Uproar Over Border Agents to Get White House Review

It is amazing how loud the public has to get in order to get the President’s attention. Maybe he can shed some light on all this.

Amid growing criticism from congressmen and activists of its handling of the prosecution of two Border Patrol agents, the White House is opening up a line of communication with lawmakers and promises it will review a transcript of the trial.

During a telephone interview today with WND, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., received a call from press secretary Tony Snow, inviting him to meet for a friendly, unofficial discussion about the case.

Meanwhile, Snow explained to WND the White House’s current stance in a brief interview Sunday.

“What we’re doing is getting the entire trial transcript so everybody can see what happened in trial, and we can try to discern the real facts of the case,” Snow told WND after a luncheon address at National Review’s Conservative Summit in Washington.

He insisted the development does not represent a shift in how the White House is approaching the case.

“I think what’s happened is a lot of people have differing accounts of this, and the best way to resolve them is not by having people scream at each other but by finding out what the fact record is, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Snow.

Took ya long enough.

Rohrabacher said, however, he has no doubt this is a response to pressure – including campaigns for a pardon and House resolutions to throw out the case – noting that previously the president and his senior staff would not return phone calls from him and other senior congressmen.

“The very fact that they are now willing to look at this case is indication of some progress,” Rohrabacher told WND. “However, if they don’t do an honest assessment – for political reasons, or for ego reasons or for reasons of friendship with the prosecutor – then it doesn’t make any difference if they take a second look, or a first look at the facts.”

Rohrabacher characterized his planned meeting with Snow as a “conversation between two old friends.”

“It’s not a formal negotiation but an opening up of communications,” he said.

The California congressman, along with several Republican colleagues, has been sharply critical of the administration’s handling of the prosecution of former border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who began prison sentences Jan. 17, of 11 and 12 years respectively, for their actions in the shooting and wounding of a Mexican drug smuggler who was granted full immunity to testify against them.

Rohrabacher previously told WND he considered the president’s handling of the case “disgraceful.”

“This is the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen,” Rohrabacher told WND, referring to the president. “It’s shameful this was done by someone who is in the Republican Party. He obviously thinks more about his agreements with Mexico than the lives of American people and backing up his defenders.”

Problems with transcript

Snow told Rohrabacher the White House is trying to get a copy of the transcript as soon as possible, but there have been obstacles.

The main problem, according to Rohrabacher, is with the transcript’s accuracy, because the court reporter apparently “wasn’t up to the challenge the case presented.”

The congressman could provide no further details, only that “they’re working on” difficulties with the transcript. He contended, however, the administration has enough of the facts to make a decision now.

“The president shouldn’t have to go to the transcript to see that, on the face of it, this prosecution makes no sense,” Rohrabacher said. “You’ve got a professional drug dealer who was a mule for the cartels, and the prosecutor has been taking that person’s side and his word.”

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton defended his prosecution in an interview with WND.

The White House press office was asked today to answer follow-up questions but has not responded.

A staunch defender of Ramos and Compean, TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told WND he has seen snippets of the transcript and contends there are problems with the prosecution’s case.

“I’m anxious to see the transcript, because I’m not afraid to see what will be revealed,” he said. “Once people find out the truth, they will be even more outraged that the government pursued the case, knowing what they know.”

This reeks of a cover-up.

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