Gun Laws & Legislation

Obama, Holder silent as Brian Terry memorial act unanimously passes House, Senate

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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President Barack Obama maintains silence on the Brian A. Terry Memorial Act that passed the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously on Tuesday evening. The Republican-controlled House passed it unanimously in December.

Drug cartel members used guns the Obama administration allowed to fall into their hands via Operation Fast and Furious to murder Terry, a Border Patrol agent, on Dec. 15, 2010.

Representatives for the White House didn’t answer The Daily Caller’s requests for comment about the act that passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. Attorney General Eric Holder spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler has also not responded to requests for comment on the act.

It’s also unclear whether Obama will do a public signing ceremony for the act, assuming he chooses to sign it. White House spokesman Eric Schultz didn’t answer when The Daily Caller asked him if Obama had invited the Terry family to Washington to do a public signing event.

The act, assuming Obama now signs it, would rename the U.S. Border Patrol station in Bisbee, Arizona to honor Terry’s memory.

Despite the Obama administration’s silence on the Terry Memorial Act, congressional Democrats and Republicans have praised its passage — another sign that Holder allies’ allegations of partisan politics at play in the Fast and Furious case are strained.

“All of Washington mourned with the Terry family when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry gave his life in the line of duty in 2010,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said in a statement. “Today we stand just as unified for the purpose of honoring and preserving his legacy.” (VIDEO: Chaffetz to Dems on Fast and Furious: Have ‘guts’ to take on Holder)

A spokeswoman for Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell, the Terry family’s lifelong congressman, told The Daily Caller that he’s glad to see the act pass the House and Senate. “Representative Dingell is sorrowful at the death of Brian Terry, a committed and brave public servant,” Dingell spokeswoman Betsy Barrett told TheDC. “Mr. Terry’s life and service deserves to be honored in the proper way, and Congressman Dingell is glad to see the passage of the Brian A. Terry Memorial Act.”

This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has acted disrespectfully toward the Terry family. Holder didn’t apologize to them for Terry’s murder for almost a year after he was killed. When Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn confronted him on not apologizing in November 2011, Holder said, “I have not apologized to them, but I certainly regret what happened.”

Holder also said that he had not talked to Terry’s family since Terry’s murder.

Cornyn then offered Holder an opportunity to apologize to Terry’s family, during the hearing, for his murder. “Would you like to apologize today for this program that went so wrong and that took the life of a United States law enforcement agent?”

Holder refused to apologize. “I certainly regret what happened to Agent Brian Terry,” Holder said. “I can only imagine the pain that his family has had to go through, in particular his mother. I am a father, and have three children myself. We are not programmed to bury our kids.”

“It pains me whenever there is the death of a law enforcement official, especially under the circumstances,” Holder said. “It is not fair, however, to say the mistakes that happened in Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry.”

After political pressure built on Holder shortly after that hearing, he sent Terry’s family a letter apologizing for Brian’s murder. Before Terry’s mother even got a chance to read it, though, Holder or a member of his staff leaked it to Politico. Allegations that Holder would leak the letter publicly before the family received it prompted Terry’s friend, Lana Domino, to call Holder “cold-hearted,” adding that Holder has had a history of disregard for the family.

[Holder] never went to a memorial — there are numerous memorials that he could’ve went to,” Domino said. “He never went to the funeral in Michigan.”

Terry’s mother has had harsh words for Holder, too: “THIS IS FOR YOU SON,” Mrs. Terry posted on Facebook in early February 2012 when Holder was testifying before the House Oversight Committee about Fast and Furious. “Mr. Holder. How come you can never say my sons name. You never have. All i ever hear you say is ‘i didnt find out or I cant say’ Im actually tired of hearing your double talk in answering questions. What a joke you are. You know my son was a real AMERICAN, a WARRIOR, and a HERO, who was also protecting COWARD POLITICANS like you.”

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