- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The family of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, killed by Mexican bandits at a site where investigators found weapons purchased during the Fast and Furious operation, said if Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. did not know about the investigation or its tactics, he should have and should now accept responsibility.

Mr. Holder may choose not to apologize to the Terry family for the role ATF and DOJ played in the death  — but the attorney general should accept responsibility immediately. It is without question the right thing to do,” the family said in a statement released Wednesday by their attorney, Lincoln Combs, through Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.

The statement said Mr. Holder told a Senate committee Tuesday he “regrets” the Terry killing and called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive’s Fast and Furious operation “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution.”

“Yet, when Sen. John Cornyn asked him if he had spoken to or apologized to the Terry family, Mr. Holder replied that he has not spoken to the family nor has he apologized for the actions of ATF and the U.S. Attorney´s Office in Phoenix,” the statement said. “Instead, he said it´s unfair to assume that mistakes from Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry.”

The statement noted that the men who killed Terry were armed with “brand new military grade assault weapons and ammunition purchased with the full approval of ATF and the U.S. attorney´s office in Arizona; both agencies falling under the control of the attorney general.”

** FILE ** Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican (Associated Press)
** FILE ** Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican (Associated Press) more >

“Now common sense would dictate that law enforcement should never let guns walk; yet, ATF let guns walk. Common sense would dictate that law enforcement should never allow guns to be delivered to dangerous criminals; yet, ATF allowed weapons to flow to members of certain Mexican drug cartels,” the statement said.

“ATF chose not to interdict those guns. Common sense would dictate that only bad things can happen when dangerous criminals are allowed to purchase military grade assault weapons; yet, ATF ignored that risk,” it said.

The statement said President Obama has spoken often about the need for transparency in government and has said that those who “screwed up” in Fast and Furious would be held accountable.

“Well, we know who screwed up: they were ATF supervisors in the Phoenix field office who thought up and initiated this plan, ATF Headquarters executives who allowed it to continue, and officials in the Department of Justice who didn´t put a stop to it when they had the opportunity,” the statement said.

The statement described Fast and Furious and the way it was handled as “excellent examples of the precise need for transparency and accountability.”

Agent Terry, 40, was shot in the back and killed during a gunfight about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Rio Rico, Ariz., 60 miles south of Tucson.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke in Arizona, who resigned in the wake of a congressional probe into Fast and Furious, has admitted leaking a sensitive memo about a federal agent who blew the whistle on the operation.

Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said in a statement late Tuesday the leaked memo was “deemed so sensitive by the Justice Department” it was not provided to Congress, except in a secured room at Justice headquarters.

The leak targeted ATF Agent John Dodson, who told a House committee in June that ATF superiors told him to stand down and watch as weapons flowed from gun dealers in Arizona to drug cartels in Mexico as part of the Fast and Furious operation.

Mr. Grassley said the Justice Department has confirmed that its inspector general continues to investigate the leak, “which means there are others who may be involved in drafting and distributing” the leak to the press.

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