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Judge Says DOJ Must List Fast And Furious Documents

August 01, 2014

A federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to provide an index of documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious that the department is refusing to disclose to Congress. In response to Congressional demands, President Obama declared they were covered by Executive Privilege.

Under Operation Fast and Furious, gun stores were ordered to sell weapons to Mexican drug cartel operatives and others without any means of tracking where the weapons went. The weapons have been linked to hundreds of deaths, including US Border Guard Brian Terry. Critics have charged that the purpose of the operation was to create a crisis to use to curb gun rights.

As notes,

It’s important to remember that after claimed for a year the White House had nothing to do with Fast and Furious, President Obama asserted executive privilege over documents. Further, that privilege was asserted just fifteen minutes before the first contempt hearing and vote for Attorney General Eric Holder took place in June of 2012.

Judge Says DOJ Must List Fast And Furious Documents

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch, District Court Judge John D. Bates said the Executive Privilege claim may or may not be valid, but ordered an index made . A “Vaughn index” comes from the 1973 case Vaughn v Rosen.

In a 16-page order, Judge Bates explained that

Vaughn indices were designed to allow the agency “to justify its actions without compromising its original withholdings by disclosing too much information. . . . By allowing the agency to provide descriptions of withheld documents, the index gives the court and the challenging party a measure of access without exposing the withheld information.”

President Obama claimed that the documents were not related to him personally, but were covered by executive privilege. Bates did not explicitly deny the claim, because that is being investigated by another court. The index Bates ordered may help move that case along, taking away some of the guesswork.

In a hint at which way the executive privilege claim might go, Judicial Watch said,

Judge Bates also noted no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s executive privilege claims that his administration is using to keep these documents secret from Congress and the American people.



Judge Says DOJ Must List Fast And Furious Documents