Order Blocking Release of Fast and Furious Records Sent Back to Lower Court on Appeal

WASHINGTON TIMES — A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a ruling that kept under wraps a limited number of documents related to a lawsuit Congress brought against the Justice Department as it probed the botched Fast and Furious gunrunning operation.

The ruling by a three-judge panel in the D.C. Circuit sends the case back to a lower court for clarification of an “ambiguous” seal order the Obama administration claimed prevented them from disclosing the documents.

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch had sought documents related to settlement negotiations for the lawsuit brought by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform against the Justice Department over the operation, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let guns be sold to traffickers in the hopes of cracking down on Mexican cartels.

Although the two parties did not settle the case — it’s still playing out in court — the Obama administration identified eight documents, or 32 pages in all, that were responsive to the public records request. But they declined to hand over the documents, saying the requested records were “subject to court-imposed nondisclosure requirements.”

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