The Associated Press is reporting the following:
The federal government under the Bush administration ran an operation that allowed hundreds of guns to be transferred to suspected arms traffickers — the same tactic that congressional Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama's administration for using, two federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
When Bush, a Republican, was president, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tucson, Ariz., used a similar enforcement tactic in a program it called Operation Wide Receiver. The fact that there were two such ATF investigations years apart in separate administrations raises the possibility that agents in still other cases may have allowed guns to "walk."
The problem is, the "same tactic" under heavy criticism by the House Oversight Committee was not used under President Bush. Operation Fast and Furious started in Fall 2009 and was an offshoot of the Project Gunrunner program implemented under the Bush Administration. Project Gunrunner started as a pilot program in Laredo, Texas and went national in 2006. Project Gunrunner involved the surveillance of straw purchasers buying weapons, but those purchasers were immediately apprehended before crossing back into Mexico or tranferring arms to dangerous criminals. Shortly after Obama took office, Operation Fast and Furious allowed straw purchasers working for Mexican drug cartels to purchase mass amount of weapons in the United States and then take them back to Mexico in addition to allowing them to be lost at stash houses and tranferred to dangerous cartel members. ATF agents who have testified before Congress about the program said the idea was to "trace" those weapons, but the tracing ended up being a total failure as GPS batteries ran out and thousands of guns were lost in Mexico and only found at final violent crime scenes. Did both operations allow for straw purchasers to buy guns under ATF/DOJ surveillance? Yes, however, the key difference between Operation Fast and Furious under Obama and Project Gunrunner under Bush is that under Obama guns were allowed to go back into Mexico without interdiction or arrests. According to Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, straw purchaser arrests and prosecutions have been way down under this administration, so much so it's almost as if the Obama Justice Department has no interest in prosecuting illegal straw purchasers at all. (A straw purchaser is someone who buys guns illegally for those who cannot buy them. In this case, cartels members can't buy guns, so they hired "straw purchasers" to buy weapons for them)
Although "Operation Wide Receiver" does need more looking into, for the Associated Press to try and turn the pressure away from President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder, who may soon be facing perjury charges, onto the Bush Administration is both predictable and non-factual. The "same tactics" under heavy criticism were not used under Bush.