WASHINGTON, July 19, 2016 — It’s convention time when its customary for politicians seeking votes to make promises that excite the support of a majority of voters. But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump isn’t so conventional.
Trump recently made a promise to one American family that may be ignored by most voters. The family is that of Brian Terry, the U.S. Border Patrol agent killed by a weapon traced to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.
It was sold to them by President Obama’s Justice Department as part of Operation Fast and Furious.
Kent Terry, brother of the slain U.S. border agent, tweeted that he met Trump and was “promised answers” regarding the gunrunning operation that led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, which included victims of the November 13, 2015 ISIS terror attack in Paris.
Last October, Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, who were extradited to the U.S. by the Mexican government, were convicted by a Tucson jury on charges of first-degree murder for Terry’s death.
While in the jury-selection process, prosecutors asked potential jurors, “Has anyone heard of an operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms commonly referred to as ‘Fast and Furious?’”
If the answer was “Yes,” the U.S. government requested the judge “conduct an individual inquiry of that juror outside the presence of the other” potential panelists.
The government is consistent on one very important point: its singular reliance on uninformed citizens.
Federal prosecutors also submitted a court motion requesting that defense lawyers be restricted from mentioning Operation Fast and Furious during trial.
“I agree,” said U.S. District Court Judge David Bury, “I can’t find any relevance [to Fast and Furious] except if the government should open the door.”
The government kept that door shut and locked.
The relevance of Fast and Furious to the trial also escaped the attention of the mainstream media. No news reports of the Tucson trial mentioned that a conviction was reached without significant emphasis placed on the two AK-47s recovered at the murder scene, thus shielding their provenance from the scrutiny of defense attorneys and the public.
In 2011, captured Sinaloa Cartel lieutenant Vicente Zambada-Niebla asserted in a U.S. District Court filing that he could provide “evidence showing that the United States government has a policy and pattern of providing benefits, including immunity, to [Sinaloa] cartel leaders.”
U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo denied that motion.
At last week’s Dallas memorial for five officers slain by a deranged sniper, President Obama said, “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”
The president’s royal “we” might almost have been the Freudian slip of one possessed by a guilty conscience.
That guilt might be assuaged if Trump is elected this November and he makes good his promise to the Terry family: giving the facts and people connected to Operation Fast and Furious fresh, new relevance.