Gun Reports - News
Judicial Watch Sues Department of Justice
September 18, 2012
for 'Fast and Furious' Documents
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(GunReports.com) -- What is President Obama hiding? That's the question at the center of a Judicial Watch lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice last week, says the groups president Tom Fitton.
Just like Congress, Judicial Watch has been aggressively pursuing Operation Fast and Furious records first withheld by the Obama Department of Justice and then subsequently shielded from disclosure by the President himself when he inappropriately invoked executive privilege to keep them secret, Fitton said.
Fitton said that a June 22, 2012, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was filed with the Office of Information Policy (OIP), a component of the DOJ. It asked for:
All records subject to the claim of executive privilege invoked by President Barack Obama on or about June 20, 2012, as referenced in the letter of Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole to the Honorable Darrell E. Issa, Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives, dated June 20, 2012. More specifically, the records requested herein are those records described by Deputy Attorney General Cole in his June 20, 2012 letter as the relevant post-February, 2011, documents over which "the President has asserted executive privilege."
On August 6, 2012, OIP informed Judicial Watch that the Offices of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General had determined that the documents responsive to Judicial Watch's FOIA request should be withheld in full, pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5 that protects "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency."
Fitton said, We appealed the determination. By law, a response was due September 11, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch's lawsuit, the DOJ had failed to respond. Now we're in court, doing whatever we can to shed light on who was responsible for Fast and Furious, why it was initiated, and how it could go so terribly wrong.
Fitton said Judicial Watch believes Fast and Furious was a way for the DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) route guns to Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they would end up at crime scenes.
Fitton said, And what was the point of that? It appears the Obama administration needed more ammunition to push for stricter gun control laws and figured if it could demonstrate that crimes in Mexico were being carried out with weapons purchased in the U.S. that would do the trick.
To say this is an outrage - to allow guns to "walk" into the hands of Mexican drug criminals in order to stick it to the gun lobby - doesn't come close to describing the despicable nature of this scheme.
In addition to this most recent FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch separately filed a FOIA lawsuit against the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and a White House official regarding Fast and Furious.