- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2014

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Department of Justice must turn over a list of documents withheld by the agency during a House panel’s ongoing investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the department has until Oct. 1 to provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with a list of documents — but not the documents themselves — withheld on the failed gun-walking operation, Politico reported.

President Obama invoked executive privilege in 2012 to block the documents from public disclosure.

Under the judge’s order, the Justice Department must provide all non-privileged documents and a detailed list of privileged documents. The committee will have until Oct. 17 to object to any withheld documents, the committee said in a press release.

“We are pleased the judge recognized that executive privilege includes a deliberative process beyond presidential communications,” said Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House panel, said the privilege log “will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of border patrol agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens,” the Associated Press reported.

In Operation Fast and Furious, federal agents allowed illegally purchased weapons to be transported in an effort to track the flow to high-level arms dealers.

Federal agents lost track of some 2,000 weapons and many of them wound up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States. The program was stopped after two of the guns were found at the Arizona crime scene of the December 2010 killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, AP reported.

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