Published November 11, 2011
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry died almost one year ago. Despite almost daily headlines about the ongoing scandal in the Obama administration, his devastated parents have said nothing publicly about the U.S. program that helped provide the weapons that killed their son.
In separate interviews, Josephine and Kent Terry lashed out Thursday at those they blame for Brian's murder -- Attorney General Eric Holder, his top assistant Lanny Breuer, former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, and those ATF officials who approved, executed and supervised Operation Fast and Furious.
"I think they are liars and I would tell them that," said Kent Terry from his home in central Michigan. "What would I say to Eric Holder? They would not be nice words."
Terry is in his 70's, paralyzed and bound to a chair after an accident 17 years ago. His former wife Josephine lives 90 minutes north near Detroit.
"If they never let the guns walk, maybe Brian would not have been out that day," Josephine said. "I just can't believe our own government came up with a program like this that (let) innocent people get killed."
The Terrys watched Holder's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Asked if he wanted to apologize to the family, Holder declined, saying only he regretted what happened.
"That shows what kind of a person he is," Kent lamented. "To me, he is not much of a person. I don't know if he has a son. But if he lost his, he would think different."
"I sat in a chair and cried," Josephine said. "It was so inhumane. An apology to anybody means at least they are trying to fix it. He didn't."
Blasted for his response, Holder did send the Terrys a letter Wednesday saying he was sorry for their loss.
While Holder chided Congress for "gotcha games" and "political finger pointing" in its investigation, the family disagrees. They say no administration official ever explained why the ATF knowingly sold guns to criminals. Josephine also claims former U.S. Attorney Burke intentionally misled her, saying in March the whistleblowers' claims were "false," when documents show he knew their claims were true.
"Dennis Burke came up to my house and he said, 'No, none of them guns killed Brian. None of them'."
Burke, whose office directed the operation, resigned in September.
Kent, a former auto machinist, shared a love of cars with his son. When Brian died he shipped his 2006 Corvette from Arizona to Michigan where it sits, untouched, in the garage. The car is immaculate, except for a black smudge on the driver's seat.
"That's where his gun rubbed against the leather," Kent said. "I can see him, as I did that day he came home, with the sun shinning in his hair. How do I get closure? I go out to his car. I have a tough time going to the cemetery. He is not supposed to be there. I am. Nobody wants to outlive their son."
He said he struggles with the death to this day. "It's just hard. I can't sleep, just thinking about him -- I love him very much."
Josephine is strong but also still grieves. Each morning she logs onto Brian's Facebook page and looks at videos he once posted and snapshots of his life.
"It brings me a little closure, like he is still with me," she said.
Both parents want Holder to resign, citing his response to a question from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who asked if Holder thought it was his responsibility to have known about Operation Fast and Furious.
"There are 115,000 employees in the Department of Justice," Holder said. "I cannot be expected to know the details of every operation on a day-to-day basis."
To which Kent said: "Holder says he has 115,000 employees. That is his job. If he can't handle his job, he should get out of it."