WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice inspector general’s office is close to issuing its long-awaited findings in the Fast and Furious case — perhaps as early as next week — after top Justice officials provided their final comments about the failed gun-tracking operation on the Southwest border.
In a letter to Capitol Hill, Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said his investigators now must pore over wiretap records, grand jury material and sealed court records to make sure nothing that should not be disclosed is inadvertently included in the final report.
“Due to these legal restrictions, we cannot release the report or discuss its conclusions until the issues arising from this sensitivity review have been resolved,” he wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Horowitz in his letter also advised Issa that he may not be able to testify as scheduled Sept. 11 at a committee hearing about the inspector general’s Fast and Furious findings, if the report is not finished and publicly released by then. “As of this date,” he cautioned, “I do not yet know the precise timing for the release of our report.”
Horowitz noted that Justice officials on Wednesday “provided us with its initial sensitivity review for law enforcement sensitive information” including wiretaps, grand jury material and sealed court records.
“We are in the process of discussing these proposed sensitivity redactions with the Department,” Horowitz wrote in the letter, which arrived Wednesday. “We also are awaiting comments from the department regarding whether any material discussed in the report is covered by the president’s assertion of executive privilege.”
Earlier this year, the GOP-led House found Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress after he refused to turn over certain Fast and Furious material subpoenaed by the committee. In an effort to stave off the contempt citation, Holder’s Justice Department notified the House that President Barack Obama was claiming executive privilege in not releasing the material.