John O. Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Assistant to the President, the man credited for implementing Obama's targetted drone assassination program has been linked directly through former White House National Security Director for North America, Kevin O'Reilly and ATF Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix William Newell, to Operation Fast and Furious. Before serving in the Obama Administration, Brennan was the director of the National Counterterrorism Center under George Bush from August 27, 2004 until Aug. 1, 2005.
Brennan is the person directly responsible for organizing the process by which individuals are placed on the White House kill list and consolidated the process in the White House directly under President Obama.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee maintains a website which lists the key players in Operation in Fast and Furious. Under White House Staff the following entry appears: "Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, John Brennan led June 2010 high-level discussion in Phoenix on gun trafficking. O'Reilly shared information on Phoenix gun trafficking cases with National Security Staff. Former National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly frequently communicated about Fast and Furious with Phoenix ATF official Bill Newell."
Brennan's trip took place on June 28, 2010. The purpose of the trip was to outlne Obama's integrated Southwest border strategy. The strategy announced was a "multi-layered effort to target illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons, and money." This included according to the press release on the meetings "surged ATF agents to Arizona to target gun trafficking to Mexico," and "DOJ-led multi-agency law endorcement investigations." The delegation accompanying Brennan included two members of the National Security staff, Tom Atkin and Jason Mayer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice, Bruce Swartz and Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, who later resigned due to his role in Operation Fast and Furious.
In testimony before the Oversight Committee Newell said that O'Reilly, whom he had been friends with for over 10 years, when they both served in Colombia together, asked him to provide information on Fast and Furious. Issa asked Newell: "Why do you think he asked for that information?" Newell responded: "He was asking about the impact of Project Gunrunner to brief people in preparation for a trip to Mexico... what we were doing to combat firearms trafficking and other issues."
All of O'Reilly's email exchanges with Newell are dated after Brennan reportedly led the June 2010 discussions in Phoenix.
In one email from O'Reilly to Newell dated Wednesday, September 1, 2010 on GRIT (Arizona Gunrunner Impact Team), O'Reilly writes: "Great - Thanks. We want John Brennan well-prepared to talk GRIT with the Mexicans next Wednesday."
On September 3, Newell responds re GRIT: "You didn't get these from me... Also, not mentioned in these docs but VERY relevant to Mr. Brennan's meeting next week is the fact that we and the USA were going to announce the indictment of a dozen 'straw purchase' cases addressing firarms trafficking by 30 individuals."
The earliest emails exchanged between Newell and O'Reilly are dated July 28, 2010. In an email on that date, O'Reilly writes: "This is great; very informative. OK to share with Sr. Director Dan Restrepo and with CT/CN Director Greg Gatjanis? Would not leave NSS. I assure you."
Thus, all of the emails released to the committee post-date Brennan's trip to Phoenix in June of the same year. Brennan's involvement in Operation Fast and Furious is underlined by the fact that the individual running Operation Fast and Furious, William Newell, was preparing him for a meeting in Mexico on September 10, 2010.
When the Oversight Committee received the above-cited emails, they immediately requested an interview with O'Reilly only to find that he had been preemptively shipped out of the country to Iraq to prevent his testimony. Later when the committee attempted to interview him via telephone, the White House refused to allow the interview to take place.
The involvement of Brennan in Operation Fast and Furious along with members of the National Security Staff, the chief of staff of which was Dennis McDonough, who later replaced Thomas Donilon as Deputy National Security Advisor, brings Operation Fast and Furious directly into the White House through Barack Obama's closest advisors.
These are undoubtedly among the unspoken reasons why the President asserted executive privilege to halt the Congressional investigation.