Two wrongs don’t make a right, learn from other’s mistakes and don’t point fingers when you are in trouble are the mantras that most people hear from their moms. The Obama administration has broken all three of those in the ongoing scandal of Operation Fast and Furious (OFF).
In 2006-2007 the ATF devised Operation Wide Receiver while Bush was in office. The purpose was to track illegal weapons into Mexico and into the hands of the drug cartels. However, the guns all were fitted with transmitters for tracking. The amount of guns allowed to “walk” into Mexico were a quarter of the size of OFF. Only 450 were utilized and it was managed out of the Tucson office. However, like OFF, it was a failure also. The cartels figured out how to fool the trackers and sometimes when the trackers were placed in the guns they were damaged. This was a very bad idea and it certainly didn’t achieve the results they were anticipating.
- Wide Receiver was less than one-quarter the size of Fast and Furious, involving about 500 guns. About 450 guns made it across the border into Mexico. Not only was Fast and Furious much larger, but it was only one of several gun walking operations launched by the Obama Administration. In fact, intrepid CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson says she has “found allegations of gun walking in at least 10 cities in five states.”
- Unlike the Obama Administration programs, there actually was a serious attempt made to track the Wide Receiver weapons. Some of them were fitted with radio tracking devices. The cartel gun buyers figured out how to defeat the tracking system by driving around in circles, until the tracking planes ran out of fuel and were forced to return to base. Also, some of the tracking devices were damaged when ATF agents improperly inserted them into the guns.
- By contrast, one of the signature features of Obama gun walking is that absolutely no effort to track the guns was ever in place. ATF agents have testified they were expressly ordered to stand down when they tried to follow the cartel straw purchasers.
- Special Agent In Charge Bill Newell, That’s right – the same Phoenix ATF supervisor who became famous during the investigation of Fast and Furious was involved with Operation Wide Receiver. He’s also the ATF agent that originally told Congress that he mentioned gun walking in a roundabout way to his old buddy Kevin O’Reilly of the White House national security staff, who he communicates with maybe three or four times a year… only to be exposed as a liar when the same document dump that put AG Holder in jeopardy of perjury charges revealed a constant stream of emails between Newell and O’Reilly, lasting over a month.
- Operation Wide Receiver was, by all accounts, shut down after its weapons dropped off the grid, and the ATF realized it had blundered. Operation Fast and Furious was only shut down because two of its weapons were discovered at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. According to congressional testimony, the Terry shooting – along with the mistaken suspicion that Tucson mass murderer Jared Loughner might have been packing a Fast and Furious gun – panicked top ATF brass into halting its gun walking operations.
- The Obama Justice Department cobbled together significant inter-agency co-operation for its huge gun walking programs. As Kurt Hofmann of the Gun Rights Examiner notes, “At this point, we don’t seem to have any evidence that earlier ‘gunwalking’ involved the FBI, the DEA, DHS, the State Department, the IRS, and even the White House Security Council.”
- And, of course, there was no massive cover-up of Wide Receiver. No senior Administration officials committed perjury to distance themselves from it. The ATF was not exactly advertising the existence of the operation, or its unhappy conclusion, but that’s very different from the thick stone wall Obama and his people tried to build around their far larger and deadlier operations.
A confidential informant, Mike Detty who was a gun dealer in Operation Wide Receiver, specifically told David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner that the Bush administration was not involved in the gun walking program. To me, that’s a moot point. The truth of the matter remains that we know for a FACT that Eric Holder knew about OFF and lied to congress when asked about it.
The other part that I can’t quite get a handle on is the fact that ATF and the Obama Administration resurrected a FAILED operation, made it much, much bigger than the original, ran it again and turned it into an EPIC FAILURE. Even with Bill Newell knowing that Operation Wide Receiver was a failure, he ran Operation Fast and Furious. Strike up the band, I expect we will hear a new chorus of the “this is Bush’s fault” song.