Late Wednesday evening the Department of Justice turned over a list, or Vaughn Index, of Operation Fast and Furious documents being held from the American people and Congress under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. The list was turned over after a long legal battle with government watchdog Judicial Watch. Yesterday in an initial review of the list by Judicial Watch, it was revealed Attorney General Eric Holder was involved in crafting talking points for the cover-up of the operation from within DOJ and that President Obama asserted executive privilege over emails between Holder, his wife and his mother.
The family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was murdered in the Arizona desert in December 2010 by Mexican bandits carrying guns obtained through Fast and Furious, is baffled that the President would use his executive authority to protect Holder's wife and is disappointed with the continuing lack of transparency from DOJ and the White House.
"We are shocked that some of these Vaughn Index documents show that Attorney General Holder was personally involved in crafting talking points and helping his office in responding to the Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious from very early on. We are baffled that personal emails from the Attorney General to his wife and mother are part of the information covered by the President's claim of Executive Privilege," Terry family spokesman Ralph Terry said in a statement.
"Furthermore, we are incredibly saddened that even after the death of Brian Terry and four years after Operation Fast and Furious was put to an end, the weapons of Operation Fast and Furious continue to appear and present a clear danger to the public. The Administration continues to show no remorse for their actions in Operation Fast and Furious. The Department of Justice continues to engage in deceptive measures that are designed to cover up the links between multiple acts of violence and the guns that were allowed to be bought by straw buyers and ultimately delivered to some of the most violent criminals in North America," Terry continued. "As evidenced by the weapon recovered in Phoenix, the Attorney General has once again failed to inform Congress and the American people that the weapons from the botched gun trafficking program put into place by ATF and former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke continue to injure and maim American citizens. We urge President Obama to cooperate with Congress and to release the thousands of documents outlined in the Vaughn Index. Americans deserve the truth and deserve transparency from their government in this matter."
Terry is referring to a 2013 gang-shootout at a Phoenix apartment complex that left two men injured. An AK-47 recovered at the scene was obtained through Fast and Furious and used to carry out the crime. The connection between the incident and Fast and Furious was not disclosed to Congress by DOJ until after a Judicial Watch freedom of information lawsuit against the City of Phoenix was issued and details about where the guns in the incident came from were reveled.
The Vaughn Index is more than 1300 pages long and the documents being withheld from Congress and the American people under President Obama's executive privilege total more than 15,000 pages. A federal judge is currently presiding over a lawsuit from the House Oversight Committee that questions whether Obama's assertion of privilege is valid in this case.