Minutemen Fence Vandalized Along U.S.-Mexico Border

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 16, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: The Minutemen wanted a wall along our southern border, so they started to build one. But apparently someone else didn't like the idea. Jane Skinner is here to explain all of that.

JANE SKINNER, FNC CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it happened in an area southeast of Tucson. The sheriff's department says the fence was cut in 19 different places earlier this week, and it looks like it happened on the American side of the border.

So who did it? Chris Simcox is the founder of the Minutemen and joins us now.

Chris, who is on your list of suspects?

CHRIS SIMCOX, MINUTEMAN CO-FOUNDER: It's a shame, isn't it, that we, Americans, come to the aid of a landowner and then we get sabotaged from someone on our side of the border. It could be from possibly the ACLU legal observers that often stalk us and watch everything we're doing. In that area, typically there is no access to that area other than local ranchers or Border Patrol. Unfortunately, some of the footprints do look like they come from Border Patrol boots and that's very disturbing. I know the landowner has had problems with some of the Border Patrol in that area.

SKINNER: So you are specifically accusing Border Patrol agents of doing this?

SIMCOX: I'm saying it is very suspicious in that area that there are only two groups of people that we know have access to that area. That would be ACLU legal observers, who have been seen in that area, as well as Border Patrol. And I think it's suspicious, again, that Border Patrol patrols that area quite frequently and they saw nothing. Obviously someone was monitoring what we were doing. And just before we put in our vehicle barriers, they come in and cut the fence.

SKINNER: Chris, you guys have gotten so much publicity though. Who really has the will and who's daring enough to take that on? It sounds like the damage was fairly extensive.

SIMCOX: Well, it was extensive. It's repairable. I think this time we will put in our vehicle barriers and the wire first and that way it will protect the fence. I think that was certainly, possibly a miscalculation on our part. And that area will now be watched 24 hours a day with armed security, and we'll make sure, with cameras, that no one is going to participate in that criminal damage again.

SKINNER: Chris, pretty explosive though to accuse, on the one hand, the Border Patrol agents. What has been the sheriff's department reaction to that? What are they telling you?

SIMCOX: Well, we are leaving that up to the landowner who's being the liaison and interviewing Border Patrol about that situation. It was clear that it was a vehicle that had access to that area. And the perpetrators of that criminal damage were all wearing boots that are similar to, almost identical to, what Border Patrol wears. I would hate for us to find out that it was some Border Patrol agents because we worked so well with them in the past.

I can't understand why anyone would want to do that or if, perhaps, it was made to look like Border Patrol did it. So, we're certainly not accusing anyone, but it was suspicious. We continue to support the men and women of the Border Patrol and we'll keep an eye on that location.

SKINNER: We'll get a comment from them as well. I also wanted to ask you, Chris, a lot of the reports in the media over the last week or so say that you have hired a contractor to finish out this fence building, whereas at the beginning it sounded like volunteers were going to be doing it. And some of the media reports said the volunteer effort is waning.

SIMCOX: Oh, the volunteer effort is very strong. What we are doing now is to gather all of the resources together. It was prudent, in this case, to hire a local contractor to complete this section. We are now gearing up for the next four-and-a-half mile section, which will be the full-blown Gaza Strip type fence.

SKINNER: We are running out of time; we're up against a break. Chris Simcox, we will get more from you later. John, back to you.

GIBSON: Alright Jane, thank you.

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