Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight committee did not waste any time getting down to business when their “Gun Walker” hearings resumed yesterday. Within a matter of hours, they had Special Agent in Charge William Newell, of the Phoenix ATF office, sizzling nicely on the Oversight hibachi, and this astonishing exchange occurred:
So now we’ve got the Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and ICE connected with Operation Fast and Furious. We already know the FBI was involved, because some of their paid confidential informants starred in ATF’s favorite closed-circuit TV shows. Who’s left to implicate?
Ah, yes: the White House. Newell also testified that he discussed Operation Fast & Furious with his old friend, White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. According to CBS News, Issa’s committee got its hands on an email that began with the ominous words, “you didn’t get this from me.”
Newell says O’Reilly was “asking about the impact of Project Gunrunner to brief people in preparation for a trip to Mexico… what we were doing to combat firearms trafficking and other issues.” A White House spokesman denied this exchange had anything to do with Operation Fast and Furious.
Here’s a little testimony from ATF Special Agent Carlos Canino, who figured prominently in yesterday’s staff report on the Gun Walker investigation. This is what happens when you force a good man to sail through the “perfect storm of idiocy” for years, and then give him a microphone.