Operation Wide Receiver: It Was Different [Reader Post]

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Similar Operations?

By now everyone has heard of Operation Fast and Furious, and how the Congressional investigation of it is getting closer and closer to Attorney General Eric Holder. But did you know that Operation Fast and Furious was not the first such operation? Operation Wide Receiver, predecessor of Fast and Furious, was an operation during the George W. Bush administration.

Operation Wide Receiver, begun in 2006 and ended in 2007, had 500 weapons straw purchased, while Fast and Furious, begun in 2009 and ended in late 2010, shortly after border agent Brian Terry’s death, had at least 2000 guns involved. Of the 2,000 guns released by ATF agents in Operation Fast and Furious, only 600 were recovered, leaving 1,400 guns unrecovered. (Some reports put the number of unrecovered guns at over 2000)

Same Tactics?

Pete Yost, reporter for the Associated Press, “The federal government under the Bush administration ran an operation that allowed hundreds of guns to be transferred to suspected arms traffickers – the same tactic – that congressional Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for using, two federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday. [emphasis mine]

Did both operations allow for straw purchasers to buy guns? Yes, but… the primary difference between Operation Fast and Furious under Obama and Operation Wide Receiver under Bush is that under Obama guns were allowed to go back into Mexico without interdiction or arrests. The “same tactic” was not used under President Bush. Project Gunrunner, started as a pilot program in Laredo, Texas, of which Operation Wide Receiver was a part, involved straw purchasers buying weapons, but those purchasers were immediately apprehended before crossing back into Mexico or transferring arms to dangerous criminals. In fact, straw purchaser arrests and prosecutions have been way down under Obama’s administration, so much so it’s almost as if the Obama Justice Department has no interest in prosecuting illegal straw purchasers at all.

The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Darrell Issa (R-CA), is ready to look at any evidence that the Obama administration will turn over regarding Operation Wide Receiver, but the Justice Department has so far refused to turn over documentation relating to that case, even though his committee subpoenaed them months ago.

Unlike the Obama Administration’s Fast and Furious operation, there actually was an attempt made to track the Operation Wide Receiver weapons. But in the case of Fast and Furious, there was absolutely no effort to track guns. ATF agents have testified they were expressly ordered to stand down when they tried to follow the cartel straw purchasers. Operation Wide Receiver was shut down after its weapons dropped off the grid, and the ATF realized it had blundered. Operation Fast and Furious was shut down because two of its weapons were discovered at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder.

Same Results?

Operation Wide Receiver was a botched law enforcement operation, while the gun-walking programs of the Obama administration were intentionally criminal, and arguably terrorist acts, arming violent narco-terrorists waging war on Mexico, a U.S. ally.

Operation Wide Receiver did not amount to much in the way of interdiction, enforcement, or prosecution, despite the millions of dollars expended. But nowhere in all my research did I find that the weapons from Operation Wide Receiver murdered anyone, much less a border agent (Brian Terry) and thousands of Mexican civilians. Please let me know if your research finds different information.

But that’s just my opinion.

12 Responses to “Operation Wide Receiver: It Was Different [Reader Post]”

  1. 1

    Hard Right

    The left is now trying to push the “ammo smuggling” lie. They are now claiming almost all the ammo in Mexico is coming from the U.S. The narco-terrorists buy old planes (like a DC-10), load them with drugs, fly them to their destination, then destroy them after unloading the drugs. Yet we are to believe they couldn’t possibly be smuggling in large amounts of ammo from elsewhere along with all the machine guns they bring in from places OTHER than the U.S.

  2. 3


    The reason for “Fast and Furious” was really to “show” that guns were out of control, and thus the administration could (and believe me, they would) begin to take away our second amendment rights at amuch more rapid clip than they are now, with the regulations they have begun to impose on us. This was never (unlike “Operation Wide Receiver”) intended to actually track any guns, bubt to be able to make a sanctimonious speech on how “out of control” the gun situation was, and how the Obammy administration would save us from our excesses by curtailing the second amendment.
    The second amendment, BTW allows the carrying of guns, period- there is no absence of clarity here, the meaning is unambiguous. That is what the left hates- straight, clear speech.

  3. 4


    NEW RCP Average!! – CAIN overtakes Perry. Cain now in #2 Spot!!

    …and from PPP’s twitter site on their new poll (not yet released)

    Perry’s national favorability now 23/57, representing a drop of another 14 net points from his already horrid September standing
    — PPP Polling (Raleigh, NC)

    It’s very revealing that (as Perry sinks), Mitt Romney doesn’t appear to be picking up ANY of Perry’s losses. Note that Mitt Romney’s RCP avg is actually down 3.3 points from his previous 25 point high

    Meanwhile, HERMAN CAIN appears to be the clear recipient of Perry’s political demise

    God willing, as this trend continues – the mathematics say Cain will overtake Romney. 😯

    We shall see…

  4. 5


    @Hard Right: I have a friend in one of the gun shops the feds were using for their gun smuggling gains, and my friend asked if there were any transmitters the feds were going to put into the guns to track them, and he was told, one, the transmitters were already in them , and two, shut the hell up, it was none of his business. Just sell the damn guns, and let our gubbmint do its work.
    We can see how well that has turned out.

  5. 6


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  6. 7

    Pat Thomas

    Under Operation Wide Receiver a total of 450 guns were sold during the operation. Those included AR-15s, semi-automatic AK-patterm rifles and Colt .38s. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE GUNS WERE EVENTUALLY LOST AS THEY MOVED INTO MEXICO. Source: Wikipedia, “ATF Gunwalking Scandal.” So, the author of the above article, Warren Beatty is a flat out liar!

  7. 8


    @Pat Thomas: What the difference is here, between the two operations, is that the Bush Admin notified the Mexican Government- F&F did not. It was hoped that enough of the U.S. guns would appear on Mexican crime scenes so that Liberal Socialists could then try to scale back the 2nd Amendment in this country- instead, these incompetents were caught in their own operation, and who knows how far up it goes?

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