The Obama administration late Monday handed over tens of thousands of documents to Congress related to the "Fast and Furious" gun walking operation, after a federal judge ordered them to be released.
The document dump is a victory for House Republicans who have been seeking these papers for years. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the court order shows the administration had no right to keep the records from Congress as it investigated the botched plan to track weapons as they were shipped to Mexican drug cartels.
Attorney General Eric Holders' Justice Department was forced to hand over tens of thousands of documents to Congress relating to the Fast and Furious gun walking operation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Attorney General was ultimately held in contempt by the House over his failure to produce these and other "Fast and Furious" papers, and Issa said the contempt vote was now clearly appropriate.
"When Eric Holder wants to know why he was the first Attorney General held in criminal contempt of Congress, he can read the judge's order that compelled the production of 64,280 pages that he and President Obama illegitimately and illegally withheld from Congress," Issa said.
Holder didn't say what the documents contain, and it will likely take some time for House staffers to sift through them. But he did say he was worried that some documents appear to be redacted, which he said would be "inappropriate and contrary to the judge's order."
A letter from the Justice Department accompanying the documents said the department may have redacted too much in order to protect "law enforcement sensitive" information, and indicated that some of these redactions might be reversed later.
Issa also said he believes more documents are still out there.
"Since these pages still do not represent the entire universe of the documents the House of Representatives is seeking related to the Justice Department's cover-up of the botched gun-walking scandal that contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent, our court case will continue," he said.
"This production is nonetheless a victory for the legislative branch, a victory for transparency, and a victory for efforts to check Executive Branch power," Issa added.