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“Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said [in a letter to Senator Charles Grassley] that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was armed with a handgun and a rifle during the December gun battle with border bandits that cost him his life,” the Washington Times reports, “countering lingering questions about his death.” Countering, but not answering. Agent Terry and his fellow agents may have been armed when they encountered a Mexican “rip crew” in the Arizona desert, BUT . . .

An FBI affidavit filed in the investigation says that the four-person team encountered a group of illegal immigrants carrying rifles on the night of Dec. 14.

The agents ordered the illegal immigrants to drop their weapons and when the immigrants refused, two agents fired bean bag rounds at them. At least one of the illegal immigrants then fired, and then two agents fired back, one with his rifle and the other with his pistol.

If the Agents saw that the rip crew had rifles, why in the world would they fire beanbag rounds at them? That doesn’t make any sense.

If we take Napolitano’s statement at face value—and that’s a big if—the question then becomes were the agents under any kind of pressure not to use their handguns and rifles? Pressure stemming from Customs and Border Protection policy, created at the top levels by, say, Secretary Napolitano? The Secretary’s letter clearly—well, not so clearly—states “It wazzunt me.”

“The decision on whether to use deadly force rests with the officers and agents in the field. CBP law enforcement personnel have never been ordered — now or in the past — to use less-lethal devices before using deadly force,” she said in her letter. “Our officers and agents are empowered to determine the appropriate level of force in defense of themselves, their fellow officers and agents, or innocent third parties.”

Ordered? What about instructed? I’d like to hear from a CPB insider EXACTLY how they were/are trained to respond to hostiles, wouldn’t you?

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  1. It’s clear that the rules of engagement required the officers to use the BB rounds. For Napolitano (which in a rare Sicilian dialect means “She Thinks She’s Napoleon”) to insist otherwise is a load of crap (which in the same dialect means “a load of crap.”)

  2. Frankly, they don’t need to order or instruct BPA agents to use LtL weapons; the threat of getting thrown under the bus, media scrutiny and endless civil lawsuits presented when an BPA agent uses lethal force compel those agents to avoid it at all costs.

  3. After reading a former (high-ranking?) ATF agent say he currently wouldn’t go into Mexico without an armed Marine guard, I start to think no ATF agent would use beanbag rounds against people with AK47s unless they were instructed to.

  4. The seven steps
    1. Observe rifle-carrying illegals.
    2. Draw down on same
    3. Instruct same to get on their face and keep hands visible
    4. Engage same with lethal force if there is a any deviation or delay in performing as instructed
    5. Continue to engage until threat is eliminated
    6. Rinse
    7. Repeat

    • 6. Rinse
      7. Repeat

      6. Get thrown under the bus by Napolitano.
      7. Get fired.
      8. Get prosecuted.
      9. Get sentenced to 12-20 years in jail.
      10. Get sentence commuted by RINO president (if you are lucky) after serving 4 years.

  5. This from same person who claim US border safer than ever been. I swear she taken job from Baghdad Bob become Obama Baghdad Bob on any matters that have do US border.

  6. Actually training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) was just changed in recent years. Previously, training emphasized the force continuum based on escalation using a triangle as a visual representation. The officer was trained to escalate along the continuum. However, this led many officers and agents to believe that they were supposed to go through all the levels of force until they arrived at deadly force.

    Now, the training emphasizes to start out at the appropriate level, e.g. if it stars as a deadly force situation, then there is no need to use voice, presence, or intermediate weapons first.

    While she is correct about current training, those with years on the job are still saddled with training that emphasized moving up a continuum.

    • Whenever I hear the phrase “force continuum,” I want to set my hair on fire. Still, you have a great blog, Federale. Keep on keepin’ on.

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