One year after his death, it seems fitting to remember U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who died at the hands of Mexican drug cartel members — members armed by the U.S. government, no less. As congressional investigators Chuck Grassley and Darrell Issa continue to pursue the truth about Fast and Furious and as dozens of Republican legislators call for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, the memory of Brian Terry reminds us why it all matters.
You know it and I know it, but it doesn’t hurt to restate it: The operation — run out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a subsidiary of the Justice Department — was designed to funnel firearms to Mexican drug cartels, ostensibly to track the weapons and bust the cartels. In reality, officials made no credible attempt to track the guns. The more we learn, the more an initially unbelievable explanation begins to be the most plausible one: Through Fast and Furious, DOJ and ATF officials aimed to prove a purely political point about gun control.
Caught in the crosshairs, quite literally, was Terry, whose family has since had to endure the arrogance and insouciance of the Attorney General, who, while purporting to have apologized to Terry’s relatives, continues to stonewall Congress’ investigation into F&F. In his latest testimony, Holder even admitted — not even particularly sheepishly — that more people will likely die at the hands of cartel members wielding the “walked” guns.
So far, amid countless accusations, admissions and excuses, no one in the administration has really taken responsibility for this insane and ultimately lethal program. Brian Terry deserves better. On some level, political points to be won or lost matter not at all. Not even Holder’s resignation will undo the damage that’s been done. What’s needed most is a credible commitment from someone — anyone — in the administration who cares about honor and is willing to stake his own on ensuring an operation this idiotic and irresponsible is never undertaken again.