By Jordy Yager - 11/08/11 07:06 PM EST
Democrats are turning up the heat over the use of “gun walking” tactics under President George W. Bush’s administration.
Their effort is an attempt to broaden the debate over the controversial Fast and Furious gun trafficking operation, in which the government authorized the sale of guns to known and suspected criminals with the hope of tracking and convicting them.
The operation has become a thorn in the side of the Obama administration, which has seen GOP calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over Fast and Furious
“There's been a selective way in which this investigation has been pursued so far,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter where Holder was grilled by Republicans.
“It's sort of one-sided outrage about the whole issue, when we know now that it began, or its progenitor began, before you took office, before President Obama took office,” Schumer said.
Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) posed a lengthy line of questions to Holder about whether he knew who, in George W. Bush’s White House, was aware of the “gun walking” methods used in Bush’s administration.
Holder said he did not know but would work to find answers for the senators.
Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), meanwhile, asked the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Inspector General (IG), which is investigating the agency’s decision-making process with regards to Fast and Furious, to expand their probe to include the Bush-era gun tracking operations.
One Bush-era program, Operation Wide Receiver, was conducted from 2006 to 2007 and oversaw the sale of about 350 firearms to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels.
Under Operation Fast and Furious, thousands of firearms were sold to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels.
In the House, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has called for former Attorney General Michael Mukasey to testify before the Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, which has been investigating Fast and Furious for most of the year.
According to a 2007 document subpoenaed and recently received by the House committeee, Mukasey was briefed about a gun-tracking operation being run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that — while not explicitly calling it “gun walking” — used the tactics.
The 2007 memo is the first official record showing that an attorney general knew about the tactics, according to the Associated Press. Mukasey served as then-President George W. Bush’s attorney general from 2007 until President Obama took control of the White House in 2009.