According to a new report from Judicial Watch, the Obama administration is once again claiming executive privilege when it comes to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. Rejecting a federal judge’s order to release 15,000 documents relating to the investigation to the watchdog group, the administration refuses to let this scandal see daylight.
The list of documents Judicial Watch wants is said to include correspondence between officials at the Justice Department and the ATF as well as some 20 emails between former Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone.
The scandal surrounds a questionable practice known as “gunwalking,” in which the Arizona field office of the ATF allowed firearms dealers to sell guns to illegal buyers. The hope was that these buyers would lead them to Mexican drug cartel leaders, netting the ATF some important arrests. Unfortunately, it didn’t always work out that way. The largest of these sting operations – Operation Fast and Furious – involved the sale of more than 2,000 firearms. Of those, only around 700 have been recovered. Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at a number of crime scenes in both Mexico and the U.S.
The Obama administration and, in particular, Holder’s Justice Department, has been less than forthcoming to Congress and federal investigators. Holder himself became the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt by Congress for refusing to release documents related to the operation.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says the “executive privilege” invoked by the administration is unlawful. “Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office.”
Considering the gravity of the scandal – more than 1,400 guns completely lost without any high-profile arrests to make up for it – the mainstream media has been virtually silent. Even though U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was quite possibly killed with one of those lost guns, the major networks have shown little interest in bringing the scandal to the public. In recent months, only Judicial Watch seems to be investigating the story.
It took more than a year after CBS ran Sharyl Attkisson’s original 2011 report for ABC and NBC to run stories relating to Operation Fast and Furious. They picked up the coverage only as the House of Representatives prepared to hold Holder in contempt. In the years since, the coverage has gotten no better. The reports, when they do surface, are painted as an example of partisan infighting rather than a major government conspiracy.
There was hope that Holder’s resignation would pave the way for these documents to come to light. When a federal judge ordered the administration to hand over the documents by October 22nd, it seemed we would finally find out if we had the makings of a true-blue cover-up. Unfortunately, the cover-up continues. Holder may not be the AG anymore, but there has been speculation that Obama wants to find a place for him on the Supreme Court. I suppose that means he must be protected.
God only knows what we’ll learn about this administration in the years after Obama leaves office. Between the IRS impropriety, the VA scandals, this gunwalking story, and the mishandling of Benghazi, I think we’ve only scratched the surface.