What’s “immediate action” in terms of Washington-speak?
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano believes she took “immediate action” after learning about the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.
However, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pointed out that almost “three months” had elapsed between when she found out about the shooting and when the IG probe was requested by Attorney General Eric Holder in February.
In that three-month period it appears as if little or nothing was officially done by Napolitano to investigate Terry’s death or the botched sting operation known as Fast and Furious which allowed more than 1,000 guns to walk directly into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. At least two of those guns were found at the scene of Terry’s death.
In a verbal sparing session at a House Judiciary Committee hearing last Wednesday, Rep. Issa and Napolitano duked it out over her arguably slow response.
“You had two dead agents … It has been months and you tell me you weren’t doing it because of an IG investigation,” said Issa, who, along with Sen. Grassley, has led the congressional inquiries into Fast and Furious.
“Wait just a minute,” Napolitano countered. “That insinuation is not accurate.”
Issa then offered to have the transcript read back to her.
“No, it’s the insinuation, I’m objecting to,” Napolitano exclaimed.
“For three months, you had a dead Border Patrol agent and there was no IG investigation. What did you do between
December and February to find out about Fast and Furious? … People on the ground knew those were Fast and Furious weapons found at the scene within hours. It wasn’t something that wasn’t known. It was known at the time,” Issa said.
“I think your insinuation. …” Napolitano replied, before Issa cut her off.
“Ma’am please answer the question. Please don’t talk in terms of insinuation,” Issa demanded.
The two went back and forth some more before Napolitano said, “I think we all should be outraged at the death of Agent Terry and I think the first thing is to recognize who actually killed him and that our No. 1 priority was to make sure the shooters were found — some had gone back into Mexico — and that the FBI was in charge of that investigation. Several days, as quickly as I could get to Arizona after his death, I met with the FBI, their agents in charge. I met with the AUSA who was going to conduct that investigation and that was my number one concern, that those responsible for the shooting death of Agent Terry were brought to justice. And that’s what I was being kept apprised of,” Napolitano said.
“That’s a laudable goal, Madame Secretary, but it was too late,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who was also attending the hearing.
During the session Napolitano also admitted that the ATF told ICE agents to allow guns from Fast & Furious to walk across the border at least twice in 2009.
Do you believe Napolitano took “immediate action?”