Judicial Watch has released documents they obtained through a FOIA request on Operation Fast and Furious. Among the more than 42,000 pages is an email exchange between the Justice Department and the White House showing that the administration sought to rein in CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who was labeled as being “out of control.”
From the Judicial Watch press release.
We are posting these documents for the public to review and hope that crowd-sourcing our investigation will lead to more accountability for the Fast and Furious outrage. The documents are explosive. For instance, our initial review of the documents shows the DOJ and White House targeted then-CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson:
- On October 4, 2011, Holder’s top press aide Tracy Schmaler tells White House Deputy Press Sectary Eric Schultz, “I’m also calling Sharryl’s [sic] editor and reaching out to Scheiffer. She’s out of control”
Schultz responded, “Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”
Schultz also detailed to Schmaler that he was working with a journalist (Susan Davis, formerly of the National Journal) to target Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA), the House Republican leading the charge on Fast and Furious:
“And I sent NJ’s Susan Davis your way. She’s writing on Issa/FandF and I said you could load her up on the leaks, etc.”
(Davis authored a critical profile of Issa a few weeks later.)
This one email chain implicates both the Obama White House and the Department of Justice in an effort to secretly undermine a congressional investigation and to suppress critical media reporting of the Obama administration. No wonder Obama waited until after he was safely reelected (and even after this year’s elections) to finally release this material that documents obstruction and abuse at the highest levels.
The documents show that Obama made the extraordinary assertion of executive privilege over emails between Eric Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone. The emails show that Holder sent his spouse internal DOJ emails about Fast and Furious developments. There is nothing that would have been covered by executive privilege in these or other key records that show Barack Obama abused his power to keep them secret during his reelection campaign up until now.
As if targeting a journalist wasn’t bad enough, the administration also wanted to go after House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa for his vigorous pursuit of the truth regarding Fast and Furious.
The discovery of the email exchange should serve as vindication and corroboration for Attkisson, who has detailed in her new book, Stonewalled, the harassment she received as she pursued stories the Obama administration tried to dismiss or bury in their entirety.