Fast and Furious: Time for decisive action
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“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” 

That soul-searching quote by the German Lutheran pastor, anti-Nazi dissident and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer hopefully will now serve as a clarion call – finally – for decisive action regarding the illegal weapons-running debacle known as Fast and Furious that left hundreds of dead in its wake, including Border Patrol agent, former police officer and Marine veteran Brian Terry.

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As relayed previously, Brian Terry had reported corruption associated with government personnel regarding weapons-running. A source who was a close friend of Brian’s stated during a recent conversation that Brian described how he discovered some of his government co-workers were getting paid by not just a cartel but the Sinaloa Cartel.

Agent Terry confronted the government authorities, calling them out regarding their actions. He was cautioned by them to get involved or else “watch his back.” 

When he asked them to explain what they meant, they warned him there would be a “bounty on his head.” On that fateful night Agent Terry was called to respond to alleged ground sensor activity in the proximity of Peck Canyon, he confided in his friend, “I don’t think I’m coming back.” 

As was reported on her Sunday show, “Full Measure,” the esteemed investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson – one of the first to break the Fast and Furious story - reports on illegal activity she uncovered regarding Customs and Border Protection officers on the take – corrupted by drug cartels and human traffickers. Some of the questions which need to be answered:

- Was Brian Terry wearing his bulletproof vest or not? This is relevant in determining the type of round that killed Brian. There is conflicting testimony and facts surrounding this important question.

- Why won’t the Government provide Brian Terry’s vest for the family to examine? The family has repeatedly requested this critical piece of evidence.

- Why was Brian Terry placed in a Border Patrol vehicle for transport to a local fire department instead of calling in a MEDEVAC helicopter, as would normally be standard procedure with such a grave wound? Again, the family simply would like an answer.

- Was Brian Terry shot with a 9mm round or with a 7.62mm (AK-47) round? If it were a 9mm round, from what weapon was it discharged? Again, there is conflicting information, and the family is still requesting clarification.

- Why hasn’t the family been provided data from the ground movement sensors collected the night of December 14, 2010? This data would confirm the alleged foot traffic of the illegals who Brian was sent out to interdict and who allegedly killed him.

- Why did it take the Government over four and one half years to return the personal cell phone of Brian Terry? When the family queried the FBI Tucson office, they were told it was “overlooked” in Brian Terry’s vest (the same vest the family is asking to examine).

- What legal justification was used by the Government to search and ransack Brian Terry’s residence after his murder, removing all electronic devices? The family was told Brian’s residence was not a crime scene.

- Why wasn’t the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee provided the three emails Agent Brian Terry wrote to the National Border Patrol Council, the union which represents Border Patrol agents? The family was told this would happen years ago, yet Kent Terry received a call earlier this year from Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE stating the Committee never received nor knew of the subject emails.

- Was Operation Fast and Furious part of a larger, international weapons sales program?

- Have both the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Judiciary Committees requested and/or subpoenaed the above? If not, why not?

Sources who have been willing to talk and have offered to assist both the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Judiciary committees have relayed previously undisclosed insights into the gun-running operation: “One of the safest and most secure ways contacts and those with them would run the guns and other military-related equipment into Mexico was as if out of a movie plot.

Once they became friends with the informants and the suspected ‘dirty’ ATF agents, gaining their trust, it became easy for them to purchase, run and deliver large loads of weapons.

Several of the contacts, along with the informants and an ATF agent or two, would drive toward the Arizona-Mexico border in Nogales, following each other in their own vehicles. They would go to specific locations at the border fence at which large holes were cut. They didn’t use simple plyers or a hacksaw; no, they had a much more sophisticated tool. They utilized plasma cutters. 

At precise locations, they would cut holes in the border fence with plasma cutters, enabling them to run weapons through quickly. An even more telling aspect was some with another U.S. government agency were integrally involved in this weapons-running operation: The U.S. Border Patrol.

Some agents in U.S. Border Patrol, in their vehicles, would routinely take tactical positions up on a small hill overlooking the gun-running operation across the border. These Border Patrol agents would provide surveillance and be ready to alert the ATF agents and others, should the need arise. These agents were routinely the ‘eyes’ for this aspect of the Fast and Furious operation, providing combat overwatch in effect.

A significant fact people, including the press, didn’t know was the contacts, agents and the informants would pass through the plasma cut hole in the border fence the weapons and military-related equipment to the cartel member(s) on the Mexican side of the border; the cartel member(s) would pass back through to the U.S side cash and drugs. This cash and drugs – marijuana and cocaine mostly - would be specifically used to purchase even more weapons.

Another way weapons were run across the border was in tool boxes. They would break down the guns and mix the gun parts up in the many draws or compartments in a large, red tool box.

They had many of the gun parts hidden in plain sight. Other parts, such as the stocks, they had hidden in the back area of the tool box. To get access there, one would have to pull out all the draws. They had the magazines and the clips under the draws, utilizing a space between the bottom of the draw and the sheet metal that was the shelf between each draw.

An additional way weapons were secreted across the border was where one contact would sneak over into Mexico, near Nogales or Lukeville, AZ, and the other would stay on the American side of the border.

They used cheap, two-way radios they bought at Walmart to communicate. When they were right across from each other at the border, the contacts on the U.S. side would through a rope over, and then they would proceed to tie a box full of the gear and weapons to the rope. The other contacts in Mexico would pull it over into Mexico.

The contacts stated they needed to do this rather quickly due to sensors that would alert the U.S. authorities. Border Patrol would never get there in time. The contacts would be long gone and the weapons were delivered to the designated cartel member(s) or gang(s).”

Considering the above, one must inquire as to why haven’t investigations to date regarding Fast and Furious focused on the very group of people agencies in the Executive Branch leveraged and/or exploited to affect the weapons-running associated with the operation? Sitting down with a former Member of the House of Representatives in the early afternoon of late November 2014, this former Member informed me, “House leadership was squashing the investigation into Fast and Furious.”

Again, one must inquire as to why? It is somewhat reassuring, however, to hear from sources that the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ OIG) in the southwest has, perhaps, very recently started the process to reopen the investigation into Fast and Furious.

Having myself suffered a physical attack on the night of March 22, 2015 during which the attacker cautioned me, “Obviously, you aren’t getting the message. Keep your [expletive deleted] mouth shut,” it is understandable why some – perhaps many – have chosen to remain silent out of fear for their careers, their pensions, themselves and/or their families. 

The next morning this attack was officially reported to the local police and then to the FBI. This event, contrary to the intended result, perhaps, redoubled my desire and efforts to do all I could to ensure truth, accountability and justice were realized – including potential Department of Defense and defense contractor(s) nexus.

After privately meeting with Kent Terry and his sister, Michelle Terry-Balogh, following his primary victory in Michigan, President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE, who was surprisingly well versed on Brian Terry, promised to take decisive action, assuring the Terry family answers and closure. In all of this there are more questions than answers; more people willing to “Let ‘em through” than to thoroughly investigate and more hollow words than meaningful action. 

Witnesses exist, President-elect Trump, who are willing to share their information with government authorities, but currently it seems there’s no one there to listen.

Hopefully, on January 20, 2017 you will become that decisive action the nation and the long-suffering Terry family have so patiently waited for.

Smith-Meck is a designated Whistleblower and a retired Marine Officer.


 

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.