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September 22, 2011

ATF Agent Newell Adds "Supplemental Statement" To Testimony

Newell's testimony was said even by Democrats to be "frustrating," which is a euphemism for "unhelpful," which is itself a euphemism for "evasive."

Ah. Well, now he'll fix that with a "supplemental statement" to the record.

Prepared with significant input from his lawyers, I assume.

“After taking time to reflect and review my testimony from the hearing on July 26, 2011, I realize I could have given clearer, more complete and more direct responses to some questions,” former Special Agent in Charge William Newell said in a 12-page document submitted to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee and obtained by Fox News.

In a “supplemental statement,” Newell insisted agents did not knowingly allow thousands of weapons to reach criminal hands. Any concerns raised over the program were never voiced to appropriate authorities, he said, and only once did higher-ups tell agents not to arrest a suspect -- when the safety of the agents was in jeopardy.

He tried to emphasize his points during the July hearing, but even Democrats then described his testimony, under oath, as “quite frustrating.”

Of nearly 2,000 weapons sold to suspected “straw” purchasers over several months, the ATF was notified in time and able to monitor the purchase of only 325 firearms, Newell said. In fact, of the 2,000 weapons sold to suspects, 400 of them were sold before “Fast and Furious” ever launched. Still, Newell acknowledged ATF “was able to proactively and lawfully” seize only a third of the 325 weapons under ATF surveillance.

“With 20/20 hindsight, I now see that I should have conducted more frequent assessments,” Newell said in his filing. “With more regular assessments I could have articulated to my staff the need to be proactive in ascertaining the quantity of guns being purchased that we were not able to intercept.”

He claims he could not track the guns that showed up at the Brian Terry murder later, because tracking only occurred once the ATF had been made aware of the sale, and the ATF was not so notified until three days later.

But... the ATF is also telling these dealers just to let the guns walk. How can the ATF possibly think about tracking the guns when they've ordered dealers (against their own judgment) to sell them without any hassle?

Newell's claim is that the ATF couldn't have tracked the guns, due to circumstances; but those circumstances were created -- intentionally-- by the ATF.

He doubles down on the claim that he knew of no problems, none at all, with this bizarre operation:

In his new filing, Newell also tried to push back on suggestions from whistleblowers and others that ATF agents had repeatedly raised concerns about “Fast and Furious,” insisting he was “unaware” of any such concerns until they were voiced publicly on TV.

“To me, the stark absence of contemporaneous documents voicing concerns to supervisors over 'guns walking,' establishes quite convincingly that concerns over alleged 'gun walking' were not raised with the appropriate supervisors in the Phoenix Field Division during the operational phase of this investigation,” Newell said in his filing.

In addition, he said there is a “well-established process” for voicing concerns to ATF's Internal Affairs Division or Office of the Ombudsman, and, “To the best of my knowledge, at no time during the operational phase of the ‘Fast and Furious’ investigation did any of the whistleblowers contact [them] with concerns regarding the investigation.”

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posted by Ace at 02:18 PM

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