Last week, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sent a memo to Republican Committee members detailing new documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. These documents reveal efforts by senior officials at the Department of Justice to withhold key materials related to the botched gunwalking operation.
Chairman Jason Chaffetz released the following statement on the documents:
“Transparency should not require years of litigation and a court order. These documents illustrate the lengths to which this administration went in order to limit and block access to subpoenaed information. Calculated efforts were made by senior DOJ officials to obstruct Congress. This attempt to prioritize a political agenda ahead of facts is unsettling and unacceptable.”
The Fast and Furious operation was responsible for allowing approximately 2,000 firearms to illegally flow into the hands of criminals, including Mexican drug cartel associates. On December 14, 2010, Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, a United States Marine, was killed while on patrol just miles from the Mexican border. The firearms found at the scene were semi-automatic rifles that were allowed to walk as part of Operation Fast and Furious.
Congress has investigated Fast and Furious since January 2011, Chairman Chaffetz said. In his statement, he said that over the course of the investigation, the Justice Department has provided false information, stonewalled document requests, produced scores of blacked-out pages and duplicate documents, and refused to comply with two congressional subpoenas.
In August 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives Office of General Counsel filed suit against the Justice Department.
On January 19, 2016, United States District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued her opinion and ordered DOJ release documents previously withheld under the President’s executive privilege claim. On April 8, 2016, DOJ complied with the Judge’s order, delivering more than 20,500 pages of documents to the Committee.