The parents of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry denounced President Barack Obama for invoking executive privilege on Wednesday to keep documents related to the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-smuggling investigation from his Republican critics in Congress.
"Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Operation Fast and Furious and President Obama's assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy," Josephine Terry and Kent Terry Sr. said in a written statement released by family attorney Pat McGroder.
Two of the guns lost in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation were recovered at the scene of Terry's killing in December 2010 near the southern U.S. border. Fast and Furious had aimed to track the flow of guns from the U.S. to drug cartels in Mexico, but agents lost track of hundreds of the firearms.
Republicans in Congress looking into the fiasco have demanded greater access to Justice Department documents. Holder has shared thousands of records, but the lawmakers say he has not been forthcoming enough in keeping with a congressional subpoena. On Wednesday, as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seemed poised to vote to hold Holder in contempt, Obama invoked executive privilege to keep the documents away from Congress.
As the committee pursued its hearing, Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle read the Terry letter aloud.
Obama's decision "denies the Terry family and the American people the truth. Our son, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from this failed Justice Department gun trafficking investigation," Terry's parents said in their statement.
"For more than 18 months we have been asking our federal government for justice and accountability. The documents sought by the House Oversight Committee and associated with Operation Fast and Furious should be produced and turned over to the committee," they wrote.
"Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious," they said.