The controversy surrounding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ infamous Fast and Furious program has faded over the past few months but it’s unlikely to be relegated to the background for very long.
Last week it was revealed that a high-powered rifle employed in the unsuccessful gun-tracking program was used to kill a police chief and his bodyguard in the Mexican state of Jalisco, signaling that some of the weapons used in the enterprise are now in the possession of members of drug cartels – the same people Fast and Furious was supposed to entrap as a result of the operation.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, the panel that led the investigation into the brewing scandal, continues its efforts to gain access to documents in the possession of the Department of Justice. The House in June 2012 held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to comply with the panel’s request.
President Obama, for the first time in his administration, invoked executive privilege to thwart the committee’s demand. Justice Department officials insist they had no knowledge of the operation.
Any future congressional action on Fast and Furious, which first came to light in January 2011, likely depends on the committee and its chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), gaining access to the withheld information. Ultimately the issue will be resolved in federal court.
Issa said the House remains “steadfast in its commitment to getting the full truth about this reckless gunwalking effort that has been linked to murders on both sides of our border with Mexico.”