Far from being an indictment of the Bush administration as Democrats and the media have claimed (due in no small part to the conspiratorial relationship between DOJ spokesperson Tracy Schmaler and left-wing Media Matters), the inspector general’s investigation into Operation Wide Receiver shows conclusively that Wide Reciever was localized, compartmentalized, and all but rogue during the Bush era, with no involvement by DOJ officials and only limited local contact with U.S. attorneys.
If anything, what the OIG report shows us during the later stages of Operation Wide Receiver, when it was finally brought to the attention of Eric Holder’s Justice Department, is that the key interest of the Department was damage control — covering up the hundreds of weapons walked and the resulting murders committed with ATF-walked guns.
Tellingly, at no point do the agents on the ground in Tucson or Phoenix, in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, or in the Obama Justice Department seem to have more than a cursory interest in the lives they’ve endangered and ends lost as a result of letting more than 400 weapons reach Mexican cartels through Operation Wide Receiver.
There needs to be significant additional investigation into Operation Wide Receiver apart from Operation Fast and Furious, including a criminal investigation by an independent prosecutor. OIG Horowitz’s report barely scratches the surface.