US 'Fast and Furious' gun trafficking operation papers released

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Obama Administration Gives Up 'Fast and Furious' Documents to House

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice released thousands of subpoenaed documents about the controversial "Operation Fast and Furious" gun trafficking investigation to a congressional committee on Friday, a committee spokeswoman said.

The operation was a failed effort between 2009 and 2011 to stop gun smuggling across the United States' southwestern border by the department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and federal prosecutors in Arizona.

As part of the operation, the department knowingly allowed people to illegally buy guns in the United States and take them into Mexico, court documents showed. A federal judge ordered the department to release the documents to the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The records released on Friday were about the department's internal deliberations on congressional and media inquiries about the investigation, the Justice Department said.

The documents are critical to the committee's efforts to "understand and shine light on what was happening inside DOJ during the time of this irresponsible operation," committee chairman and Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, said in a statement.

As of Friday afternoon, the committee staff had just begun looking through the documents and could not release additional details about them, a spokeswoman said.

The committee sued the department for the documents in August 2012, but the judge's order in January required the department to release a smaller set of documents than those originally requested by the committee.

"Notwithstanding the factual and legal errors in the district court's January 19 order, the Department has decided not to appeal from the court's judgment," said Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik in a Friday letter to Chaffetz.

The committee appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday for the remaining documents it had requested. (Reporting by Julia Harte and Julia Edwards; Editing by Andrew Hay and Grant McCool)

Related: Photos from a recent gun control town hall:

11 PHOTOS
Obama Town Hall on Gun Control
See Gallery
US 'Fast and Furious' gun trafficking operation papers released
FAIRFAX, VA - JANUARY 7: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama greets Taya Kyle, widow of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, during a commercial break at town hall at George Mason University on January 7, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. The president this week announced new, relatively mild executive actions to regulate the gun industry. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VA - JANUARY 7: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question from Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu during a live town hall event with CNN's Anderson Cooper (R) at town hall at George Mason University on January 7, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. The president this week announced new, relatively mild executive actions to regulate the gun industry. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms. AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms. AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms. AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama replies to a question by Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu (L) at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper (R) on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama replies to a question by Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu (standing, L) at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper (R) on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper (R) on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VA - JANUARY 7: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama and CNN's Anderson Cooper (R) pause during a commercial break at George Mason University on January 7, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. The president this week announced new, relatively mild executive actions to regulate the gun industry. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VA - JANUARY 7: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama greets former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords during a commercial break at town hall at George Mason University on January 7, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. The president this week announced new, relatively mild executive actions to regulate the gun industry. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

This Elephant Was Separated From Her Mother As A Baby - But She's About To Get A Huge This Elephant Was Separated From Her Mother As A Baby - But She's About To Get A Huge
Man Built This Contraption In His Backyard - And Even He Was Surprised How Well It Worked Man Built This Contraption In His Backyard - And Even He Was Surprised How Well It Worked
19 of the Creepiest, Most Inexplicable Things People Ever Experienced 19 of the Creepiest, Most Inexplicable Things People Ever Experienced