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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ruh Roh: Friday Night Document Drop from White House in Fast and Furious

I think it's safe to say that thanks to the internet, Friday night document dumps ain't what they used to be. In fact, they may actually be counter-productive because they raise even more red flags. Nonetheless, Sharyl Attkisson at CBS is reporting that the White House has released e-mails that show much more contact between ATF Special Agent in Charge William Newell and White House National Security staffer, Kevin O'Reilly. Back on July 26th, at a House Oversight Committee hearing, Newell downplayed any contact with O'Reilly.

Via CBS:
WASHINGTON - Late Friday, the White House turned over new documents in the Congressional investigation into the ATF "Fast and Furious" gunwalking scandal.

The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell - who led Fast and Furious - and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O'Reilly are long time friends.
If you remember, at the hearing, Newell was confronted by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) about an e-mail he sent to O'Reilly that started with the phrase, 'You didn't get this from me.'

Though the e-mails released by the White House Friday night did not consist of any smoking guns, they did produce some new leads and apparently the name of an operation that seemed to run in conjunction with Fast and Furious, called 'Wide Receiver.' Once again, however, the White House has stonewalled another request from the committee, which had asked to meet with O'Reilly by September 30th. White House response? No dice.
Among the documents produced: an email in which ATF's Newell sent the White House's O'Reilly an "arrow chart reflecting the ultimate destination of firearms we intercepted and/or where the guns ended up." The chart shows arrows leading from Arizona to destinations all over Mexico.

In response, O'Reilly wrote on Sept. 3, 2010 "The arrow chart is really interesting - and - no surprise - implies at least that different (Drug Trafficking Organizations) in Mexico have very different and geographically distinct networks in the US for acquiring guns. Did last year's TX effort develop a similar graphic?"

The White House counsel who produced the documents stated that some records were not included because of "significant confidentiality interests."

Also included are email photographs including images of a .50 caliber rifle that Newell tells O'Reilly "was purchased in Tucson, Arizona (part of another OCDTF case)." OCDTF is a joint task force that operates under the Department of Justice and includes the US Attorneys, ATF, DEA, FBI, ICE and IRS. Fast and Furious was an OCDTF case. An administration source would not describe the Tucson OCDTF case. However, CBS News has learned that ATF's Phoenix office led an operation out of Tucson called "Wide Receiver." Sources claim ATF allowed guns to "walk" in that operation, much like Fast and Furious.

Congressional investigators for Republicans Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have asked to interview O'Reilly by September 30. But the Administration informed them that O'Reilly is on assignment for the State Department in Iraq and unavailable.
Wouldn't you love to know what 'significant confidentiality interests' the White House is trying to protect relative to the additional e-mails? They didn't seem all that worried about 'confidentiality interests' when the IG handed over audio recordings between ATF lead case agent Hope McAllister and Lone Wolf gun store owner Andre Howard, to the US Attorney's Office in Arizona.

drip, drip, drip...

UPDATE: Click HERE to see the letter from White House to Issa and Grassley.

h/t Sipsey Street

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