(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that Republicans are preparing to file a civil suit in an attempt to gain access to more information pertaining to the Justice Department’s botched drug cartel gun tracking program.
The planned civil suit comes on the heels of a letter sent by the Justice Department stating that the DOJ would not prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder following a House vote to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress.
“It’s not clear to me that the U.S. District Attorney will in fact, go down that path. That’s why we’re going to file, in District Court, a civil suit, over the issue of executive privilege,” Boehner said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
The Obama administration, in response to a request by Holder, asserted the right to executive privilege several weeks ago, in effect blocking congressional access to documents pertaining to the affair.
Officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intentionally allowed thousands of marked guns to be sold to Mexican drug cartels as a way to track the flow of illegal guns across the border, but came under intense scrutiny after two tagged guns lost in the operation were recovered at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s killing in December 2010 near the Mexican border.
The program, known as Fast and Furious, was eventually shut down and disavowed, but Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee want to know what Holder knew and when he knew it.
“The American people have a right to know what happened,” Boehner said on Sunday. “Brian Terry’s family has a right to know what happened here.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson and MJ Lee, CNN
Jeremy Diamond, CNN