New York Times Becomes A Low Grade College Newspaper
The Republicans shamelessly turned what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation. And the White House responded as most administrations do at some point: it invoked executive privilege to make a political problem go away.While Mr. Holder has turned over more than 7,600 documents to the committee, he has withheld some subpoenaed documents. The committee’s chairman, Representative Darrell Issa, has treated this refusal as a cover-up of wrongdoing by the Justice Department. Mr. Holder claims that surrendering some of the documents would jeopardize criminal investigations and the confidentiality of the department’s decision-making process.Under Operation Fast and Furious, which ran between 2009 and early 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let about 2,000 assault weapons slip across the border to Mexico so the guns could be tracked up the drug cartel ladder. The bureau kept A.T.F. agents in Mexico in the dark while their superiors botched the surveillance. Some of the guns turned up in deadly shootouts, including one where an American border agent was slain.The House committee’s contempt resolution focuses largely on internal Justice Department documents that relate to a Feb. 4, 2011, letter sent by the department to Senator Charles Grassley. That letter falsely denied that the A.T.F. had engaged in a gunrunning strategy that sent weapons across the border.