During today’s Oversight hearing, the Former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division admitted to the Congressional Committee that the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agencies all knew about—and participated in—Operation Fast and Furious. Does William Newell’s testimony blow the Gunwalker scandal wide open and threaten to topple the Obama administration? It not, it bloody well should . . .
Newell’s admission further undermines any claim from the White House that Department of Justice jefe Eric Holder knew nothing about guns allowed to flow to the Mexican drug cartels.
In fact, today’s testimony revealed a direct connection between the ATF’s Fast and Furious gunwalking ops and the White House. CBS News reports that Newell and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly were BFFs. Sharing info on the ATF’s gunwalking.
Exactly what wasn’t revealed, but Newell said he gave O’Reilly the 411 on the anti-gun smuggling gun smuggling program, which armed drug thugs who shot U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.
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.”
Newell told Congress that O’Reilly had asked him for information.
“Why do you think he asked for that information,” Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked Newell.
“He was asking about the impact of Project Gunrunner to brief people in preparation for a trip to Mexico… what we were doing to combat firearms trafficking and other issues.”
Click here for the email from Newell to O’Reilly. Are we to believe O’Reilly didn’t brief the President of the United States about Fast and Furious, involving as it did four (and counting) federal agencies? In fact, I’d bet dollars to donuts that President Obama knew about/approved the ATF’s ill-fated “sting ops” sometime around this press conference in May 2010.
Skip ahead to 27:00, where the Prez says “I” directed “my” Department of Homeland Security, ATF and “all our various other various agencies that have responsibilities in these areas” to “ramp-up” and “all our efforts at interdicting” the flow of cash and weapons southwards.
Obama promised to crack down on “illegal gun dealers selling guns into Mexico”? The same gun dealers who warned the ATF about potential firearms smugglers only to be told to let the guns go through? The gall of these people.
Anyway, today, White House immediately switched into full Nixon-mode: deny, deny, deny. Or, as CBS put it, “a White House spokesman said [Newell's] email [to the White House National Security Director for North America] was not about Fast and Furious, but about other gun trafficking efforts.”
Such as? While we await an answer to that question (as if), Gunwalker has broken into the mainstream media. And they’re finally starting to get it right. Well, almost.
The role of officially-sanctioned U.S. military and law enforcement sales in arming the Mexican drug cartels has yet to see the light of day. But I’m growing increasingly optimistic it will.
Meanwhile, as our Daniel Zimmerman wrote in a recent email to TTAG HQ, “Issa’s hearings and the drip drip drip of new revelations have taken it to a different level. It’s beyond the admin’s control. If Obama has any sense at all, (big if) Holder needs to spend more time with the family. Soon.”
Agreed. If Barack Obama doesn’t cauterize this wound, it will be the end of his presidency.