Terry family wants criminal charges against officials responsible for Fast and Furious

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

On the anniversary of his death, the family of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry released a strong statement calling for criminal charges to be pursued against those ultimately responsible for Operation Fast and Furious — the gun-walking program that led to Terry’s murder.

Terry was shot on Dec. 14, 2010, in Peck Canyon in Arizona. He died early the next morning. He was killed with weapons the Obama administration allowed to be sold to Mexican drug cartels via Operation Fast and Furious.

Terry’s family wants Obama administration officials held accountable with criminal charges.

“Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian’s murder,” the family said in a statement. “However, we will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. Those responsible for such a misguided and fundamentally flawed operation must be held fully responsible for their decisions which allowed so many weapons to flow to the criminal element on both sides of the border. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable.”

Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s Department of Justice. It cleared the way for thousands of weapons to get to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.

In an interview with The Daily Caller on Thursday, Terry family attorney Pat McGroder said the slain agent’s relatives don’t think it’s their place to pick out who should be charged, but they do think justice must be done.

“The family believes in the rule of law,” McGroder told TheDC. “Brian Terry upheld the rule of law and all they want is to ensure that whoever may have criminal culpability as measured by the investigation’s results and the discretion of the U.S. Attorney’s office that whomever may have criminal culpability is brought to answer for those criminal charges. That’s all they’re saying. They’re not pointing the finger, they’re not trying to do the job of the FBI, they’re not trying to do the job of the U.S. Attorney’s office — they’re simply ensuring that that which Brian stood for, and that is upholding the rule of law, in fact does apply to their family.”

McGroder added that another track the family is considering is civil litigation. There aren’t currently any active cases against the administration on that front, but McGroder said he’s looking into whether the family can move down that road. “There are two tracks: the criminal justice system, and we’ve talked about that,” he said. “The other is the civil justice system and currently we’re investigating whether it would be under the umbrella of the federal tort claim act or whether it be against any other people or entities that may be responsible in and under our civil justice system.”

Someone has been charged with Terry’s murder — an illegal immigrant — but the identity of that person has not been released publicly. The case filed has been sealed as well. When asked last Thursday if he would release the name of the illegal immigrant who has been charged with Terry’s murder, Holder said he would not in order to avoid risking any open cases. When Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King asked Holder if he could release the name of the individual charged with Terry’s murder to House Judiciary Committee members in executive session, which would have been a private conversation between certain committee members and Holder, Holder refused.

Though the case originated in the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office, it has since been moved to the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s office to ensure it’s treated fairly. McGroder said the family wants to thank the San Diego U.S. Attorney, Laura Duffy, for what they have considered more than fair treatment. “The family has filed for and has received victims’ rights status in the murder case,” McGroder said. “The government is opposing their attempt to get victims’ rights status in the straw purchasing prosecutions. I think the family would tell you that, since the prosecution has been reassigned to U.S. Attorney Duffy in San Diego, that the windows are open, the light is shining in and the Terry family has full faith and confidence in Ms. Duffy and her prosecutorial staff.”

McGroder said that though Terry’s murder case has been sealed, the family is “fine” with that because of “the communication between the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Terry family.”

Though the family still doesn’t believe justice has been done, McGroder said they have confidence it will be. The family trusts Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, he said. McGroder said the family is hopeful this will come to an end soon, but the family is “trying to get through the holidays right now and mourn the death of Brian and we’ll certainly take a second look after the first of the year.”

“I think it’s been a very turbulent year for the family. Keep in mind that they’re starting with the death of Brian and dealing with that and then dealing with initial information that was probably inaccurate, perhaps misleading, and then having the whistleblowers, the ATF whistleblowers coming forward, expressing their disgust at the Fast and Furious operation,” McGroder said. “So, I think the Terry family is breathing a little easier, but still they feel in their heart that all the information surrounding the totality of the circumstances around Fast and Furious and how these two guns were found at the murder scene and whether these guns were involved and the results of the ballistic reports and things of that nature — that information, a lot of that information — is still yet to come out.”

Follow Matthew on Twitter