WASHINGTON — Newly released e-mails in the controversy over the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation show that the program had been mentioned to a White House official, but the unorthodox tactics used by federal agents were not revealed in the documents.
Congressional investigators have been looking into whether high-level Obama administration officials were aware of the operation.
The e-mails reveal that William Newell, former head of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, briefed Kevin O'Reilly on the administration's broader operations against Mexican gun traffickers. O'Reilly, a State Department official who had been detailed to the National Security Council at the White House, then shared the information with two other officials, including Dan Restrepo, President Barack Obama's senior adviser on Latin America.
The e-mails, turned over by the Justice Department to congressional investigators and obtained by the Washington Post, do not include details of Fast and Furious, a plan to follow guns bought by illegal "straw purchasers" and sold to Mexican drug cartels.
Obama has said he and Attorney General Eric Holder would never have permitted the tactics used in the operation, which allowed 2,000 illegally purchased firearms to hit the streets.