Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would like to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, who was a national security staffer at the White House during Operation Fast and Furious. O’Reilly received emails from ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division William Newell. At this time O’Reilly is currently working for the State Department and is stationed in Iraq. His attorney said he would be happy to speak to the lawmakers if the White House gives the okay. They’re still waiting.
“To date, the White House has not complied with multiple congressional requests to interview O’Reilly,” the lawmakers wrote to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. “Our staffers have had extensive discussions with lawyers in your office, who have represented that the White House does not perceive any need for us to interview O’Reilly and consequently will not make arrangements for him to speak to us.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in response: “White House Counsel is reviewing the letter and will respond as appropriate. But broadly speaking, while some personnel in the White House were made aware of ATF’s efforts to combat gun trafficking along the southwest border, including Operation Fast and Furious, there has been no evidence to suggest that anyone at the White House knew about any decision to allow guns to ‘walk’ to Mexico.”
Issa and Grassley are interested in O’Reilly because of previously revealed emails between he and William Newell, the ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division.
Republicans have raised questions about why an agent in charge of a field division of the Justice Department was having direct contact with someone inside the White House about an ongoing criminal investigation.
Administration officials have suggested O’Reilly and Newell were old friends catching up and there was nothing improper about their contact.
In an email dated Sept. 3, 2010 to O’Reilly that referred to Fast and Furious, Newell wrote: “You didn’t get these from me.”
Another e-mail suggested that Newell was trying to go around his leadership to communicate with O’Reilly.
“Just don’t want ATF HQ to find out, especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you)!” (Read More)
If the White House has nothing to hide, why don’t they just allow O’Reilly to talk to the lawmakers?
Here’s video of Grassley discussing the situation with Greta VanSusteren.