As society once again debates gun control legislation the Department of Justice is preparing to release documents related to a government gun trafficking scheme that started with the Bush Administration and continued for several years into the Obama Administration. The scheme allowed criminals linked to drug cartels to purchase thousands of weapons destined to be smuggled into Mexico.
Reuters reports, “The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it has reached an agreement with congressional investigators to hand over confidential records about a failed gun trafficking investigation during the Obama administration known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”
Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, and the scene where the United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder. According to Humberto Benítez Treviño, a former Mexican Attorney General, related firearms were found at crime scenes in Mexico where at least 150 Mexican civilians were maimed or killed. Revelations of the scheme led to controversy in both countries, and diplomatic relations were damaged.
As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of a US Cabinet to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012, and earlier that month, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency over the same documents.
In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is “committed to transparency” and will agree to share documents with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that had previously been withheld before President Donald Trump took office.