Political Mothers have an old saying, if you don’t have something nice to say, say it on Friday. The Friday document drop is an old American Political tradition, release controversial information or make a controversial firing on a Friday, when the “a” team of media correspondents have already filed their reports and taken off for the weekend. The thought is that will prevent the information from picking up momentum and the bad news dominating the news cycle for a few days.
So it was no surprise that when it was going to release documents which show the White House North American Director of Security Affairs had more than a cursory knowledge Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama Administration released them on Friday afternoon.
Fast and Furious was a project of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireworks where basically some “geniuses” high up in ATF (and possibly the DOJ and White House) thought it would be a great idea to sell assault weapons to the violent Mexican drug cartels. The US government decided–in order to fight the Mexican Drug Cartels, we should arm them and let them keep their weapons once they were used in committing crimes .
Those assault weapons ceded to the drug cartels have been used for crimes in Mexico, used to kill a Border Agent named Brian Terry, turned up at the scenes of violent crimes in Phoenix, and other crimes across the country. The House Oversight Committee and Senator Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee has been investigating “Fast and Furious” in an attempt to identify who approved this lame-brained scheme and how can operations like this be prevented from happening in the future.
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Yesterday, on doc dump Friday, the White House turned over new documents in the Congressional investigation of fast and furious.
The documents show extensive communications between Bill Newell – who led Fast and Furious – and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. While it was known that the two had contact, the documents indicate a more extensive discussion of Fast and Furious than the two previously admitted.
Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O’Reilly are long time friends. (the documents are embedded below)
In the E-mails Newell and O’ Reilly discuss ATF’s gun trafficking efforts along the border including Fast and Furious case, though not by name. O’ Reilly, the Director of North East Affairs for the National Security Staff of the White House seems to have more than a “friends” interest in the Phoenix office’s gun trafficking cases even including weekly status reports. They do not mention specific tactics such as “letting guns walk.
A lawyer for the White House wrote Congressional investigators: “none of the communications between ATF and the White House revealed the investigative law enforcement tactics at issue in your inquiry, let alone any decision to allow guns to ‘walk.'”
Which is 100% true. Also true is the fact that the White House is with holding some documents.
However, the chief counsel to President Barack Obama, Kathryn Ruemmler, indicated that the White House was withholding an unspecified number of internal e-mails exchanged among three National Security Staff aides. “These internal NSS emails are not included in the enclosed documents because the [Executive Office of the President] has significant confidentiality interests in its internal communications.
I am willing to put money down on the fact that those ” significant confidentiality interests in its internal communications” involve protecting some White House backsides.
Among the documents produced: an email in which ATF’s Newell sent the White House’s O’Reilly an “arrow chart reflecting the ultimate destination of firearms we intercepted and/or where the guns ended up.” The chart shows arrows leading from Arizona to destinations all over Mexico.
In response, O’Reilly wrote on Sept. 3, 2010 “The arrow chart is really interesting – and – no surprise – implies at least that different (Drug Trafficking Organizations) in Mexico have very different and geographically distinct networks in the US for acquiring guns. Did last year’s TX effort develop a similar graphic?”
Keep in mind, while the ATF was sharing some pretty charts with at least one White House official, about the movement of American purchased contraband throughout Mexico, our Mexican allies knew nothing about the program.
Congressional investigators for Republicans Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have asked to interview O’Reilly by September 30. But the White House sent the North American Director on an assignment to Iraq, which last time I checked was not part of North America, but it does put him outside the reach of Congressional investigators.
One administration source says White House national security staffers were “briefed on the toplines of ongoing federal efforts, but nobody in White House knew about the investigative tactics being used in the operation, let alone any decision to let guns walk.”
If that is the case, why is the White House holding back some emails, why is O’Reilly in Iraq when the White House has known since July that he would be next on the list to be questioned.
Maybe the White House knew absolutely nothing about allowing guns to walk. Maybe the ATF ignored standard procedure (and the opportunity to protect their own butts)by not asking high ups in the Department of Justice of the Fast and Furious was OK with them. And maybe even the 100 page+ worth of conversations about this secret program between the project head in ATF and the Director of North America for National Security Affairs was just friendly conversation (hey its possible American Idol wasn’t good that year maybe the two buddies had nothing else to talk about), but the part I don’t get is if all that is true, why is the White House withholding some documents, and making sure O’Reilly is not available to interview?
Something be rotten in the District of Columbia (the White House document dump is embedded below).