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Tag: william newell

Four ATF Leaders Face Termination; Disciplinary Board Recommends Firings

ATF William Newell was a key person in operation.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four senior ATF managers behind the botched Fast and Furious gun-smuggling investigation face termination after a disciplinary board recommended they be fired, the Washington Times reports.

The ATF Professional Review Board recommended the termination of the four managers, William Newell, former special agent in charge of the ATF’s Phoenix office; George Gillett, the former second in command in the Phoenix office; Mark Chait former assistant director for field operations; and William McMahon, a former deputy assistant director of ATF who oversaw field operations in the West –

Federal officials said they were among a number of managers who mishandled the operation by letting hundreds of weapons reach the hands of Mexican smugglers.

The three may appeal their dismissals or faec a disciplinary review board of senior managers, the Washington Times reported.

Parts of IG Report on Fast and Furious Leak Out to Fox News: Blame Placed on ATF and Justice


ATF William Newell was a key person in operation.

By William La Jeunesse
Fox News

Dozens of senior-level U.S. government officials turned a blind eye to public safety as they pursued an ill-conceived and poorly managed investigation into gun trafficking in Mexico, according to a long-awaited inspector general’s report on Operation Fast and Furious.

Portions of the Justice Department IG report, which has not been made public, were obtained exclusively by Fox News Channel.

The report and accompanying accounts cite a failure in leadership and a lack of accountability and oversight up and down the chain of command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Justice Department itself and other offices. It says many senior executives knew the U.S. was helping traffic guns to Mexico that killed people but did nothing to stop it.

“We found no evidence in Operation Fast and Furious that the ATF or the (U.S. attorney’s office) attempted at any point during the investigation to balance the risks to the public safety against the long-term benefits of identifying trafficking networks and participants,” the draft report says.

To read more click here.

 

IG Report on Fast and Furious Rumored to Be Coming Out in August

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I don’t often like to deal too much in conjecture, rumor or speculation, but in this case I will.

First off, the rumor circulating in Washington is that the Inspector General’s report on ATF’s failed Operation Fast and Furious will likely come out in August.

Who will get whacked?

Well, first off, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix will, including then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and some of his underlings.

So will William Newell, the head of ATF in Phoenix at the time, who helped lead the bone-headed operation that encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.  How Newell remains as an ATF employee is puzzling question.

Former ATF head Ken Melson and some of his underlings are likely to get a good spanking.

I’m speculating that the I.G. won’t place any blame at the feet of Attorney General Eric Holder or President Obama.

But Lanny Breuer, who heads up the Justice Department’s criminal division, could be the subject of some criticism.

In any event, I can’t wait for the report to come out. Ditto, I’m sure, for folks like Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, some of ATF’s chief critics on the Hill.

 

ATF Supervisors Blame Prosecutors in Fast and Furious

William Newell

By Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

The blame game continues in Operation Fast and Furious.

The latest: Two ATF managers — Bill Newell and David Voth — claim fed prosecutors blocked efforts to arrest gun runners or seize weapons before they crossed the border in Mexico, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The controversial program has caused a stir in Washington.

ATF encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

ATF lost track of many of the weapons, some of which surfaced at crime scenes.

To read the full story click here.

 

ATF Official Admits His Congressional Testimony on Fast and Furious “Lacked Clarity”

William Newell

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF official William Newell, who frustrated Congressional committee members and angered fellow agents with his ambivalent and less than forthright Congressional testimony in July on the controversial Operation Fast and Furious, now admits his testimony “lacked clarity”, Fox News reports.

Newell, who headed up ATF’s Phoenix office during Operation Fast and Furious, acknowledged in a 12-page document to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, that his testimony could have been better and offered new insight into his mistakes about the probe that encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels, Fox reported.

“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,” wrote Newell, who is now stationed at ATF headquarters in Washington.

“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.”

Newell’s less than forthright testimony angered fellow agents around the country.

A source told ticklethewire.com back in August that the Congressional committee was looking into the possibility of going after Newell for perjury after his July testimony.

To read more click here.

 

Is ATF Concerned About Sending “Fast and Furious” Official to Mexico as Attache?

William Newell

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Last October in Orlando, at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the heads of the ATF field offices gathered for a SAC meeting. It was there where it was announced that  William Newell, head of the Phoenix office, would become the ATF’s attache to Mexico.

Newell, an up and comer in the agency, seemed like a good choice. He was fluent in Spanish or as one person said “he spoke Spanish like professor.” And he had experience  dealing with the Mexican cartels.

In fact, he was helping head up a little known program at the time called “Operation Fast and Furious”, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell weapons to “straw purchasers” — all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartel.

It was a bold program and a highly ambitious one.

But months later, it became a very controversial one after  word got out that some weapons were showing up at crime scenes, including in the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.

Congressional inquiries started. An Inspector General probe was launched.  A media frenzy ensued.

Now, eight months after the announcement in Orlando, Newell has been holed up in Washington instead of Mexico supposedly to help the Congressional inquiries into Operation Fast and Furious. His post in Phoenix has already been filled and his assignment as ATF’s Mexican attache has been put on hold.

Word inside ATF, according to one knowledgeable person, is that some in the agency have voiced concerns about sending Newell to Mexico as an attache because the Mexican government, which is fuming over Fast and Furious, might pursue criminal charges and arrest Newell.

Fox News reported Tuesday that  the Mexican government is furious about Fast and Furious and wants to extradite American officials for prosecution.   Sending Newell might make that all too easy for the Mexicans.

Whether Mexico goes that far is unclear.

Nonetheless, sending Newell isn’t likely to sit well in Mexico.

But an ATF official on Friday tried to dispel any notion that Newell won’t be headed south of the border.

“As far as his assignment to Mexico City, it’s still in place but it’s been temporarily postponed so that he can assist with the Congressional inquiries and the OIG (Office of Inspector General) review,” the official told ticklethewire.com.

Newell did not respond to an email asking for comment.

When asked for comment more than a week ago, the Mexican embassy in Washington asked that ticklethewire.com submit questions in writing. There was no response.

On Friday, a spokesman did call back and left a voicemail. But the spokesman could not be reached after that.

The embassy spokesman did not immediately return the call on Tuesday for comment.

Shake Up at the Phoenix ATF Division Related to Operation Fast and Furious

William Newell

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — There’s been a shakeup at the Phoenix office of ATF, which has come under heat for the controversial gun walking program dubbed Operation Fast and Furious, ticklethewire.com has learned.

Thomas E. Brandon, special agent in charge of the Detroit office, has been temporarily assigned to head up the Phoenix office, according to knowledgeable sources.

Brandon will fill in for the Phoenix special agent in charge, William D. Newell, who has been sent to Washington to help prepare and answer questions about Operation Fast and Furious for Congress and the Office of Inspector General, the sources said.

Newell joins Jim Needles, an assistant special agent in charge of the Phoenix Division, who has been temporarily assigned to Washington to also help prepare answers for the various inquiries, sources said. Another assistant special agent in charge of the Phoenix office has taken a sick leave. It is unclear where all the agents involved in the moves will wind up, and whether they’ll return to their old posts.

Scot L. Thomasson, chief spokesman for ATF, did not immediately respond to a call from ticklethewire.com for comment.

Some key members of Congress have been highly critical of the Fast and Furious program and have been pressing for answers.  The program encouraged straw purchasers to buy guns, all the with hopes of tracing them to the Mexican cartels.  ATF lost track of some of the guns which ended up being used in crimes.  That triggered a public outcry from Congress and the Mexican government.