her book, "superhubs: how the financial elite and their networks rule our world." ♪


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