1. Wide Receiver was less than one-quarter the size of Fast and Furious, involving about 500 guns. About 450 guns made it across the border into Mexico. Not only was Fast and Furious much larger, but it was only one of several gun walking operations launched by the Obama Administration. In fact, intrepid CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson says she has “found allegations of gun walking in at least 10 cities in five states.”
2. Unlike the Obama Administration programs, there actually was a serious attempt made to track the Wide Receiver weapons. Some of them were fitted with radio tracking devices. The cartel gun buyers figured out how to defeat the tracking system by driving around in circles, until the tracking planes ran out of fuel and were forced to return to base. Also, some of the tracking devices were damaged when ATF agents improperly inserted them into the guns.
By contrast, one of the signature features of Obama gun walking is that absolutely no effort to track the guns was ever in place. ATF agents have testified they were expressly ordered to stand down when they tried to follow the cartel straw purchasers. Whatever mistakes were made in Operation Wide Receiver, there’s no way to argue that Operation Fast and Furious was not much worse… because they should have learned from what happened in Wide Receiver.
3. And by “they” I mean “Special Agent In Charge Bill Newell.” That’s right – the same Phoenix ATF supervisor who became famous during the investigation of Fast and Furious was involved with Operation Wide Receiver. He’s also the ATF agent that originally told Congress that he mentioned gun walking in a roundabout way to his old buddy Kevin O’Reilly of the White House national security staff, who he communicates with maybe three or four times a year… only to be exposed as a liar when the same document dump that put AG Holder in jeopardy of perjury charges revealed a constant stream of emails between Newell and O’Reilly, lasting over a month.
4. Operation Wide Receiver was, by all accounts, shut down after its weapons dropped off the grid, and the ATF realized it had blundered. Operation Fast and Furious was only shut down because two of its weapons were discovered at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. According to congressional testimony, the Terry shooting - along with the mistaken suspicion that Tucson mass murderer Jared Loughner might have been packing a Fast and Furious gun – panicked top ATF brass into halting its gun walking operations.
5. The Obama Justice Department cobbled together significant inter-agency co-operation for its huge gun walking programs. As Kurt Hofmann of the Gun Rights Examiner notes, “At this point, we don’t seem to have any evidence that earlier ‘gunwalking’ involved the FBI, the DEA, DHS, the State Department, the IRS, and even the White House Security Council.”
6. And, of course, there was no massive cover-up of Wide Receiver. No senior Administration officials committed perjury to distance themselves from it. The ATF was not exactly advertising the existence of the operation, or its unhappy conclusion, but that’s very different from the thick stone wall Obama and his people tried to build around their far larger and deadlier operations.
In fact, a confidential informant named Mike Detty, who participated in Wide Receiver as a gun dealer, specifically told David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner that the Bush Administration was not involved in the earlier gun walking program: