Fast & Furious

Babeu: Docs prove Obama officials treated bounties on agents as acceptable risks

Babeu: Docs prove Obama officials treated bounties on agents as acceptable risks
Sheriff Paul R. Babeu, Pinal County, Ariz.

As the investigation into the Oct. 4 shooting of two border patrol agents continues, an Arizona borderlands sheriff condemned President Barack Obama for treating turmoil and danger caused by his policies as acceptable risk.

“We now have further evidence that the Obama administration at every level thinks the border situation is entirely acceptable,” said Pinal County Sheriff Paul R. Babeu, whose jurisdiction is nearby Cochise County, where the agents were shot and one, Nicolas Ivie, was killed, although the shooting was actually on federal lands designated by the Interior Department as environmental sanctuaries, and thus off-limits to both federal and local law enforcement officers.

Babeu said he has read documents that contained exchanges where Obama officials acknowledge that creating environment areas will create zones of lawlessness.

“They lack full border enforcement security within designated wilderness areas that risks our border patrol agents and law enforcement deputies’ safety,” said the native of North Adams, Mass.

“The responsibility for securing this international border is the core primary responsibility of the United States government and I believe the federal government has failed to do that,” said Babeu, whose county lies outside of Phoenix, 70 miles north of the border.

“They have failed to adequately protect the citizens of my county and my state. That threat to our country is not just the volumes of illegals and drug cartels, but more importantly, the threat that is posed when people of countries of interest cross our borders,” he said.

These people harbor or sponsor terrorism and are not friendly to the United States,” the sheriff said, who as an Arizona National Guardsman, deployed to Iraq and commanded a battalion-sized border task force.

“Leadership failed and everything I’ve learned as a rank-and-file police officer, Army private and field grade officer; whoever’s in charge is responsible in the end,” he said.

Babeu said Atty. Gen Eric H. Holder Jr., must be held responsible for Justice Department failures on his watch, including the failed Fast and Furious scandal.

“Whether he knew it or whether he should have known, Eric Holder created an environment and a dynamic that resulted in the murder of not only one agent that we can prove, but also hundreds of Mexicans have been killed with Fast and Furious weapons,” he said.

“This guy was not held accountable; he has not resigned so he should be fired. I believe he, and others in the government, should be held accountable even criminally,” he said.

Documents cited by the sheriff and made available to this reporter buttress Babeu’s charges and depict administration officials as determined to leverage federal environmental regulatory authority to open up the Mexican borderlands regardless of warnings from border patrol agents assigned to the region, local law enforcement, activist groups and border region ranchers.

These warnings by personnel with ties to the borderland, made through emails, meetings and videotapes, specifically cited threat to national security breaches and homicidal violence.

The documents prove that Obama officials were aware of national security issues, agent safety issues, bounties placed on Border Patrol agents by drug cartels, and the trafficking of drugs and humans.

Heavily redacted emails acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents, confirm that before the Dec. 14. 2010 death of Brian A. Terry, a member of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit, parties to the inter-agency planning for the wilderness sanctuaries, including officials from Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Interior, congressional representatives were warned about national security and law enforcement concerns regarding the sanctuaries.

Some of the personnel taking part in exchanges captured in the documents: David Aguilar, deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection; Michael J. Fisher, chief of Border Patrol, Sen. Jesse F. “Jeff” Bingaman (D.-N.M); Alan D. Bersin, then-CBP commissioner and previously dubbed the “border czar” because of his international affairs portfolio at Interior and then-Rep. Mark E. Udall (D.-Colo.), who is now a senator and is a native of Arizona.

In one email, a border patrol agent said it was ridiculous to suggest that the human traffickers, or coyotes, would not use the wilderness areas as safe passage for their crimes.

“Do you really think that the coyotes or drug cartels are going to read a little sign in English/Spanish declaring it is unlawful to enter a federal preserve?” he said. “No. That means one thing to these banditos, Border Patrol will not be patrolling.”

Federal officials were also told that the creation of wilderness reserves in the Mexican borderlands would facilitate the “bounty program,” where Mexican crime organizations incentivized smugglers to kill agents and other law enforcement officers.

Babeu said the bounties should have been a top priority for the Obama administration.

