ACLU says ATF blocks whistleblower book on scandal - New York News

ACLU says ATF blocks whistleblower book on scandal

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is blocking a federal law enforcement agent from publishing a book about the failed "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling sting operation because of concerns that the book would negatively affect morale, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday.

The ACLU charged that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is worried that the book proposed by an ATF agent would hurt relationships with other U.S. law enforcement agencies.

In a six-page letter to ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, the ACLU said the bureau's decision to block the book proposed by Special Agent John Dodson was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The ACLU described Dodson as a whistle-blower.

According to the letter, the ATF denied Dodson's request to try to publish a book about his version of the Fast and Furious scandal because the bureau predicted it would have "a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix (Field Division) and would have a detrimental" impact on ATF relationships with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The ATF didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

A federal law enforcement official said the government is still considering whether Dodson can publish his proposed book if he doesn't make any money. Federal law prohibits government employees from profiting on outside work related to their official duties while still employed by the government.

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, decried the ATF's opposition to Dodson's book proposal.

"Three years later, the Justice Department is still trying to silence whistle-blower accounts of Operation Fast and Furious because they're embarrassing for the department," Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement.

The Washington Times first reported the ATF's decision Monday.

Dodson was an agent in the Phoenix field office, where Fast and Furious investigation was run, when he went to Congress with details about the sting operation in which the ATF allowed gun-runners to buy weapons in hopes of tracking them and disrupting Mexican gun smuggling rings. At least one of the guns was found at the scene of the 2010 shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in southern Arizona.

In the wake of the public revelations about Fast and Furious, many top bureau leaders were reassigned, forced out of the agency or retired, including then-Acting Director Kenneth Melson.

In a statement provided by the ACLU, Dodson defended his book.

"At the end of the day, we have a right to know and talk about what law enforcement agencies do in our name," Dodson said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Brooklyn man charged in shooting that wounded teen bystander

    Brooklyn man charged in shooting that wounded teen bystander

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:35 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:35:59 GMT
    The NYPD has arrested and charged a suspect in the shooting of a teenaged bystander as well as another man in Brooklyn. Police on Friday charged Kareem Potomont, 21, with two counts of attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of a firearm, and reckless endangerment in connection with the shooting that took place near a bus stop on Flatbush Avenue on Monday, April 14.
    The NYPD has arrested and charged a suspect in the shooting of a teenaged bystander as well as another man in Brooklyn. Police on Friday charged Kareem Potomont, 21, with two counts of attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of a firearm, and reckless endangerment in connection with the shooting that took place near a bus stop on Flatbush Avenue on Monday, April 14.
  • Special Olympics: Athlete Jessica Spitz

    Special Olympics: Athlete Jessica Spitz

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:35 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:35:09 GMT
    Jessica Spitz, 18, is training for one of the biggest days of her life. The Commack, Long Island, High School senior will be competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in the 100-yard dash and the shot put. From the moment Jessica joined Special Olympics last year, she was hooked.
    Jessica Spitz, 18, is training for one of the biggest days of her life. The Commack, Long Island, High School senior will be competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in the 100-yard dash and the shot put. From the moment Jessica joined Special Olympics last year, she was hooked.
  • Faithful flock to Bronx church for its grotto water

    Faithful flock to Bronx church for its grotto water

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:43 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:43:31 GMT
    While a thousand people streamed into a courtyard at St. Lucy Parish in the Bronx to watch a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, next door a steady trickle of believers quietly collected water from that church's grotto, taking the liquid home to heal, cure, and bless.
    While a thousand people streamed into a courtyard at St. Lucy Parish in the Bronx to watch a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, next door a steady trickle of believers quietly collected water from that church's grotto, taking the liquid home to heal, cure, and bless.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices