ATF official: I told the White House about Fast & Furious

posted at 10:45 am on July 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

What did Barack Obama know about Operation Fast and Furious, and when did he know it?  Rep. Darrell Issa’s committee uncovered an explosive nugget of information from the subpoena of ATF e-mail, which went public in yesterday’s hearings.  The ATF manager of the Phoenix office notified a White House official of Operation Fast and Furious as an update on the overall Project Gunrunner effort, connecting the controversial operation directly to the White House for the first time:

At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing. …

Congressional investigators obtained an email from Newell to O’Reilly in September of last year in which Newell began with the words: “you didn’t get this from me.”

“What does that mean,” one member of Congress asked Newell, ” ‘you didn’t get this from me?’ ”

“Obviously he was a friend of mine,” Newell replied, “and I shouldn’t have been sending that to him.”

Issa asked him why O’Reilly would have been asking about Project Gunrunner, the overall interdictment effort, but that’s fairly clear.  As a national-security advisor with responsibility for North America, the cartels in Mexico would be one of the primary threats O’Reilly would watch.  O’Reilly told Newell that he planned to travel to Mexico to work on the issue, which would explain the need for an update.

What’s less clear is why Newell informed him with the caveat “you didn’t get this from me”.  Why wouldn’t the ATF report on Fast and Furious results to the White House when asked?  Was Newell told to avoid linking the operation directly to the White House, or was the ATF worried about the implications of the operation even before it blew up in their faces?  Given the hostility towards Congressional oversight already demonstrated at the ATF and Department of Justice during this investigation, this looks like even more evidence that the Obama administration let the ATF run wild, perhaps on purpose.

The more important question will be who O’Reilly told at the White House about the operation.  Clearly, O’Reilly wanted the information to prepare for key meetings on a very sensitive subject.  It’s hard to believe that O’Reilly would have kept that information to himself.  Issa’s committee needs to get O’Reilly into the hearing and on the record, and it may be time to subpoena some White House records, too.

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piglet on July 27, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Thank you.

Watch this issue evolve in the coming days.

Key West Reader on July 27, 2011 at 5:53 PM

novaculus on July 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Thanks for the additional detail. That fleshes it out quite well

a capella on July 27, 2011 at 6:17 PM

(PJM)Yet Again, MSM Repeats the ’90 Percent Lie’

This time, it’s Hearst reporter Dan Freedman not doing his homework before repeating widely debunked statistics.

Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle printed a story by Hearst reporter Dan Freedman which uncritically regurgitated a Democratic press release from June 13 as the latest news. It included the “I told you so” arrogance one should expect from today’s under-educated class of journalist, stating:

In response to a query from Feinstein, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported last month that of the 29,284 weapons recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing in 2009 and 2010, a total of 20,504 — 70 percent — were “United States-sourced firearms.” Virtually all of the remaining weapons were not traceable because insufficient information was submitted.

PJM readers know exactly what’s happening here: it’s the “90 percent lie,” again.

All of Freedman’s “content” comes from a dishonest claim made in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s dishonest June 13 press release.

President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton originally championed the 90 percent lie. Which has now become the 70 percent lie, which is better, but still not close to the eight percent truth.

Meanwhile, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has run guns to one cartel, and Hillary Clinton’s State Department has sold military weaponry to another. Don’t expect Freedman to report on those stories accurately either, if at all.

NMRN123 on July 27, 2011 at 6:30 PM

President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton originally championed the 90 percent lie. Which has now become the 70 percent lie, which is better, but still not close to the eight percent truth.

Meanwhile, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has run guns to one cartel, and Hillary Clinton’s State Department has sold military weaponry to another. Don’t expect Freedman to report on those stories accurately either, if at all.

Hmmmm….maybe in addition to getting guns out of AMERICAN hands the WH was hoping the cartels would kill each other off…..too Machiavellian? Personally I wouldn’t put anything past Obama, Clinton or Holder! ANYTHING!

Vntnrse on July 28, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3