It keeps going higher. Now, the Los Angeles Times has uncovered three national security officials who received email regarding the BATFE’s Fast and Furious program:

Three White House national security officials were given some details about the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious. The operation allowed firearms to be illegally purchased, with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the effort went out of control after agents lost track of many of the weapons.

The supervisor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in Phoenix specifically mentioned Fast and Furious in at least one email to a White House national security official, and two other White House colleagues were briefed on reports from the supervisor, according to White House emails and a senior administration official.

But the senior administration official said the emails, obtained Thursday by The Times, did not prove that anyone in the White House was aware of the covert “investigative tactics” of the operation.

Tina Korbe writes at Hot Air:

William Newell, then the ATF field supervisor for Arizona and New Mexico, was in close contact with Kevin O’Reilly, director of North American affairs for the White House national security staff, between July 2010 and February of this year.

In fact, Newell sought the White House’s help to persuade the Mexican government to let ATF agents recover U.S. guns across the border, and O’Reilly on several occasions sounded out Newell to see how efforts to combat gun trafficking in Arizona were going. In response to O’Reilly’s requests, Newell praised ATF agents’ work on “firearms trafficking investigations with direct links to Mexican” cartels.

O’Reilly forwarded the information Newell provided to two other officials – Dan Restrepo, the president’s senior Latin American advisor, and Greg Gatjanis, a White House national security official. But O’Reilly reassured Newell the information “would not leave NSS.”

The ATF is contacting the president’s senior Latin American advisor, and we are supposed to believe that the president himself didn’t know about the program?

That’s a tough one to swallow.

At what point is the need for a special prosecutor obvious? Issa and Grassley are expanding the investigation, but is that enough? For right now, I’ll defer to their expertise on the matter, but reserve the right to be hyper-critical at a future date.

I do think this goes all the way to Obama. I just wonder if the people around him will turn on him, or take the fall.

My money’s on taking the fall.

What do you think?

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