The murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry occurred over five years ago and answers from the Department of Justice about Fast and Furious have still not been released despite U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder being charged with contempt.
“I sat in a chair and cried,” the mother of Terry said about watching Attorney General Eric Holder’s reply to Texas Senator John Cornyn on television in November 2011.
“It was so inhumane,” Josephine Terry said of Holder’s answer when Cornyn asked him if he has spoken or apologized to the Terry family. “An apology to anybody means at least they are trying to fix it. He didn’t.”
On Dec. 2010, her son was killed north of the Arizona-Mexico border while on duty with fellow agents who were going after robbers who target illegal aliens. Agent Terry was killed by weapons of the Obama Administration’s Fast and Furious program designed to help provide weapons to the killers. Over 1,400 weapons, out of 2,000 were unaccounted for.
“I think they are liars and I would tell them that,” said the agent’s father, Kent Terry. “What would I say to Eric Holder? They would not be nice words.”
Senator Cornyn tore into Holder during the 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee about ” the “gun-walking” operation that lead to the death of the border patrol agent. As President Barrack Obama’s attorney general, Holder denied he could “be expected to know” the details of deadly program and would not apologize for U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death.
Holder acknowledged that no one has been held accountable over the fatal scheme. The Attorney General was later held in contempt when he refused to hand over documents for the congressional investigation.
“I have ultimate responsibility for that which happens in the Department, but I cannot be expected to know the details for every operation that is ongoing in the Justice Department on a day-to-day basis,” Holder testified. “I did not know about Fast and Furious as is indicated in the chart that you have up there until I guess, well, until it became public.”
Sen. Cornyn, a former attorney general for the state of Texas countered, “You cannot be expected to have known about the operation known as Fast and Furious despite the fact that we know you received an NDIC memo on July the 5th, 2010?”
When Cornyn asked if the attorney general had apologized to the family of agent Brian Terry, Holder replied, “I have not apologized to them but I certainly regret what happened…”
“Have you even talked to them?” Cornyn asked.
“I have not,” answered Holder.
“Would you like to apologize today for this program that went so wrong, that took the life of a United States law enforcement agent?” the Texas senator inquired.
“I certainly regret what happened to Agent Brian Terry,” Holder said. “It is not fair, however, to assume that the mistakes that happened in Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry.”
From their separate Michigan homes, Josephine and Kent Terry agreed on who they blame for Brian’s murder: Holder, top assistant Lanny Breuer, former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, and those Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials who approved and executed the program.
“If they never let the guns walk, maybe Brian would not have been out that day,” Josephine said. “I just can’t believe our own government came up with a program like this that (allow) innocent people get killed.”
“That shows what kind of a person he is,” Kent lamented. “To me, he is not much of a person. I don’t know if he has a son. But if he lost his, he would think different.”
Holder eventually sent a letter of apology to the Terrys later in 2011, but not until it was first released to the press.
Mrs. Terry said U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, whose office directed the operation, lied to her in March, 2011 when he “came up to my house and he said, ‘No, none of them guns killed Brian. None of them’.”
Burke resigned in September 2011 after documents showed Terry was killed by the operation’s weapons.
“I have a tough time going to the cemetery,” Mr. Kent told Fox News. “He is not supposed to be there. I am. Nobody wants to outlive their son.”
A year ago, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, a Mexican national, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for Terry’s killing. Osorio-Arellanes was wounded during the killing and pleaded guilty to first degree murder. Terry was killed by one of two rifles at the crime scene identified as part of the ATF’s Fast and Furious gunwalking case.
In August 2014, Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, 30, was charged in the slaying. The AP and Fox News reported Burboa-Alvarez was allegedly the man who put together the armed group who planned to steal marijuana from smugglers when they ran into Agent Terry and others on Dec. 14, 2010.
Prosecutors don’t believe Osorio-Arellanes was not the trigger man who shot Terry, but made certain he was held accountable for his role in the killing.
Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, also known as Lionel Portillo-Meza, was transferred from Mexico to the U.S. last June. Ivan Soto-Barraza, 34, was brought to the U.S. on July 31. Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes are still at large.