"PHOENIX — "Stop Stonewalling."
That's the warning from Arizona lawmakers hoping to find out what really happened earlier this month when four Tennessee National Guardsmen reportedly retreated when confronted by armed illegal immigrants along the border south of Tucson.
So far, Guard and U.S. Border Patrol officials have refused to disclose exactly what happened Jan. 3 when gunmen assaulted a Guard lookout post near Sasabe, Ariz. They declined requests from FOX News for copies of incident reports and transcripts of interviews with the men involved.
"Unfortunately, we do not have a report to provide," said Michael Friel, the Border Patrol's chief spokesman in Washington."
"The incident happened at night, about a quarter mile north of the U.S. border with Mexico. A spokesman for the Arizona National Guard said an undetermined number of armed men approached an E.I.T., or Entry Identification Team, from Tennessee. Dozens of these mobile lookout posts are set up along the border, several are near Sasabe, a popular drug corridor. An E.I.T. is typically manned by four Guard soldiers equipped with radios, night vision and other surveillance gear.
Under existing rules of force signed by the Department of Defense and border state governors, soldiers are not supposed to stop, arrest, or shoot armed illegal immigrants. They are instructed only to look, listen and report their location to the Border Patrol.
"We don't apprehend," said Maj. Paul Aguirre, a spokesman for the Arizona National Guard. "We don't detain. We don't transport."
For that reason, critics say, it is inaccurate to say the National Guard is protecting the border.
While Guard spokesman Paul Aguirre called the encounter a "non-incident," U.S. Border Patrol sources in Tucson familiar with the investigation say something entirely different. They describe a tense, armed confrontation, with both sides lifting their assault rifles to shoulder height.
The sources say 12 men assaulted the Guard position, dressed in black tactical vests and khaki military style fatigues. The unit split into two groups as it approached, with eight men in front and two men flanking the Guardsmen on each side. One of the gunmen came within 35 feet of the observation site, according to investigators' summaries. Surrounded, outmanned and outgunned, the four Guardsmen made a "tactical retreat" to their Humvee and called the Border Patrol, the sources said.
The Border Patrol tracked the armed men back to the border but could not locate them. No shots were fired."
Let me make my position absolutely clear here - there is no use in having Guardsmen at the border if they're not allowed to engage ARMED INTRUDERS!
IMO, armed intruders' should be engaged and eliminated on the spot, no questions asked.
Our southern border is a "warzone" and standard rules of engagement should fully apply.
To respond any other way makes a mockery of the whole thing - and puts those Guardsmen in deadly danger. Pete