Video: Cornyn blows up “Bush did it too” on Fast and Furious

posted at 11:00 am on November 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Attorney General Eric Holder might not have tried to equate the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious with the Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver, as he tells Senator John Cornyn in testimony yesterday on the deadly scandal that has resulted in hundreds of murders, including at least one Border Patrol agent.  His defenders in and out of Congress certainly have, however, seizing on the earlier limited operation as an argument that the Obama administration and Holder’s Department of Justice only followed precedent set by the previous administration.  In a deft examination, however, Cornyn gets Holder to admit that Wide Receiver had critical differences from Fast and Furious, differences that went far beyond scope (via PJ Tatler):

It has become clear that for administration apologists, the favored approach for dealing with the “Project Gunwalker” fallout is to loudly shout “Bush did it too!” (as if that would somehow mitigate the atrocity of our government aiding in the murder two of federal law enforcement officers and hundreds of Mexican citizens). If this had not been obvious before yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, it certainly is now, with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) enthusiastically beating that drum.

In 75 seconds of pointed questioning of Attorney General Holder (see sidebar video), Senator John Cornyn has perhaps left the excuse makers scrambling for something better. In that time, he asked Holder if he knew that Operation Wide Receiver (the Bush-era operation) actually did involve an attempt to track the firearms, while Fast and Furious did not. Cornyn then asked Holder if he knew that Operation Wide Receiver was run in conjunction with the Mexican government–Fast and Furious was kept secret from not only Mexico, but from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) attaché to Mexico, Darren Gil. Gil, in fact, after discovering on his own what was going on, was basically pushed into retirement when he balked at the near act of war of “walking” guns into Mexico without the Mexican government’s knowledge or permission.

Did Holder really not try to equate the two? Andy McCarthy blows the whistle on Holder’s demurral:

The key to their strategy is conflating two very different programs: Operation Fast & Furious and a Bush era ATF initiative known as “Operation Wide Receiver.” In the questions from Judiciary Committee Democrats (principally, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer — there may have been others but, again, I didn’t see the entire hearing), it emerged that Wide Receiver began in 2006, when Alberto Gonzales was the Bush administration attorney general. Senator Schumer took pains to describe Wide Receiver as involving the “tracing” of firearms that crossed into Mexico. As we shall see, Wide Receiver’s notion of tracing was night-and-day different from the tracing involved in the reckless gun-walking approach employed by Fast & Furious. Obviously, however, Democrats hope that if they get enough help from their friends in the media, the public will miss the distinction.

Schumer made much of the happenstance that a briefing, said to have included information on Wide Receiver, was prepared for Michael Mukasey in late 2007, after he succeeded Gonzales as AG. (This is an amusing contradiction in the Democrats’ strategy: If a memo addressed to Holder in the middle of Fast & Furious emerges, you’re supposed to understand that, as attorney general, he is way too busy to read every memo; but if a memo is found to have been addressed to Mukasey or Gonzales years before Fast & Furious began, you should see them as the architects of gun-walking!)

Schumer pointed out that AG Mukasey had met with his counterpart, the Mexican attorney general, after the briefing, and that he had expressed a commitment to stanch the flow of guns to destinations south of the border. Schumer took these unremarkable facts, added the gloss that Wide Receiver involved gun tracing, and wildly theorized that it was very likely the subject of gun-walking came up in the Mukasey briefing — even though both Schumer and Holder conceded that they did not really know what was discussed at the briefing or even who was present at it (details you might figure Holder would be up on if it actually showed that this whole Fast & Furious fiasco was a Bush creation).

If that’s the strategy of the Democrats, then Cornyn blew it out of the water yesterday.  But one has to ask why Senate Democrats want to discount responsibility for this atrocious operation and the incompetents or worse who ran it.  Seems to me that this is one of the big stories in the scandal, and perhaps Republicans should be posing that question in Senate campaigns across the country next fall.

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Most people aren’t political junkies like us.

Two-thirds of the American public will hear “Bush did it too” and it will end right there.

That’s the strategy. It may very well work.

Bat Chain Puller on November 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Bug, meet windshield.

TugboatPhil on November 10, 2011 at 11:06 AM

The “Bush did it too” defense should be laughed at even if it were true. It’s as if Obama campaigned on continuing all of Bush’s policies.

But to claim it in this case is slander.

zmdavid on November 10, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Cornyn or someone, anyone on that panel should have large posters sitting right in front of their table showing the faces of the two American agents who were killed. This isn’t some bungle where the ATF forgot to get a signature on a wiretap warrant, American LE officers are dead, as in DEAD because of this scheme.

Bishop on November 10, 2011 at 11:07 AM

“Are you winging’ this or do you actually know?”

Oh yes.

Kenosha Kid on November 10, 2011 at 11:10 AM

You know, if Holder goes down…pretty much a huge swath of Obama’s plans for America go down, too.

The Dems, the Left, with Chuck Schumer leading the charge, will stop at nothing to make sure nothing bad happens to Holder (and by extension, Obama) regardless of cost in human lives, American and Mexican.

And the MSM is complicit in this travesty…as they conflate facts with rumor and try to paint all of this as simply an extension of some wild off the wall Bush program.

If they win. We all lose.

coldwarrior on November 10, 2011 at 11:11 AM

SoundByte Americans ask Eric who?……….

Unless it is found by BREITBART that Obama was holding meetings with Holder and there is audio this story goes NOWHERE.

Cornyn is a LIMP HANDSHAKE Republican. End of story.

PappyD61 on November 10, 2011 at 11:12 AM

What a total douche bag.

ColdWarrior57 on November 10, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Ed just gave you your campaign strategy gop candidates…..use it!

cmsinaz on November 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM

But one has to ask why Senate Democrats want to discount responsibility for this atrocious operation and the incompetents or worse who ran it. Seems to me that this is one of the big stories in the scandal

Indeed.

I can only conclude that these Dem politicians put their political careers ahead of this scandal and the killings. The case for limited, de-centralized government makes itself on a daily basis.

visions on November 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Schumer is a vile little man.

Del Dolemonte on November 10, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Fast & Furious = Fake Scandal (crr6 and Schumer)

Wide Receiver = Real Scandal (crr6 and Schumer)

Del Dolemonte on November 10, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Cornyn!

“Are you winging this or do you actually know?”

Oh, snap!

OMG!

LOL!

(It pays to have teenagers in the house so I can learn how to express myself better)

princetrumpet on November 10, 2011 at 11:18 AM

This isn’t some bungle where the ATF forgot to get a signature on a wiretap warrant, American LE officers are dead, as in DEAD because of this scheme.

Bishop on November 10, 2011 at 11:07 AM

And for what goal? Stricter gun control laws on U.S. citizens. As it has been pointed out before, nobody died as a result of Watergate. Holder and others should be testifying in an orange jumpsuit.

VegasRick on November 10, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Seems to me that this is one of the big stories in the scandal, and perhaps Republicans should be posing that question in Senate campaigns across the country next fall.

Ed, Ed, Ed…

You know as well as I do that the real stories are Perry’s stupid gaffe during the debate last night and Cains ‘sexual harassment that really wasn’t from 15 years ago’.

This is simply a distraction. The Dems walking away from the Super Committee after the Republicans offered to actually raise taxes is a distraction.

Quite trying to distract people…

catmman on November 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM

But one has to ask why Senate Democrats want to discount responsibility for this atrocious operation and the incompetents or worse who ran it.

Because it’s all part of the Democratic mantra that “IT’S NOT OUR FAULT!”

The so-called ‘adults’ who want to run everything don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.

GarandFan on November 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM


Both Republican and Democratic admirers say Mr. Holder’s handling of the Rich affair, which he has acknowledged was flawed, should be balanced against the bulk of his law enforcement career.” ~ from Pardon Is Back in Focus for the Justice Nominee

The bulk of Holder’s law enforcement career has been flawed.

Roy Rogers on November 10, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Huh it’s Bush’s fault, what an original reason, defense, excuse/

Dr Evil on November 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Two-thirds of the American public will hear “Bush did it too” and it will end right there.

Perhaps if Obama hadn’t blamed everything that’s gone wrong on Bush. It might have. But he has.

lorien1973 on November 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Why didn’t the Genius-wizards of the Obama administration learn from the mistakes of WR?

Bottom line for the Walkergate scandal: There was no attempt made what-so-ever to track those guns besides they’re showing up at crime scenes.

So what was true purpose of Fast and Furious if there wasn’t any means to track these weapons?

Chip on November 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Cornyn or someone, anyone on that panel should have large posters sitting right in front of their table showing the faces of the two American agents who were killed.

Bishop on November 10, 2011 at 11:07 AM

..somewhere in addition to this is a clip of someone asking this slimy piece of festering elephant afterbirth is he had apologized, expressed his sorrow to, or otherwise offered his condolences to these agents’ families for their loss.

Met with a blank stare, of course.

The War Planner on November 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Dr. Zero’s take:

Fast and Furious Is Not a “Failed” Operation
Not if Democrats get their gun control laws after all.

by John Hayward
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=47437

Once again, because it cannot be stated often enough: Operation Wide Receiver was indeed a “gun walking” operation from the Bush era, but it was a fraction of the size of Operation Fast and Furious, involved a serious (if botched) effort to actually track the guns, and didn’t feature the broad-based inter-agency cooperation of the Obama gun-walking project. In other words, it was a knucklehead scheme to catch cartel goons with little radio transmitters stuffed awkwardly into guns, not a political operation with a body count designed to manufacture support for gun-control dogma. Also, and most obviously, Wide Receiver ran and failed before the Obama team decided to try the same thing with five times as many guns, and no radio transmitters.

If there’s one thing this farce proves, it’s that reporters who call Fast and Furious a “botched” or “failed” operation are speaking prematurely. It’s only a failure if the Democrats don’t get their gun control laws.

Chip on November 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM

The “Bush did it too” defense should be laughed at even if it were true. It’s as if Obama campaigned on continuing all of Bush’s policies.

zmdavid on November 10, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Yep. Obama literally campaigned on being the “anti-Bush.” Not only has he continued many Bush policies, he’s doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on some of the worst.

The response from Obama Cultists? Total crickets.

visions on November 10, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Met with a blank stare, of course.
The War Planner on November 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Because like most members of this criminal administration, Holder is a douchebag of the first order.

I have no doubt the dead agents were originally seen by Holder as a good thing, he could point to their corpses as justification of more anti-gun laws.

I’m still waiting for someone on the panel to ask “Why? WHY was this operation conducted in the first place? What did you hope to discover?”

Bishop on November 10, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Have I missed it, or has Holder (or anyone from the Obama administration) ever offered any explanation for what this program was supposed to accomplish? We know from the whistleblowers that there was no actual tracking of the guns allowed, so other than just having the guns show up at crime scenes on the other side of the border and be used as fodder for the left’s attempts at more gun control here, what was the point of this idiotic program? Are they even pretending that there was some other, official, purpose for this insanity?

AZCoyote on November 10, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Schumer is a liberal fascist.

Hard Right on November 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Bythe way, folks, the answer to “BUSH DID IT TOO!!11!” is “…and you said it was wrong of Bush to do it, which makes it wrong for Obama to do it. Moron.”

It doesn’t even matter if Bush “did it too” or not – highlighting their hypocrisy and their apparent blind spot to it is enough to shut them up.

Good Lt on November 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM

I share Dr. Zero’s take on F&F and it may well apply to the economy as well. Obama’s efforts to the level the playing field could very well mean destroying our wealth.

DanMan on November 10, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I am glad Holder read the Bush Wide Receiver memos (he says it at the 1:07 mark) – but apparently didn’t read any momos of Fast and Furious.

If you really listen to a liar – they expose their lie clearly.

Odie1941 on November 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

But one has to ask why Senate Democrats want to discount responsibility for this atrocious operation and the incompetents or worse who ran it.

