On October 4 it was revealed that during the Bush Administration an ATF operation named Wide Receiver included the controversial "gun walking" tactic that was used during the more recent Fast and Furious investigation. The failed Fast and Furious operation resulted in many guns falling into the hands of Mexican cartels and has been at the heart of the National Rifle Association's ongoing calls for Attorney General Eric Holder's resignation as well as a chorus of conspiratorial accusations against the Obama administration.
Right-wing bloggers responded to the news that something similar might have happened during the Bush years with an immediate and sustained scramble to deny that Wide Receiver was anything like Fast and Furious. Using a more creative dodge Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse dealt with the possible embarrassment of Bush-era gun walking by just suggesting operation Wide Receiver happened at "about the same time" as Fast and Furious in Fox News segment last week.
Today La Jeunesse continued the knee-jerk defense of Wide Receiver by omitting key facts about the case in a segment that aired on Happening Now.
Discussing today's Senate Judiciary hearing where Holder testified about gunwalking allegations and other issues, La Jeunesse pushed defensive talking points about Wide Receiver:
LA JEUNESSE: Democrats went back to 2007 to blame gun walking on President Bush first and they failed to say however that Operation Wide Receiver was similar but different then Fast and Furious in that we told Mexico it was happening and agents tried but often failed to surveil the weapons and then they stopped the operation. John as know in Fast and Furious there was no attempt to stop it. Only with the death of Brian Terry did they and we did not tell Mexico.
The defense of Wide Receiver comes even though internal Department of Justice e-mails confirmed Wide Receiver involved the controversial tactic of letting guns "walk."
La Jeunesse is simply wrong that "there was no attempt to stop" Fast and Furious. In January indictments were issued for 20 Fast and Furious suspects. La Jeunesse suggests this just this was only in reaction to the murder of border agent Brian Terry, which were brought considerable attention to Fast and Furious after it was revealed that 2 guns associated with the operation where found at the murder scene. But recently disclosed e-mails show that before Terry was murdered, prosecutors had already planned to issue indictments within weeks.
In the e-mail written on December 14, 2010 at 1:21 p.m., Patrick Cunningham, chief of the criminal division for the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office, asks if the indictments of Fast and Furious suspects were still planned for January 6 and 7, indicating previous plans to make arrests in the case. Terry was murdered that evening.
ATF whistleblowers involved with Fast and Furious have suggested that similar indictments could have been issued much earlier, but that doesn't mean there was no never any intention to indict the suspects in Fast and Furious.
Further, while La Jeunesse mentions Wide Receiver ended he fails note that prosecutors at that time let indictments languish.
Under the Obama administration prosecutors reviewed the case and issued indictments. 6 Wide Receiver suspects have already plead guilty suggesting that prosecutors during the Bush administration made a serious error.