Unanswered Questions Haunt Family in 'Fast and Furious' Case
On December 15, 2010, Brian Terry was murdered. Brian was a BORTAC Border Patrol Agent, considered among the most dedicated and trained. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) are conducting an investigation to find out those involved, the facts behind this operation, and the cover-up that has ensued. American Thinker interviewed Brian Terry's stepmother as well as participated in a conference call conducted by Congressman Issa about this case.
In a 2009 operation called "Fast and Furious," ATF requested that gun shop owners sell guns, including AK47s, to straw buyers from the Mexican drug cartels. There were approximately 2,500 weapons involved, and to date, only 600 have been recovered. ATF field agents complained that allowing these guns into the hands of criminals set a bad precedent. Terry is proof of this since he was shot and killed by illegal immigrants during a gunfight. In addition to Terry, Issa reported that at least 200 Mexican civilians have been killed with these weapons. Congress is investigating the cover-up by ATF and others, since three guns found at the scene of the Terry murder were guns smuggled during the "Fast and Furious" operation.
Congressman Issa believes that Terry's shooting was the "smoking gun." If not for Terry's death, guns might still be smuggled across the border, and many more deaths might have resulted. The congressman sees a lot of panic occurring among those involved and notes that "when Gabby Giffords was shot and a federal judge assassinated, this was a time when everyone down there and certainly those on the inside were panicking that the weapon used was a Fast and Furious weapon."
The congressman is also wondering what people at the top knew since they are pleading ignorance. Why were people like Attorney General Eric Holder not briefed? Issa told the bloggers, "This administration is giving information in redacted form. Eric Holder did not know it because he either did not want to know or was not doing his job. We already have a cover-up. The failure to turn over documents shows a pattern of concealment and wrongdoing. It is a little hard to get the Justice Department to prosecute the Justice Department."
Carolyn Terry, Brian's stepmom, is torn about the Arizona gun shop owners' involvement because she thinks they should have used better judgment; yet, she understands that they thought they were doing the right thing since they were told the guns were being tracked and people were being arrested.
David Greenberg, an Arizona gun shop owner, is frustrated with the government's ineptness and does not believe that the gun shop owners should be blamed. He told ATF, after he was approached, that his shop, only a few miles from the border, would allow the criminals to have an easy escape route. He commented that in April 2011, he was told to put up a poster that said, in Spanish and English, "'It is illegal to take guns across the border.' I told ATF they need to put that poster up in their office."
Terry's stepmother lays most of the blame with Holder and Janet Napolitano, who she believes are somehow involved; she "does not believe a word Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano are saying." Issa describes Napolitano as someone who "seems to know everything and be running everything until something goes wrong. This is an organization where freedom of information is an oxymoron."
Carolyn Terry, besides putting the blame squarely on the Obama administration, also has a strong resentment of them. She wants those involved prosecuted because "our son would still be alive if they had not done what they did. I cannot understand what was the purpose of Fast and Furious. In a roundabout way, they encouraged trafficking. There are so many unanswered questions. We cannot even mourn our son's death because there is no closure."
The unanswered questions for Terry's stepmom include who made the call to sell the guns, who killed her son, and who knew about it. Unfortunately, no one in Justice is willing to answer these questions, and since most of the time they never returned her phone calls, she has quit calling. The one person sent to talk with the Terry family in March was Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. Terry feels that Burke outright lied to her, since he "told us ATF did not have the gun that killed Brian, which was strange since up until that point we were told the opposite. He was so involved and was covering up to protect himself and others. Just last week, e-mails came out where they talked about that gun, the third gun. Burke's office is right in the middle of this, and our son's death is the result of their actions. They don't have a clue what we are going through." She is glad that Burke has resigned and that the pending case was moved from Arizona to San Diego.
Terry is also grateful for the Congressional Investigative Committees headed by Issa and Grassley, since "the Committees are the only hope we have. Without Issa and Grassley, this investigation would be going nowhere." Their offices are also in contact with the family and keep them posted about any new updates.
Americans need to understand that the family is frustrated and angry since "we paid the price for this operation; we lost our son. Brian was a great person. If you knew him, you would have liked him. He had such goals. He was a positive person and had everything going for him. Those involved took it away from him and took him away from our family. The loss of our son Brian has changed our whole lives. A day does not go by that we don't think about him."
Congressman Issa feels for all those families who senselessly lost a loved one. He sees "a pattern of indifference toward the rules established about how to deal with deadly weapons." At best, Fast and Furious was a negligent and bungled operation, and at worst, there was an ulterior motive -- possibly to initiate more gun control laws. As Issa summarized, "this operation was dumb, useless, and lethal."