In a Sept. 20 interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, President Obama said “the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”
While such an answer may be a viable way to escape pointed questions during an interview, the problem is that Obama’s claim is absolutely and demonstrably false.
Here are the facts: there was an operation to crack down on cartel members and border crime under Bush, but it wasn’t Fast and Furious, and it was stopped approximately two years after it began because the Bush administration realized there was a loophole in it that could be exploited.
Besides being a completely different operation, “Wide Receiver” was miniscule in comparison to Fast and Furious. It involved only 400 to 450 guns, compared to 2500 in Fast and Furious, and every gun was equipped with a tracing/tracking device. Yet Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) alleges only two guns out of the entire 2500 involved in Fast and Furious had tracing/tracking devices on them.
Moreover, the Mexican government knew about “Wide Receiver,” and Mexican agents worked with Phoenix-area ATF when the operation was conducted. Contrast that with Fast and Furious, where Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder did not bother letting the Mexican government know 2500 guns were headed their way.
In fact, after Fast and Furious began in 2009, so many guns flooded into Mexico that the Mexican government thought factions within its country were arming themselves for full-blown civil war.
Ironically, “Wide Receiver” resulted in well over a thousand arrests, whereas Fast and Furious has resulted in a few at best (and most of those were made by the Mexican government once they figured out what was happening).
The differences between “Wide Receiver” and Fast and Furious are legion, and the goals of both programs appear markedly divergent as well. “Wide Receiver” was actually aimed at arresting criminals while Fast and Furious was simply designed to cause chaos.
Here’s the bottom line: Fast and Furious did not begin under George W. Bush.