Darrell Issa Puts Details of Secret Wiretap Application in Congressional Record

Darrell Issa Puts Details of Secret Wiretap Applications in Congressional Record

By Jonathan Strong
Roll Call Staff
June 29, 2012, 12:06 p.m.

In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record.
The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe.
The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.
According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.
Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.
The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased.
In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns bought by “straw purchasers” to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.
The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder scene.
Straw purchasers are individuals who buy guns on behalf of criminals, obscuring who is buying the weapons.
While Issa has since said he has obtained a number of wiretap applications, the letter only refers to one, from March 15, 2010. The full application is not included in what Issa entered into the Congressional Record, and names are obscured in Issa’s letter.
In the application, ATF agents included transcripts from a wiretap intercept from a previous Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that demonstrated the suspects were part of a gun-smuggling ring.
“The wiretap affidavit details that agents were well aware that large sums of money were being used to purchase a large number of firearms, many of which were flowing across the border,” the letter says.
The application included details such as how many guns specific suspects had purchased via straw purchasers and how many of those guns had been recovered in Mexico.
It also described how ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.
In at least one instance, the guns were recovered at a police stop at the U.S.-Mexico border the next day.
The application included financial details for four suspected straw purchasers showing they had purchased $373,000 worth of guns in cash but reported almost no income for the previous year, the letter says.
“Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy,” the letter says.

John Mason’s Nugget of the Week, a Heartfelt Prayer from Proverbs 28

Nugget of the Week
A Heartfelt Prayer
from Proverbs 28 for June 28

Lord, I see that wicked people spend their lives running from things that aren’t after them. But, those who are pure and honest in their dealings can always be as bold as a lion. So teach me, Lord, to be a person of understanding who lives a rock-solid life. Keep me from oppressing the poor in any way. I choose never to turn my back on Your Word or praise the wicked. Instead, I’ll follow Your Word and oppose evil people. I will never turn a deaf ear to Your Word, Lord, so my prayers will be pleasing to You.

Lord, let me see today how important it is to have integrity, because it is better to have integrity and be poor than to be evil with great riches. As I seek Your counsel, I want to know what is right. Is there any area of my life today where I lack integrity? Is there anything You want me to change or do differently?

Lord, I commit to follow Your Word and to be a discerning person. Let me see today, Lord, that evil people who make themselves richer by cheating others with excessive interest eventually lose whatever they gained.

Lord, help me to steer good people away from bad choices today. I want to be blameless and receive a good reward from You. As I prosper, help me to avoid becoming wise in my own eyes.

I choose not to cover up my sins today because I won’t prosper if I do that. Rather, I confess and abandon them, asking for Your mercy and forgiveness. I will be reverent to You today and as a result, become a happy, blessed person. Remove from me a hard heart; I don’t want the calamity and trouble arrogance produces.

Lead me away from wicked leaders who take advantage of others. Lord, please help me never to oppress others that I lead. I choose to hate dishonesty and ill-gotten gain. This decision prolongs my life. Help me to walk blamelessly so I will be kept safe. Deliver me from any perverse ways that could make me fall. I choose to work hard with what’s in my hand to do. I don’t chase after unimportant things or play around and by doing that, I’ll keep poverty out of my life.

Lord, I want to be faithful to You and abound with blessings today. Keep me from trying to get rich quick because that will only make me poor. Help me to treat fairly everyone I know. Let me not hesitate when it’s right to correct someone. As hard as it may seem at the moment, I know I’ll find more favor with that person later than I would if I had flattered him or her. I choose to never steal from my mother or father. If I do that, it is like becoming best friends with a criminal.

Remove from me a proud heart that stirs up strife today. Remind me of how foolish it is to depend on my own heart. Rather, let me always trust in You and prosper. Send people into my life who are full of wisdom so I will be kept safe. Finally, Lord, send opportunities my way today to give to the poor, then I will lack nothing in my life.

– John Mason, from the book, Proverbs Prayers

World Billionaires and Barack Obama’s Net Worth

Rank Name Net Worth Age Source Country of Citizenship
Carlos Slim Helu & family
$69 B 72 telecom Mexico
Bill Gates
$61 B 56 Microsoft United States
Warren Buffett
$44 B 81 Berkshire Hathaway United States
Bernard Arnault
$41 B 63 LVMH France
Amancio Ortega
$37.5 B 75 Zara Spain
Larry Ellison
$36 B 67 Oracle United States
Eike Batista
$30 B 55 mining, oil Brazil
Stefan Persson
$26 B 64 H&M Sweden
Li Ka-shing
$25.5 B 83 diversified Hong Kong
Karl Albrecht
$25.4 B 92 Aldi Germany
Christy Walton & family
$25.3 B 57 Wal-Mart United States
Charles Koch
$25 B 76 diversified United States
David Koch
$25 B 71 diversified United States
Sheldon Adelson
$24.9 B 78 casinos United States
Liliane Bettencourt
$24 B 89 L’Oreal France
Jim Walton
$23.7 B 64 Wal-Mart United States
Alice Walton
$23.3 B 62 Wal-Mart United States
S. Robson Walton
$23.1 B 68 Wal-Mart United States
Mukesh Ambani
$22.3 B 54 petrochemicals, oil & gas India
Michael Bloomberg
$22 B 70 Bloomberg LP United States
Lakshmi Mittal
$20.7 B 61 steel India
George Soros
$20 B 81 hedge funds United States
Michele Ferrero & family
$19 B 85 chocolates Italy
Sergey Brin
$18.7 B 38 Google United States
Larry Page
$18.7 B 39 Google United States
Jeff Bezos
$18.4 B 48 Amazon.com United States
Thomas & Raymond Kwok & family
$18.3 B 0 real estate Hong Kong
Alisher Usmanov
$18.1 B 58 steel, telecom, investments Russia
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud
$18 B 57 investments Saudi Arabia
Lee Shau Kee
$18 B 84 diversified Hong Kong
Georgina Rinehart
$18 B 58 Mining Australia
Berthold & Theo Jr. Albrecht
$17.8 B 0 Aldi, Trader Joe’s Germany
Iris Fontbona & family
$17.8 B 69 mining Chile
Michael Otto & family
$17.6 B 68 retail, real estate Germany
David Thomson & family
$17.5 B 54 media Canada
Mark Zuckerberg
$17.5 B 27 Facebook United States
Ricardo Salinas Pliego & family
$17.4 B 56 retail, media Mexico
Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez & family
$16.5 B 80 mining Mexico
Rinat Akhmetov
$16 B 45 steel, coal Ukraine
Cheng Yu-tung
$16 B 86 diversified Hong Kong
Michael Dell
$15.9 B 47 Dell United States
Vladimir Lisin
$15.9 B 55 steel, transport Russia
Azim Premji
$15.9 B 66 software India
Steve Ballmer
$15.7 B 56 Microsoft United States
Alexey Mordashov
$15.3 B 46 steel, investments Russia
Vladimir Potanin
$14.5 B 51 metals Russia
Phil Knight
$14.4 B 74 Nike United States
Paul Allen
$14.2 B 59 Microsoft, investments United States
German Larrea Mota Velasco & family
$14.2 B 58 mining Mexico
Carl Icahn
$14 B 76 leveraged buyouts United States
Birgit Rausing & family
$14 B 88 packaging Sweden
Forrest Mars Jr
$13.8 B 80 candy United States
Jacqueline Mars
$13.8 B 72 candy United States
John Mars
$13.8 B 75 candy United States
Joseph Safra
$13.8 B 73 banking Brazil
Vagit Alekperov
$13.5 B 61 Lukoil Russia
Mikhail Fridman
$13.4 B 47 oil, banking, telecom Russia
Mikhail Prokhorov
$13.2 B 46 investments Russia
Susanne Klatten
$13 B 49 BMW, pharmaceuticals Germany
Francois Pinault & family
$13 B 75 retail France
Mohammed Al Amoudi
$12.5 B 67 oil, diversified Saudi Arabia
Anne Cox Chambers
$12.5 B 92 media United States
John Paulson
$12.5 B 56 hedge funds United States
Robert Kuok
$12.4 B 88 diversified Malaysia
Luis Carlos Sarmiento
$12.4 B 79 banking Colombia
Viktor Vekselberg
$12.4 B 54 oil, metals Russia
Antonio Ermirio de Moraes & family
$12.2 B 83 diversified Brazil
Roman Abramovich
$12.1 B 45 steel, investments Russia
Donald Bren
$12 B 79 real estate United States
Jorge Paulo Lemann
$12 B 72 beer Brazil
Ronald Perelman
$12 B 69 leveraged buyouts United States
Len Blavatnik
$11.9 B 54 diversified United States
Leonid Mikhelson
$11.9 B 56 gas, chemicals Russia
Leonardo Del Vecchio
$11.5 B 76 eyewear Italy
John Fredriksen
$11.3 B 67 shipping Cyprus
Aliko Dangote
$11.2 B 54 sugar, flour, cement Nigeria
Stefan Quandt
$11.2 B 45 BMW Germany
Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor & family
$11 B 60 real estate United Kingdom
Harold Hamm
$11 B 66 oil & gas United States
Savitri Jindal & family
$10.9 B 62 steel India
Andrey Melnichenko
$10.8 B 40 coal, fertilizers Russia
James Simons
$10.7 B 73 hedge funds United States
Ernesto Bertarelli & family
$10.6 B 46 biotech, investments Switzerland
Jack Taylor & family
$10.4 B 89 Enterprise Rent-A-Car United States
Abigail Johnson
$10.3 B 50 Fidelity United States
Robin Li
$10.2 B 43 Technology China
Eliodoro, Bernardo & Patricia Matte
$10.2 B 0 paper Chile
Ray Dalio
$10 B 62 hedge funds United States
George Kaiser
$10 B 69 oil & gas, banking United States
Johanna Quandt
$10 B 85 BMW Germany
Hans Rausing
$10 B 86 packaging Sweden
Tadashi Yanai & family
$10 B 63 retail Japan
Serge Dassault & family
$9.9 B 86 aviation France
Ananda Krishnan
$9.9 B 73 telecoms Malaysia
Klaus-Michael Kuhne
$9.8 B 74 shipping Germany
Pallonji Mistry
$9.7 B 82 construction Ireland
Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila
$9.5 B 35 beer Colombia
Horst Paulmann & family
$9.3 B 77 retail Chile
Gennady Timchenko
$9.1 B 59 oil & gas Russia
Laurene Powell Jobs & family
$9 B 48 Apple, Disney United States


