A hearing Thursday intended to review the six-year-old murder case of ICE agent Jaime Zapata was missing two ATF officials who did not accept the “invitation” to attend and testify.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was not one bit happy with the two for failing to show up, and made it clear, in no uncertain times, that the invitation was not optional.
He issued subpoenas on the spot for both no-show ATF agents, ordering them to appear before the committee on March 21 and 22.
Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings (D-Md) questioned acting ATF Director Thomas Brandon on why the two agents, Ronald Turk and William Temple, did not show up to testify at the hearing. Brandon claimed that it was their decision not to attend, but admitted that he agreed with it.
Brandon stated that when he, Turk and Temple received their invitations to come testify, “I met with my team, consulted with DOJ, and wanted to quickly respond by having someone here from ATF and that person would be me,” indicating that the DOJ had something to do with the decision.
Chaffetz let him know that was unacceptable. “You’re wasting this committee’s time by allowing Mr. Turk and Mr. Temple to think anything other than when they’re invited to come to Congress, they will come to Congress,” Chaffetz said.
Zapata was killed while on official business with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico in 2011 by members of the Los Zetas drug cartel. He and fellow agent Victor Avila were ambushed and shot by the drug cartel. Zapata was killed and Avila was wounded. It was discovered after the murder that the drug cartel were using firearms traced back to two buyers in Texas.
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