“The primary concern for agents is, of course, the bounties placed on their lives for patrolling the border. Justice for murdered agents is extraordinarily slow; the Terry family is still waiting for his murder to reach a trial and government officials to be held accountable,” he said.

“When it was discovered that the New Orleans Saints football team coaches put bounties on the heads of opposing players, the league held the coaches responsible and they were rightly disciplined,” he said.

Babeu said in his dealings with Bersin, it was clear he favored environmental considerations over national security and public safety.

In a July 2010 video watched by this reporter, Bersin said to a questioner that he was aware of the bounty program, including a $250,000 prize for a law enforcement officer kidnapped or killed along the southern border.

The sheriff said Bersin, who left office when the Senate refused to confirm his recess appointment to his post, should have done more.

“Bersin and other high level cabinet members acknowledged that there are bounties placed on federal and even local law enforcement members by the drug cartels and what we have seen in Pinal County, which is 70 miles north of the border,” he said.

“This continuation is proof of the threat that illegal immigration and drug smuggling have not subsided,” he said.

“It should not be a surprise that that we have had four Arizona border patrol agents murdered in the last two years and the Obama administration, even some members of the media, do not want us to talk about this and say we make this political,” Babeu said. “These are deaths of our heroes!”

The sheriff said he rejects claims by administration officials, such as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, that the border is more secure and he thinks Washington meddling has made the borderlands more dangerous.

“The four border states risk their lives to a more significant degree than we need to because of the failures of this administration and bureaucrats who make decisions thousands of miles away without our safety and security in mind,” he said.

“Contrary to Janet Napolitano’s proclamations that the border is more secure than ever, last year in October we had the largest drug bust in Arizona history with “operation pipeline express” that netted nearly $3 billion in product, money and weapons that we seized from the Sinaloa drug traffickers,” he said.

Officers’ recovered 108 weapons, including two came tagged as from the Operation Fast and Furious program, he said.

“These were not handguns that our police and sheriffs carry, these were scoped rifles and AK-47s, semi automatic weapons. These are all prohibited processors for violent criminals from a foreign country and they think they own the place,” he said

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  • AgTrotter

    “although the shooting was actually on federal lands designated by the Interior Department as environmental sanctuaries, and thus off-limits to both federal and local law enforcement officers”

    Who in the world comes up with these kinds of rules? Gee, I’m sure that the drug cartels and illegals are upholding the Interior Departments off-limits edict. /s

  • TalkDoc

    I think that the democrats really are for an open border. When Bush was in office, after 9-11, the fence was supposed to be built. Under the democratic congress in place, all his eight years, I think 200 feet (or was it 200 miles???) (LOL) were actually built… and the whole thing was a massive failure. Democrats (think Clinton) passed NAFTA, now the NAU (if what I have read is correct) which recognizes Mexico, the US, and Canada as one block in line with the UN plans for 10 UN regions. I have written Feinstein and Boxer about the problems with illegals in California (we are bankrupt) (if you remove what is being paid to illegals from our budget, guess what? we are back in the black) and over the last 20 years (Clinton, Bush and now Obummer) NOTHING has changed. I truly believe that many in our government, especially in the democratic party, are actually global socialists… and are set on destroying our way of life and our sovereignty. Didn’t it bother anyone else when Bill Clinton signed a treaty giving our national parks to the world??? Has anyone noticed where Hillary Clinton’s foreign policies are taking us???

  • Steven Pope

    It would appear that Obama and company have declared all US territory 10 miles above the official border as a lawless zone where US law has no effect so all illegal border crossings cannot be stoped.

  • sandra smith

    In the 30+ years I’ve lived in AZ, I’ve seen the situation at our border deteriorate considerably, and at an escalating pace as the years have passed. The notion that that border is “as secure as it’s ever been” {to quote Napolitano} is ludicrous at best; all that truly means is that it’s NEVER been secure! Just over a century ago, we had to contend with Pancho Villa raiding across our borders to fund his “revolution” in Mexico, and Blackjack Pershing was sent in with troops to quell that. But at least Wilson, raving liberal that HE was, DID send troops down to deal with THAT invasion of our borders! And bad as that invasion was, it was MILD by comparison to what our under-armed and under-funded Border Patrol and local Sheriffs’ deputies and PD officers are NOW having to deal with!

