BY JIM KOURI – A decorated agent of the U.S. Border Patrol on Tuesday night was shot and killed on the U.S. side of the Arizona-Mexico border while attempting to apprehend suspects who regularly victimize illegal immigrants, according to the leader of National Border Patrol Council Local 2544, the union that represents agents.
Border agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was on a stakeout with three other agents in a remote area north of Nogales when a gun battle erupted with the armed suspects, reported National Border Patrol Council President T.J. Bonner. No other agents were injured, but one of the suspects was wounded in the shootout. The Federal Bureau of Investigating is assisting in the investigation of the shooting. Investigators said that they have four suspects in custody and are searching for a fifth. A Border Patrol agent for about three years, Terry also served in the military and had been deployed to Iraq. He died early Wednesday.
“It’s amazing that Agent Terry survived a full-blown war, but was killed in his own country by foreign bandits,” said former New York Detective Mike Snopes, who also served in military intelligence. Bandits have long roamed border areas, robbing and sexually assaulting illegal immigrants as they cross into the country, according to police sources in Arizona. “This is a sign that the politicians and bureaucrats are overly optimistic in their assessment that the borders are more secure now than at any point in our history. It showed just the opposite,” Bonner said. “Ironically, the biggest operation by the Obama Administration in Arizona is a lawsuit against the state’s new law that was passed in order to fight the crime and violence perpetrated by illegal aliens,” said Snopes. “While distorting the results of his administration’s actions regarding border security, President Obama appears more aggressive towards law enforcement officials like Sheriff Joe Arpaio [of Maricopa County, AZ],” he added.
Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security’s latest failure to protect the United State, is a costly program to place crucial electronic surveillance systems along the U.S.-Mexico border that is years behind schedule. The security project is grossly over budget because Secretary Janet Napolitano’s agency hasn’t adequately managed the contractor doing the work, according to a Washington, DC watchdog group.
As a result, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars will be wasted and the porous southern border will continue to be vulnerable despite the Obama Administration’s assurances that it’s as secure as it’s ever been. So far the troubled project, known as Secure Border Initiative Network, has cost the government $672 million although it’s nowhere near completion, according to Judicial Watch, a public-interest group that investigates political corruption. After years of debates, congressional votes, government studies and political posturing by lawmakers, the so-called “virtual fence” continues to cause more problems than it solves, according to testimony at a session of the House Homeland Security Committee.
In a compromise that met with disappointment by those who advocate tighter border security, instead of walls or chain link fencing, the U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security Department created the concept of virtual fence security that includes surveillance cameras, motion or heat sensing detectors, radar, and supposed state-of-the-art control towers designed to detect and prevent illegal immigration and drug smuggling into the United States. According to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, the security contractor — Boeing Co. — is installing the hi-tech physical security system. The original plan called for a completion date by December 2009 at a cost of $1.1 billion for a virtual fence.
According to the report obtained by NACOP, Boeing requested that completion date to be amended by seven years. Physical security experts told this writer it should surprise no one that a relatively simple project would become complicated and unmanageable given that fact that most of the decision-makers probably have no law enforcement, security or engineering background. The Obama initiative aims to enhance border security by designing technological tools that enable Border Patrol agents to detect and respond to incursions along unmanned stretches of the 2,000-mile Mexican border. This includes installing unattended ground sensors, radars and cameras.
The so-called virtual fence was supposed to be completed by 2011, but Homeland Security officials recently pushed the date up to 2014, well after Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. That’s because the agency has failed to properly oversee the project’s prime contractor, resulting in costly rework, numerous delays and lots of extra money. In fact Homeland Security officials stood by as the contractor provided information that was “replete with unexplained anomalies, thus rendering the data unfit for effective contractor management and oversight,” congressional investigators found.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for Examiner.com and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB.