Remember Fast and Furious? No, not the series of vehicle-themed Vin Diesel and Rock vehicles. The bizarre “gunwalking” scandal, in which the ATF let straw buyers purchase guns to traffic to Mexico, but intercept the firearms before they reached Mexico, snagging criminals.
It's been mostly out of the news for the last four years, but on Friday, the White House announced it would drop claims of executive privilege and turn over a cache of documents to Congress related to Fast and Furious, as Politico’s Josh Gerstein first reported. The decision follows a court defeat in January for the Obama administration. Gerstein explains:
In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not turn down Obama's privilege assertion on the merits. Instead, she said authorized public disclosures about the operation in a Justice Department inspector general report essentially mooted the administration's drive to keep the records secret.
That’s the latest round in an ongoing battle between the White House and congressional Republicans over the operation. Almost inevitably, Fast and Furious was a fiasco. It didn’t snag any big fish, and the ATF lost track of 2,000 guns, including two that were found after the 2010 murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The dispute is not over whether Fast and Furious failed, but over who is to blame. The Obama administration and the Department of Justice pinned the blame on the local ATF office in Phoenix. Republicans suggested that higher-ups—including the Attorney General Eric Holder or even President Obama—might have known.