Give the Terry family the truth
The House Oversight Committee lashed out at former President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder for obstruction over the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. A cartel member used a gun from the ATF and DOJ’s Operation Fast and Furious to kill Terry in December 2010.
From Fox News:
The House Oversight Committee also Wednesday released a scathing, nearly 300-page report that found Holder’s Justice Department tried to hide the facts from the loved ones of slain Border Patrol Brian Terry – seeing his family as more of a “nuisance” than one deserving straight answers – and slamming Obama’s assertion of executive privilege to deny Congress access to records pertaining to Fast and Furious.
“[Terry’s death] happened on Dec. 14, 2010, and we still don’t have all the answers,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, committee chairman, said of Terry’s death. “Brian Terry’s family should not have to wait six years for answers.”
“More than five years after Brian’s murder, the Terry family still wonders about key details of Operation Fast and Furious,” the committee’s report states. “The Justice Department’s obstruction of Congress’s investigation contributed to the Terry family’s inability to find answers.”
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) told the Committee that the DOJ and ATF regularly tried to obstruct the investigation and intimidate the whistleblowers who provided evidence of the operation:
“The Department of Justice and ATF had no intention of looking for honest answers and being transparent,” said Grassley, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a staunch supporter of whistleblowers.
“In fact, from the onset, bureaucrats employed shameless delay tactics to obstruct the investigation.”
ATF Agent John Dodson, one of those whistleblowers, confirmed Grassley’s testimony. He relayed to the Committee that the DOJ has “tried to discredit him by subjecting him to internal investigations, putting him under surveillance, denying him promotions and ostracizing him.” Fox News continued:
“That decision, the single act of standing up and saying, ‘What we are doing is wrong’… instantly took my standing from being that of an agent of the government – to an enemy of the state,” Dodson said. “ATF and DOJ officials implemented an all-out campaign to silence and discredit me… Suffice to say, the last six to seven years at ATF have not been the best for me or my career.”
Terry’s mother Josephine even testified before the Committee. From Cleveland.com:
Josephine Terry, whose border patrol agent son, Brian, was killed in a 2010 gunfight with drug traffickers in the Arizona desert, said probes into his death have been plagued by “cover-ups and deceptions from the very people he served.” She said many of those who spearheaded the gun sales operation got Justice Department promotions and awards.
“Only one possible motivation remains for all of those involved who have covered up Operation Fast and Furious,” said Terry, who testified beside a photograph of her deceased son. “That is to conceal their own shame and disgrace; quite possibly their crimes.”
Did the DOJ Know?
The testimonies by Dodson and Grassley confirm parts in the report that alleged Holder’s DOJ knew about Fast & Furious:
Grassley’s and Dodson’s testimony reinforced findings of the report, which states that the Justice Department knew before Terry’s death that the ATF was “walking” firearms to Mexico and knew the day after the agent’s death that Fast and Furious guns were involved in the shootout — despite denying these facts to the media. It goes on to state that the Justice Department’s internal investigation focused more on spinning the story to avoid negative media coverage than looking into lapses by either the DOJ or ATF.
Several emails revealed in the report appear to indicate that some Justice Department staffers were working to keep information from political appointees at the department.
“I don’t want to jinx it but it really is astounding that the plan worked — so far,” former Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in an email to Holder, according to the report.
Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson reported these facts over and over during the investigation. In October 2011, she reported documents showed that Holder received briefings about the operation.
Frustration With Trump’s DOJ
To the dismay of the Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions “rejected a request from the House Oversight Committee to testify on a Justice Department operation from the Obama era, and will not answer any questions or send officials in his stead, the committee announced Wednesday.”
Chaffetz and several Democrats said they were upset by a Trump administration directive that federal agencies should ignore information requests from members of Congress, apart from Republican committee chairmen. They observed that Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley began the “Fast and Furious” investigation before he was a committee chairman.
“The Trump administration should acknowledge and respect the constitutional oversight role of every member of Congress regardless of party because we do our oversight in service of the American people – like the Terry family,” said Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch.
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