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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    DOJ inspector general: Obama administration obstructed Fast and Furious investigation

    DOJ inspector general: Obama administration obstructed Fast and Furious investigation


    Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed Thursday to a House panel that President Barack Obama’s White House obstructed his investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.



    Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department's inspector general, goes before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee a day after he faulted the department for disregard of public safety in "Operation Fast and Furious," the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' program that allowed hundreds of guns to reach Mexican drug gangs, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. While the IG's report confirmed findings by Congress' investigation of misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures in "Fast and Furious", it did not find direct fault with Attorney General Eric Holder, who had been directly targeted by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the committee's chairman. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

    The administration has also been accused of stonewalling the congressional investigation into the scandal.

    “As we noted in the report — and, as you know, Congressman, we did not get internal communications from the White House — and Mr. [Kevin] O’Reilly’s unwillingness to speak to us made it impossible for us to pursue that angle of the case and the question that had been raised,” Horowitz testified in response to questioning from Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold during a House oversight committee hearing.

    In the report, Horowitz’s team wrote that “[t]he White House did not produce to us any internal White House communications.”

    Horowitz’s report said the Obama administration justified its non-cooperation with the inspector general by claiming the production of White House documents was “beyond the purview of the Inspector General’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Department of Justice programs and personnel.”

    Kevin O’Reilly, a now-former White House official who was reassigned to a State Department detail in Iraq after Fast and Furious became a national scandal, also refused to cooperate with Horowitz’s investigation.

    O’Reilly, a National Security Council official who was directly involved in Operation Fast and Furious through his frequent communications with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) official Bill Newell, refused through a lawyer to cooperate with Horowitz’s investigation, according to the inspector general’s. Newell was the lead agent on Fast and Furious in his capacity as the head of the Phoenix ATF office.

    Farenthold asked Horowitz if Congress should pursue O’Reilly’s testimony and press for tens of thousands of documents the White House withheld from Congress and the inspector general further.

    “Well, certainly we have sought to pursue every lead we could,” Horowitz replied. “I can just tell you from our standpoint it was a lead we wanted to follow.”

    House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said during the hearing that the White House has resisted his committee’s efforts to serve a subpoena on O’Reilly to compel his testimony.

    Horowitz told Issa that because O’Reilly is no longer a DOJ employee and works in another cabinet department, he couldn’t require the interview.

    “We reached out to his lawyer and requested an interview,” Horowitz explained. “We have no basis to compel an interview from individuals who are outside the Department of Justice. He does not work in the Department of Justice so we had to ask for a voluntary interview, and he denied: His lawyer told us he would not appear voluntarily.”

    Horowitz said Department of Homeland Security also impeded his investigation, citing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent “who was assigned to Operation Fast and Furious on a full time basis [but] declined our request for a voluntary interview.”

    That ICE agent, he added, requested immunity from prosecution and declined to be interviewed unless it was granted.

    “There was an agent from the Department of Homeland Security that was assigned to the operation,” Horowitz said during Thursday’s hearing. “As part of our effort to be thorough and interview all people who might have relevant information, we reached out. He, again, is outside the Department of Justice, so he declined our voluntary request to be interviewed by us.”

    “We sought through the Department of Homeland Security to speak to him, and we understood that, absent being compelled — and given immunity — that he would not speak voluntarily. That request was declined, is my understanding.”

    Read more: DOJ IG: Obama admin obstructed 'Furious' investigation | The Daily Caller



    Read more: DOJ IG: Obama admin obstructed 'Furious' investigation | The Daily Caller
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Family Of Border Guard Killed With Gun From Fast And Furious Operation Respond To New Report


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    Parents of slain border agent slam DOJ report

    CREATED 2:29 PM
    Associated Press

    PHOENIX (AP) - The parents of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent killed with a gun sold in the government's botched "Fast and Furious" gunrunning investigation aren't happy with a Justice Department Inspector General's report.

    Agent Brian Terry's father calls the report a cover-up to keep Attorney General Eric Holder from being blamed.

    Kent and Carolyn Terry of Jonesville, Mich., spoke with The Associated Press Thursday about the report that detailed who was responsible for allowing assault weapons to be smuggled into Mexico. Two guns were found at the scene of agent Brian Terry's death in southern Arizona in December 2010.

    Carolyn Terry says the couple wants those responsible put in jail, not slapped on the wrist.

    The report blamed failed strategies, errors in judgment and management failures but did not name Holder.

    Parents of slain border agent slam DOJ report - KGUN9.com
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    IG: White House ‘Made it Impossible’ to Pursue Lead in Fast and Furious Probe

    By Fred Lucas
    September 20, 2012
    CNS News


    Inspector General Michael Horowitz. (AP)

    (CNSNews.com) – The White House’s refusal to release communications related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking program and the refusal of a White House official to be interviewed about the matter “made it impossible” for the inspector general (IG) of the Justice Department to “pursue that aspect of the case,” the IG, Michael Horowitz, testified.

    He added that the sought-after White House interview and communications constituted “a lead we wanted to follow.”

    At a hearing of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee on Thursday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) asked Horowitz, “You noted also in your report that the White House refused to share internal communications with you during your investigation of Fast and Furious. We've noted a connection into the White House through Kevin O'Reilly at the National Security Council. Do you think the White House’s refusal to share these documents limited the scope of your investigation? Would this committee be well served by pursuing an investigation into that avenue?”

    Horowitz answered, “Well, as we noted in the report, and as you know, congressman, we did not get internal communications from the White House and Mr. O’Reilly’s unwillingness to speak to us made it impossible for us to pursue that angle of the case and the question that had been raised."

    Farenthold: "So it would probably be worthwhile for us to pursue?"

    Horowitz: "Well, certainly we have sought to pursue every lead we could. So, I can tell you, from our standpoint it was a lead we wanted to follow.”

    The report, A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, was released yesterday by the office of the inspector general.

    Mr. O’Reilly is Kevin O’Reilly and when Fast and Furious was in operation he was a member of President Barack Obama’s National Security Staff.

    The IG report states, “We also sought to interview Kevin O’Reilly, an official with the White House National Security Staff, about communications he had in 2010 with Special Agent in Charge William Newell that included information about Operation Fast and Furious. O’Reilly declined through his personal counsel our request for an interview.”

    Bill Newell was the ATF Special Agent in Charge for the Phoenix, Ariz., office that was running Operation Fast and Furious.

    The IG report says, “We sought to interview O’Reilly in light of e-mail communications he had with Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell in 2010.”

    “Newell told us that he had known O’Reilly during previous field office assignments and that the two shared information about firearms trafficking issues relevant to their geographic areas of responsibility,” the report said. “According to Newell, O’Reilly was also friends with ATF’s White House Liaison and through that relationship O’Reilly would be included on some information sharing between Newell and the ATF Liaison about ATF’s efforts on the Southwest Border, and that O’Reilly eventually communicated with Newell directly.”

    Operation Fast and Furious was run by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), which is overseen by the Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder. The program, which ran from the fall of 2009 to mid-December 2010, allowed guns to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels through straw purchasers.

    More than 2,000 firearms, largely AK-47s and 5.7 caliber pistols, were sold and allowed to walk. The ATF recovered only about 100 of the 2,000-plus weapons. In January 2010, a straw purchaser, Jaime Avila – well known to the ATF -- bought three AK-47s at a Phoenix-area gun store. Two of those weapons were later found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010.

    After Terry’s death, Operation Fast and Furious was halted and Avila was arrested.

    At the hearing on Thursday, Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R_Calif.) asked Inspector General Horowitz: “Kevin O’Reilly. Could you tell us a little bit about your effort to reach out to Kevin O’Reilly, a member of the White House national security team?

    Horowitz said: “We reached out to his lawyer, requested an interview. We have no basis to compel interviews from individuals who work outside the Department of Justice. He was not working in the Department of Justice so we had to ask for a voluntary interview and he denied ….”

    Issa: “Would it surprise you he’s been in Afghanistan. We’ve been denied.”

    Horowitz: “I was not aware of where he was.”

    Issa: “I’m sorry, it was Iraq [not Afghanistan].”

    Horowitz: “I don’t recall knowing myself where he was, but we were told by his council that he would not [grant an interview].”

    The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been seeking to interview O’Reilly for more than year. According to CBS News, the White House disclosed in the fall of 2011 that O’Reilly had been reassigned from the National Security Staff to a position with the State Department in Iraq.

    O’Reilly’s attorney reportedly said that his client would agree to a telephone interview with the committee but only if the White House said okay. White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has stated that O’Reilly will not be permitted to give an interview.

    CBS reported, “citing Executive Branch confidentiality interests, Ruemmler said, ‘There is an insufficient basis to support the request to interview Mr. O'Reilly.’”

    IG: White House
    Last edited by Jean; 09-20-2012 at 11:37 PM.
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