(Updates with details about the operation and controversy)
WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has reached an agreement with congressional investigators to hand over confidential records about a failed gun trafficking operation during the Obama administration known as "Fast and Furious."
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department would share the documents with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that had been withheld before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
Congressional Republicans have been pressing the Justice Department for years about the operation. Named after a movie about car racing, the operation sought to curb gun trafficking criminals who were selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
Criticism emerged after it was revealed that U.S. agents in Arizona let at least 2,000 guns slip across the Mexican border.
In 2012, the Republican-led House of Representatives held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over documents about the operation. Holder had been appointed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
Later that year, the department's inspector general released a report faulting 12 department employees for failures related to the operation. The report vindicated Holder, concluding he neither conceived the operation nor attempted a cover-up. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Howard Goller)