How much does Barack Obama make?
$10.5 Million
Barack Obama’s Annual Salary
$400 Thousand
Barack Obama is the former Senator from Illinois and the 44th President of the United States with an estimated net worth of $10.5 million. Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate, and is the first African American President of the United States. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. While at Harvard Law School, he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. During law school, Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago. After graduation Obama worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago. From 1992 to 2004 Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. One of the events that brought him national attention was his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States in November 2008, and took office in January 2009.


Preamble the United States Constitution


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


(From We the People: Presidential Quotations and Milestone Documents by Day Williams.)

House Spanks Holder


House holds Holder in contempt over ‘Fast and Furious’ documents

The House on Thursday cited Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for contempt of Congress in a historic vote weighted with political significance, though it does little to break the stalemate over his decision to withhold documents over the Justice Department’s actions in a botched gun-walking operation.

The 255-67 vote amounted to a political spanking for Mr. Holder and President Obama, and 17 Democrats joined with Republicans in demanding the documents be released. Most Democrats, however, walked out in protest of the vote.

It marks the first time an attorney general has been held in contempt by a chamber.

But the White House dismissed the proceedings as a sideshow, and the vote does nothing to break the impasse, though it further poisoned feelings in an already bitterly divided chamber.

“No Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

Democrats pleaded with the Republicans to slow down the proceedings, saying the oversight committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, has done a shoddy job in putting together its investigation.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, even introduced a resolution demanding that the House reprimand Mr. Issa for partisanship and accusing him of having “engaged in a witch hunt.”

Many Democrats walked out of the contempt vote in protest, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the vote was a black eye for the Republicans.

“Just when you think you have seen it all. Just when you think they couldn’t possibly go any further over the edge, they come up with something like this,” she said. “What is happening here is shameful.”

Democrats also tried to force the matter back into Mr. Issa’s committee, but the House defeated that motion.

As issue is the oversight committee’s investigation into Fast and Furious, an operation intended to track sales of U.S. guns and watch the guns be shipped across the border to a Mexican drug cartel, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lost track of the roughly 2,000 weapons after they were sold.

Some of the guns eventually began showing up at crime scenes, including two that were recovered at the site of a 2010 Arizona shootout that left Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry dead.

Mr. Holder shut down the operation, but his efforts to clean up after it have come under scrutiny. The Justice Department initially told Congress it never knowingly lost track of guns, but after whistleblowers made it clear that this was false, Mr. Holder had to withdraw that claim.

The Justice Department has turned over documents about the actual gun-walking operation, but have refused to turn over documents about how it handled the false information it provided to Congress. Last week President Obama asserted executive privilege, arguing those documents are protected by precedent that governs internal deliberations.

Democrats said they aren’t defending the gun-walking operation, but said the committee should leave Mr. Holder alone.

A Plea for Justice

As a working solo attorney, I see many conscientious judges who strive to be fair. Unfortunately, I do see cases where judges bow to big firms and defer to anything a big firm lawyer tells them, no matter how far-fetched it is.

I plea for judges to earn their ample pay by reading my humble pleadings and the pleadings of my colleagues who may not belong to big law firms, even when we “small-time lawyers” come from out of town. Judges have sworn an oath of office. They are required to follow the law. “Law” means the statutes and the cases as applied to the facts presented. Judges are to ignore the personalities involved and the so-called “status” of the parties and their lawyers. I plea for judges to read, to listen, to think, to stay independent, to do justice and to earn their salaries and benefits.

