The Department of Justice is leaking to the media that “Wide Receiver”, a gun-walking operation similar to “Fast and Furious” was employed during the Bush years, but Darrell Issa, when asked about it last night on CNN, characterized it as much smaller in scope, and more “intensely” followed.
Here is what the AP is reporting:
When Bush, a Republican, was president, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tucson, Ariz., used a similar enforcement tactic in a program it called Operation Wide Receiver. The fact that there were two such ATF investigations years apart in separate administrations raises the possibility that agents in still other cases may have allowed guns to “walk.”
Federal law enforcement officials familiar with the matter say Operation Wide Receiver began in 2006 after the agency received information about a suspicious purchase of firearms. The investigation concluded in 2007 without any charges being filed.
After Obama took office, the Justice Department reviewed Wide Receiver and discovered that ATF had permitted guns to be transferred to suspected gun traffickers, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the practice is under investigation by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general’s office.
Anderson Cooper asked Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congressman Darrell Issa about the report, last night on CNN.
Anderson Cooper: I’d always thought this was the first time this kind of a program had been tried. There are new revelations tonight coming out that the Bush Administration had a similar weapons program, something called Operation ‘Wide Receiver.’ Do you know about that? Do you think officials from that Administration should be looked at, as well?”
Rep. Darrell Issa: “Well, Anderson, we’d know a lot more about it except that’s among the documents we’re still waiting to get. What we do know about ‘Wide Receiver’ somewhat is very small amount of weapons, much more intensive following, but, in fact, we will get to the bottom of whether or not this practice in a smaller way may have begun on the Bush watch. We’re not putting it past any Administration and giving anyone a pass. The American people and the people of Mexico expect us to have a zero tolerance for letting drugs come into our country or weapons go into Mexico.”
Cooper also asked Issa about DOJ allegations that he was also briefed about Fast and Furious in 2010:
Anderson Cooper: “I want to read you what a Justice Department official has told CNN cause they’re pushing back on what you’re saying. They said, ‘Chairman Issa, of all people, should be familiar with the difference between knowing about an investigation and being aware of questionable tactics employed in that investigation since documents provided to his committee show that he was given a briefing that included the Fast and Furious Operation in 2010 – a year before the controversy emerged.’ So I mean, did you, yourself know about the operation last year?”
Rep. Darrell Issa: “That is an outright lie that the Justice Department has been spinning. They shopped that to the newspapers until they found one that would print it. The fact is Kenneth Melson, a man who under oath very, very well recorded, has said he didn’t know about much of this, and clearly did not brief me in one briefing that was about gun trafficking into Mexico. And let’s understand something, Anderson. They would have you believe that I knew, that I knew what the Attorney General didn’t know, that I knew what they were deliberately withholding from ATF, DEA, and Justice agents in Mexico City and from the M- U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. So as this cover-up and this game of spin-and-delay continues, the problem is it’s only creating problems that didn’t initially exist. Initially, this was a dumb program that led to very adverse consequences. Now it’s about a cover-up, about deception, about slow-rolling discovery of this and other committees. Understand I got involved in this because Senator Grassley was denied any discovery because he wasn’t the Chairman over in the Senate, and I got involved somewhat on his behalf, and my committee has taken a lead on it. But this was about stonewalling of the Senate long before I got involved.”
So the blame shifting deflections and cover-up continues apace.
One user at the whistler-blower site, Clean-UP ATF wrote about the Bush era gun running operation:
Op. Gunrunner worked great from 2006 when it was idealized and funded. The reason that Op. Gunrunner went sideways is that this Chicago Thugocracy couldn’t connive their way into new gun control. So the multi-agency task forces, led by one or two ATF handlers, were talking to co-operative licensees and….unlike the later incarnation of the Op….were actually intercepting straw purchasers and the guns before they got to Mexico…
Once the Chicago Thugocracy took office, the local cops and deputies which made up the multi-agency Gunrunner task forces were magically “no longer needed”…what it really was, was the idea that local cops/deputies couldn’t be intimidated into silence when they realized that the guns were going across the fence into Mexico.
I know several of the locals who were on the task force. As one of them angrily told me over a few beers “I guess no one is smuggling guns anymore…the problem must be FIXED!!!!” (he was a bit POd)
Sipsey Street Irregulars has the same concern I have about an Obama/DOJ appointed Special Prosecutor: Why should we expect that ANY “Independent” Counsel selected by Eric Holder will be anything other than another instrument of cover-up?
Here’s a remarkable CNN report from Sept 29, where reporter Drew Peterson informed Anderson Cooper, ( finally getting up to speed on the scandal that had percolating all year) that the the F&F operation is gaining traction among the gun crowd as a gun ban attempt. Peterson says “as wacky as that sounds, there really is no other theory that makes sense” in reference to the growing evidence this was done to increase violence on the Mexican border to blame the U.S. for the guns being used. Peterson’s report starts at around 3:23. He about the “conspiracy theories” at around the 6:00 minute mark.
The Sheriff Babeu interview, which I’ve already posted, is also included on this video.