Gunrunner: Darrell Issa accuses the White House of blocking a key witness from testifying on Fast and Furious
Back in July of 2011 I wrote this post when it was learned that the ATF had shared information about Operation Fast and Furious with a person within the White House. ATF agent Bill Newell is friends with former White House National Security Director for North America, Kevin O’Reilly, and when Mr. O’Reilly asked Mr. Newell for information related to the violence at the Mexican border he provided him with information on Operation Fast and Furious, while reminding him in an email that “you didn’t get this from me.”
So we have at least one member of Barack Obama’s White House counsel who knew about Operation Fast and Furious, but there is more because it turned out that at least two others in the White House also knew about the deadly operation–a Latin American advisory and a national security official. Dan Restrepo and Greg Gatjanis respectively.
Bill Newell eventually testified in front of the Congress and stated that he didn’t remember what the email conversation with Kevin O’Reilly was about and didn’t remember the specifics about the deadly operation, but when audio tapes surfaced which tied Bill Newell more closely to Fast and Furious than he was willing to admit to the Congress his lawyer provided the Congress with a supplemental statement to correct Bill Newell’s “unintentional errors of omission.” In other words, he changed his story.
Grassley hinted that Newell’s poor memory about his emails with O’Reilly looked suspicious. “It’s very convenient that he’d have an absence of mind when he’s under oath in front of a congressional committee
It certainly would be interesting to know what Kevin O’Reilly’s take on this is, but to this date he hasn’t testified in front of Darrell Issa’s Oversight Committee and it isn’t for a lack of trying on the part of Darrell Issa. Darrell Issa and Charles Grassley sent a letter to the White House asking that Kevin O’Reilly be allowed to testify in front of the Oversight Committee and demanded a reply by April 4th.
April 4th has come and gone and the White House has not responded to the letter, prompting Darrell Issa to claim that the White House is blocking Kevin O’Reilly from testifying in front of the Oversight Committee.
To date, the White House has not complied with multiple congressional requests to interview O’Reilly,” Issa and Grassley wrote in their letter to Ruemmler. “Our staffers have had extensive discussions with lawyers in your office, who have represented that the White House does not perceive any need for us to interview O’Reilly and consequently will not make arrangements for him to speak to us.”
Speaking with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren last week, Grassley said that while Newell and O’Reilly are friends, “it’s very, very unusual to have someone at a field office communicating directly with someone at the National Security Council
This isn’t the first time that someone within the Obama regime has missed a deadline imposed by Darrell Issa: In January Darrell Issa sent Eric Holder a letter demanding the disgraced head of the Department of Injustice comply with a subpoena request by February 9th or face Contempt of Congress charges. But when Eric Holder failed to comply Darrell Issa simply extended the deadline indefinitely, leading to speculation that John Boehner is slowing down Darrell Issa’s investigation.
Eric Holder ignored a Contempt of Congress threat and still no action has been taken against him by Darrell Issa; is it any wonder that the White House feels emboldened and sees no need to comply with Darrell Issa’s request to let Kevin O’Reilly testify in front of his neutered committee?
The time for talking is over, the time for action is now. It is time to put up or shut up and if Darrell Issa doesn’t have the guts to bring Contempt of Congress charges against the people who are thwarting his investigation they will continue to do so and we will never get to the bottom of this. By letting Eric Holder skate on the Contempt of Congress charges Darrell Issa has become an enabler because the White House has no fear that he will take any action to remedy their disregard toward the investigation or their unwillingness to comply with it.