  • Thomas Creamer

    Obama is a Coward and a Lying POS !

  • jd1958

    We can secure the Korean boarder…..but not our own!! There is something far more SINISTER at work here folks. The destruction of YOUR country.

  • ADB

    I believe Obama, Democrats and Homeland Security only believe in protecting the rights of the illegals, muslims, etc., so to get re-elected. They don’t investigate incidents — they make b.s. up. Eric Holder should have been terminated a long time ago. He does just what Obama tells him to do, same with Homeland Security. They lie, etc., to “cma” you would say. Obama took an oath to protect the citizens of America, but he has failed just like everything else he has attempted. Look at Ambassdor Chris Stevens, along with three otrher americans; what about the young man who was in Mexico and his wife were just sailing and he was shot and his body never recovered. IS THIS PROTECTING OUR AMERICANS? I don’t think so.

  • Ranchman

    Something is way wrong in America concerning our dangerous, porous southern border. Obama is intentionally allowing very dangerous criminals and terrorists to easily enter our country. What is his agenda, his endgame? He can’t possibly believe that all these illegals will be able to vote for him that quickly so the “illegal alien voting bloc” conspiracy is a bit unrealistic. Maybe in later elections but not this November 2012. So, what is he and Holder up to? Why would they institute policies which intentionally endanger people’s lives? Something is very, very wrong with this president, besides being a fraudulent usurper that is.

  • imanolemainer

    Eric Holder ought to be in prison for treason. Period. The dirty little secret is that neither party is interested in deporting those illegals already here, which means amnesty. This mess could have been avoided had: a) Ted Kennedy not succeeded in dropping the requirement for immigrants to have sponsors in the U.S. and b) the very FIRST amnesty deal not been offered (I think by Reagan). The amnesty was of particular significance because it resulted in the mindset by illegals that, if they could come here and hang on in the shadows long enough, eventually amnesty would be offered again- and that is exactly what happened.

  • Kay

    Ranchman, Could it have anything to do with the many Korans and prayer mats found around or near the border? Obama and appointed czars have made sure that the southern border cannot be secured and defended period. He has totally and completely failed to uphold his oath to protect and defend, so why no impeachment or arrest for treason?

  • skipfoss

    When are we going to put a bounty on these so called officals that are incharge of the programs that set up drug corridors and our agents for murder,the bounty being votes instead of bullets.Obama, Pelosi,Reid and Holder all should be set before a firing squad assigned to shoot them for treason ,they all seem to me are getting a cut of drug profits for setting up the patrol free zones and giving them guns to kill our guards and citizens . Instead of having drones spying on citizens they should be armed and set to kill any one crossing the border. Go to any other country and try to run drugs or just try to get into their country thy will kill your ass and then find out why you crossed

  • Jeff Haman

    The leftist administration doesn’t mind deaths as long as their ends are met(socialist manifesto)! God Bless The U.S! ASAP!

  • Tony Bulver

    You can thank the EPA and a number of eco-idiots like the WWF, the Sierra Club and others for the ruling barring the Border Patrol from patrolling in those areas.
    Almost all of the damage to that area can be blamed on the smugglers; the wildfires, damage to natural water sources (and some man made wells), millions of tons of trash left behind for wildlife and cattle to be poisoned by and other ecological damage.
    In fact, Janet Napo-la raza-tano issued an order assigning Border Patrol agents working on the Tohono O’odham reservation to pick up trash along their routes. She even had special trash pickup tools, like sticks with spikes in the ends to pick up cans and paper trash and plastic bags to deposit the trash in and bring back to their border substation to be picked up by trash companies.

  • kevingt

    And this is coming from the gay sheriff who was co-chair of Mitt Romney’s campaign in Arizona until he re-signed from that post because he had a boyfriend who was an illegal alien? Yeah, this guy is completely believable and non-biased. Let’s see the actual papers that he references. It’s one thing to tell us your opinion on the papers but post them on-line so we can see for ourselves what they say. They are supposedly released via a FOI request so they should be available for posting.