About 300-page report states that the Justice Department under Holder actively 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 at times being openly hostile to them.
Terry was killed on Dec. 14, 2010, in a gunfight between Border Patrol agents and members of a six-man cartel “rip crew,” which regularly patrolled the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border looking for drug dealers to rob. The cartel member suspected of slaying the Border Patrol agent, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, was apprehended in April by a joint U.S.-Mexico law enforcement task force.
Terry’s death exposed Operation Fast and Furious, which was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation in which the federal government allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix-area shops with the intention of tracking them once they made their way into Mexico. But the agency lost track of more than 1,400 of the 2,000 guns they allowed smugglers to buy. Two of those guns were found at the scene of Terry’s killing.
“More than five years after Brian’s murder, the Terry family still wonders about key details of Operation Fast and Furious,” the report states. “The Justice Department’s obstruction of Congress’s investigation contributed to the Terry family’s inability to find answers.”
The new report states that the Justice Department knew before Terry’s death in 2010 that the ATF was “walking” firearms to Mexico and knew the day after the agent’s death that weapons from Fast and Furious were involved in the shootout, despite denying these facts to the media.
The report also says that Holder’s Justice Department stonewalled inquiries from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and deceptively told him that the “ATF makes every effort to interdict” firearms purchased by straw buyers. The controversial act of straw purchases – where a person who is prohibited from buying firearms uses another person to buy a gun on his or her behalf – has been a popular method that Mexico’s drug cartels use to obtain guns.
The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was holding a hearing Wednesday on the panel’s lengthy report.