Suddenly, investigations into Fast and Furious, the government’s gun-running operation to try and catch drug criminals in Mexico, has a new lease on life, as a federal appeals court on Friday ruled the Obama administration cannot necessarily keep private certain documents that could shed light on some unclear matters.
A federal appeals court overturned a lower court’s determination that shielded eight documents related to the government program from congressional and public view.
But as the Hill reported: “The ruling does not necessarily mean that the eight documents will be released. Instead, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit merely referred the matter back to a lower court to seek clarity about another judge’s order.”
Still, the ruling does give a bit of wind beneath the wings of investigators who’ve been trying to discern the truth about the government’s involvement in Fast and Furious, particularly in regard to the death of a border agent by a man wielding a gun tied to the program.
The unreleased documents are supposed to show details of a settlement between the House and the Department of Justice that was partially forged back in 2013, when lawmakers were suing to obtain information about the program, the Hill reported. The two parties never solidified an agreement, and in January, District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson demanded the Justice Department release the documents regarding the failed gun-walking operation, anyway.
Also back in 2013, Judicial Watch had sought documents pertaining to the program via the Freedom of Information Act, and was rebuffed by the Obama administration for 32 pages of its request.
The watchdog organization sued and a district court ruled in favor of the feds in 2014.
The Friday ruling sends the matter back to a lower court so Jackson can clarify the scope of her order, and specify whether the unreleased documents were in fact part of her previous ruling, and should therefore be given to Judicial Watch.
Fast and Furious was in effect between 2009 and 2011 and entailed the federal government’s attempt to track guns as they wove through the various hands of Mexican drug cartel members.