Fast & Furious Scandal goes up to White House

RealClearPolitics
September 14, 2011

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) says it is now very apparent, if it was not before, that the White House was deeply connected in the “Fast & Furious” mission where guns were trafficked across the US-Mexico border. Mr. Issa appeared on FOX News’ “Special Report” program to discuss the matter. Transcript below.

BAIER: Now to operation “Fast and Furious,” your investigation there.

You sent a letter to the White House, asking for William Newell, the special agent in charge of the ATF Phoenix field office and Kevin O’Reilly, director of North American Affairs — American Affairs National Security Council staff, an e-mail exchange between the two of them and I’ll quote from your letter.

The e-mail says, quote, “When a 22-year-old kid on state financial assistance walks into a gun store and plops down $12,000 in cash to buy a tripod mounted 50 caliber rifle, that’s a clue even for us that he’s involved in trafficking firearms to a Mexican DTO, in other words, moving this to cartels. Is this — do you believe, evidence that this goes all the way to the White House?

ISSA: Well, it went all the way to the White House, whether it went to people who knew or should have known to stop this, remains to be seen, but our committee has been following the trail that has been impeded by the administration, particularly, by the justice department. And each time we get to a certain level of clearness, somebody gets fired, somebody gets changed, and we keep going.

Well, stop throwing the little guys under the bus and just tell us that somebody did something stupid by allowing this so that we can be assured it won’t happen again. So far, we don’t get that.

BAIER: And you have in this letter a request for response from the White House by September 14th to make Mr. O’Reilly available. Has there been a response yet?

ISSA: Not yet. The expectation is, we want to be very narrow. There was an exchange. We have copies of it. We become aware of it. There’s a claim that it was benign. That there wasn’t a lot of information exchanged. f he corroborates that, we can move on, because we have lots of other areas in which we’re seeing an expanding program that “Fast and Furious” wasn’t supposed to be, but appears to be.

See video of interview here.