The parents of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry said the long-awaited Inspector General report on Fast and Furious shields Attorney General Eric Holder from blame.
Terry’s December 2010 death sparked the congressional inquiry into the botched gun-walking operation. The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General report, released Wednesday, on the department’s handling of the Arizona operation found more than a dozen officials at fault. Former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives acting Director Kenneth Melson retired from Justice Department service in its wake. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein of the Criminal Division resigned after the report’s release.
Kent Terry, Brian Terry’s father, told the Associated Press that the family wants those responsible to face serious consequences — not just get “slapped on the hand and given another pay raise.” He added that Melson and Weinstein were getting off easy.
“I want someone to go to jail for what they’ve done,” Terry said. “They’ve got their lives. We don’t have our son any longer.”
Terry was killed in a gunfight between Border Patrol agents and Mexican bandits. Two guns found at the scene of the shootout, in Rio Rico, Ariz., were linked to Operation Fast and Furious.
The IG report found no evidence that Holder was aware of the tactics behind Fast and Furious, which he has since called “fatally flawed.” But the Terrys are not convinced.
“I don’t believe it stopped and Holder didn’t know it,” Carolyn Terry, Brian Terry’s step-mother, told the AP. “His name was on some of those papers which they won’t turn over. There’s more to it, with the president sealing that case. I think his name’s in it too, because they’re protecting somebody.”
House Republicans pushed a vote to cite Holder for contempt of Congress earlier this summer, decrying his refusal to hand over a number of documents they had requested related to Fast and Furious. Holder said he could not turn over certain documents because their disclosure could taint ongoing investigations, or that they related to internal DOJ discussions about handling the post-Fast and Furious fallout. In the end, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents, trumping the congressional subpoena. House Republicans have filed a lawsuit in an effort over turn the assertion of privilege in the courts.
But Robert Heyer, Terry’s cousin and head of the Brian Terry Foundation, said Thursday that the family needs more time to digest the entire 471-page report before passing too much judgment. Heyer said Kent Terry “was speaking after an emotional week,” the AP reported.
“You can imagine his frustration and his anger but we really have to take a look at this report and see what it says,” Heyer told the AP.