Past Features

November 24, 2017

Agent attack mystery grows

Top: WaPo: A Border Patrol agent is dead in Texas, but the circumstances remain murky -- Bottom: President Trump tweet
Glenn Spencer -- November 24, 2017    
America needs answers  
    The Washington Post, and many other mainstream news organizations, reported that U.S. Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez was following up on a ground sensor alarm when he was killed on November 19.
    Yet, on November 22, CNN reported:
  "Rush Carter, the special operations supervisor and public affairs officer for the Big Bend Sector of the US Border Patrol, said Martinez was not responding to a sensor but was on his regular duties, which included checking culverts off the interstate for illegal immigrants hiding."  
    On November 19 a statement by DHS Acting Secretary Duke "on Tragic Death of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez" said Martinez was “responding to activity
    Checking a culvert as part of a regular patrol is not responding to activity --- but following up on a sensor hit is.
    The role of faulty ground sensors in the death of agent Martinez was raised in National Review by Michelle Malkin: Dumb sensors, deadly consequences.
"Agent Martinez had ventured out alone to check on a ground sensor to determine who or what had set it off. He confirmed to his colleagues that human activity had activated the alarm before he died."  
    Unless things have changed, in my years of listening to BP radio sensor hits are broadcast for all agents to hear. “1115 for thee” would mean that sensor 1115 had been triggered three times. Agents know the location of the sensors, and those closest would make the independent decision to investigate --- or not. Agent Martinez might have decided to investigate a sensor hit, without contacting his station ---and he could have told fellow agents that the people had triggered the sensor using “car to car” mode --- as mentioned by spokesman Carter..
    How could so many serious news organizations get it wrong --- or was the statement by Ruch Carter of the Border Patrol --- made three days after the death of Martinez --- wrong?
 Carter could have checked the ICAD system to see if a sensor alarm for the location involved in the death of Martinez had been recorded.
"ICAD records the date, time, and location of the activity, as well as details input by the Border Patrol Agent investigating the incident."
    Rush Carter could have checked to see if there was a ground sensor close enough to the location where agent Martinez was injured to have been triggered. The question might then be --- did the sensor send an alarm? Did agent Martinez trigger it? If not, why not?
    Cable news outlet reported that agent Martinez was following “footprints” when attacked.
    The attack happened in the dead of night --- how would agent Martinez have found those footprints without having been directed to the location by a ground sensor alarm?
    Rush Carter seems to be suggesting that agent Martinez just happened to be randomly checking a culvert at night at the very moment “suspects” were in it.
    This is very unlikely.
    It is important to know if agent Martinez' death was somehow linked to notoriously unreliable ground sensors --- and answers should be forthcoming from the U.S. Border Patrol --- because they have them.
    Earlier this year The Nation reported:
"The agency, which oversees Border Patrol, is one of the most opaque and unaccountable in our government."
    President Trump should change this perception of CBP and give America the answers about agent Martinez' death as soon as possible.