I note the return to Washington of former director of North American Affairs for the White House National Security Staff (NSS) / State Dept employee Kevin O’Reilly.
When he was threatened with a subpoena by House Oversight, he was suddenly reassigned to Iraq by the White House in July of 2011 and made "unavailable" for any questioning. He also refused to cooperate with the DoJ's Inspector General's investigation. The DOJ-OIG report (4.5MB pdf) states on pg 104:
"We also sought to interview Kevin O’Reilly, an official with the White House National Security Staff, about communications he had in 2010 with Special Agent in Charge William Newell that included information about Operation Fast and Furious. O’Reilly declined through his personal counsel our request for an interview."
This ongoing contact between a White House employee and ATF Supervisor Newell regarding Fast and Furious specifics is of obvious importance. It's apparent that the White House did too; O'Reilly's "re-assignment" to Iraq and complete unavailability to any investigators followed Newell's House Oversight testimony by two days.
It is important because the revamped prosecutorial doctrine (ignoring Title 18 crimes) and the ordering of DHS/ICE to stand down and defer enforcement of Title 22 International Arms Control Act crimes to DOJ/ATF, is not something the Phoenix US Attorney office nor Phoenix ATF could initiate on its own (thus dismissing both the "rogue operation" and "botched operation" excuses offered up).
Neither are those jurisdictional authorities that the Department of Justice, even AG Holder himself, could claim out of thin air.
Only someone with high authority in the White House and the National Security Service/NSC and the State Department (who has authority over DHS/ICE) could herd all those cats.
Which is why I believe all the focus on AG Holder is allowing the real players to go unexposed. As much as I dislike him, I believe AG Holder (and his agencies, DOJ/ATF) to be the scapegoat in all this. Perhaps, with White House NSS director / State Department director O'Reilly back stateside, more light can be shed on the White House and State Department's role in this scandal.