Because gun control isn’t about the guns. It’s about the control. It’s a means to an end for Democrats, that end being increased government control over citizens.

The press will likely allow Cornyn’s pointed questioning to disappear down the memory hole and will not contradict any Democrat who continues to equate the two. And, alas, the Republicans will likely do nothing to call them on it.

Socratease on November 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

The briefing was on Tuesday.

As predicted, nothing new was learned, although Holder did admit his earlier statement to the committee that he learned about F&F “weeks” before the prior briefing was actually “months”, while denying that he mislead the committee or that the difference was actually significant. His earlier testimony was in May, and he now claims he first heard of F&F in February.

We were also treated to the contemptible spectacle of Schumer and Feinstein doing their best to muddy the waters and blame Bush, and another Democrat Senator, I can’t remember which at the moment, trying to exculpate Holder from responsibility for what is contained in memos sent to him by suggesting that DOJ officials send him memos to make themselves feel good with no real expectation that he will actually, you know, read them.

Perhaps the lowest point by a Senator was attained by Feinstein, who claimed the “…the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything…”, which is completely untrue and a lie. The F&F straw sales were accomplished by subversion of the laws that would have prevented them by the very law enforcement officials responsible for enforcing those laws.

Laws don’t matter if law enforcement officials actively subvert them, as happened in F&F.

Holder’s low point came when he admitted he had not apologized to Brian Terry’s family, had not even contacted them, and basically took the position that Terry’s death had nothing to do with F&F and that he had no responsibility for it.

Holder is an evil man, corrupt, incompetent, and utterly without principles or conscience. He has repeated violated his oath as an attorney and his oaths of office to defend the Constitution. He has repeatedly perjured himself before Congress. He has corrupted and politicized the DOJ, perverting its resources to protect Obama’s friends and fellow travelers and attacking Obama’s enemies. He is undoubtedly one of the prime forces behind a massive conspiracy to violate federal and state firearms laws, international arms treaties, and the sovereignty of Mexico which has resulted in hundreds of deaths.

And Eric Holder is Barack Obama’s friend and confidant, and his choice to be the highest law enforcement officer in the land. What else needs be said?

novaculus on November 10, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Timely article – I just took a Schumer this morning.

hamnj7 on November 10, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Two-thirds of the American public will hear “Bush did it too” and it will end right there.

That’s the strategy. It may very well work.

Bat Chain Puller on November 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM

It will

Ed just gave you your campaign strategy gop candidates…..use it!

cmsinaz on November 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM

The wont.

If we keep doing the same things in the same way we shouldn’t expect different results. I don’t see any major discontinuity taking shape in the GOP

neuquenguy on November 10, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Holder claims not to have known about Fast and Furious, yet he assures the committee that it will not happen again. How can he know, if he didn’t know before?

ProfessorMiao on November 10, 2011 at 12:14 PM

This is the same Holder that condemmed the Arizona 2 page immigration law.

He was cornered and admitted he had NOT read it.

seven on November 10, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I know neuquen

*sigh*

cmsinaz on November 10, 2011 at 12:39 PM

And for what goal? Stricter gun control laws on U.S. citizens. As it has been pointed out before, nobody died as a result of Watergate. Holder and others should be testifying in an orange jumpsuit.
VegasRick on November 10, 2011 at 11:18 AM

It could be argued that a whole lot of south Vietnamese died because of the political fallout of Watergate…

Count to 10 on November 10, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Sure, Bush was playing football, we were trying to destroy the second amendment …

ROFLMAO …

tarpon on November 10, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Eric Holder: “Memos? What memos … ?”

“Um, I mean, the dog ate my homework.”

dissent555 on November 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM

If Bush did it, then we’ll investigate him too.

JellyToast on November 10, 2011 at 5:23 PM

“Are you winging this or do you actually know?”

Holder looks like he’s gonna start bawling. ROTFL

ElectricPhase on November 10, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Finally an “affirmative action” .

chickasaw42 on November 10, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

V-rod on November 10, 2011 at 7:02 PM