(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department said Tuesday that it will try to settle a lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena sought by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to obtain documents related to the ATF’s botched gun trafficking case Operation Fast and Furious.
Ian Gershengorn, the Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general, and House General Counsel Kerry Kircher said the two sides would be meeting to discuss a possible settlement.
The ATF’s flawed “Fast and Furious” operation allowed firearms to “walk” across the U.S. border into Mexico in hopes of tracing the guns and locating major weapons traffickers. The operation took a tragic turn when two weapons found in December 2010 at the scene of murdered U.S. Border Patrol Brian Terry were linked to Fast and Furious. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spearheaded the congressional investigation into the ATF operation.
The House voted this summer to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not releasing the materials. The House then sued Holder earlier this year after President Obama invoked executive privilege shielding Holder from turning over the documents. The Committee’s subpoena was seeking internal DOJ documents following the drafting of a Feb. 4, 2011 letter sent to Congress that contained inaccurate information about ATF’s operations. The letter was withdrawn by the Justice Department in December 2011.
A DOJ Inspector General report earlier this year cleared Holder of knowing about the ATF’s reckless tactics. The Inspector General’s review recommended 14 Justice Department and ATF officials for disciplinary and administrative review.
During a news conference Tuesday in Connecticut, Holder said, “I think there is a deal that can be struck.”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has set a status hearing for Jan. 10, 2013 to review the issue further.
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