from Sharyl Attkisson:
The Department of Justice improperly withheld public documents related to Fast and Furious after the first Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for them several years ago. The agency was recently forced to produce some of the materials to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which filed a FOI lawsuit to obtain the information. (To date, the Justice Department still has not complied with FOI law in providing the same public documents to me as a FOI requestor.)
Fortunately, Judicial Watch has posted the documents for public review.
Clues as to why President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder kept the public documents secret for so long may be found in one 60-page release examined below. Nearly three years after-the-fact, its news value is diminished. If these documents had been turned over when Congress subpoenaed them or when they were first requested under FOI law, they would have revealed damaging information in the lead-up to President Obama’s re-election in 2012. By exerting executive privilege, the President and Holder kept them hidden until the court challenge forced their release.
The reason for the 60-page grouping of materials isn’t apparent. Documents that long predate Fast and Furious are mixed in with relevant documents. Redactions aren’t justified or explained. Inexplicably, even Congressional testimony that had been publicly presented to Congress was included in documents withheld under President Obama’s sweeping executive privilege.
Multi-Agency Participation in Fast and Furious
- There is evidence of widespread knowledge of and participation by several federal agencies in the controversial Fast and Furious gunwalking case that let traffickers put thousands of weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
- Agencies participating in Fast and Furious included the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Phoenix Police Department.
- A January 2011 “Key Messages: Tasking Points” memo (p. 14) generated by the Public Affairs Division at ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. stated: