Monday, July 14, 2008

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:


Judicial Watch Sues State Department to Obtain Documents Related to Jailed Border Patrol Agents

Regular readers of the Weekly Update will remember the names Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. They are the two Border Patrol agents shamelessly prosecuted by the U.S. government for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler, Oswald Aldrete-Davila, on February 17, 2005. (The two Border Patrol agents were sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively. Aldrete-Davila, who attempted to smuggle 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., was given medical treatment and immunity for his testimony.)

Well, on June 12 Judicial Watched filed a lawsuit against the Department of State to obtain documents related to the government's decision to prosecute Ramos and Compean and to strike a deal with Aldrete-Davila for his testimony. Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on April 17, 2008. The government failed to respond within the statutory 20-day period, forcing us to file our lawsuit.

(Incidentally, this is the second FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch related to the jailed Border Patrol agents. Click here for more information.)

Here's essentially what we're after in this lawsuit.
  • Information pertaining to government deals that were made with the government of Mexico to bring Aldrete-Davila to the U.S. to testify.
  • Any internal communications between the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department related to the decision to permit the lawful entry of Aldrete-Davila into the U.S. for medical treatment and for meetings with government prosecutors.
  • Any and all records of the Diplomatic Security Services (a branch of the State Department) related to the shooting incident.
There is enormous public interest in this incident. Many people, myself included, suspect these Border Patrol Agents were railroaded by the government for simply doing their jobs. Given the controversy surrounding the case, the more the American people know, the better.

We continue to aggressively pursue documents related to the incident, and I will keep you posted on what we find.

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