Terryâ€™s funeral was held on Wednesday, and his family gathered to say good-bye and also spoke to the media. They believe that Washington is not doing enough to end border lawlessness. They had nothing good to say about DHS boss Napolitano, who came to speak at the service and continued with her insulting lie that the border is â€?as secure now as it has ever beenâ€?.
DHS boss Napolitano addresses criticisms from Terry family, KGUN TV9, Tucson, December 23, 2010
LIVONIA, Mich. (KGUN9-TV) â€“ Bag pipes and a somber procession with murdered border patrol agent Brian Terryâ€™s flag draped coffin; theyâ€™re all the accoutrements for the funeral of a federal agent shot and killed while on patrol in Arizonaâ€™s southern desert.
But, not so typical was what Brianâ€™s family had to say to KGUN9 the night before he was brought to his final resting place at Michigan Memorial Park. â€?I understand that Janet Napolitano called (Tuesday night). What did you say to her?â€? 9 On Your Side reporter Joel Waldman asked Brian Terryâ€™s father, Kent.
â€?â€?I said you gotta wake your man up in the White House,â€™â€? Kent responded. â€?And she said, â€?Heâ€™s done more in the last two years than any other president.â€™â€?
But the Terrys told Waldman that they donâ€™t buy it. Kent, step mom Carolyn, mom Josie, older brother Kent Jr., sisters Kelly and Michelle are all angry that their son and brother, Brian, died the way he did. Theyâ€™re not shy about blaming President Obamaâ€™s administration for not doing enough, taking aim directly at Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
â€?She spoke with us and they were empty words today when she spoke,â€? said step mom Carolyn Terry.
â€?Why so empty?â€? Waldman asked.
That question prompted a flurry of comments from the Terrys: â€?They had no meaning to them.â€?
â€?Sheâ€™ll have Christmas.â€?
â€?Sheâ€™ll forget about it tomorrow.â€?
Is that true?
While she was governor of Arizona, Napolitano was known for being accessible to the media. That has not been the case, at least for local media, since she became secretary of the Department of Homeland security. Media were excluded from her recent visit to southern Arizona, during which she discussed the Terry shooting with some local officials.
During the funeral, Waldman and KGUN9 photojournalist Chris Miracle waited for her at the back door. When the secretary emerged, Waldman asked her to stop for a moment and comment. Napolitano, who was separated from Waldman by a chain link fence, could have walked off. Her security detail in fact urged her not to stop and speak. But the secretary decided to grant Waldman a few moments.
9 On Your Side took that opportunity to relay the concerns expressed by the Terry family to the secretary, and get her response.
â€?We had a rancher killed in March, a deputy shot in April, now this fallen agent,â€?Waldman said. â€?What else can be done to protect this border?â€?
The secretary responded, â€?Well, I think now is not the time to talk about all that has been done and is being done.â€?
But Napolitano herself had raised that very issue of justice and border security during the eulogy. And she had relayed comments from President Obama, saying during the eulogy, â€?Iâ€™m also proud to be carrying a personal note to you from the President of the United States to your family. He, like I, honors border patrol agent Brian Terry.â€?
Waldman asked, her, â€?â€?Do you think a note from President Obama at this point is enough? I spoke to the family yesterday and theyâ€™re not happy with the strategy as far as the southern border goes.â€?
Napolitano responded, â€?Look, there are more agents, more technology at the border than ever before and more is on its way. But, I think now is the time to remember our agent, remember his comrades, and to reaffirm our commitment to that Arizona border.â€?
Itâ€™s the same answer the Terrys told Waldman that Napolitano had given them. They were not pleased with the answer, they said, but they didnâ€™t have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.
KGUN9 News did.
â€?They said the words you said to them yesterday in their opinion were hollow wordsâ€¦. What can you do to ensure that the border will be more secure?â€?
Napolitano answered, â€?Listen , I donâ€™t know who you spoke with â€“â€?
Waldman clarified: â€?I spoke with the mother and the stepmother and the father.â€?
Napolitano continued, â€?Listen, we are here today, the commissioner is here and the chief and this is not a time for the media to pick a fight. Itâ€™s time to remember a fallen agent.â€?
The debate over border security and immigration issues has practically monopolized the political scene in Arizona since the murder of rancher Robert Krentz in March. The uproar helped propel the passage of SB 1070, Arizonaâ€™s tough crackdown on illegal immigration.
In response to loud demands for better enforcement, the Obama administration sent 500 National Guard troops to the Arizona border. The Border Patrol now has 22,000 agents â€” twice as many as in 2004.
Brian Terry was one of those new agents.
Despite the response, the White House has come under strong attack from those who believe the current administration is just not doing enough.
Members of the Terry family have now added their voice to those critics. Many of them tell KGUN9 News they will fight to make sure that their loved one did not die in vain.