The Justice Department is asking that the Executive Branch use its privilege in relation to the nasty, PR nightmare that “Operation Fast and Furious” has turned into. In a correspondence with Representative Darrel Issa (R-California), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a representative of the Justice Department said that Executive Privilege applies to the explanation of how the department learned about problems in the probe.
“I write now to inform you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” wrote James Cole, the Deputy Attorney General and technology law expert. “We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”
The White House made the move after Darrel Issa and the Attorney General conferred Tuesday night for around half an hour in an effort to head off today’s hearing to consider whether to hold him in contempt. Mr Holder informed reporters following the meeting that he offered to provide the documents on the condition that Issa gave his assurance that doing so would satisfy two committee subpoenas and resolve the issue.