Chaffetz: Why won’t the White House let us talk to Fast & Furious witness?

posted at 9:51 am on April 9, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

A duly constituted Congressional panel has requested to speak to a material witness in an ongoing investigation.  The witness himself has indicated through his attorney that he’s willing to testify under oath.  So what could possibly go wrong?  Well, in this White House … plenty.  The House Oversight Committee has requested that the Obama administration make former National Security staffer Kevin O’Reilly available for testimony to explain a series of e-mail exchanges in Operation Fast and Furious in order to determine just how far up the chain knowledge of the operation went in the Obama administration.  The White House has refused to make him available, even though O’Reilly has already agreed to testify, and that has Rep. Jason Chaffetz angry:

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz told the Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly on Friday that although a key White House witness in the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program is willing to testify about what he knows, the Obama administration won’t let him appear before Congress.

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter Thursday to Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, refusing their request to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security staff member whose emails place him in the middle of the unfolding scandal. Issa and Grassley had written to Ruemmler on March 28, asking the White House to step aside and let O’Reilly talk to investigators. …

During his time at the White House, records show, O’Reilly carried on an email conversation with Frank Newell, then the head of the Phoenix field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Their emails suggest that Newell was directly briefing O’Reilly on Fast and Furious.

In one email, Newell wrote to O’Reilly, “You didn’t get this from me,” indicating that he may have been subverting the established chain of command within the Department of Justice, which oversees ATF.

In another, Newell said, “Just don’t want ATF HQ to find out, especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you!).”

Say, remember when this was going to be the most open and transparent administration in American history? Good times, good times. Presumably, the White House would have no problem arranging O’Reilly’s testimony if he had nothing important to say. The person on the other end of the e-mail conversation, Frank Newell, got a sudden case of amnesia about the import of these exchanges when he testified, and if that’s all O’Reilly has to add, it would be foolish for the White House to block access to him. Intervening in this manner looks very suspicious indeed, and the longer the White House fights over O’Reilly, the more it looks like O’Reilly might have something very, very interesting to add to the Fast & Furious investigation.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

What a waste!!!! Another USELESS CONGRESSMAN looking for publicity. Taxpayers money down the drain.

0bamaderangementsyndrom on April 9, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Othisjustproveshowderangedmysyndromis!

KOOLAID2 on April 9, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Blocking and tackling drills by the MSM in aid of Obama will turn into pretzles ensuring that this story never fully develops.

Not this year, not any year.

Sacramento on April 9, 2012 at 3:40 PM

So F&F made that mexican a criminal & murder? So you are saying gangsters sit around depending on gov for their guns? Yeah like they can’t get guns any other way.

0bamaderangementsyndrom on April 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

OlookovertherebythedoorisAdrunksquirrel!

KOOLAID2 on April 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM

So F&F made that mexican a criminal & murder? So you are saying gangsters sit around depending on gov for their guns? Yeah like they can’t get guns any other way. 0bamaderangementsyndrom on April 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Anyone who supplies guns to criminals can use that excuse.

What a complete moral imbecile you are.

Akzed on April 9, 2012 at 3:50 PM

F&F was hatched under Clinton…purely an anti-gun move since the Brady organization was not doing so well statistically once states started allowing open/concealed carry and saw crime stats go down. So they needed to set-up a scenario to highlight gun crimes. A few dead agents was merely “collateral damage”.

It’s not unlike rigging explosives to a pick-up truck’s gas tank, deleting a few sentences from a racially charged 911 call or sending a reporter to China to show abuses at a factory that didn’t produce IPhones…the end justifies the means.

teejk on April 9, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Question: Anyone have an idea, or legal explaination, as to why Congressman Issa has not subpoened the Gun Store owner’s to testify what the ATF told them?

MR. ARIZONA on April 9, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Impeach!

(Just being concise)

didymus on April 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Remember that? No, didn’t think so either! Nice seeing the focus on the economy GOP. I see how F&F is going to fill my tank with blood and drive the rest of the summer!

0bamaderangementsyndrom on April 9, 2012 at 2:45 PM

This $hit seriously doesn’t matter at all to you?
Why can’t we talk about a lawless POTUS & his Admin?
Isn’t this a dangerous thing?
We all know why gas is more expensive.
Get rid of the EPA.
You’ll see fuel prices go down some.

Badger40 on April 9, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Why doesn’t Romney want to talk about Mormonism?

liberal4life on April 9, 2012 at 9:55 AM

After the election….Romney will has more flexibility..

Electrongod on April 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM

I’m no Romney fan, but I am a fan of this comment!

didymus on April 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM

So F&F made that mexican a criminal & murder? So you are saying gangsters sit around depending on gov for their guns? Yeah like they can’t get guns any other way.

0bamaderangementsyndrom on April 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Heh. Now the Libtards are blaming the criminals for their behavior, and not the guns?

Score one for the NRA!

nukemhill on April 9, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Well i don’t recall seeing you caring when Cheney was breaking various international laws.

Uppereastside on April 9, 2012 at 11:56 AM

You mean when his administration broke international (and US) law by destabilizing the country right across the border, by facilitating the sales of weapons to violent international drug cartels? And when his administration stonewalled the resulting Congressional investigation? Oh, wait a second, my bad. That was the OBAMA administration that did that.

SubmarineDoc on April 9, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Liberal4Life won’t be back.
Ed Morrissey on April 9, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Bless you
Roy Rogers on April 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Meh. It will be back in the next ill-advised and unmonitored flurry of pre-announced open registrations, along with even more trolls and Mobys who will immediately proceed to grunt ‘em out for 5/6 months before they’re even noticed by TPTB.

whatcat on April 10, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3