Newell also admitted that he briefed a friend in the White House about the operation, a staffer on President Obama’s National Security Council named Kevin O’Reilly. The Obama administration is standing by its claim that while every director in federal law enforcement and NSC staffers were briefed, the White House knew nothing.
The White House continues to claim they did not know about the gunwalking operation while it was occurring, a position shared by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as his underlings seem primed to turn upon one another to keep from facing the political and legal consequences of the operation.
The potential for a rending conflict in the executive branch is not limited to the Justice Department.
Gunwalker took place in Arizona, where DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was both governor and state attorney general, using personnel the secretary had in her own state administration. It is highly unlikely that Gunwalker occurred on Napolitano’s “home turf” and one of her current areas of focus without her knowledge — or advice.
Even the most faithful of left-leaning media outlets are concerned that Gunwalker may eventually be a serious problem for President Obama:
Now that Republicans in Congress won important concessions from President Obama in the debt ceiling debate, the next partisan battle is likely to be over what promises to be the first major scandal of the Obama administration: the botched gun sting known as “Operation Fast and Furious.” The administration should waste no time and come clean about what happened, who approved it, and how it can be avoided again.
Unfortunately, the early signs are that Obama is going to handle this controversy as poorly as he handled the debt ceiling debate.
The writer of that sentiment, Adam Winkler of the Huffington Post, can’t seem to get his head around the fact that Gunwalker is more than a political headache; it’s a deadly serious legal one as well.
Being an accessory to murder is a felony in the United States and Mexico, and that is just one of the many possible criminal charges that federal agents, supervisors, political appointees, and elected officials may face in both U.S. and Mexican judicial systems (for example, the ATF’s Newell).
As Gunwalker continues to unravel, it will be interesting to see who comes forward to testify in exchange for reduced charges or immunity. The line to turn witness could be long, and every indication is that it will point to the highest levels of the Obama administration.