A federal judge resurrected the dormant Fast and Furious scandal by ordering the Justice Department to provide additional documents to House investigators probing the botched gun walking program.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the DOJ must turn over a privilege log of Operation Fast and Furious documents to the House by Oct. 1.
The privileged logs were among the thousands of pages of documents the Justice Department withheld from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during its investigation that has been going on since 2011.
The judge’s order requires the department to produce all non-privileged documents and a detailed description of privileged documents. The committee will have until Oct. 17 to object to any withheld documents, according to a committee news release.
In 2012, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from having to provide the documents to the House committee. Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled Housed, with the help of 17 Democrats, voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for obstructing the probe.
Operation Fast and Furious was a Justice Department program that was reportedly intended to be a sting operation by allowing about 2,000 guns to flow from the U.S. to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. However, the U.S. lost track of many of the guns, which were later found to have been used in crimes.
The operation was halted immediately after one of the Fast and Furious guns was found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he was grateful for the ruling.
“This administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress,” Issa said in a statement. “The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”
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