Family of slain Border Patrol agent calls for "accountability"

TUCSON, Arizona Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:25pm EDT

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TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - Relatives of a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose murder in the line of duty was linked to a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled to Mexico on Monday called for accountability for the government officials who approved the program.

Agent Brian Terry was shot dead in the Arizona borderlands in December 2010. His death was linked to a U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, sting operation dubbed "Fast and Furious," which allowed weapons to slip across the border to Mexico.

A number of guns bought in the scheme were recovered from crime scenes in Mexico. Two tracked by the ATF were also retrieved from a remote spot in the Arizona borderlands where Terry was killed in a shoot-out with bandits.

It was unclear if the weapons were used in his murder.

The case sparked an election year firestorm between the administration of President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans who slammed the government for allowing the program, and called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign.

"The attorney general and the president themselves have called this investigation flawed in concept and in its execution. ... We need more than that. We need answers, we need accountability," Robert Heyer, Terry's cousin and a family spokesman said.

"We need to be assured that an operation like this never occurs again. And that the decision-makers who approved this - at whatever level - aren't allowed to make decisions like this again," he added.

Heyer, Terry's mother Josie and his sisters are in Arizona this week to attend a dinner in Tucson to raise funds for a foundation set up in his honor. On Tuesday, they are expected to attend the opening of a new Border Patrol station named for Terry in Naco, in southeastern Arizona.

In June, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives found Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, in contempt for withholding documents related to the failed gun-running probe.

Earlier this month, Mexican authorities detained a man in northern Sonora state, bordering Arizona, accused of fatally shooting Terry. Four others have also been detained, authorities there said.

In February, Terry's family filed a $25 million wrongful-death claim against the U.S. government, saying he was killed because federal investigators allowed guns to fall into the hands of violent criminals.

(Writing by Tim Gaynor; editing by Todd Eastham)

(This story was refiled to correct the spelling of Heyer in paragraphs 6 and 8)

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Comments (2)
totherepublic wrote:
To have complete accountability for this we have to prosecute Obama, Napolitano, and Holder. That would be a very good thing but we will not see it, sorry to say your son/brother/husband/dad’s sacrifice will be swept under the carpet with their other secrets. Am I the only one that noticed all of them are so busy covering up and hiding they never did even acknowledge his service and sacrifice.

Sep 18, 2012 10:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gAnton wrote:
It seems that the US Border Patrol is doing a pretty good job–at least they’re killing one another (instead of us). (However, they are killing innocent Mexican senior citizen for sun bathing on the Mexican shore (the Ciudad Juarez side) of the Rio Bravo).

I lived in El Paso, TX various times for a number of years, and these border control clowns have a complete disregard for all traffic laws. For example, they would go out into the left-most lane of the express way and drive at 10 MPH. I would follow them blowing my horn for four or five minuets, and then pass them on the right while giving them the finger, but they never took my hint to pull over.

It would seem that traffic laws are not the only laws that these “peace officers” hold in utter contempt.

Sep 18, 2012 3:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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