It’s getting harder and harder to keep up pretenses at the ATF. One feint they’d been doggedly clinging to is the story that William Newell, who had been named the rogue agency’s attaché to Mexico City, has way too much on his plate obfuscating and covering up assisting with the Congressional investigation into Fast and Furious to actually get himself down to Mexico. The real reason, of course, was that, given Newell’s former position as head of the ATF’s Phoenix office during their gun-running salad days, he ran a real risk of being arrested and tried by the Mexican government if he actually put so much as a toe south of the border…

But you can only tell that “gosh, he’s just so busy” lie so many times before even a compliant media, that’s now taken real notice of the legal and political snake pit ATF’s created for the administration, starts to audibly snicker behind their notebooks. No, at some point, even the opaque ATF has to ‘fess up and ditch all that attache horse hockey.

So what’s next for Mr. Newell?  He’ll get what all good government functionaries get when they make hugely embarrassing, high-profile career mistakes. A promotion.

Instead, he’s been named special assistant to the ATF Assistant Director for the Office of Management in Washington.

Assistant to the assistant director. Otherwise known as chief coffee monkey. At a 20% salary increase, no doubt.

The reassignment comes at a time the Mexican Justice Department known as the PGR is reportedly conducting a criminal probe into the Fast and Furious Operation. It has also requested transcripts of Newell’s recent testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Concern had surfaced recently within ATF that the Mexican government might arrest Newell if he came down there as the attache.

Coffee monkey or not, Newell will at least be able to sleep a little easier knowing he won’t have to worry about rooming with a too-friendly guy named Ramon while he awaits trial on accessory to murder charges in Mexico City.

 

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11 Responses to ATF Death Watch 51: Attache? Not So Much

  1. Robert:

    The ATF Representative at the Embassy has diplomatic immunity. It is more than likely that the Mexican government has declared him persona non grata (better known as PNG-ed) before he even got down there.

  2. There are different levels of ‘immunity’, depending on the position with the embassy; I doubt he would have the same level as the ambassador. Which could mean he would indeed be subject to arrest.

    • Nope, if you have a black passport all they can do is ask the USG to waive immunity and that’s not going to happen. At that point all they can do is PNG you. My guess is that the Mexicans informed the State Department the Newall is not welcome in the country.

  3. I’m not generally in favor of special prosecutors but this case truly cries out for one. Since just about every department under Justice and Homeland Security seem to be involved we can hardly expect an honest investigation from them. And, bottom line, this is the first modern political scandal I can recall with an actual body count.

  4. Bill!! Bloody Bill Newell!! This is Central Casting calling. Come on down!! It’s time for your close up!! You’re gonna be a star, dude!!

    Just one of the many faces of evil in America today.

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