President obama invokes executive privilege over fast and furious documents
President Obama has invoked executive privilege over previously undisclosed documents pertaining to the Justice Department’s “Fast & Furious” program, which allowed a cache of weapons to make their way across the Mexican border. The idea behind the program was as follows: ATF agents would give Mexican drug cartels access to weaponry, which, in turn, would allow them to track the gun runners. However, things got a little dicey when one of the weapons was used in the fatal shooting of a US border patrol officer.
Congress has demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder turn over a series of documents which explore how the Justice Department responded to the ensuing scandal. Holder refused to do so, which, some speculated, would result in the Attorney General being held in contempt of Congress. According to Holder, the department has already given officials more than enough access to documents which answer important questions surrounding the incident.
On the same day that the Oversight Committee was to vote on whether or not to place Holder in contempt, Obama invoked the executive privilege, which will effectively prevent the documents from falling into the hands of Congress. The decision follows Rep. Darrell Issa’s refusal yesterday to accept some of the documents regarding the DOJ’s handling of the scandal.
“The President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in the letter to Issa this morning. “We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the documents in question would reveal whether or not officials were aware of the tactics used in the Fast & Furious program in 2009 and 2010, which are known as “gun-walking”. Republican lawmakers also believe these documents will prove the Department of Justice misled lawmakers by denying that such tactics were ever used.
Executive privilege, according to Wikipedia, is the “power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government. ”
If you’re curious to read the full letter from James Cole to Darrell Issa, you can check out the document by paying a quick visit to Think Progress.
[h/t: Business Insider]
Sources: http://www.webpronews.com/Tags: Ning