An Obama administration official that congressional investigators believe connects the White House to the failed federal gun-walking operation "Fast and Furious" was abruptly transferred to Iraq following inquiries by members of Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general, CNSNews.com reports.
However, he is no longer in the country and his current whereabouts are unknown.
The official in question is Kevin O'Reilly, a White House National Security staffer who reportedly consulted with the ATF special agent in charge of running Fast and Furious out of Arizona, William Newell, on a regular basis. Newell was one of the officials singled out in the IG's Fast and Furious report.
Once Congress and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered the White House's intriguing connection to Fast and Furious, O'Reilly was shipped overseas to Iraq out of the blue, replacing an official who had already secured the job and who had a wife awaiting his arrival in Iraq, according to the report.
CNSNews.com reporter Craig Bannister explains:
The White House had been denying Republicans and the Inspector General permission to question O’Reilly in Iraq by phone. But, now the State Dept. tells CNSNews.com that O’Reilly has left Iraq and it will not reveal his whereabouts:
“I can confirm that he [Kevin O’Reilly] is no longer in Iraq but he has not yet started in his next position.” “So, I can’t confirm what that position is. I just don’t have any information on that right now, what his next position will be or when he will be starting.”
For the record, CNSNews.com repeatedly asked the State Dept. WHERE O'Reilly was, not WHAT his new job was. (Presumably, he didn't just vanish from the face of the earth, so you'd think they'd know their employee's whereabouts).
Additionally, the State Department says no official biography of O'Reilly exists because he is not in a senior level position, leaving Fast and Furious investigators with very little to go on.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) threatened to subpoena O'Reilly in a letter to his attorney last Thursday if he continued to ignore inquiries by Congress, saying that O'Reilly is the "link connecting the White House to the scandal."
However, as Bannister points out, "Eric Holder was able to ignore a subpoena - and actually be held in contempt of Congress for doing it – without even losing his job."
Attempts to contact Reps. Issa, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) were unsuccessful.
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Front page image from AP.