Agent Brian Terry Murder - DOJ Adds to the Cover-up

As we approach the two month anniversary of the murder of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry serious controversies are coming out of this case. There are questions the family of Brian Terry deserves answers to. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is hot on the trail of this story. This week, Sen. Grassley sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder rebutting a previous letter of denial from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.

The exchange of letters between the Senator, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firarms and Explosives) and the AAG were previously covered by  In the letter from AAG Weich to Sen. Grassley, Weich denied any involvement of the ATF in the guns that were supplied to the Mexican bandits who killed Agent Terry in December.

According to my sources in Senator Grassley's office, the Senator has written to Mr. Holder, strongly rebutting Mr. Weich's claims. Sen. Grassley said in the letter that the DOJ's response was "little more than delay and denial".

In the letter, Sen. Grassley references a January 31st meeting between the Senator and AG Holder where he provided documents about the ATF's potential involvement in this matter.  Grassley's entire letter and all of the supporting attachments can be seen here (PDF Format)  or by clicking on the image below.  (NOTE: If you are using an older version of Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, there may be a problem when attempting to view this file. As a workaround, right click the link above and select "Save Target as" that will save the PDF file in your computer. Or use the Firefox browser or another browser to view the file.)

The letter details informant's claims that a Jaime Avila purchased the weapons in question.  The ATF had been tracking his firearms purchases under Operation Gunrunner since at least November of 2009.  The informant stated that at least one of the registered gun dealers wanted to stop selling to Avila around October 2009, but was encouraged by the ATF to continue the sales.

The licensed gun dealer who sold the weapons allegedly recovered at the scene of Agent Terry's murder met with the ATF and the Assistant US Attorney as early as December 2009 to discuss his role as a licensed dealer during this investigation. Avila was allowed to continue his purchases, including two .50 caliber rifles as late as June 2010.

On January 15th, 2010, Avila purchased three AK-47 variant, Romanian WASR-10 assault rifles from the dealer who had asked to be allowed to stop his participation in this sting operation. After the shooting of Agent Terry, two of these three rifles purchased by Avila were allegedly recovered at the scene.

Documents and a Federal Indictment show that approximately 769 rifles were purchased in this operation.  Of those, only 103 have been recovered.  That leaves 666 rifles unaccounted for. Senator Grassly asked, "Why did the ATF not seize them?"

In the letter from AAG Weich, Weich seemed to claim that these inquiries were somehow politically motivated and that the DOJ needed to protect "law enforcement personnel... from inappropriate political influence".  Sen. Grassley goes on to explain the non-partisan responsibility of the Congressional branch to oversee the activities of the Executive Branch.  (Civics 101 lesson here for the AG, I guess!)

The letter includes text of an email message from Agent Terry's step-mother, Carolyn Terry.  She wrote this week:

"It's hard to accept that our son was shot and murdered with a gun that was bought in the U.S. We have not had any contact from the Border Patrol or any other agents since returning home on the 22nd of January. Our calls are not returned. I truly feel that our son's death is a cover-up and they hope that we will go away. That will not happen. We want to know who allowed the sale of that gun that murdered our son. Any help will be appreciated.  We are the victims of this case and we want some answers."

The Senator closed his letter with comments about the family deserving answers and the informants within the CBP and ATF want Agent Terry's life to be honored with the truth.

Following are my personal comments.  Mrs. Terry, you and Brian's entire family deserve answers to these questions. As do the American people. Brian Terry is a hero who gave his life defending our country. We too will not go away. I will continue to look into this case and expose the lies and cover-up efforts of the ATF and the DOJ in this case. I will also support the efforts of members of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives who have helped me try and expose this egregious wrong-doing by our federal government.  Our Border Patrol agents have been greatly abused by their employers.  This case is the latest example. They deserve better.

Today at CPAC, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre spoke about this case as yet another failure of the Federal Government. Mr. LaPierre is exactly right. This Operation Gunrunner program is certainly a failure and now has apparently resulted in the death of an American public servant. No one is safer when the government is knowingly allowing the sale of guns to criminals.

Thank you to Senator Grassley and to the other members of Congress involved in seeking the truth.


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