Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Who Cares about Kevin O'Reilly?

White House National Security
Staffer Executive, Kevin O'Reilly

Did he report to President Obama?
The White House declines to comment.

A Mexican reporter from Univision asked President Obama what he knew about Operation Fast and Furious on March 22, 2011, President Obama stated that "a serious mistake may have been made." He also stated that there would be an investigation and whoever was found to be responsible would be held accountable. 

A year and a half later, documents and testimony before the House of Representatives demonstrated that a senior National Security staffer at the White House named Kevin O'Reilly repeatedly communicated by email and telephone with ATF Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious, Bill Newell, about the case while it was under way. O'Reilly indicated in one email that he wanted to share information about the case with other National Security staffers, but stated that it would go no further than that. White House officials have said there is no evidence that Newell and O'Reilly ever discussed the controversial tactic of gunwalking and, on those grounds, have blocked the attempts of Congressional Republicans to interview O'Reilly, who was sent on assignment to Iraq for the State Department. 
BATFE Special Agent-in-Charge
Bill Newell
Phoenix, AZ
CONTEXT: "Fast and Furious" is the name ATF assigned to a group of Phoenix, Arizona-area gun trafficking cases under Project Gunrunner that began in fall of 2009. It's the largest of several known operations in which ATF employed gunwalking, involving more than 2,000 weapons, including hundreds of AK-47 type semi-automatic rifles and .50 caliber rifles. According to sources who worked directly on the case, the vast majority of guns were not tracked and Mexico's government was not fully informed of the case. The ATF Special Agent in Charge of the operation was Bill Newell.
Kevin O'Reilly returned to the US from Iraq on the eve of the presidential election. He is working in the US State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (meaning Mexico) and he continues to refuse to cooperate with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has also refused to cooperate with the Department of Justice's Inspector General.

Both the House committee and the Inspector General's office sought to interview O'Reilly about Fast and Furious but the White House refused to grant him permission to be interviewed.

Dan Restrepo
National Security Senior Director
for the Western Hemisphere
Kevin O'Reilly told SAC Newell in e-mail that he would inform two other White House National Security Staff officials: Dan Restrepo, the senior director for Western Hemisphere; and Greg Gatjanis, director for the Counterterrorism and Counternarcotics, about the Fast and Furious operation. The State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, is currently held by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta S. Jacobson. Congress didn't issue her a subpoena, but she'd likely be draped by President Obama's blanket of executive privilege  too, so she wouldn't have to testify.

Gatjanis and Restrepo don't have any recollection of  -- anything, it seems. If they did, the bread crumbs would likely lead back to President Barack Obama.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Kevin O’Reilly previously served as director of North American Affairs for the White House National Security Staff (NSS), where he had a 2010 e-mail exchange with William Newell, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which oversaw Operation Fast and Furious. 
Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobsen
In August 2011 -- after the e-mails were first discussed at a July 26 congressional hearing -- O’Reilly was named as the senior director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Programs in Iraq, a State Department position. 
The State Department put out a story that O’Reilly’s reassignment to Iraq from the White House “was a standard foreign service career rotation that had been planned for months in advance of his detail to the NSS.” At that time, the State Department could not confirm O’Reilly’s new title at the State Department. 
The State Department claimed to be unaware of an assertion by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who said someone else had been selected for the job in Iraq before O’Reilly was “suddenly” transferred there. (See related story
“O’Reilly’s 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, the chairman of the House Oversight panel, and Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to O’Reilly’s attorney Thomas G. Connolly. 
“Additionally, we have learned that O’Reilly took the place of a previously selected individual—an 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 individual’s arrival—to serve as the head of the Police Development Program.”
This is the same US State Department where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a timely (and unfortunate) concussion on the eve of her testimony before the US Senate on the Benghazi Scandal. We wish Secretary Clinton a speedy recovery and have no doubt that the memory loss due to her alleged trauma will keep her from every testifying about her repeated lies to the American People about Benghazi, Libya.

I suspect that this humble blogger is the only one who sees patterns of cover-up and denial repeating themselves in different venues, all with the same politicians calling the shots.

Obama Asserts Executive Privilege over Fast and Furious Documents: The invocation of executive privilege allows the president to defy requests and subpoenas by members of the legislative and judicial branches for information the White House deems sensitive. Obama's decision will allow him to refuse to provide certain documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious program. President Obama's re-election will insure that the details of what he did and what he knew will remain hidden. However, the stain will continue to hamper his efforts in Mexico and Latin America.

Question: Why did Bill Clinton, Carlos Slim Helu and President Enrique Pena Nieto meet in seclusion in Mexico City last week? I wonder if they were discussing the weather?

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