You’ve heard a lot from the Democrats lately, and in particular our Attorney General Eric Holder, about how the Fast And Furious scandal – or the tactics it employed – actually began under the Bush administration and Holder was the guy who put a stop to it.
Of course, Holder had to retract that statement from his sworn testimony. Just in case somebody might decide he perjured himself and add that to his contempt-of-Congress citation. He can ask Roger Clemens about how big a problem that is.
Because the fact of the matter is that the Bush administration program, Operation Wide Receiver, that Holder is attempting to conflate with Fast And Furious was a very different animal. And in fact, the story of Wide Receiver makes Fast And Furious all the more suspect.
Here’s what actually happened with Wide Receiver, and how it differs from Fast And Furious…
In Operation Wide Receiver, Tucson agents allowed the sales of more than 500 firearms to known straw purchasers. This was in 2006 and 2007. The Mexican government was consulted and knew about the operation. The guns were supposed to be traced so the purchasers could be arrested when they crossed the border with them.
Some firearms in Wide Receiver were equipped with RFID tracking devices. In Wide Receiver, the illegal purchasers were familiar with ATF’s procedures and methods and how to evade their aerial and electronic tracking procedures.
For example, they knew how long government surveillance planes would be aloft. The buyers had a simple method of getting their purchases across the border undetected. They simply drove four-hour loops around the area. And when the surveillance planes had to return to base for re-fueling, the smugglers simply turned and sprinted their cargo across the border.
What’s more, the RFID tags also turned out to be problematic. Rather than making large enough holes for the tags to be laid out inside weapons, agents force-fit them into the rifles. That cramming caused the antennae to be folded, reducing the effective range of the tags. And an already short battery life (36-48 hours maximum) meant that should purchasers allow the firearms to sit, the tracking devices eliminated themselves.
So it was an operation that proved impossible to implement, and Wide Receiver was discontinued well more than a year before Bush left office.
Fast and Furious made its debut – to some fanfare – in 2009. After Obama took office. They’d had the experience of Wide Receiver to draw from, and their response to the lessons of Wide Receiver was apparently to just let 2,000 guns walk across the border with no attempt to track them at all.
Here was Holder being grilled by Sen. John Cornyn on this topic last year, and Holder is falling all over himself to show that he knows Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious are separate entities…
And here is Holder two weeks ago after Cornyn demanded his resignation. Check out what he says starting about four minutes in…
So in a year we go from “yeah, I know that Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious are completely different,” to “I’m the guy who put a stop to the Bush administration’s gunwalking.”
That assertion is what Holder had to retract, by the way, and yet every Democrat on TV has been repeating it nonetheless.
It’s breathtaking, isn’t it?