Skip to comments.WH Aide Involved in Fast and Furious Was 'Suddenly' Transferred to Iraq; Issa Threatens Subpoena
Posted on 10/01/2012 2:17:20 PM PDT by jazusamo
(CNSNews.com) - Kevin OReilly, a member of the White House National Security Staff who regularly communicated about Operation Fast and Furious with the Arizona-based ATF agent responsible for running the operation that allowed guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels, was suddenly transferred out of the White House and into Iraq in July 2011.
The transfer took place shortly after the ATF agent OReilly had been communicating with testified about Fast and Furious in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the White House had provided the committee with a series of emails that OReilly and the agent had exchanged while Fast and Furious was underway.
Since then, the White House has declined to allow OReilly to be interviewed either by the committee or by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who conducted the administrations internal investigation of Fast and Furious. The White House also refused to give the inspector general access to internal White House communications relating to Fast and Furious.
Under Fast and Furious, the ATF and the Justice Department deliberately allowed known straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels to buy about 2,000 guns at U.S. gun stores. In December 2010, two of these guns were found at the scene of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Many more of the guns were found at crime scenes in Mexico.
In Sept. 20 testimony before the Oversight Committee, Horowitz said that the White Houses refusal to let OReilly speak and to provide the IGs office with access to relevant internal White House communications made it impossible to pursue that aspect of the case.
In a letter they sent to OReillys attorney last Thursday, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned that Issa would subpoena OReilly if he did not agree to testify.
We have been trying to arrange to speak with your client, Kevin OReilly, for nearly a year now, Issa and Grassley wrote. Earlier this year, you agreed to make OReilly available for an interview if the White House authorized his participation. The White House, where OReilly worked during the pendency of Operation Fast and Furious, refused to make him available, citing an insufficient basis to support the request.
If OReilly chooses to continue to make himself unavailable, Chairman Issa will have no further alternative but to use compulsory process to require his testimony before the committee, they wrote.
In a March 28, 2012 letter to the White House Counsel, Issa and Grassley had said: "O'Reilly's personal lawyer has represented to the Committee that he would permit his client to speak to the Committee in the absence of any objection from the White House."
In their letter to O'Reilly's attorney on Thursday, Issa and Grassley said that without getting OReillys story it would be impossible to determine the role the White House played in Fast and Furious.
By not interviewing OReilly, the OIG could not fully determine the role the White House played in Fast and Furious, Issa and Grassley wrote. Given that OReilly was the link connecting the White House to the scandal, and that the President subsequently asserted executive privilege over documents pertaining to Fast and Furious, it is imperative that the American people get to the bottom of OReillys involvement in Fast and Furious.
To do this, Issa and Grassley said, Congress must speak with OReilly directly.
The letter indicates that while OReilly was working at the White House he communicated for more than half a year about Fast and Furious with ATF Special Agent in Charge William Newell, who was in charge of the operation for the ATF in Arizona.
Last year, the Department of Justice and the White House produced several series of email exchanges ranging from July 2010 to February 2011 between OReilly and William Newell pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious and Newells work as head of the ATF Phoenix Filed Division, wrote Issa and Grassley. At that time, OReilly was serving on the National Security Staff at the White House. Several of the emails produced by the Department and the White House raise serious questions about the nature and the purpose of their interactions. For example, one email from Newell, the Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Phoenix Field Division, began, You didnt get these from me Another email shows Newells intent to circumvent his leadership structure in talking with OReilly: Just dont want ATF HQ to find out, especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you)!
When Newell testified before Issas committee on July 26, 2011, he said of White House aide OReilly: He has been a friend of mine for a long time, and he asked me for information.
Not that I shouldnt have been talking to him, Newell testified. He is a friend of mine. He asked for information and I provided it to him.
In one of his emails to Newell that the White House did give to the committee, OReilly told Newell he intended to inform two other White House National Security staff members--Dan Restrepo, the senior director for Western Hemisphere; and Greg Gatjanis, director for the Counterterrorism and Counternarcotics--about the gun trafficking investigation.
On July 28, 2010, OReilly responded to Newell: This is great; very informative. OK to share with Sr. Director Dan Restrepo and CT/CN Director Greg Gatjanis? Would not leave the NSS, I assure you.
Newell replied: Sure, just dont want ATF HQ to find out since this is what they should be doing (briefing you)!
Issa and Grassley learned that shortly after Newells July 26 2011 testimony, OReilly was transferred from the White House to Iraq.
Additionally, we recently learned that, last July, OReilly was suddenly transferred out of the country to serve in Baghdad as the head of the Police Development Program, a multi-year, multi-billion dollar program designed to train Iraqi security forces, Issa and Grassley wrote.
OReillys sudden transfer to Baghdad occurred just days after the aforementioned e-mails with William Newell were produced to the Committee and Newell testified about them before Congress, Issa and Grassley wrote. Additionally, we have learned that OReilly took the place of a previously selected individualand individual who had gone through a competitive application process and thorough vetting process, had the necessary qualifications, and whose spouse was already in Baghdad in anticipation of the individuals arrivalto serve as the head of the Police Development Program.
A State Department official told CNSNews.com last week that OReilly was no longer assigned to Iraq and is now between assignmentsbut would not say what his next assignment is.
I can confirm that he [Kevin OReilly] is no longer in Iraq but he has not yet started in his next position, said a State Department official. So, I cant confirm what that position is. I just dont have any information on that right now, what his next position will be or when he will be starting.
