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Oversight Committee responds to court-ordered Fast and Furious log release

A step "closer" is meaningless on a  treadmill.
A step "closer" is meaningless on a treadmill.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa issued a statement Thursday regarding United States District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s order that the Justice Department must turn over a log of documents.related to the "gunwalking" investigation.

“Today a Federal judge ordered that the Department of Justice must submit by October 1 a privilege log of withheld documents related to Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa noted. “This Administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress.

“The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens,” Issa explained.

“Under the judge’s order, the Department of Justice must produce non-privileged documents and a detailed list of privileged documents withheld by October 1st,” the committee press release elaborated. “The Oversight Committee will then have an opportunity to lodge specific objections to withheld documents until October 17th.”

Perhaps it will be closer, but knowledgeable informants maintain this will not stop the delaying and blocking tactics that have been used by the administration throughout Congressional investigations.

“The history of the federal government throughout this case is one of foot-dragging, stonewalling, and can best be summed up in the ever-changing but predictable mantra ‘there's nothing to see here,’ followed by ‘well, maybe there is but there is no proof,’ followed by ‘well, maybe there's proof but this is just old news and we need to move along,’” a protected source told this column. “If there's real danger in it, they'll claim you're a ‘racist conspiracy theorist.’

“The fact of the matter is that releasing just the logs without the documents is essentially meaningless,” the source continued. “Even if the logs are complete (which they won't be) or indexed properly (which they won't be -- the feds are notorious for variously misspelling names of key subjects they want concealed), the investigators will still need to seek out the documents that are of interest and the whole process begins all over again.

“What they are counting on is that they can delay the truth coming out until long after they've left office -- or longer,” the source explained, offering a cynical outlook on what those interested in meaningful and timely results can expect. “The court order does not scare such people who are very skilled and exceedingly well-practiced in the cover-up of lies and misdeeds. People looking at this as a potential Shakespearean tragedy where the villain gets his in the end will find that it is merely cheap Kabuki theater.”

That pessimistic assessment, that being "closer" is meaningless when on a treadmill, differs markedly from Issa’s politically nuanced statement regarding the "gunwalking" operation. The criminal operation was first brought to light in a series of reports by citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh on the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog and this column, following up on a notice posted December 22, 2010 on CleanUpATF, a website established by disaffected agents attempting to expose and rectify Bureau corruption.

“Word is that curious George Gillett the Phoenix ASAC stepped on it again,” a forum post by member “1desertrat” offered for discussion. “Allegedly he has approved more than 500 AR-15 type rifles from Tucson and Phoenix cases to be ‘walked’ to Mexico. Appears that ATF may be one of the largest suppliers of assault rifles to the Mexican cartels! One of these rifles is rumored to have been linked to the recent killing of a Border Patrol Officer..."

A record of the early days of “Gunwalker” reporting by Vanderboegh and this column, in attempts to chronicle validated communications with whistleblowers, secure their protection by Congress, and gain notice by the media, is documented in a series of journalist guides beginning with part one, linked in the "suggested reading" list, included with this report.

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