The AP claim that the Bush-era Wide Receiver and Obama-era Fast and Furious were “using the same controversial tactic” is deceptive, verging upon being a fabrication. The differences between the botched Bush-era interdiction effort that was Wide Receiver and the blatant gun-running of Obama’s Fast and Furious are something that we’ve discussed previously, but the ABC News article provides even more details that highlight just how different the operations were.
Wide Receiver was a botched, small-scale, law enforcement gun-smuggling interdiction effort that involved local Phoenix-based ATF agents working in conjunction with Mexican law enforcement. When guns were lost — roughly 200 — irate supervisors immediately shut down the program.
Wide Receiver could hardly be any more different than Fast and Furious.
Fast and Furious used elements of at least four cabinet-level departments: Justice, State, Homeland Security, and Treasury. U.S. attorneys, the directors of the FBI and DEA, the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, and senior DOJ officials were briefed. High-level State Department approval was critical, in order to avoid breaking arms export control laws. Even the White House National Security Counsil (NSC) had direct communications about the operation.
Unlike Wide Receiver, Operation Fast and Furious excluded Mexican government officials. Instead of working in conjunction with Mexican law enforcement in order to prevent gun smuggling, the operation was designed to ensure that more than 2,000 guns would be successfully smuggled into Mexico by the drug cartels to be used in violent crimes.
The same supervisors that were appalled at the failures of Wide Receiver seemed to be giddy at the “success” of Fast and Furious when the weapons they sent over the border were found at murder scenes, or taken from the bodies and stash houses of narco-terrorists.
Operation Wide Receiver was a failed law enforcement operation that was shut down immediately when it went wrong. Operation Fast and Furious was a possible criminal conspiracy to ensure that one of the most powerful and violent criminal cartels in the world was armed not with inexpensive fully-automatic military weapons that can be had on the black market very cheaply, but with sporting semi-automatics that were American-imported or manufactured firearms costing 100%-400% more. The obvious, and only logical, explanation for such a plot was to ensure that as many American weapons as possible were showing up at Mexican crime scenes.
Perhaps one day the mainstream media will finally ask who ordered Operation Fast and Furious, who approved the plot, and why.
Until then, Congress is right to push for oversight and the presidential appointment of a special counsel to investigate the criminal conspiracy and the coverup.