DOJ Document Dump: 64,280 Pages of Fast and Furious Docs

BATFE LogoDocuments Released Less Than Two Weeks After DOJ Head Eric Holder Announces Resignation

After years of refusing to share Operation Fast and Furious information – even in the face of House Oversight Committee demands, a lawsuit in federal court, and contempt charges – the Justice Department released more than 64,000 pages of documents related to the botched gun running operation.  The move, according to the Committee’s statement, is effectively an admission that the Justice Department never had legitimate grounds to withhold these documents in the first place.

Even given the massive scope of the documents handed over, they still only partially meets the committee’s information request.  “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,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the committee on House Oversight and Government Reform.  “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.

Cover Letter page 1

Cover Letter p1

Cover Letter Page 2

Cover Letter p2

The cover letter which accompanied the document dump was signed by the DOJ’s John Tyler:  “[a]s always, the Department remains willing to discuss ways to resolve this dispute, or to narrow the parties’ remaining disputes, if possible, without further litigation” – an absurdity given the DOJ’s initial handling of F&F and continued refusal to cooperate.

The cover letter also points out the numerous redactions by agencies including the BATFE,DHS, DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the State Department – information withed purportedly due to “privacy concerns,” the “unrelated” nature of some materials, the material’s involvement in the deliberative process, and, laughably, “time constraints” (read:  we did not have time over the past few years to figure out if we wanted you to see this, so we are just going to hide it).  Information that they could not otherwise come up with an excuse for hiding was covered by the letter’s blanket statement “some information that may otherwise have been intended for release, may have unintentionally been marked for redaction.”  Oops.  Tyler, the Assistant Director of the Federal Programs Branch’s Civil Division, also claimed to reserve the right to take back any information that they may have “inadvertently disclosed.”

Despite all this, Issa said of the missing information: “I am deeply concerned that some redactions to these documents may still be inappropriate and contrary to the judge’s order in the case. This production is nonetheless a victory for the legislative branch, a victory for transparency, and a victory for efforts to check Executive Branch power.”

For more discussion on the ongoing scandal, visit the Operation Fast and Furious discussion thread on the GunLink Forums.

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