Politico on October 17, 2011 released the following:
By: Josh Gerstein
“No third gun was recovered from the scene of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona last December, the Justice Department said Monday, rejecting suggestions from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that irregularities in evidence collected by the FBI at the scene of Terry’s death raise the possibility of a “third weapon.”
Issa has been investigating the case as part of the broader Congressional probe into “Operation Fast & Furious,” a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms investigation that may have allowed more than 1000 guns to flow from legal U.S. dealers to Mexican drug cartels despite law enforcement suspicions that they were headed to the violent narcotraffickers. Two of the weapons from the operation were found at the scene of Terry’s death.
“The FBI has made clear that reports of a third gun recovered from the perpetrators at the scene of Agent Terry’s murder are false,” Justice Depatment spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement Monday evening. “Unfortunately, this most recent false accusation not only maligns the dedicated agents investigating the murder of Agent Terry, it mischaracterizes evidence in an ongoing case. The prosecution arising from the murder of Agent Terry is ongoing. Therefore, further public comment is inappropriate.”
Issa said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday that he wasn’t saying anyone tampered with the evidence but that questions about it remained.
“We’re not suggesting [tampering] but when you have tickets that are numbered 2 and 3 and there’s no ticket 1, when agents who were at Brian Terry’s funeral made statements to his mother indicating that there were three weapons, when the two weapons that they have tested don’t conclusively match up — then you look and say, ‘Well, was there a third weapon at the scene? Were there additional people who escaped with weapons?’” Issa told CBS
Schmaler said Issa misunderstood the coding of the evidence and that he was told before his CBS appearance that the Justice Department insisted there were only two weapons recovered.
“When law enforcement analyzes evidence from a crime scene, it refers to some of the items seized as ‘known’ items or ‘Ks’ for shorthand. Certain items were analyzed as ‘known’ items from the crime scene of Agent Terry’s murder, including the two firearms referenced by Chairman Issa and designated by the FBI as Known Specimens ‘K2′ and “K3’. According to the FBI, the item that Chairman Issa refers to as ‘K1’ is a blood sample from Agent Terry, not a firearm. For this reason, it was not listed on the ballistics report prepared by the FBI,” Schmaler explained in the statement.
A spokesman for Issa, Frederick Hill, stressed that Issa’s comments were based not solely on the FBI markings, but also on an ATF agent’s statement to a gun dealer that three weapons were found at the Terry scene as well as similar comments made to Terry’s mother. Hill said Issa would still like Justice Department to make clear whether they believe the bullet that killed Terry came from the seized Fast & Furious weapons or not.
“This is something that Justice needs to clarify and not just get into wordgames about the evidence,” Hill told POLITICO.”
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