As I said yesterday, it will take days to sift through all the stuff that was released on Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the first part of their Final Report on Operation Fast and Furious.
Mike Vanderboegh has been doing some sifting of his own. He has written extensively in the past about Dr. Kevin O’Reilly who had been in the White House on the National Security Council. You may remember that he and Phoenix SAC Bill Newell had a back channel communication going on Operation Fast and Furious. While Newell has been questioned about this, the White House refused to let the Oversight Committee speak with Dr. O’Reilly citing executive privilege.
In his latest installment, Mike finds more evidence of the White House’s fingerprints on Operation Fast and Furious. Sit down with a cup of coffee and read it a couple of times. There is a lot there.
Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) want to hear what O’Reilly has to say. Not Bill O’Reilly who has the show called The O’Reilly Factor but White House staffer Kevin O’Reilly. This was the person with whom Bill Newell, former SAC of the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division, had back channel communications regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Conveniently enough, Kevin O’Reilly moved to the State Department and is now in Iraq on assignment.
Yesterday Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley sent a letter to Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President, requesting that Mr. O’Reilly be allowed to testify. They note that Mr. O’Reilly’s personal attorney is willing to let him testify if it is allowed by the White House. Moreover, in a break from normal procedures, they are willing to let him testify by phone from Iraq.
What they want Mr. O’Reilly to testify about is the nature of the back channel communications between himself and Bill Newell.
To this day, Newell has failed to disown Fast and Furious or admit the flawed nature of the program. This failure has raised new questions. Was Newell looking for authorization outside of his chain-of-command in order to continue this deadly program? What did O’Reilly know about the objectives and tactics used in Fast and Furious and with whom did he share his knowledge? These answers are gemane to the Committee’s investigation. O’Reilly is the only person capable of supply accurate answers to them.
Of course, as Dave Workman points out, the White House is denying that they knew anything about gun walking. Eric Schultz, the Associate Communications Director, had this to say to FoxNews:
“White House Counsel is reviewing the letter and will respond as appropriate. But broadly speaking, while some personnel in the White House were made aware of ATF’s efforts to combat gun trafficking along the southwest border, including Operation Fast and Furious, there has been no evidence to suggest that anyone at the White House knew about any decision to allow guns to ‘walk’ to Mexico.”
Sen. Grassley was interviewed by Jon Scott of FoxNews about his letter and his efforts to get testimony from Mr. O’Reilly. Sen. Grassley says that they have one side of the story from ATF SAC Bill Newell and they need the other side of the story from Kevin O’Reilly. He also said that they were being stonewalled by the White House and that this continual stonewalling leads one to look guilty of something. He has a point there – if the White House has nothing to hide then they should make Kevin O’Reilly available for telephonic testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. I’m guessing it isn’t going to happen.