Gunwalker: One Step Closer to the Oval Office
July 27: The Los Angeles Times reported that shortly after the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ATF officials in Arizona and D.C. made several arrests of straw purchasers. Also, William Newell -- ATF head in Arizona -- sent several e-mails to his D.C. superiors, one of which admitted that guns were "walked" across the border. He defended the operation, saying: "I don't like the perception that we allowed guns to walk."
After Terry's murder, top ATF officials claimed that none of the guns found at the scene of Terry's killing were used to kill him. FBI forensics reports, which came to light last week, prove that the ATF claim was at best misleading. Ballistics testing could not conclusively indicate which weapon was actually used to shoot Terry, but the weapons found were walked across the border during Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF continues to claim that their misleading statement is accurate because they saw a distinction between guns found at the scene and guns "used" in the murder.
July 27: Hot Air reported that before Rep. Darrell Issa's committee on July 26, William Newell testified that in September 2010 he discussed the Gunwalker case with White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O'Reilly. In relation to that communication, Newell sent O'Reilly an e-mail in which he wrote: "You didn't get this from me." Newell explained that O'Reilly was a long-time friend, and he shouldn't have informed him.
The revelations of this week not only support or confirm much of what was already known, but add new, more disturbing dimensions to the scandal. It has long been known that heads of the FBI and DEA were informed about the program, as well as officials in the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the State Department. However, the State Department's role in selling significant quantities of military surplus and military grade weapons and other equipment to the Zeta cartel, possibly through a thinly veiled front company, was not previously known.
The FBI certainly had to have known that the ATF was misrepresenting their forensic findings in the Terry murder, but did nothing to correct that misrepresentation to Congress or to the public, and had no comment regarding this revelation.
The most significant revelation of the week is that someone in the White House was made aware of the operation. Did the president or his chosen officials not only allow but encourage the illegal purchase and smuggling of arms into Mexico, a foolish and cynical attempt to further gun-control policies unobtainable through the legislative process? We now know that knowledge of the program was within a few steps of Obama.
Meanwhile, the MSM continues to avoid perhaps the most important, most deadly scandal in modern American history.