February 3, 2012 – On February 2, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared and gave testimony before the House Oversight Committee regarding the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the ill conceived Operation Fast and Furious. Several times during his testimony he was asked questions to which he would give dismissive answers or attribute the questions to political pandering or election year charades. This was nothing new for a man who has refused to accept responsibility for this fiasco and has not disciplined any of the high-ranking officials who were involved with the approval of this operation. Instead, the ATF retaliated against whistleblowers that helped expose the dangerous operation.
Finally, when Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) began her questioning of Holder, she asked the question that this organization has been asking for over a year. Buerkle asked, "How many more Border Patrol agents would have had to die for you to take responsibility?" Holder could only respond by attempting to paint the question as one that shouldn't be asked stating, "I mean, really, as a member of Congress, is that the way you want to be seen, or the way you want to be known?"
The National Border Patrol Council hopes that every member of this committee and every Member of Congress would want to be known for asking a question that needs to be asked. Rep. Buerkle asked the question that Border Patrol agents and their families have been asking since that fateful night in the desert of Arizona. It is a legitimate question that needed to be asked publicly and required a heartfelt response.
For decades Border Patrol agents have felt they were viewed as expendable by the U.S. government. Severe assaults on agents would be met with minimal or no prosecutions of those who committed the act, yet allegations made against Border Patrol agents were pursued by the DOJ with the aggressiveness that was lacking when the agents were themselves the victims. Appearing to enforce the immigration laws of the U.S. while actually accomplishing little became the norm. Empty words and platitudes from elected and appointed officials, or worse yet sleeping officials at the funerals of agents, who gave their lives in the line of duty, provided the final dishonor.
Operation Fast and Furious shows the lack of experience and foresight in running complex criminal investigations. An operation that knowingly put weapons in the hand of criminals committed to doing violence and that had great potential to do harm to American law enforcement officers and citizens is inexcusable.
So we will ask again, Attorney General Holder, how many Border Patrol agents have to die before you take responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious?