© US Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder
The US Justice Department has said that it would not prosecute Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder for contempt, after he refused to turn over to Congress documents about a gun-tracking scandal to Mexico.

The Republican-led House of Representatives approved a resolution on Thursday to hold the attorney General in criminal contempt of Congress. The Republicans accused Holder of refusing to provide certain documents related to the Justice Department's failed Fast and Furious operation, intended to track weapons sold along the Mexican border.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, the Justice Department said that Holder withheld the documents under "executive privilege," allowing President Barak Obama to keep private documents on internal government discussions.
"The department will not bring the Congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general," Holder's deputy James Cole said in the letter.
White House spokesman Jay Carney also echoed the comments made by deputy Attorney General, saying, "it is an established principle, dating back to the administration of President Ronald Reagan, that the Justice Department does not pursue prosecution in a contempt case when the president has asserted executive privilege."

The Fast and Furious operation was launched by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives out of Arizona in order to track weapons purchases by Mexican drug cartels. The operation, however, terminated in 2011 after federal agents lost track of over 1,000 firearms, which were subsequently traced to crimes, including the murder of US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.