It was December 14, 2010, when U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed while on patrol near the Mexican border. Though Terry’s name rarely pops up in the news, the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has produced newly released documents which show calculated efforts by former Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice officials to obstruct its progress.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz sent a memo Thursday to Republican members of the committee regarding the receipt last week of 20,500 pages of documents that had been withheld due to President Obama’s claim of executive privilege but were ordered released by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

In the memo, Chaffetz writes:

… the documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials — including Attorney General Eric Holder — intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress. Justice Department officials in Washington impeded the congressional investigation in several ways, including:

  • Presuming that allegations about gunwalking in Arizona were false and refusing to adjust when documents and evidence showed otherwise
  • Politicizing decisions about how and whether to comply with the congressional investigation
  • Devising strategies to redact or otherwise withhold relevant information from Congress and the public
  • Isolating the fallout from the Fast and Furious scandal to ATF leadership and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona
  • Creating a culture of animosity towards congressional oversight

The emails have been compiled into a single PDF and include conversations about Mexico “making noises” about opening its own investigation into the ATF’s role in Fast and Furious and how the Justice Department could “turn it off” before it created “headaches” and caused “mischief.”

Emails also advise how it would be “obviously ridiculous” to assume Rep. Darrell Issa was owed any memos, and suggest that anything released to Issa also be given to the press simultaneously along with a draft of talking points that “takes the air out of the balloon.”