The Bush administration also ran an operation that allowed hundreds of guns to be transferred to suspected arms traffickers – the same tactic that congressional Republicans are criticizing the Department of Justice for using, the AP reports.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight, and other Republicans have been slamming Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice over the Fast and Furious operation, a controversial gun-running program that went wrong.
Under the Fast and Furious program, weapons were allowed to be illegally purchased so that they could be tracked to gun traffickers and drug cartel leaders. But the ATF, which operates within the DoJ, lost track of these firearms, and many were allowed to cross into Mexico.
The practice of “letting guns walk” to trace their sales was also used in the Bush administration, federal officials tells the AP. The ATF began what became known as Operation Wide Receiver in 2006, after receiving information about a suspicious purchase of firearms. The investigation involved letting the guns “walk,” and the investigation concluded in 2007 without any charges being filed.