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.