From: C-SPAN.com | June 18, 2011
Law enforcement and terrorism programs examined.
A number of events this past week examined terrorism and law enforcement issues facing the United States.
Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee held the second in a series of hearings on "Islamic radicalization" in the United States. The committee focused on the radicalization of prisoners, including discussions on various cases from the states of New York and California.
Witnesses at the hearing included law enforcement and an official from a U.S. attorney's office.
A previous hearing in March by the House Homeland Security Committee focused on radicalization in the American Muslim community.
Recently, Secretary Napolitano set up a Department of Homeland Security task force to review and assess Islamic radicalization in the U.S. prison system.
“Fast and Furious”
The top lawmaker on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee held two hearings on a controversial program intended to curb the illegal flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels.
The program “Operation Fast and Furious” was initiated under Project Gunrunner, which was operated by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agency. "Fast and Furious" allowed gun stores near the Mexican border to sell semiautomatic weapons in bulk to straw purchasers. ATF agents would then track their journey. Many of the guns were linked to crimes, including the killing of a Border Patrol agent.
ATF Agent John Dodson told Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) at the hearing that ATF stopped tracking the weapons once they traveled too far from the border. He said ATF lost track of 1500 - 1800 weapons.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the Chair of the Committee, Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released a report on the program, which says border patrol and ATF agents were told to "surveil" weapons and not interdict. It also said agents warned of devastating consequences, including criminal activity, but supervisors ignored their warnings.
Dodson said, "Every time we questioned that order, there was punitive action."
Monday’s hearing examined the constitutional role of the Justice Department to respond to subpoenas.
Issa issued a subpoena on March 31, 2011 to acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson to determine what he knew and if he signed off on the program. Rep. Issa said the Department of Justice is refusing to provide the committee with information. Issa said the administration ignored committee requests for documents on “Fast and Furious."