White House Link to Fast and Furious Back in the United States

Katie Pavlich

10/12/2012 2:10:00 PM - Katie Pavlich

Former White House National Security Adviser Kevin O'Reilly is back in the United States after spending a year in Iraq filling a position with the State Department. As a refresher, O'Reilly is the White House official who was receiving information about Operation Fast and Furious from former Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division Bill Newell. O'Reilly forwarded that information to other members of the White House National Security team, including President Obama's Senior Adviser to Latin America Dan Restrepo. In August, Restrepo left the White House for the private sector. 

We first learned about the direct White House connection to Operation Fast and Furious during a Congressional hearing on July 26, 2011 when Newell admitted being in contact with O'Reilly about the program. As soon as this revelation occurred, O'Reilly was shipped off to Iraq and made unavailable for comment to the press and unavailable to answer questions from Congressional investigators about Operation Fast and Furious.

O’Reilly recently returned to Washington, D.C., to work in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, a State Department official confirmed to CNSNews.com.

The State Department official told CNSNews.com that O’Reilly’s reassignment to Iraq from the White House “was a standard foreign service career rotation that had been planned for months in advance of his detail to the NSS.” The State Department could not confirm O’Reilly’s new title at the State Department.

The State Department official claimed to be unaware of an assertion by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who said someone else had been selected for the job in Iraq before O’Reilly was “suddenly” transferred there.

“O’Reilly’s sudden transfer to Baghdad occurred just days after the aforementioned e-mails with William Newell were produced to the Committee and Newell testified about them before Congress,” Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight panel, and Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to O’Reilly’s attorney Thomas G. Connolly.

“Additionally, we have learned that O’Reilly took the place of a previously selected individual—an individual who had gone through a competitive application process and thorough vetting process, had the necessary qualifications, and whose spouse was already in Baghdad in anticipation of the individual’s arrival—to serve as the head of the Police Development Program.”

Recently, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz said it was "impossible" to get any information about Kevin O'Reilly's role in the operation from the White House during the internal DOJ investigation of the scandal.