Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Former ATF SAC William Newell Continues Digging his own Hole

While Attorney General Eric Holder continues to rack up congressional opposition to his continuing in his current role - Michele Bachmann is the latest congressman to call for him to step down over Fast and Furious - the individual who is increasingly finding himself at the center of the disastrous operation is none other than former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) in Phoenix, William Newell. In fact, no one looked worse than Newell when the DOJ dumped documents about operation Wide Receiver, which was a much smaller and more controlled operation under the Bush administration, in an attempt to take a little heat off by pointing to a previous administration. Newell's fingerprints were on that operation as well.

Now Sipsey Street has made life even a little more difficult for Newell by posting the contents of a phone conversation the former SAC had with a gun store owner right around the time of Border Agent Brian Terry's death, though likely a day or so before. At issue in the conversation is a Washington Post article that names various gun store owners whose guns are the object of the most government traces. The store owner in this conversation is named Mike Detty and called Newell, in part, because of the story. Though Detty wasn't named in the article, he told Newell that the reporter contacted him. He then told Newell that the reporter told him Newell was her source. Newell vehemently denies that he told the reporter Detty was one of those owners who'd experienced a high number of traces. One of the reasons for this very well may have been because it would have been illegal for Newell to leak such information.

Sipsey Street points out that the Tiahrt Amendment makes it a crime to leak information about gun tracing information relative to gun store owners.

According to SS, Newell is guilty of committing a federal crime if he leaked trace data to the Washington Post. Based on the hot water Newell is already in, this would certainly compound his problems.

As if that weren't enough, Detty was one of the store owners involved in Operation Wide Receiver, the Fast and Furious predecessor. At the end of the conversation between he and Newell, they discuss it. Detty expressed frustration with the lack of prosecutions in Wide Receiver. Newell then explains there haven't been any because there is "another thing going on right now." That "other thing" has to be Fast and Furious.

With the mounting - and increasingly insurmountable - evidence against Newell, the pressure being applied to him not to talk with Oversight committee investigators has got to be tremendous.

CLICK HERE for the audio of the conversation. CLICK HERE for the transcript.

This poses another problem for Newell as well. On June 26th, he testified in front of the House Oversight Committee and had this exchange with Chairman Darrell Issa:
Issa:Your agents...who became whistleblowers, have told us you were letting guns walk. It's only you... and other people at Justice who continue to come before this committee and say we don't let guns walk. Are they lying or are you lying?

Newell: Sir, it's my opinion that we did not let guns walk.
Based on the fact that Newell engaged in a discussion about Wide Receiver with Detty, it would appear that he perjured himself in that exchange. Making this matter worse is the fact that the Democrats are hanging their hats on Wide Receiver being a gun-walking operation.

Here is another exchange on June 26th between Newell and Oversight Committee member, Patrick Meehan:

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