Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) are very eager to speak to Kevin O’Reilly, who until a sudden (and decidedly convenient) transfer to Iraq last fall, served on the White House National Security Council staff (see sidebar video). From Fox News:
Two top Republican lawmakers investigating the Fast and Furious controversy are demanding the White House make a former aide available for testimony to see whether the scandal reached the upper echelons of the administration, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, fired off the letter Wednesday urging the White House to make available Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security Council staffer who is currently stationed in Iraq for the State Department.
Issa’s and Grassley’s interest in O’Reilly stems from the fact that last summer, the administration grudgingly fulfilled part of its obligation to provide the Congressional investigation with subpoenaed documents, including some emails between O’Reilly and the former Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, William Newell–known in some circles as “Gunwalker Bill,” for his central role in the scandal.
Those emails discussed “Operation Fast and Furious” (although not by name), and in one, Newell tells O’Reilly that, “You didn’t get these from me.” Newell, and the Obama administration in general, have been quite evasive about the nature of this communication between a central “gunwalker” figure and a White House staffer. In the July 26, 2011 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, for example, Newell tried to reveal as little as possible about those communications, and claimed that he probably didn’t speak to his “old frend” Kevin O’Reilly more than three or four times a year.
Apparently, Newell had “forgotten” that he and O’Reilly had exchanged a flurry of emails (and some phone calls) on the subject in 2010. Since none of the revealed emails explicitly mention the actual “gunwalking,” the administration has presented the emails as “proof” that O’Reilly (and thus the White House) did not know about it. As CBS News reported last fall, though, we’re not getting the whole story:
The White House counsel who produced the documents stated that some records were not included because of “significant confidentiality interests.”
Hmm–“confidentiality interests? No kidding.
Then there’s the matter of O’Reilly’s sudden and unexpected transfer to Iraq, right when investigators found a reason to be interested in him. Even that should not have made him unavailable for questioning–but did.
And now Issa and Grassley have gotten tired of taking “No” for an answer to their demands to speak to O’Reilly.
It’s about time.
Update: National Gun Rights Examiner Dan has more, in “Why is White House blocking ‘Gunwalker’ testimony from former NSC director?”
- A journalist’s guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part One
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker-Part Two
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Three
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Four
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Five
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Six
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Seven
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Eight
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Nine
- Official Correspondence on the Project Gunwalker Scandal.
- Sharyl Attkisson’s stories on CBS
- Transcript of Newell questioning related to NSC’s O’Reilly
- Fast & Furious: The man who knew too little
- The White House’s “modified limited hangout” as expressed through the good services of Richard Serrano, LA Times.
- CBS: White House does Friday night document dump! Admits more contacts between O’Reilly and Newell. Once again, Sipsey Street sources are dead on!
- Gunwalker Witness Shell Game: Pajamas Media finds O’Reilly.
- Gunwalker’s Kevin O’Reilly–the man who knows too much?
- The ‘O’Reilly Factor’: Issa, Grassley want to quiz ex-WH staffer on F&F
- Why is White House blocking ‘Gunwalker’ testimony from former NSC director?