This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," October 16, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: A big development now on the jailing of two border agents for shooting an illegal immigrant who was smuggling drugs into the country along with himself. Dozens of U.S. lawmakers have been trying for months to get the government to free Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos who say they were wrongly imprisoned for simply doing their jobs.
JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears but they're not giving up. In fact, they are more fired up than ever because of how the pair are being treated behind bars. Allegedly, worse than some terror suspects. BIG STORY correspondent Douglas Kennedy spoke to the lawmaker leading the charge to get those border agents freed. Douglas?
DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah I spoke with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and he says the agents are most certainly being mistreated in prison. In fact, he says they would be better off if they were at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
KENNEDY (voice-over): They're in prison for shooting a drug smuggler on the Mexico border. Now this congressman says the two border agents are being treated worse than the world's worst terrorist.
DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: The treatment is so outrageously bad of Ramos and Compean it really does meet the international standards of torture.
KENNEDY: For nearly a year, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has protested the imprisonment of border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. He says alleged terrorists at Gitmo can watch TV, are able to socialize with other detainees and are allowed access to an exercise yard for over a third of the day. A far cry he says from the conditions suffered by the agents during their 11 and 12 year prison term.
ROHRABACHER: Their meals are very limited, they have no contact with the outside world. They end up not having to — they can't watch television, they have no exercise.
KENNEDY: At least not like at Gitmo. Rohrabacher says Ramos and Compean are stuck in their cells 23 hours a day in what he says amounts to solitary confinement. Today he was joined by a group of other Republican congressmen at a press conference to object to their treatment.
TED POE (R), TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: What we want to see is fairness. What we want to see is justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only in America would we treat prisoners of war in Guantanamo Bay prison better than we would peace officers who are convicted in a border war with Mexico.
KENNEDY: The congressmen also delivered a letter today signed by 42 house colleagues to Michael Mukasey asking the nominated attorney general to reinvestigate the agents' prosecution. Prosecutors say Ramos and Compean covered up the 2005 shooting while the agents say they believe the drug dealer who survived to testify against them, was carrying a gun. "We request that you conduct a fair and unbiased review of this case and take any action to rectify this injustice."
ROHRABACHER: The border patrol agents should never have been prosecuted in the first place. They were — obviously had stopped a drug dealer who was in the process of smuggling a million dollars' worth of drugs into the country. And that is when their weapons came into play.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
KENNEDY: The letter says Ramos and Compean were simply doing their jobs and they want the Justice Department to reopen the case. They also want the agents, John and Heather, to be transferred to minimum security facilities.
GIBSON: Douglas, in this case, Ramos and Compean, when will Bush pardon them? Even the prosecutor Johnny Sutton said their actual sentence it seemed to him was too harsh.
KENNEDY: He certainly hinted at that but this has been going on for — for almost a year now and lots of calls to the president to pardon these guys and he hasn't done so yet.
GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, Douglas thank you.
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