President Barack Obama is asking a judge to keep secret the contents of emails apparently sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.
The request is part of Obama’s three-year stonewall against Judicial Watch’s inquiry into the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, during which the Department of Justice watched while military-style weapons were bought in the United States and smuggled to Mexican drug gangs. The scandal went public once one of Obama’s employees — a U.S. border guard — was killed by a criminal using one of the smuggled guns.
Late Oct. 22, moments before a judicial deadline, the White House sent the judge a 1,307-page list of 15,662 Fast and Furious documents that it wants to keep hidden from Judicial Watch and the public.
The list includes almost 20 emails between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone.
Malone is not a government official, and so communications with her are not shielded by the “executive privilege” rules that keep internal White House documents secret.
“Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious,” said a Thursday statement from Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.
“Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office,” he said. “There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records.”
In the past, members of the Obama administration have used fake email accounts to hide conversations from public view.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit has revealed more about the gun-running scandal than GOP-led congressional inquiries, Fitton said.
By revealing what the administration wants to hide, “this Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations,” Fitton said.
In a press statement, the group said that 1,307-page list includes “numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter … [and] numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.”
The scandal was large enough that it “required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) … [and] the United States Ambassador to Mexico.”