Preamble to the United States Constitution


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


(From We the People: Presidential Quotations and Milestone Documents by Day Williams.)

Group files City Center petition

Thursday, June 28, 2012
4,559 signatures are submitted
By Geoff Dornan
Organizers demanding a vote to block the use of public money for the proposed City Center Project filed 4,559 signatures Wednesday with the Carson City Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

That is well over the 2,935 valid voters’ signatures needed to put the question on the November ballot, but Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover said that declaration won’t be official until he and his staff verify at least that many signatures of registered voters.

Organizers of the drive, led by attorney Day Williams, presented the signatures to Glover and Elections Division officials in two thick binders that they said totaled 672 pages.

Williams and Dennis Johnson said their best estimate is that 80 percent of those who signed the petitions oppose using public money to build the city’s portion of the $28 million project, dubbed the Knowledge + Discovery Center.

“That was my sense going door to door, and other people’s sense,” Williams said.

The group wants voters to have a chance to vote up or down on this proposition: “No public funding shall be used for the proposed Carson City Center Project (commonly known as the Nugget Economic Development Project or the Nugget Project) without a majority vote of the people approving such public funding.”

The members of the Petitioners’ Committee are Linda Barnett, Dennis E. Johnson, James Lee Bagwell, Clarence “Bud” Southard and Day R. Williams. Carson resident Fred Voltz gathered the most signatures for the committee. Former Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira also gathered signatures.

Johnson said that while gathering signatures in recent weeks, and even until Wednesday, he was continually surprised by the number of people who aren’t even aware of the project and its potential impact on downtown.

The proposed project has been scaled down over the years from a sprawling $100 million business/retail/library/residential plan to its current iteration — an upgraded library (the K+D Center) and a large outdoor plaza. The Carson Nugget casino and the Mae Adams Foundation, named for the widow of former Nugget owner Hop Adams, have agreed to donate the land for the project, along with $5 million toward its cost.

Steve Neighbors, the casino chief and administrator of the trust, has commissioned a telephone poll in Carson City as a way to inform residents of his motives and hopes for the City Center. But the issue remains controversial, with opponents questioning the need for a new library and the proposed quarter-cent sales tax that would fund the city’s portion of the cost.

To get the “no public money without a vote” issue on the ballot, the group had to collect signatures totaling at least 15 percent of the total number of Carson residents who voted in the last general election. In all, 19,569 voted in the 2010 election, so the group needed at least 2,935 valid signatures.

Glover said the process now is to randomly sample 500 of those signatures to see whether they are, indeed, those of registered Carson City voters. If there are that many in the sample, the petition goes forward. If 90 percent of the signatures or more are valid, a full count may be necessary to decide. If the percentage of valid signers is below 90 percent, the petition drive fails.

Glover said that judging by what was submitted Wednesday, he is confident the group will get its question on the ballot.

Petitioners Barnett and Williams said they went through the signatures and verified every one against the list of Carson City’s registered voters.

“We have done our own verification with the voter lists,” Williams said.

Glover said the verification process would take a couple of days.

Good to remember and apply: The United States Bill of Rights

United States Bill of Rights
First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Second Amendment – Militia (United States), Sovereign state, Right to keep and bear arms.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.[5]
Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Tenth Amendment – Powers of States and people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Nugget Project ballot question petition submitted to clerk

Nugget Project ballot question petition submitted to clerk


The people behind the petition effort to force the Carson City Center aka Nugget Project on the ballot submitted 4,559 signatures to the Carson City Clerk-Recorder’s office for verification this morning.

The group needs have have 2,935 signatures verified by the clerk to qualify the petition. Day Williams, an attorney who is part of the petitioners’ group, said they did their own verification check of the signatures against the voter rolls and are confident they have more than enough to qualify.

The question asks Carson City voters if they want the Nugget Project to be approved by a vote of the people.

Once verified, the petition question would then go to the Board of Supervisors, who can choose to enact the question as an ordinance. If they don’t, then it would automatically go on the ballot in November.

Last week, the supervisors approved their own ballot question for the Nugget Project, asking voters to approve a 1/4 cent sales tax increase to fund the $28 million effort to construct a knowledge and discovery center on land behind the Carson Nugget.

Sonia Taggart, who serves on the Carson City Library Foundation Board, said they would have to wait to see how the process of this ballot question petition plays out.

“We would prefer to see one question on the ballot so the people better understand it.” Taggart said. “People might get confused seeing both of these questions on the ballot at the same time.”