Obama administration officials must remind each other daily that they will never have to accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong on their watch as long as they can find some way to blame their troubles on George W. Bush.
So it should surprise no one that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the administration’s surrogates are vociferously claiming that Operation Fast and Furious, the gun-walking scandal run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is all Mr. Bush’s fault. Fast and Furious was a program that resulted in Congress holding Mr. Holder in contempt for lying, put a couple thousand guns into the hands of Mexican drug gangs and led to the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and as many as 200 Mexicans.
Obama spokesmen claim it all began under Mr. Bush and a little-known operation also run out of Phoenix, dubbed Operation Wide Receiver. The Bush-era program involved a few hundred guns and was designed and run by U.S. and Mexican agents who planted electronic tracking devices in the guns so the agents could follow the guns on both sides of the border. The idea was to compile evidence that could be used to prosecute gang kingpins.
A few of the guns vanished, however, as some of the batteries powering the implanted tracking devices failed, and in a few cases, gang members discovered and destroyed the devices. As soon as this was reported to Washington, the whole operation was canceled to prevent more guns from falling into the wrong hands. A vast majority of the guns involved were traced and retrieved; no one was killed; and the project was shelved as a bad idea.
Two years later, many of the same ATF and Justice Department officials in Phoenix came up with and launched a very different program they called Fast and Furious. Straw purchasers were allowed to buy more than 2,000 guns from dealers along our southern border who were pressured by government officials to look the other way. There was no attempt to trace or follow the guns; the Mexican government was not informed of the operation; and even ATF’s own agents in Mexico were kept in the dark.
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