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Sean Hannity Stunningly Ignorant On Border Patrol Case

Reported by Ellen - January 21, 2007 -

Finally, after three segments of guests seeking a pardon for two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a drug smuggler in the buttocks, Hannity & Colmes had a guest Friday night (1/19/07) with another point of view: The US Attorney who successfully prosecuted them. Before the prosecutor came on, Hannity told one of the parents and an attorney for the now-incarcerated agents that nobody had been able to provide him with any details indicating why the agents deserved punishment. Somehow, Hannity was ignorant about the facts presented on his own show, albeit on a night when he was off. A simple Google search or site search of FOXNews.com would have worked, too.

As I have posted about before, the Border Patrol agents had received overly sympathetic treatment from the "fair and balanced" network: First, there was a discussion with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher who is part of a group of Congressmembers trying to get the agents pardoned. Rohrabacher became furious with Alan Colmes for suggesting that it was wrong to shoot suspects from behind. Next, there was a filmed segment with one of the agents telling his version of the events. Then, again on Friday, there was the parent and a lawyer. Hannity introduced the segment with the agent-friendly comment, "We have told you their story before on this program." It implies that THEIR story is THE story.

College drop-out Hannity put on his lawyer and investigator's hats to provide his "professional" opinion: “I’ve examined (the case) at length. I’m frankly a little stunned. I’m trying to understand the point, here... I’ve been getting calls from people saying, ‘Oh, there’s more to this case,' yet nobody can give me any details.”

Had Hannity bothered to watch his own show, he could have easily gotten those details. Rich Lowry was substituting the night Rohrabacher appeared but you'd think Hannity would have some knowledge of what happened. On that night, Alan Colmes posted on the screen a quote from the US attorney for Texas’ Western District, Johnny Sutton: “Federal agents do not get to shoot unarmed people as they are running away in the back and then lie about it and cover it up. It’s very important for border agents to follow the laws they enforce, and in those rare instances where they do not do that, it is our job to bring them to justice.” (12/8/06)

Just in case, that was too much trouble for the vacationing Hannity, he could have quickly found the same information from a Google search. In that case, he might have come across an article from FOXNews.com which states: "These agents shot someone who they knew to be unarmed and running away," (US Attorney) Sutton said. "They destroyed evidence, covered up a crime scene and then filed false reports about what happened. It is shocking that there are people who believe it is OK for agents to shoot an unarmed suspect who is running away." There's more information about the prosecutor's case in that article, plus a link to the prosecutor's press release. And if Hannity has any doubts about the accuracy of the FOX News article, he could have found similar information in the Albuquerque Journal and the El Paso Times among other places.

When Johnny Sutton's turn came, Hannity waved his papers like Joe McCarthy and repeatedly cut off Sutton every time he tried to answer a question. "What am I missing?" Hannity snapped with thinly disguised hostility toward Sutton's arguments.

“What you’re missing is all the evidence,” Sutton answered. He went on to say that the suspect surrendered with his hands in the air. “Agent Compeon tried to hit him in the head with a shotgun, (the suspect) tripped, fell, and then the drug smuggler takes off running again. They open fire on him, shoot at him 15 times with their 40 calibers and instead of doing what a normal Border Patrol agent would do - report it to their supervisor, start investigating the crime, explain why they shot - they decided to deliberately cover up.”

“I’m trying to ascertain the truth here,” Hannity disingenuously said as he questioned the claim that the drug smuggler was unarmed.

“If he had had a gun, those agents would have said, ‘Look, he had a gun. That’s why we shot at him.’” Sutton also noted that the convicted agents never warned their fellow agents nearby that the suspect had a gun

I wonder if Hannity will “forget” these facts the next time this case is discussed.