For a year and a half Barack Obama successfully deflected suspicion that neither he nor the White House staff was directly involved in the ever growing Fast & Furious gun walking scandal. That changed yesterday when the President voluntarily inserted himself into the equation by withholding documents from Congress with an assertion of Executive Privilege.
Executive Privilege is rarely used, and only in very specific circumstances relating to communication specific to the Office of the President. The following is a summary of the "concluding observations" on page 35 of the 2008 Congressional Research Service Document, Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice and Recent Developments prepared as a reference document for guidance to Members of Congress:
Per this criteria, Executive Privilege should not be applicable unless the President, or one or more of his closest internal staff, was personally connected to the Fast & Furious operation, which is the opposite of what Obama has claimed - at least until now.
Thus, Obama's decision invites a whole new set of questions, most notably, "What did the President himself know, and when did he know it?" Until yesterday, that question wasn't even on the table. Now it is, and by the President's own doing.