Do you recognize the names of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean? You should. They are the former Border Patrol Agents who were convicted and sentenced to eleven and twelve years in federal prison, respectively, for wounding a Mexican drug smuggler who brought 743 pounds of marijuana across the U.S. border.
Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and John Culberson (R-TX), along with 41 other Members of Congress, including Representative Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), who is Chairman of the Board of the Free Congress Foundation, have written to Judge Michael B. Mukasey, President Bush’s nominee for Attorney General. They point out that the two agents were prosecuted by Johnny Sutton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Sutton granted immunity to the drug smuggler, provided him free health care and granted unconditional border-crossing cards so he would testify against the agents. The Congressmen want Mukasey to investigate the situation. In his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mukasey agreed to do so.
In arguing for the investigation, these Members of Congress expressed great concern over the treatment of Agents Ramos and Compean. Both officers are held in solitary confinement 23 hours per day. The conditions, the Congressmen argued, are far worse than those for suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay. Ramos was placed in solitary confinement because he was assaulted in a different facility earlier this year. His assailants never were charged. The Members of Congress are very concerned about the pattern of prosecutorial overreach by Sutton. Rohrabacher has long been concerned about the close relationship between Sutton, President George W. Bush and former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.
The Members of Congress compared the conditions of Ramos and Compean with the imprisoned terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. What they discovered is an outrage. The men who want to blow up Americans are far better off than these two very decent agents, who are the victims of a vindictive prosecutorial program demanded by the President, reinforced by former Attorney General Gonzales and finally carried out by Sutton. The comparison is as follows: