Border Pa­trol or­ga­ni­za­tion calls for Holder to step down

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JERRY SEPER

The Na­tional Border Pa­trol Coun­cil, which rep­re­sents all 17,000 of the agency’s non-su­per­vi­sory agents, on June 18 called for the res­ig­na­tion of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric H. Holder Jr. for his role in the botched “Fast and Fu­ri­ous” gun­run­ning op­er­a­tion that re­sulted in the death of a U.S. Border Pa­trol agent.

Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Ge­orge E. McCub­bin III, a 25-year Border Pa­trol vet­eran him­self, de­scribed Mr. Holder’s ac­tions in the case as “a slap in the face to all Border Pa­trol agents who serve this coun­try,” adding that the at­tor­ney gen­eral has shown “an ut­ter fail­ure of lead­er­ship at the high­est lev­els of govern­ment.”

Two semi-au­to­matic AK-47 as­sault weapons found at the scene of the Dec. 15, 2010, killing of Border Pa­trol Agent Brian A. Terry were traced by the Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives (ATF) to “straw buy­ers” who bought the weapons as part of the Fast and Fu­ri­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Agent Terry died dur­ing a gun­fight with heav­ily armed Mex­i­can ban­dits along the U.S.Mex­ico border south of Tuc­son. More than 2,000 weapons pur­chased dur­ing the ATF-led Fast and Fu­ri­ous op­er­a­tion were “walked” to drug smug­glers in Mex­ico. More than 600 of them are still miss­ing.

Mr. McCub­bin said Border Pa­trol agents are in­doc­tri­nated from day one of their train­ing that “in­tegrity is their most im­por­tant trait [. . .] and that with­out it, they have lit­tle use to the agency.” He said agents who lie or show a lack of can­dor are quickly dis­ci­plined.

“The stan­dard that ap­plies to th­ese agents should at a min­i­mum be ap­plied to those who lead them,” Mr. McCub­bin said. “If Eric Holder were a Border Pa­trol agent and not the at­tor­ney gen­eral, he would have long ago been found un­suit­able for govern­ment em­ploy­ment and ter­mi­nated.

“The hero­ism that Border Pa­trol Agent Brian Terry demon­strated on that cold night in the desert of Ari­zona was in keep­ing with the finest tra­di­tions of the United States Border Pa­trol and will never be for­got­ten by those who pa­trol this na­tion’s bor­ders,” he said.

Mr. McCub­bin said the “po­lit­i­cal shenani­gans” sur­round­ing the Fast and Fu­ri­ous op­er­a­tion and “pass­ing the blame” must stop.

He noted that a Border Pa­trol agent can­not ac­ci­den­tally step foot in Mex­ico with­out myr­iad U.S. and Mex­i­can govern­ment agen­cies be­ing made aware, so Fast and Fu­ri­ous had to have been con­ducted with the knowl- edge and tacit ap­proval of the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It is time for At­tor­ney Gen­eral Holder to show the least shred of re­spon­si­bil­ity and lead­er­ship and re­sign his post,” Mr. McCub­bin said. “Border Pa­trol Agent Brian Terry de­serves noth­ing less.”

Two weeks ago, Mr. Holder told the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee he had “no in­ten­tion” of re­sign­ing, adding that he heard the White House press of­fi­cer say the pres­i­dent has “ab­so­lute con­fi­dence in me.”

His de­fi­ance came af­ter Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Repub­li­can and a se­nior Ju­di­ciar y Com­mit­tee mem­ber, called on him to quit, say­ing Mr. Holder had failed “the ba­sic stan­dards of po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dence and ac­count­abil­ity” in de­ter­min­ing who knew about or ap­proved the “walk­ing” of guns into Mex­ico.

“Amer­i­cans de­serve an at­tor­ney gen­eral who will be hon­est with them,” he said.

Mean­while, Ju­di­cial Watch, the Wash­ing­ton-based pub­lic watch­dog group, has filed a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act law­suit against ATF seek­ing ac­cess to Fast and Fu­ri­ous records de­tail­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween ATF of­fi­cials and Kevin O’Reilly, former White House direc­tor of North Amer­i­can af­fairs at the Na­tional Security Coun­cil.

The law­suit was an­nounced June 18 by Ju­di­cial Watch spokes­woman Jill Far­rell, who said CBS News re­ported that Fast and Fu­ri­ous doc­u­ments re­leased by the Obama White House in Septem­ber 2011 “show ex­ten­sive com­mu­ni­ca­tions” be­tween ATF of­fi­cials and Mr. O’Reilly. She said the re­quested records in­clude a flow­chart show­ing the ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tions of the Fast and Fu­ri­ous weapons.

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