The U.S. Justice Department says it has turned over to Congress a cache of additional documents related to the botched gun-smuggling operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
The Obama administration had for the last four years refused to provide the documents to House Republicans, invoking a claim of executive privilege.
But a federal judge on January 19 turned aside that argument, saying the agency had already disclosed through other channels much of the information it was seeking to withhold.
GUN ‘WALKERS’: More than 1,200 of the 2,000 guns lost in Operation Fast and Furious are yet to be recovered
EL CHAPO: Officials found a cache of weapons inside Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s hideout
BLOODY SHOOTING: A Phoenix apartment where two people were shot with a gun purchased as part of the federal government’s gun-walking program
In a letter Friday, the Justice Department says it is moving to end the legal dispute and will not contest the decision from Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
House Republicans sued in 2012 to obtain thousands of emails related to the botched effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to track guns across the southwest border.
The documents are critical to the committee’s efforts to ‘understand and shine light on what was happening inside DOJ during the time of this irresponsible operation,’ House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman and Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz said in a statement.
The years-long law enforcement operation resulted in hundreds of firearms landing in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, including one that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry.
Under the program, the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives directed gun store owners to sell AK-47s, AR-15s and 50-caliber rifles, among other firearms, to people they knew would ‘walk’ the guns across the Mexican border illegally.
CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS: House Republicans skewered then-Attorney General Eric Holder for years as he refused to turn over the documents they had subpoenaed, ultimately issuing a criminal referral against him
ARSENAL: Weapons tied to the gun trafficking operation known Fast and Furious were discovered in April in the home of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, in the volatile city of Juarez, Mexico
Thousands of weapons were trafficked this way under the watchful eye of the ATF, which was unable to track most of them as it had hoped. One arsenal of weapons lost by the feds turned up in the hands of a reputed Sinaloa drug cartel enforcer named Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo in the volatile Mexican city of Juarez.
Notorious Drug lord ‘El Chapo Guzman (right) seen here shaking hands with actor Sean Penn. Some of the guns sent into Operation Fast and furious ended up in his weapons cache
VICTIM: U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death by a Mexican national with a gun put into circulation by Operation Fast and Furious
A 50-caliber rifle was recovered at Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s hideout, according to report issued this year. a new report revealed Wednesday.
At least one Fast and Furious gun came back into the United States and was used to commit a pair of grisly 2013 gang-style murders in Phoenix.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder refused to hand over the documents when House Republicans subpoenaed them, leading a a 2012 vote holding him in Contempt of Congress.
That alleged crime, however, was up to Holder’s own Justice Department to prosecute, and it declined to take up the charge.
Fast and Furious sent about 2,000 guns over the U.S.-Mexico border, of which fewer than 800 were recovered..
Several of the ‘straw purchasers’ were arrested and indicted, but the operation reportedly made little headway in prosecuting the drug kingpins it was designed to ensnare.