Friday, January 20, 2012

When a Prosecutor takes the Fifth

The Examiner
William Heuisler

That single action turns our Justice system upside down.

 Certain officials - Prosecutors, Judges and Policemen - are held to a higher standard because they have the power to imprison the rest of us. What are we to think when a Federal Prosecutor refuses to aid a Federal Investigation that will prosecute smugglers, liars, and murderers?

 On January 19th, 2012, the chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona refused to testify before Congress about Operation Fast and Furious - a part of Attorney General Eric Holder’s “Project Gunrunner” - the gun-running scheme that smuggled thousands of combat weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and was the proximate cause of the murder of an American Law Enforcement officer.

 Patrick J. Cunningham, Arizona Chief Criminal Investigator for the United States Attorney’s Office in Phoenix is hiding behind the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution that states “...nor shall any person…be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. US Attorney Cunningham as much as said he will not answer questions about Fast and Furious because his answers might tend to incriminate him. He responded to the Congressional subpoena through his lawyer.

US Attorney Cunningham was ordered on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 to appear before the House Oversight Committee regarding his leadership in Arizona’s Operation Fast and Furious that sent more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa drug smuggling Cartel. His participation in the gunrunning operation was evident through testimony of witnesses like Kenneth Melson (Serrano, 2011) ex-ATF Director, and presence in meetings about Project Gunrunner:

 ( According to Senator Charles Grassley’s June 15, 2011 congressional testimony the “Southwest Border Strategy Group” met on October 27, 2009 to discuss Operation Gunrunner, and smuggling guns into Mexico. Present were, Assistant AG Lanny Breuer, Kenneth Melson, Director, ATF, William Hoover, Deputy Director, ATF, Michele Leonhart, DEA, Robert Mueller, Director FBI, Justice Department Directors of - Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals – US Attorneys of four Border States and Todd Jones, Chairman of Eric Holder’s Advisory Committee. (Owens, 2011)

The “Southwest Border Strategy Group” purpose was self-evident: Set goals and methods (strategies) for F&F on the Southwest (Arizona) border.

Tucson District Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry, was killed with a military-grade assault weapon smuggled to criminals with the aid and approval of the ATF and the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona.

US Attorney Cunningham is either admitting guilt, or protecting the guilty.

Owens, B. (2011). Pajamas Media. Email confirms “Gunwalker” known throughout Justice Department.

Serrano, R. (2011). Los Angeles Times. Angry Former ATF Chief blames subordinates for Fast and Furious.

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