Skip to comments.IG: White House ‘Made it Impossible’ to Pursue Lead in Fast and Furious Probe
Posted on 09/20/2012 3:57:19 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
The White Houses refusal to release communications related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking program and the refusal of a White House official to be interviewed about the matter made it impossible for the inspector general (IG) of the Justice Department to pursue that aspect of the case, the IG, Michael Horowitz, testified.
He added that the sought-after White House interview and communications constituted a lead we wanted to follow.
At the hearing of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee on Thursday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) asked Horowitz, Do you think the White Houses refusal to share these documents limited the scope of your investigation? Would this committee be well served in pursuing an investigation into that avenue?
Horowitz answered, As we noted in the report, we did not get internal communications from the White House and Mr. OReillys unwillingness to speak to us made it impossible for us to pursue that aspect of the case. Certainly we sought to pursue every lead we could. From our standpoint, it was a lead we wanted to follow.
The report, A Review of ATFs Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, was released yesterday by the office of the inspector general.
Mr. OReilly is Kevin OReilly and when Fast and Furious was in operation he was a member of President Barack Obamas National Security Staff.
The IG report states, We also sought to interview Kevin OReilly, an official with the White House National Security Staff, about communications he had in 2010 with Special Agent in Charge William Newell that included information about Operation Fast and Furious. OReilly declined through his personal counsel our request for an interview.
Bill Newell was the ATF Special Agent in Charge for the Phoenix, Ariz., office that was running Operation Fast and Furious.
The IG report says, We sought to interview OReilly in light of e-mail communications he had with Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell in 2010.
Newell told us that he had known OReilly during previous field office assignments and that the two shared information about firearms trafficking issues relevant to their geographic areas of responsibility, the report said. According to Newell, OReilly was also friends with ATFs White House Liaison and through that relationship OReilly would be included on some information sharing between Newell and the ATF Liaison about ATFs efforts on the Southwest Border, and that OReilly eventually communicated with Newell directly.
Operation Fast and Furious was run by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), which is overseen by the Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder. The program, which ran from the fall of 2009 to mid-December 2010, allowed guns to walk into the hands of Mexican drug cartels through straw purchasers.
More than 2,000 firearms, largely AK-47s and 5.7 caliber pistols, were sold and allowed to walk. The ATF recovered only about 100 of the 2,000-plus weapons. In January 2010, a straw purchaser, Jaime Avila well known to the ATF -- bought three AK-47s at a Phoenix-area gun store. Two of those weapons were later found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010.
After Terrys death, Operation Fast and Furious was halted and Avila was arrested.
At the hearing on Thursday, Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R_Calif.) asked Inspector General Horowitz: Kevin OReilly. Could you tell us a little bit about your effort to reach out to Kevin OReilly, a member of the White House national security team?
Horowitz said: We reached out to his lawyer, requested an interview. We have no basis to compel interviews from individuals who work outside the Department of Justice. He was not working in the Department of Justice so we had to ask for a voluntary interview and he denied .
Issa: Would it surprise you hes been in Afghanistan. Weve been denied.
Horowitz: I was not aware of where he was.
Issa: Im sorry, it was Iraq [not Afghanistan].
Horowitz: I dont recall knowing myself where he was, but we were told by his council that he would not [grant an interview].
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been seeking to interview OReilly for more than year. According to CBS News, the White House disclosed in the fall of 2011 that OReilly had been reassigned from the National Security Staff to a position with the State Department in Iraq.
OReillys attorney reportedly said that his client would agree to a telephone interview with the committee but only if the White House said okay. White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has stated that OReilly will not be permitted to give an interview.
CBS reported, citing Executive Branch confidentiality interests, Ruemmler said, There is an insufficient basis to support the request to interview Mr. O'Reilly.
Michael W. Chapman contributed to this report.
The very definition of the term “obfuscation”.
Of cource, “mendacity” works very nearly as well.
It is the Mushroom Cultivation plan. Keep ‘em in the dark and covered up with horse s#!+.
“OReillys attorney reportedly said that his client would agree to a telephone interview with the committee but only if the White House said okay. White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has stated that OReilly will not be permitted to give an interview.”
Half-a$$ed report. Horowitz missing in action on this. How could he ‘exonerate’ holder without the facts???
By the time 0bama leaves office the likes of Al Capone could be president and every time he broke the law the country would just shrug it off and go on with life.
Michael Horowitz should RESIGN in DISGRACE!!! What a FARCE he is. ALL the evidence is ther, but he is TOO BLIND to see it....just like those other Democrats.
Try “obstruction of justice”.
In the Valerie Plame fiasco W was forced by rabid media to force all government players to waive their personal 5th amendment privileges etc and executive privilege and to talk to the special counsel Fitzgerald. It was only where Scooter Libby made inconsistent statements to a reporter that he was charged with perjury and the Washington DC demographic jury nailed him to the cross. He was even forced to waived multiple times the reporter’s goal of protecting her source. She got out of jail when he did so, and she immediately ratted him out. I think Chris Matthews also drove some spikes through his feet.
Compare this to O saying hell no they can’t have documents or speak to our people, and hell no we will not cooperate, and media is just totally SILENT while a border guard is dead along with countless Mexicans. Also a determined attempt to vititate the 2nd amendment goes unpunished. Talk about impeachable!
Maybe they all have been paid off?
Impeachment is becoming a much more attractive option.
Democrats don;t have to be paid off to LIE....it’s what they do BEST!!
News that will be CENSORED by the New York Times.
Horowitz must be getting ready to retire.
Think the GOP weenies have the guts and spines to pursue this? Fat chance. The GOP swine are useless dweebs.
This is like an auditor issuing a clean audit report even though he was not allowed to look at the books.
The Obama administration has been using his internal investigation as a reason for not coming forward with facts for a year and a half. His internal investigation, which conveniently could not go after anyone outside the DOJ, and had severe conflicts of interest inside the DOJ, has been one big stalling tactic. At least the administration does not have it any longer to hide behind.
Want the GOP to have spines? Give them as much media coverage as the MSM gives to the left, and they will have plenty of spines.
This has always been about the MSM vs the new media.
Like Hitler writing `Mein Kampf’ Democrats warn us of what they plan to do before they begin doing it:
Zero’s was to be the “most transparent administration ever,” remember?
And Clinton said his would be the “most ethical administration ever.”
Getting any information—public info.—from these people over the last four years has been like pulling teeth. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
I remember back in late 1990's , I believe,Senator Thompson abruptly aborted a hearing, saying something like" Well it's clear all th witnesses are stalling and not telling the truth, so this hearing is closed".
Clinton was constantly spouting," I can't talk about this because it's under investigation".
Horowitz didn't 'exonerate' Holder in his report. He simply stated that he uncovered no evidence that implicated Holder. Not quite the same thing.
'Exonerate' is the MSM's word...
The House investigation remains active; a court case is proceeding with respect to the "executive privilege" claim.
Issa isn't done yet.