While serving as attorney general, Eric Holder was involved in managing the Justice Department’s response to Congress’ investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, according to a memo by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
The 12-page Chaffetz memo summarizes the review of a court-ordered release of some 20,500 Justice Department documents to the House committee probing the failed program that allowed about 2,000 U.S. guns to flow to Mexican drug-trafficking organizations.
“More than previously understood, the documents show the lengths to which senior Department officials went to keep information from Congress,” the Chaffetz memo said. “Further, the documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials — including Attorney General Eric Holder — intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress.”
The gun-walking program was halted in late 2010 after one of the Fast and Furious guns was found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The memo states that the DOJ ignored evidence of gun-walking by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; politicized “decisions about how and whether to comply with the congressional investigation”; developed “strategies to redact or otherwise withhold relevant information from Congress and the public;” isolated the fallout of the Fast and Furious scandal to the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona, while avoiding accountability at DOJ in Washington; and created "a culture of animosity toward congressional oversight."
The Justice Department did not respond to inquiries from TheBlaze Thursday.
Congress began investigating the matter in 2011. After the Justice Department withheld thousands of pages of documents from the committee, the House of Representatives cast a bipartisan vote to hold then-Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress in the summer of 2012.
President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to shield the documents from being turned over to Congress. However, on Jan. 19, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the Justice Department to produce the documents, which it did Friday.
“Transparency should not require years of litigation and a court order,” Chaffetz said in a statement. “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.”