The White House released documents on September 30th showing ATF Phoenix Manager Bill Newell had on going email and telephone communications with White House National Security then- staffer Kevin O’Reilly. Some records were not turned over by the White House, claiming “significant confidentiality interests.” With hundreds of murders attributed to Fast and Furious, including the death of Border Security Agent Brian Terry, someone needs to know what the “confidentiality interests are?” “Confidentiality interests” = Executive Privilege, yet the White House still says they had no knowledge of weapons being illegally walked into Mexico.
Although some of the emails are just reported today, on July 27th, 2011 we learned of 1 of 2 emails from Newell to O’Reilly that began with “you didn’t get these from me.” Newell has said O’Reilly, a longtime friend, asked for the information, and earlier said “I shouldn’t have been sending that to him.” Today we know that “that” is much more than two emails.
About the “significant confidentiality interests:”
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.'”
In other words, documents showing White House culpability will never be released.
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?”
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have asked to interview Kevin O’Reilly but have been told he is on assignment in Iraq.
This is rather amusing. Three years ago, a Democratic House sued to get Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to testify over the termination of US Attorneys, who are political appointments that serve at the pleasure of the President, and rejected the notion that executive privilege applied to such executive-branch personnel decisions. Now we have an ATF operation that armed drug cartels and resulted in hundreds of murders from guns supplied by the US government, including the murder of a Border Patrol agent here in the US — and Democrats think that should be covered by executive privilege.