As usual, Sipsey Street continues to peel back the onion's layers. In particular, think about former Phoenix, AZ William Newell. During the Bush administration, Newell was in the middle of a much smaller operation with much tighter restrictions that had the potential to allow guns to 'walk' into Mexico but e-mails between Newell and then ATF superior Billy Hoover showed that the US Attorneys Office was not giving the green light.
From the AP via Sipsey Street:
“Have we discussed the strategy with the US Attorney’s Office re letting the guns walk?” headquarters official William Hoover asked in an Oct. 4, 2007 email to William Newell, then ATF’s special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division.Subsequent to this, word came down that no guns would be allowed to 'walk' into Mexico. This apparently seriously agitated SAC William Newell:
“Do we have this approval in writing?” asked Hoover. “Have we discussed and thought thru the consequences of same? Are we tracking south of the border? Same re US Attorney’s Office. Did we find out why they missed the hand-off of the vehicle?”
On Oct. 6, Newell, the Phoenix SAC, wrote Carroll: “I think we both understand the extremely positive potential for a case such as this but at this point I’m so frustrated with this whole mess I’m shutting the case down and any further attempts to do something similar. We’re done trying to pursue new and innovative initiatives — it’s not worth the hassle.”This leads us to the relationship between State Department employee Kevin O'Reilly and Newell. It is beginning to look like Newell found a much more sympathetic ear with O'Reilly in the Obama administration than he did from Hoover at the ATF under the Bush administration. That could be why Darrell Issa of the House Oversight committee wants all email correspondence between O'Reilly and Newell between March 16, 2009 - March 19, 2009.
Newell, as the special agent in charge of the Phoenix division, was at the center of Operation Fast and Furious. He has acknowledged that mistakes were made in the agency’s handling of the operation, and has been reassigned to a Washington headquarters job.
Although Newell didn't have the power to sign off on Fast and Furious, evidence points to him convincing others to sign off on it so that the 90% lie could become more credible. In 2007, Newell demonstrated he wasn't brash enough to let guns 'walk' without some sort of approval. Perhaps the notion that Newell's plan would help the administration push the '90% of guns originate in the US' meme helped his superiors sign off on his boneheaded plan. According to the AP article, it was the US Attorneys Office that put up the final roadblock before Newell's plan died. Since there was no roadblock for his boneheaded plan this time around, who gave the final sign off?
Remember, O'Reilly is not just a White House employee; he's a state department employee. That puts him squarely inside HIllary Clinton's circle.
As Sipsey Street aptly points out, what was supposed to be White House spin in the form of an Associated Press article, inadvertently provided more pieces to the puzzle.
Parting thought: If Newell is having nightmares about being set up as the fall guy here, those nightmares are probably more than just a little warranted. Of all of the people who testified in front of congressional committees about Fast and Furious, Newell embarrassed himself the most - even more than Holder when the AG said he'd only learned about Fast and Furious a 'few weeks' earlier. This administration is going to continue getting increasingly desperate for an out. Scapegoating Newell could one day be perceived as the best of nothing but bad options. Surely, Newell must see this. If he does, he should come forward with what he knows ASAP. Then again, if the idea for Fast and Furious actually originated with him, immunity from prosecution might not be an option for him.
Read it all.