On Monday, Federal authorities released the names of four fugitives tied to the death of Agent Brian Terry and the failed operation “Fast and Furious.” Charged with the murder of Agent Terry and the assault of several other officers at the scene, these men have evaded U.S. and Mexican authorities for 18 months.

Following the disclosure of the criminals’ identities, the FBI announced a $1 million dollar reward for information leading to their arrest. The timing of this decision strikes me as odd. Why, after so long, have the troops of the Department of Justice been galvanized to action? Clearly, this announcement comes in the wake of Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress last month for his part in failing to release documentation regarding the operation.

While this is certainly a necessary and commendable step in the pursuit of these individuals, the timing is deplorable. The Terry family has waited 18 months for justice while the authorities have withheld information and only now, when it is politically convenient, is this information being released. Once again, an abysmal and self-protective decision has driven the Administration, and now politics are masquerading as policy.

Disclosure and distraction are two very different things. It appears the authorities are under the impression that this limited amount of information will quell the request for the release of documents surrounding the failed operation. While the reward is a good attempt to bring these individuals to justice, it is not sufficient to resolve the concerns around this operation. Despite the smoke and mirrors, the American people and Congress need to keep their eye on the ball and continue to demand a full accounting.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More
  • Ike

    Why?  Because it is a diversion and smokescreen.  The perps are certainly deep inside Mexico (if not dismembered and buried deep inside Mexico).  Even if located, they would have to be apprehended and extradited back to the States.  Not very likely. 

    If brought to trial, which of the perps fired the fatal bullet?  No soy yo, hombre (not me, man)…..  Plausible deniability.   

    • Anonymous

      The GOM and the FBI supposedly haven’t produced these guys in 18 months. They were probably rounded up within hours of the shooting along with the 3rd gun and released or deliberately not pursued. 

  • Anonymous

    Operation Fast & Furious was a DoJ sanctioned, funded and supervised event, lasting some eighteen months. It was DoJ approved under their Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a major crime fighting component in the DoJ.

    This means the ATF in Phoenix had to prepare and submit an OCDETF proposal. I have done these proposals, having been assigned for many years to a federal drug task force. These proposals require great detail in naming who the targets of the investigation are, and how they meet the definition of “organized criminals” under the stringent OCDETF guidelines.

    In addition, the proposal has to include prior investigation that lead the ATF to these targets, and what enforcement measures were taken, such as undercover purchases, consensual monitored phone calls between undercover agents or informants with the targets. Surveillance conducted and the results etc…

    After all of that is written, the submitting agent has to detail what tactics will be utilized to continue the operation, if it is funded and approved by DoJ. How much money and manpower will be required, and what are the “sensitive issues” they expect to encounter.

    In the case of Fast & Furious there were several sensitive issues, as designated in the OCDETF guidelines. The issue of allowing the guns to “walked”, the known potential that the straw buyers would sell the guns to Mexican cartels (international in scope), the fact that their was a high degree of certainty that the guns would eventually be used in crimes, including murder.

    So we now know from the congressional testimony of the ATF whistle-blowers that Fast & Furious did gain the approval of the OCDETF program at Main Justice. We also know that all of the above sensitive issues did happen.

    So now the question looms large as to who and at what level was the decision made to approve the operation, and who decided to NOT tell the Mexican authorities.

    No field commander in federal law enforcement has that kind of authority. The decision, consider the ramifications, had to have been made at the top end of the current administration. If that is the case, and I do believe it more than reasonable to believe it is, the Secretary of State, the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and someone in the White House had to of participated in the approval process.