The State Department official said there is no official biography for OReilly because he is not in a senior level post. However, public records do not indicate that OReilly had experience in the Middle East before his sudden posting to Iraq.
OReillys LinkedIn profile says he started working for the State Department as a foreign service officer in 1987 and that he started at the Obama White House in May 2009.
Before going to the Obama White House, he had worked from September 2008 to May 2009 for the State Departments Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism, and from May 2006 to August 2007 as the director of Latin American Affairs for the Department of Homeland Security.
OReilly worked from 2005 to 2006 for the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) from 2005 to 2006 as a Pearson Fellow.
OReilly was the deputy political counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico from 2003 to 2005, officer in charge of Columbian Affairs from 2002 to 2003. He was the executive assistant to the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2001 to 2002. He served as the officer in charge of Iberian Affairs for NATO Division J-5 from 2000 to 2001. He served as the political affairs officer for the U.S. embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from 1997 to 2000; worked as the political affairs officers for the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires from 1994 to 1996; and was the executive secretariat for the State Department in 1993.
OReilly apparently was willing to talk to congressional investigators over the phone while he was working in Iraq, according to a March 28, 2012 letter from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House oversight committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler responded in an April 5, 2012 letter that there is an insufficient basis to support the request to interview Mr. OReilly.
During the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Sept. 20, Issa asked Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Can you tell us a little bit about your efforts to try to interview Kevin O'Reilly, a member of the national security team?
Horowitz responded, We reached out to his lawyer, requested an interview. We have no basis to compel interviews from individuals who are outside the Department of Justice. He does not work in the Department of Justice. So we had to ask for a voluntary interview, and he denied our -- his lawyer told us he would not appear voluntarily.
Issa responded, Would it surprise you that hes been in Afghanistan and weve been denied even the ability to serve a subpoena on him?
Horowitz responded, I was not aware of where he was, but I was told by his lawyers, Issa corrected himself, I'm sorry. Iraq. Sorry.
Horowitz said, As I said, we werent -- I don't recall knowing myself where he was, but we were told by his counsel he would not appear voluntarily.
Later in that same hearing, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) asked Horowitz, You noted also in your report that the White House refused to share internal communications with you during your investigation of Fast and Furious. We've noted a connection into the White House through Kevin O'Reilly at the National Security Council. Do you believe the White Houses refusal to share these documents limited the scope of your investigation? And would this committee be well served by pursuing an investigation in that avenue?
Horowitz answered, Well, as we noted in the report, and as you know, congressman, 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 angle of the case and the question that had been raised.
Farenthold followed, So it would probably be worthwhile for us to pursue. Horowitz said, Well, certainly we have sought to pursue every lead we could. So I can just tell you, from our standpoint, it was a lead we wanted to follow.
In their letter to OReilly lawyer, Issa and Grassley note that the program in Baghdad that OReilly was assigned to run was cited in an inspector generals report for wasting tax dollars.
The program drawn up to be the single largest State Department program in the world, recently came under fire in a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, published a year after OReilly took the helm, for having a total amount of de facto waste to about $206 million.
These events raise serious questions about OReillys assignment in Baghdad, the motivation for his transfer there, his qualifications for his position there, and the potentially extreme waste of taxpayer dollars in placing OReilly in this position, Issa and Grassley wrote.
I can confirm that he [Kevin OReilly] is no longer in Iraq but he has not yet started in his next position, said a State Department official. So, I cant confirm what that position is.
Seems he's well hidden, hopefully not permanently.
Stop threatening, DO IT!
Another threat from Issa? Is that like an ALL CAPS email?
I hear the position of Ambassador to Libya is open....
Issa is driving me nuts with his soft pedal foot dragging on this. He should have issued the subpena a long time ago.
Right! Issa needs to either piss or get off the pot.
If the FBI ever gets to go through the consulate rubble, they'll probably discover he was in Benghazi..... oops! /s
He’s gate guard at the next US Embassy that is scheduled to be attacked by good people who hate bad videos.
Exactly, and do it now.
hopefully, he is smart enough to stay alive long enough to make it back to the states - or somewhere safe...
Guess he’ll get a new job as point man for clearing mine fields....
If he’s not back by January 21, just leave him there.
For God’s Sake, Issa, stop pussyfooting around. There’s so much more to do.
Fast and Furious was a crude political ploy by the Obama administration to disparage the easy avalability of guns and create support for gun control. To create the outrage many Mexicans would have to be killed. Many are being killed by these guns. No wonder Univision is outraged and it begs the question just why would Hispanics vote for these cynical lowlifes.
jazusamo ~ “.... I can confirm that he [Kevin OReilly] is no longer in Iraq but he has not yet started in his next position, said a State Department official. So, I cant confirm what that position is. I just dont have any information on that right now, what his next position will be or when he will be starting. ...
This is the ‘pea ‘ under the pod in the game of “ street monte “ .
The longer they can keep him hidden , the longer this drags out ~ past the election.
The Administration already pointedly used their trump card of “ Executive Priviledge “ where ‘no prior knowledge ‘ supposedly exists , or , so they alledge .
Since the administration already harbors a ‘ Constitutional Lawyer ‘ as the Chief Executive , and they have already played out their trump card , ...this is the rat that points to the cheese .
As the Nike ad says : “ Just Do It “
pretty simple deal huh?
Stop talking and threatening and do it.
His only other choice was a security guard at Fort Marcy Park.