- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2014

President Obama is claiming executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents detailing the “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal, including email conversations between Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his wife.

Watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained a 1,307-page “Vaughn index” identifying and describing the withheld documents late Wednesday night. This is the first time that a full list and description of the controversial records have been released.

Judicial Watch reported that the documents include nearly 20 email communications between Mr. Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone.

The hidden records also contained communications between top officials at the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

In June 2012 Mr. Holder was held in contempt by the U.S. House of Representatives for refusing to turn over records detailing why the Obama administration had hidden the gunrunning operation from Congress. It was the first time a U.S. attorney general had been held in contempt of Congress.

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier, but the request was denied by the Department of Justice, thus prompting the watchdog to file a FOIA lawsuit in Sept. 2012.

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates ordered a stay of the case in February 2013 to allow the DOJ and House Oversight Committee to continue with ongoing discussions on the scandal. But in July 2014 the judge ordered that the DOJ produce the Vaughn index by Oct. 1, noting that no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s executive privilege claims in this case, Judicial Watch reported.

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