Government officials will be held accountable for their statements regarding the federal case against two former U.S. Border Patrol agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos, who are in prison for shooting a fleeing smuggler bringing drugs from Mexico into the United States, according to the White House spokesman.
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked a question at a press briefing that had been submitted by a WND reader, Johnny Kubicek. He had cited some of the developments in the case on which WND has reported including Homeland Security Inspector General Robert Skinner’s comments that his deputies falsely told lawmakers the agency had documentation the two were rogue cops “out to shoot Mexicans” as well as allegations of connections between the smuggler and one Border Patrol agent.
The two agents were charged, tried and convicted of shooting a fleeing drug smuggler in the buttocks. They were given sentences of 11 and 12 years in jail, while federal prosecutors granted the drug smuggler immunity to return to the United States and testify against the law enforcement officers. The circumstances of the case have outraged many concerned over the problems of illegal immigration and running drugs from Mexico into the United States. Dozens of members of Congress as well as several activist groups have called for the officers to be pardoned.
“Could you ask Tony if Attorney General Gonzales is going to look into these ‘anomalies’ in this case?” Kubicek asked.
So Kinsolving did. “Inspector General Robert Skinner admitted at a hearing that his deputies falsely told lawmakers that the agency had documentary proof that then Border patrol Agents Ramos and Compean were rogue cops, ‘out to shoot Mexicans.’ And my question, is the president assured that Attorney General Gonzales is investigating this?”
“I don’t know,” said Tony Snow, the presidential spokesman. “Did you read the fuller Inspector General’s Report? … It’s worth reading. I think that questions about the Inspector – see, the thing about Inspectors General is they actually do operate independently of the agencies, as you understand. But on the other hand, Mr. Skinner will have to answer for characterizations he’s made.”
In response to a second question about the online activities of some campaign staffers for presidential candidate John Edwards, Snow responded that President Bush expects “his aides to behave in a seemly manner.”
Kinsolving had asked about the controversy over some of Edwards’ aides, specifically Melissa McEwan, using obscenities on the Internet.
“I have never heard you or any of your 10 predecessors – whom I have covered at that podium – use the obscene words for feces, fornication, semen, anus, and vagina, all of which words were used publicly by Melissa McEwan, who is still on the John Edwards presidential campaign staff because he refused to fire her. And my question, first: Surely the president would never put up with such public obscenity like former Sen. Edwards is doing, would he?’
“Well, I don’t know about that, but the president expects his aides to behave in a seemly manner,” Snow said.
According to reports, McEwan was joined by fellow Edwards campaign staffer Amanda Marcotte in posting blog writings that many considered offensive.
“Bill Donohue – anti-Semite, right wing lackey whose entire job is to create non-controversies in order to derail liberal politics – has been running a scorched earth campaign to get me fired for my personal beliefs and my writings on this blog,” Marcotte had posted on the Pandagon blog.
Donohue is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, and said if Edwards cannot get rid of such people, “he’s essentially disqualifying himself from the White House.”
Edwards had said he was offended by some of the blog postings, but refused to fire Marcotte and McEwan. Marcotte later wrote that she was quitting the campaign.
Among Marcotte’s other opinions: “The Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics.”
McEwan’s opinion was addressed to religious conservatives: “What don’t you lousy mother—– understand about keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families?”
Edwards had responded that “everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
Do you have a tough question you’d like to ask the White House? WND’s MR. PRESIDENT! forum is your big chance.