Slain Agent Honored On Eve Of Fast And Furious Report Release
NACO, Ariz. -- An honor guard raised the American flag and then saluted murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Tuesday morning. The agents and the fallen agent’s family had gathered at the Naco Border Patrol station which was renamed for him. The wall dividing Mexico and the U.S. sits just miles down the road in a winding dark ribbon.
Tucson sector chief Rick Barlow recalled his own anger when he had to announce his agent’s murder.
“My face told the story, my face told it all, about how it felt when they took the life of a Border Patrol agent in the line of duty," Barlow said.
Then, a darker element was revealed. Two of the rifles found at the crime scene came from a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gunwalking program known as Operation Fast and Furious. Agents had allowed illegal gun buyers to purchase weapons in Arizona in hopes of building a criminal case against them.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Inspector General is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Government reform committee Thursday to discuss his findings. The official report from the Inspector General is expected to be released Wednesday.
“I just hope it comes out positive and that we find justice for Brian,” said his mother Josephine Terry.
How exactly that justice manifests itself is unknown. The OIG could find that the responsibility and knowledge of the gunwalking program extended to the highest levels of government, even Attorney General Eric Holder. Unofficial sections of the report have been leaked already, however, and suggest the OIG places the responsibility on federal officials primarily in Arizona. The vast majority of those people have either resigned or been transferred already.
Even Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who has loudly gone after Holder in House hearings, appeared muted at the Border Patrol station service.
“I think we’re past the question of Holder’s resignation," said the congressman from Southern California. "The attorney general’s been held in contempt for not cooperating. And the IG is presenting a report that we hope brings some closure to 21 terrible months."
Democrat Congressman Ron Barber, recently elected to represent Southern Arizona, expects the OIG's report will focus on those officials in Phoenix
“And if it wasn’t, it needs to be in the future so we can’t have what I consider a hare-brained idea that resulted in the death of one of our agents,” Barber said.