Holder made this claim during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 12, 2012:
If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I’m the Attorney General that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious. An Attorney General who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them – nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.The blame Bush strategy is nothing new but instead of Republicans arguing Wide Receiver was drastically different from Fast and Furious in scope, perhaps they should engage the Democrats in the Wide Receiver debate by referring to someone who was at the heart of both operations. If they do, the Democrats are likely to give up the argument.
There is at least one man who was intimately involved with both Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious; his name is William Newell, former ATF Special Agent in Charge (SAC) in Phoenix. In a phone conversation from December, 2010 between Newell and a gun store owner named Mike Detty, the subject of Operation Wide Receiver was discussed. Here is that relevant portion, via Sipsey Street:
Detty: "You know, I was just curious with, uh, with Wide Receiver, you know, three years ago, I think, the U.S. Attorney here told me they were planning on arresting something like forty people and its my understanding, I think it was, November 10th or November 9th, they made six arrests here in Tucson.If we are to take Holder at his word on June 12th, then Newell necessarily perjured himself in previous testimony.
Detty: But I haven't seen. . . I check the website daily and I haven't seen a press release regarding that. Is there a reason that you're waiting on that or hoping to make more arrests?
Newell: Yeah, there'll be . . . uh, we're waiting. There's some other stuff going on, uh, that's part of that, and so it'll be a wait, it'll be a bit here. Probably another month or so.
CNN reported on the following exchange between Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and William Newell at a July 26, 2011 Oversight Committee hearing:
Newell's insistence that guns were not allowed to cross the border drew an angry rebuke from Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House committee investigating the program, who called Newell a "paid non-answerer" at Tuesday's hearing.Either Newell lied then or Holder lied last week. Perhaps concurrent with the upcoming House Resolution that will determine if Holder will be in contempt, the Oversight Committee could revisit its meetings with Newell. At this point, no one is going to protect him; he could go under the bus at any time. His testimony is in direct contradiction with Holder's. Which one do you think will be made to take the fall? As this Fast and Furious = Wide Receiver narrative continues to be pushed by the left, Newell is increasingly exposed. It would seem that the best thing for him to do would be to start singing to Issa's Committee (if he isn't already).
"Are they (the other agents) lying, or are you lying?" Issa asked Newell.
"We did not let guns walk," Newell responded.
"You're entitled to your opinion, not to your facts," Issa said.
As proof that Democrats don't want to go down the road of equating Wide Receiver with Fast and Furious, take a look at this clip from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing from November 8, 2011. This exchange between Senator Cornyn and Holder turns to the subject of Wide Receiver at about the 2:30 mark. Shortly thereafter, Cornyn draws a line of distinction between the two operations so well that any inclination Holder had to compare the two was extinguished. In fact, at the 3:30 mark, Holder says:
"Senator, I have not tried to equate Wide Receiver with Fast and Furious."Watch the entire exchange if you can.
During that same hearing, Senator Chuck Schumer played the Wide Receiver card too, saying in part:
"It's a pretty good bet that top officials at the Bush Justice Department - perhaps the Attorney General himself - learned of this operation in its early stages... at the very least, they let it continue. For all we know, they've endorsed it. And so, I think it's important that we look at both sides and my suggestion Mr. Chairman is, if the House won't do that, we should."Shortly after making those comments, Schumer found agreement with none other than John Cornyn, who echoed Schumer's sentiment about getting to the bottom of Wide Receiver as well.
Memo to the Democrats. If you wish to point to Wide Receiver in defense of Fast and Furious, you might want to re-think your strategy; Holder did.
Of course, that leaves you with nothing but the race card.