In recent days when you try to hear a ‘fair and honest debate’ on Fast & Furious on the networks, even on Fox News, the resident liberals all gravitate to blurring the Fast & Furious operation together with Operation Wide Receiver. And when that doesn’t work, you get the “Bush started it!” mantra, as heard during the recent exchange between Tamara Holder and Michelle Malkin on Hannity.
So what are the difference between Operation Fast & Furious and Operation Wide Receiver?
The short answer is QUITE ALOT, as it is well broken down by Vince Warde in “Wide Receiver vs. Fast and Furious ” on Feb. 16, 2012 on Reasoned Politics:
Let’s compare the two programs:
Cooperation with Mexico:
Wide Receiver: Mexican Law Enforcement notified, Mexico consented and was a full partner.
Fast and Furious: Mexico intentionally kept in the dark. No coordination or consent.
Surveillance of Firearms:
Wide Receiver: Agents attempted to keep track of the guns at all times.
Fast and Furious: Agents were ordered not to track the guns after they were purchased.
Use of Tracking Devices:
Wide Receiver: Extensive – placed in every lot of guns purchased
Fast and Furious: One “agent built” device in one gun
Performance of Tracking Devices:
Wide Receiver: Smugglers figured out how to defeat trackers
Fast and Furious: Smugglers didn’t have to do anything
Number of Firearms Sent to Cartels:
Wide Receiver: About 250
Fast and Furious: Exact number unknown, but over 2,500
Actions at the Border:
Wide Receiver: Attempted to hand off surveillance to Mexican law enforcement
Fast and Furious: ATF worked with Customs to make sure guns were not stopped at border
Reaction to guns “getting away”:
Wide Receiver: Program terminated. William Newell wrote memo saying “never again”
Fast and Furious: Program continued – recovered guns tracked and mapped.
Andrew McCarthy of the National Review also spelled out a few of the differences between Operation Fast & Furious and Operation Wide Receiver in his article, “Fast & Furious Was . . . Bush’s Fault” from Nov. 8th 2011:
On Wide Receiver:
Wide Receiver actually involved not gun-walking but controlled delivery. Unlike gun-walking, which seems (for good reason) to have been unheard of until Fast & Furious, controlled delivery is a very common law enforcement tactic. Basically, the agents know the bad guys have negotiated a deal to acquire some commodity that is either illegal itself (e.g., heroin, child porn) or illegal for them to have/use (e.g., guns, corporate secrets). The agents allow the transfer to happen under circumstances where they are in control — i.e., they are on the scene conducting surveillance of the transfer, and sometimes even participating undercover in the transfer. As soon as the transfer takes place, they can descend on the suspects, make arrests, and seize the commodity in question — all of which makes for powerful evidence of guilt.
In a controlled delivery firearms case, guns are traced in the sense that agents closely and physically follow them — they don’t just note the serial numbers or other identifying markers. The agents are thus able to trace the precise path of the guns from, say, American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.
On Fast & Furious:
To the contrary, Fast & Furious involved uncontrolled deliveries — of thousands of weapons. It was an utterly heedless program in which the feds allowed these guns to be sold to straw purchasers — often leaning on reluctant gun dealers to make the sales. The straw purchasers were not followed by close physical surveillance; they were freely permitted to bulk transfer the guns to, among others, Mexican drug gangs and other violent criminals — with no agents on hand to swoop in, make arrests, and grab the firearms. The inevitable result of this was that the guns have been used (and will continue to be used) in many crimes, including the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent.
Furthermore, Rush broke down the differences between the two operations on his radio show today, which Tamara might be wise to listen.
It is obvious that with the election coming up and the liberals having a candidate who cannot run on his record of failing programs, failing economy, and one scandal after another, they’re are going to turn the spin-cycle into overdrive.
The sad truth is crime and national security should not be partisan, but with this administration who seeks electoral success through division, everything is partisan and a way to negotiate more votes. It seems to Eric Holder and now President Obama that nothing is worth taking accountability for, or actually being transparent for, not even the life of a border agent and 300+ Mexicans.