Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s family broke its silence on Wednesday, and is now calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to admit he’s at fault for Operation Fast and Furious.
Terry was murdered with Operation Fast and Furious weapons on December 15, 2010 — nearly a year ago — and Holder refused to apologize to his family during his Senate Judiciary Committee appearance on Tuesday.
“Mr. Holder needs to own Operation Fast and Furious,” Terry’s family said in a statement. “In the end, Mr. Holder may chose not to apologize to the Terry family for the role that ATF and DOJ played in the death of Brian Terry, but the Attorney General should accept responsibility immediately. It is without question, the right thing to do.”
Terry’s family has remained virtually silent until now. This is the first major statement relatives of the Fast and Furious victim have ever made. (SCANDAL BUILDS: Former Ariz. US Attorney admits leaking memo smearing Fast and Furious whistle-blower)
The family of the fallen agent added that even if Holder didn’t know guns were allowed to “walk,” or be trafficked into Mexico via straw purchasers, the Attorney General should have known. Straw purchasers are people who could legally purchase weapons in the United States but did so with the known intention of trafficking them into Mexico.
“The Attorney General has said that he did not know about the flawed tactics being used by ATF in Operation Fast and Furious; if this is true and he did not know, then he should have known,” Terry’s family said. “After all, he is the Attorney General of the United States and the head of the Department of Justice under which ATF belongs.”
During that Tuesday hearing, Holder said “it’s unfair to assume that mistakes from Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry.” (WHIP COUNT: 36 members of Congress want Eric Holder’s immediate resignation)
Holder’s top deputy, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer — the head of the DOJ’s Criminal Division — previously told Congress that “the tragic truth is that if those criminals who killed Agent Terry had not gotten the guns from this one source, they would have gotten the gun from another source.”
Terry’s family is appalled by those deflections of responsibility and specifically calls Holder and Breuer out for making those statements. “The fact of the matter is that the men who killed Brian Terry were armed with brand new military grade assault weapons and ammunition,” Terry’s family said. “The weapons were allowed to be 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.”
The family asks for President Barack Obama to follow through on his promises of transparency and accountability with Operation Fast and Furious. Terry’s family hopes Obama holds Holder accountable for Fast and Furious.
“President Obama has spoken often about the need for transparency in our government,” the family said. “Furthermore, the President, when referring to Operation Fast and Furious, has said, ‘People who screwed up will 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,” Terry’s family added. “Operation Fast and Furious and the way that DOJ and ATF have handled both the actual investigation and its aftermath are excellent examples of the precise need for transparency and accountability.”
Two Scottsdale, Arizona businesswomen are organizing a fundraiser for Terry’s family in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 12.