Rep. Allen West: ‘You Don’t Invoke Executive Privilege Unless You Had Some Involvement in This Operation’

By Fred Lucas | June 25, 2012 | 6:07am EDT

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) (AP photo)

( – Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) believes President Barack Obama’s attempt to withhold executive branch documents from Congress by declaring executive privilege indicates that the Fast and Furious scandal may go beyond the Justice Department. asked West, “So you think this has been a cover up at the very highest level based on the president’s interjection in this?”

West answered, “Well, absolutely.”

“You don’t invoke executive privilege unless you had some involvement in this operation, in this event. So the American people need to know the truth about this,” West said. “Brian Terry’s parents – the United States Border Patrol agent who lost his life – needs to know the truth. And I think the citizens of Mexico need to know the truth as well.”

West said he plans to vote in favor of holding Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress, when the full House takes up the matter this week.

“It’s pretty easy. I will be voting to hold him in contempt. I don’t think that there is any other course of action,” West said. “They (the Justice Department) have not provided the requisite documents that have been requested under subpoena. They’ve been providing documents -- full pages have been redacted. So they might as well have sent over blank sheets of paper. The fact that the president has now invoked executive privilege really leads us to know they were part of this operation and the decision making process thereof, which is something they said they were not.”

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The Justice Department has provided the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with 7,600 documents. But the committee has subpoenaed many more documents that would show, among other things, how the Justice Department reacted after Congress started asking questions about Operation Fast and Furious. 

Those documents, the committee says, will help it fulfill its constitutionally mandated oversight and legislative duties.

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.

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