Boehner: Invoking Executive Privilege 'An Admission WH Officials Were Involved In Decisions That Misled Congress'

Patrick Burke | June 21, 2012 | 3:29pm EDT
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( -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that President Barack Obama’s invoking of executive privilege to avoid providing Congress with documents related to Operation Fast and Furious is "an admission that White House officials were involved in decisions that misled the Congress and have covered up the truth."

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At a Capitol Hill press conference, Boehner said, “Remember, we’re talking about a program that gave Mexican drug dealers, guns. And those guns killed an American border agent.”

“The American people deserve the truth, and the administration has an obligation to turn over the relevant documents right now,” said Boehner.  “The decision to invoke executive privilege is an admission that White House officials were involved in decisions that misled the Congress and have covered up the truth.”

“What is the Obama administration hiding in Fast and Furious?” he said.

Boehner added that President Obama’s decision to invoke executive privilege over documents from the Department of Justice -- reaching beyond communications concerning the president and close advisers -- raises “very serious questions.”

On Wednesday -- the same day the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress – the deputy attorney general, James Cole, sent a letter to Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), stating that Obama was invoking executive privilege over the documents that Issa’s committee has been seeking for more than a year.

U.S. Border Agent Brian A. Terry, shot and killed on Dec. 14, 2010, near Rio Rico, Arizona, while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants. Two guns at the crime scene were traced back to the botched Justice Department operation Fast and Furious. (AP Photo)

“I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Cole wrote to Issa. “We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee's concerns and to accommodate the Committee's legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”

Operation Fast and Furious was a Justice Department program that began in September 2009 and  allowed nearly 2,000 guns to flow into Mexico with the intent of tracking the guns to drug cartel leaders. The operation was halted when two of the guns in the operation were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

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