Wide Receiver was a small scale law enforcement gun smuggling interdiction effort that involved Phoenix — I mistakenly said Tucson yesterday — involved Phoenix-based ATF agents working in conjunction with Mexican law enforcement. ATF supervisors and justice department prosecutors in Arizona were trying to build a case against a violent group of Mexican drug smugglers. Fast and Furious was an effort to build a case against American gun dealers and the Second Amendment. That’s the stark difference.
Wide Receiver was an attempt to build a case against gun smugglers and the drug cartels, to find out who they were, where they are. The purpose of Fast and Furious was to build a case against the Second Amendment. In a nutshell, Wide Receiver began in 2005. It involved four hundred guns. All of the weapons in Wide Receiver had RFID trackers installed in them, and they were actively tracked. Only the Phoenix ATF and DOJ were involved. The Mexican government was kept fully informed. They were an active participant. In Wide Receiver, the ATF agents tried to track the guns using radio devices and aircraft. They wanted to find out where the guns ended up, into the hands of which cartels and where they were, so that a case could be made. It was an effort to track these people to find them, locate them.
The Bush administration, as part of Wide Receiver, notified the Mexican government when arms and drug smugglers were crossing. When the guns were being walked across the border or when they had been purchased legally, being taken back to Mexico, the Mexican government was notified. At least 1,400 arrests were made as part of Wide Receiver. Now, once ATF found out the smugglers were disabling the tracking devices, the RFID tracking devices that were planted in the guns, they ripped them out and then the guns were lost. So the program was shut down in October of 2007. Once the bad guys discovered the tracking devices, the program was ended, in 2007. Ended.
Now, here’s Fast and Furious by contrast. Fast and Furious began in October of 2009. Obama is in his tenth month. Wide Receiver doesn’t exist. It’d been shut down for two years. Fast and Furious involved over 2,000 guns. Wide Receiver was 1,400 guns. Roughly. No tracking devices were planted in the Fast and Furious guns. The regime didn’t care where they ended up. There were no tracking devices. No effort was made to track them. No helicopters. There was no on-the-ground surveillance of the straw purchasers. None of it. The guns were sold, they were walked across the border, and that was it. Four federal agencies were involved in maybe as many as 10 cities in five states.
In contrast to Wide Receiver, the Mexican government was not notified the program even existed. They did not use tracking devices or aircraft to try to find and track the smugglers. The local ATF field agents were ordered not to follow the straw purchasers. Fast and Furious is as bad as everything you have conjured it to be in your mind. Wide Receiver has nothing in common, other than guns crossing the border. That’s it. Federal agents, furthermore — are you following all this, Snerdley? — federal agents were not allowed to interdict the guns and they even ran interference for the smugglers with local law enforcement on multiple occasions to make sure those guns made it across the border.