The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is investigating to what extent the White House was aware of — or involved in — the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.
The committee recently requested to speak with former White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. According to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, the Obama administration answered:
O’Reilly is on assignment for the State Department in Iraq and unavailable.
Through a tip, PJ Media learned that Kevin O’Reilly was unexpectedly named director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau for Iraq (INL-Iraq). Long-time INL-Iraq employee Virginia Ramadan had been expected to get the position — many were quite surprised when she did not.
The previous occupants of the Director, INL-Iraq position — Joe Manso and Francisco Palmieri — were not considered “unreachable” to press or government access. A quick internet search reveals Palmieri, while director, attended a media event on August 23, 2010.
On October 21, PJ Media reporter Patrick Richardson called the number for Office of the Director, INL-Iraq:
1-240-553-0581, ext. 3275
Richardson reached a voicemail message confirming that it was indeed the correct number. He left a message that was not returned.
On Monday Richardson called again, and an assistant answered. Richardson asked to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, and the assistant asked who was calling. Richardson gave his name and stated he was with PJ Media.
The assistant said O’Reilly was currently on a conference call, and asked if Richardson wanted to leave a message. Richardson gave his phone number. His call was not returned.
This morning, Richardson called again. He received a prerecorded message saying “this number is not in service.”
PJ Media is aware that the number was in service as the line to the director’s office for several years prior to Richardson’s calls.
Today, PJ Media is forwarding this information over to Darrell Issa, along with some suggested questions to ask of the Obama administration:
– Why were we told Kevin O’Reilly was “unavailable” if he was employed in a position that has always been open to media, and indeed was easily reached by PJ Media?
– Why did Kevin O’Reilly suddenly get sent to Iraq for the Director, INL-Iraq position when another employee was widely considered the most-qualified person for the job?
– Now that we know he is in the Director, INL-Iraq position and not in a position ever considered “unreachable,” when will you be sending him to Washington to testify?