I just read over the prepared testimony of former ATF SAC of Phoenix Field Division William Newell. To put it bluntly, it is full of self-serving bullshit.
On Brian Terry’s death:
The death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is one I will mourn for the rest of my life, as I do for all those brave heroes who have taken up the badge to serve and protect and then made the ultimate sacrifice. I express my deepest condolences to the Terry family and may our Heavenly Father bless him and the Terry family through these very difficult times.
On the lack of “tools” to combat gun trafficking:
Firearms trafficking investigations are not always easy to conduct for a variety of reasons including the lack of a Federal statute that specifically prohibits firearms trafficking related activity; 1 the fact that firearms unless altered in some way are not, in and of themselves, contraband; the lack of adequate punishment for “straw” purchasers thus impacting our ability to identify the leadership of the criminal organization; and the limited resources at our disposal.
One, it was not the purpose of the investigation to permit the transportation of firearms into Mexico and to the best of my knowledge none of the suspects in this case was ever witnessed by our agents crossing the border with firearms.
On keeping ATF Agents in Mexico informed on Operation Fast and Furious:
From the beginning of this investigation in late 2009 to the first indictments in January of 2011 I made every reasonable effort to keep the Phoenix PGR representative and my ATF colleagues in Mexico briefed on this investigation. I am also aware of numerous discussions throughout this investigation between the agents working this case with their ATF peers in Mexico, dialogue which I encouraged. In addition, and in conjunction with our Mexico Country Office, I extended an invitation for Mexican Federal prosecutors to participate in briefings in order to provide them with essential facts of the case. I was determined that if and when we ever identified the key decision makers of the criminal organization, most likely cartel members in Mexico, that we would be fully supportive of providing this information to our Mexican counterparts in order for them to pursue criminal charges there.