Judicial Watch Sues ATF for Fast and Furious Records Detailing Communications between ATF and Obama White House Official
JUNE 18, 2012
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (No. 12-0921)) on June 6, 2012, with the Obama Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) seeking access to “Operation Fast and Furious” records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
Judicial Watch filed the FOIA lawsuit as part of its continuing investigation of the Fast and Furious scandal, where the Obama administration allowed weapons to “walk” across the border into the hands of Mexican drug cartels directly resulting in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens. This is the third lawsuit filed against the Obama administration seeking records related to the Fast and Furious scandal. Judicial Watch seeks access to the following records pursuant to its original FOIA request submitted on July 22, 2011:
All records of communication between any official, officer or employee of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Kevin M. O’Reilly, a current or former employee of the U.S. Department of State currently or previously serving as Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
As reported by CBS News, Fast and Furious documents released by the Obama White House in September 2011 “show extensive communications 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.” The records included a flow-chart showing the ultimate destinations of the weapons released by the Obama administration. Newell had previously admitted during a congressional hearing that he had indeed shared information regarding the scandal with O’Reilly, but did not provide significant details regarding their discussions.
Two chief Republican lawmakers investigating Fast and Furious, Rep. Darrell Issa (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have repeatedly demanded that O’Reilly testify in the matter. Nevertheless, the White House has thus far refused to make O’Reilly, now reportedly stationed in Iraq in a new position with the Obama State Department, available for questioning.
“The Obama administration has clammed up on Fast and Furious. We’re having trouble getting almost anything out of them. No wonder, as the Fast and Furious lies and killings makes it one of the worst scandals in recent American history. The American people deserve to know what White House officials knew and when they knew it,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
In the ongoing congressional investigation, on Tuesday, June 12, Attorney General Eric Holder sought a compromise on the release of records in response to news that Rep. Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is prepared on, June 20, to vote on a contempt citation against Holder for stonewalling the investigation.