Source: FOX News
WASHINGTON -- A senior administration official told FOX News that Attorney General Eric Holder asked President Barack Obama Tuesday to invoke executive privilege on "Fast and Furious" documents requested by House Republicans and the president completely agreed that it was warranted.
"The president feels strongly this is a protected group of documents" because it falls under the principle of internal deliberations and advice within administration, the official noted.
Presidents in both parties have asserted this same privilege.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), though, questioned whether Obama's assertion means White House officials may have been involved in "Fast and Furious" discussions.
"Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding 'Fast and Furious' were confined to the Department of Justice," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.
"The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the 'Fast and Furious' operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn't the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?"
But the assertion does not necessarily mean that President Obama himself was involved in the internal deliberations.
During a 2007 Congressional investigation into the firings of several US attorneys, the Bush administration asserted executive privilege for Karl Rove's conversations with Justice Department officials -- but that did not mean that then-President George W. Bush was involved in the conversations.
Obama administration officials also point out that Bush asserted executive privilege six times and Clinton 14 times -- both of whom protected the same category of documents currently being guarded.
Dating back to President Reagan, presidents have asserted executive privilege 24 times.