In my ongoing coverage of the Obama Administration "Fast & Furious" scandal it was announced today that Ten Arizona sheriffs have now called for an independent investigation into the scandal.
Arizona Sheriffs Call for Independent Investigation of "Fast and Furious" Gunwalking Scandal
Ten Arizona sheriffs -- five Democrat, five Republican -- gathered at the Arizona State Capitol on Friday to call for an independent investigation into the "Fast and Furious" gunwalking scandal.The sheriffs held a news conference in front of the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial, decrying the "bloodshed" caused by the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau's poorly conceived operation.In the ongoing coverup surrounding what has become known as "Fast & Furious" new documents have been released by the Obama administration to the Congressional investigation. The documents show ongoing communication between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell – who led Fast and Furious – and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. Email evidence also show the two also discussed the matter over the phone. Due to such direct and detailed communication between the local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security member has raised serious questions among the Congressional members investigating the scandal involving the ATF supplying Mexican cartel members with arms in a scandal reminiscent of the Iran Contra scandal. Bill Newell has previously stated that he and and O'Reilly are long time friends.
"We're down there busting our butts every day trying to keep the American public safe," said Cochise County Larry Dever, as quoted by the Associated Press. "We are here to help defend America, whether it's beyond the border or any place north where the tentacles of these cartels reach into our communities across this nation every single day. And for our own government to be complicit in helping them conduct that business is offensive to us."
The sheriffs insisted that a special counsel be immediately appointed "to fairly investigate Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice," according to a written statement from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Newly-released White House documents (pdf)
Source CBS News:
ATF agents say that in Fast and Furious, their agency allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons to be sold to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. At least two of the guns turned up at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.
ATF Manager says he shared Fast and Furious with the White House
The email exchanges span a little over a month last summer. They discuss ATF’s gun trafficking efforts along the border including the controversial Fast and Furious case, though not by name. The emails to and from O’Reilly indicate more than just a passing interest in the Phoenix office’s gun trafficking cases. They do not mention specific tactics such as “letting guns walk.”
A lawyer for the White House wrote Congressional investigators: “none of the communications between ATF and the White House revealed the investigative law enforcement tactics at issue in your inquiry, let alone any decision to allow guns to ‘walk.’”
ATF Fast and Furious: Who at the White House knew?
Among the documents produced: an email in which ATF’s Newell sent the White House’s O’Reilly an “arrow chart reflecting the ultimate destination of firearms we intercepted and/or where the guns ended up.” The chart shows arrows leading from Arizona to destinations all over Mexico.
Newell email (09.03.10) (pdf)
Arizona Gunrunner Impact Team chart (pdf)
In response, O’Reilly wrote on Sept. 3, 2010 “The arrow chart is really interesting – and – no surprise – implies at least that different (Drug Trafficking Organizations) in Mexico have very different and geographically distinct networks in the US for acquiring guns. Did last year’s TX effort develop a similar graphic?”