White House Furious at CBS 'Fast and Furious' Investigation?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: "Factor Follow Up" segment tonight.

As we reported last night, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has uncovered some Justice Department memos that show Attorney General Holder knew about the "Fast and Furious" gun sting long before he said he did. Ms. Attkisson joins us from Washington.

So let's -- let's just walk through this so even I can understand it. When you found these memos, then you called the White House for comment as any reporter would. And some guy actually yelled at you? Is that what happened?

SHARYL ATTKISSON, CBS NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, it was during reporting on some of these documents, not those particular ones. And we had a conversation which you well know about and have reported on and has been duly noted. And ever since then I have been moving on and trying to work on the next developments in the case. There have been quite a few.


O'REILLY: Ok but let's -- let's not try to get away from this too quickly Sharyl. Eric Schultz is hired by the White House to handle this story the "fast and furious" story. So you call Eric up and you say that he was hostile? Was he hostile?

ATTKISSON: Well, I don't want to say exactly how the whole thing took place because part of that is how we work together in sharing information since the story began. There are assigned people in various part sides of the story to deal with the media I -- I do want to say that the conversation as you reported it was -- was accurate.


O'REILLY: Did he -- did he curse at you?

ATTKISSON: As you reported, that's accurate. And I think --


O'REILLY: Well, wait, wait, wait.

Now, I have had that happen to me, and you wouldn't -- anybody would curse at me, I mean, come on. You get a promotion doing that but you are a nice person. I mean you are just somebody who is trying to get the story. Why would this guy curse at you? What -- what led him to do that?

ATTKISSON: In the course of covering these kinds of stories, as you know, you get into a lot of difficult moments with people that you talk to and they probably don't think you're as nice as you think I am, Mr. O'Reilly --


O'REILLY: No but you know what I'm talking about here. Usually lights a fuse particularly to somebody like that at the level the White House level who actually curse at a reporter, a CBS News correspondent. That's not something that happens every day, Sharyl. So what do you think lit that fuse?

ATTKISSON: Well, I would say there have been some pretty incredible developments in the past week. Also, documents we haven't even had time to report on all of them. They are very sensitive documents and allegations going around. Many of them we haven't reported yet because we need to get more confirmation of them.

But what you see on the surface that we do report in our stories is really only a part of what may be going on and we may be reporting the future when we can get confirmation.



ATTKISSON: And I can only say that is a very sensitive story that goes into many far facets and there is a lot of -- a lot of sensitivity.


O'REILLY: Absolutely you did, there is no doubt about it, particularly, because today President Obama stuck up for Holder and said look, Holder didn't mislead anybody before Congress. Whatever.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, because I am speculating, based on your reporting, something that makes me uncomfortable but you are in the field and I'm here in the studio. It looks to me like Eric Holder, the Attorney General, did know about this "Fast and Furious" operation that led to the death of a border patrol agent long before he told Congress he knew about it. Would that be accurate at this point in time to say?

ATTKISSON: You would be factually correct. And as we have reported that the Attorney General was briefed a long time ago.


O'REILLY: Ok so -- so --

ATTKISSON: Or has received briefing memos -- let me finish that was briefed on "Fast and Furious". And not --


O'REILLY: -- right the facts say that he knew. So then he goes up to the Hill and he tells Darryl Issa, the Congressman from California, you know, I just found out about this, I really didn't know.

So it looks like Holder is not telling the truth. That's what it looks like. Are there any extenuating circumstances that you have found?

ATTKISSON: None so far. And I have put in a separate query to the Department of Justice, which we're continuing to report on the story to ask them to clarify ok, when is it, if he misunderstood the question.


O'REILLY: Yes, when was it that he knew about it and when did you put that request in to the DOJ?

ATTKISSON: I put that request in today.

O'REILLY: Ok. Did you put a request to interview Holder?

ATTKISSON: I have repeated that request, I repeated it today, yes.

O'REILLY: How long have you been trying to get him?

ATTKISSON: I believe we asked for our first interview request with him many months ago.


O'REILLY: Ok. So you have been trying to get him for a long time and he hasn't come up.

Now, have you asked Eric Schultz at the White House for an apology? You don't have to take that garbage.

ATTKISSON: Well, there is nothing to apologize for.

O'REILLY: Well, he cussed at you?

ATTKISSON: I -- that's really -- the point is really not the content of that. The point is story wise it seems significant and important how people handle questions and how they react when you ask questions. It's not that anybody owes somebody an apology. And again, we have moved on to the developments.


O'REILLY: It's a curiosity to me because it is at a high level. Last question, in your opinion, you've been doing this how many years, how many years have you been investigating. How many years?

ATTKISSON: Gosh, a long time.

O'REILLY: Ok. In your opinion, is this a big story or is it just a little story? Is it big is it going to lead to perhaps a resignation by the Attorney General? Is President Obama going to be embarrassed? Is it that big?

ATTKISSON: I have no idea about that. But there is no doubt that what we already know. And what we've already reported on I think is incredibly important and it's an incredibly major story that we've only -- that we've really have a lot more to learn about.

O'REILLY: All right, Sharyl we appreciate you coming on the program very much. Thank you.