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Congressman: Feds stonewalling on border agents

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 01/25/2007 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Rep. Michael McCaul R-Texas, says that for five months the Department of Homeland Security has stonewalled his persistent requests to hand over promised internal reports purportedly substantiating agency claims that former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were rightly convicted.

“The Department of Homeland Security is preventing me and the Congress from exercising our constitutional right and responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch of government,” McCaul told WND.

McCaul said that “every minute DHS officials refuse to provide requested reports on the Ramos and Compean investigation and case, they are increasing the legitimate questions about how and why this case was prosecuted and tried.”

“We demand they give us the information which they promised to provide five months ago,” he said.

McCaul says he has angrily protested in person to Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and to the agency in many written and verbal communications his assertion that DHS is stonewalling the case of the imprisoned Border Patrol agents.

As chairman in the 109th Congress of the Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security, McCaul has demanded that DHS turn over to his panel investigative documents that would substantiate DHS claims that Ramos and Compean are guilty.

On Sept. 26, deputies of the DHS Inspector General’s Office met with McCaul, along with fellow Republican congressmen from Texas, Ted Poe, John Culberson and Kenny Marchant. At the meeting, the DHS focused on the Inspector General’s Report of Investigation concerning the case background and alleged actions of Ramos and Compean Feb. 17, 2005, in Fabens, Texas.

According to a Jan. 19 letter McCaul wrote to the Texas delegation, during the briefing, the DHS Inspector General’s office asserted the following:

  • Ramos and Compean confessed to knowingly shooting at an unarmed suspect. Again – they claim the two agents knew he was unarmed when they fired their weapons.

  • Ramos and Compean stated during the interrogation that they did not believe the suspect was a threat to them at the time of the shooting.

  • Ramos and Compean stated that day they “wanted to shoot a Mexican.”

  • Ramos and Compean were belligerent to investigators.

  • Ramos and Compean destroyed evidence and lied to investigators.

These allegations are substantially the crux of the case against Ramos and Compean, as explained by prosecuting U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of El Paso in a Jan.19 exclusive interview with WND. Sutton alleged in the interview:

“What these two agents did is that they shot 15 times at an unarmed, fleeing man. And instead of doing what every other agent does, namely to explain why they decided to use deadly force, these two agents instead decided to lie about it, cover it up, destroy the evidence, pick up all the shell casings and throw them away where we couldn’t find them, destroy the crime scene and then file a false report.”

The DHS charges made in the Sept. 26 meeting with the Texas delegation parallel the charges made by Sutton.

At the end of the meeting, the DHS inspector general told the Texas congressmen the Report of Investigation would substantiate the accusations made against Ramos and Compean. The inspector general further promised the report would be released the first day after the sentencing of the agents. Ramos and Compean were sentenced Oct. 23, and to date, the inspector general has provided no material to McCaul substantiating the claims.

“We demand that the DHS IG give us the information which they promised to provide five months ago,” McCaul’s said in a statement provided to WND.

In a Jan.19 letter addressed to the Texas delegation, McCaul noted his Investigations Subcommittee staff and his chief of staff began discussions with the House Judiciary Committee Immigration Subcommittee regarding the status of the Judiciary Committee’s investigation. On Oct. 17, then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., formally requested from the Department of Justice the transcript of the Ramos-Compean trial.

McCaul’s letter noted that, to date, the Department of Justice has not released the trial transcript to either committee.

McCaul’s letter to the Texas delegation made clear his office is pressing “to make sure that the investigations into this incident are brought to light.”

Monica Ramos, the wife of Ignacio Ramos, brought up to WND questions that remain about the incident that led to her husband’s imprisonment.

“How does anybody know that Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila was unarmed?” she asked WND. “He escaped into Mexico before anyone could catch him. If he had a concealed weapon, now nobody will ever know, regardless what U.S. Attorney Sutton charges.”

Joe Loya, Monica Ramos’ father, told WND he attended the trial every day, but he has not seen a transcript either.

“The district court says the transcript isn’t ready yet. Besides, they tell me that it will cost $3 a page and that there are 3,000 pages. So, it’s going to cost about $9,000 to get a copy of the trial transcript, assuming the District Court ever does get finished typing it out.”

McCaul’s Jan. 19 letter confirmed Loya’s charge. The congressman wrote that the Investigations Subcommittee contacted the district court requesting the trial transcript but was informed no transcript was available.

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