This story is based on three sources. I will list them as I refer to the information they provide.
Mark Hemingway in his blog at the Weekly Standard reported today that:
“At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing.”
This is the first official testimony that I have seen that confirms that the White House was informed as to what was going on with Operation Fast and Furious. This calls into question many statements made by the President and his Administration.
CBS News reported yesterday:
“It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.”
It will be interesting to see if the White House continues to deny knowledge of the operation.
Meanwhile, today the Daily Caller reported:
“Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent Brian Newell continues to deny Operation Fast and Furious allowed for guns to be “walked” into Mexico.”
House oversight committee chairman Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, had a very appropriate response to this testimony. The Daily Caller reported his response:
“”You’re entitled to your own opinions, not to your own facts,” Issa responded. “But there comes a point when I go, “Wait a second: 730 weapons bought by a man who had no money. Every penny he bought with he had to get from somebody.’ You knew that at some point. You knew who was buying them and you allowed it to continue.””
This story does not seem to be going away.