Monday, April 16, 2012

Janet Napolitano at UCLA

Gary Fouse

"I love the way you roll your eyes."

Tonight Janet Napolitano spoke at UCLA, and yours truly was in attendance. Let me sum up her speech in one word:


Yes, it was a classic, read from the rostrum, bureaucratic info blurb on what a great job the Department of Homeland Security is doing. She read through a list of new initiatives, full of acronyms I had never heard of. The young student sitting next to me fell asleep. I don't blame him. Janet basically lost the audience in the first 10 minutes. She talked about international cooperation. She talked about seeking great jobs in government. At least she didn't mention, "If you see something, say something."

Outside a group of no borders folks were chanting in protest. About ten of them came into the hall, and during the Q and A, stood up and did a neat imitation of the Irvine 11.

"Education. Not deportation". Then they left. Unfortunately, no arrests were made. What would they do, for crying out loud? They would have had to turn them over to Janet for deportation.

Did I mention LA Sheriff to the Stars Lee "Footballhead" Baca was there? He makes all these events looking for people to shake hands with.

"I don't think that's funny."

But let's get to the crux of the matter. During the Q and A, someone handed me the mic and here was my question: I identified myself a as retired DEA agent, and that my question was in connection with Operation Fast and Furious. I told Napolitano that during my career I had had occasion to work with ATF, and in my mind, there was no way any street agent could have concocted Fast and Furious. In my mind, this scheme  originated in the highest levels of the Justice Department. I then mentioned that one or possibly two of her own agents had been killed by guns linked to Fast and Furious (Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata). I went on that she had told Congress that she had no discussions with Eric Holder about Fast and Furious since the scandal broke. I finally said that, with all due respect, if it had been my agents who were killed, I would be pounding on Eric Holder's desk demanding answers, and I wanted to know why she had not.

In her answer, Napolitano briefly summarized Fast and Furious and described it as an operation in which there was insufficient control. She referred to controlled deliveries and (correctly) assumed that in DEA I had participated in controlled drug deliveries (under surveillance to arrest the ultimate recipients). She stated that she would not get into her conversations with Holder, but that the investigation was in the hands of the Inspector General of the DOJ. At that, I rolled my eyes, and she made a caustic comment, "You can roll your eyes"...

She was not amused.

But I was.

It was a weak response. Control? What control? There was no control. This was nowhere near a controlled delivery. The guns were allowed to cross the border and disappear into Mexico. She wasn't going to go into her conversations with Eric Holder? According to her testimony before Congress, there have been no discussions. And that reference to the inspector general was a joke. That is the same inspector general who is holding on to 80,000 documents requested by Congress.

That was it, crime fighters. There was absolutely nothing else of interest said. It was nothing more than an off-the-shelf stump speech that bored the audience. For me, it was a chance to tell Napolitano what I have been writing in print for months.

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