Fast and Furious retaliation
Whistleblowers to Corrupt ATF Head: Don’t Threaten Us
News Editor, Townhall
Jul 20, 2012 08:00 AM EST
Late Wednesday evening, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Acting ATF Director Todd Jones asking him to clarify the following remarks:
“… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”
Issa and Grassley aren’t impressed. From the letter they sent him:
If courageous whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF/Agency) had not come forward to Congress, the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious might never have come to light. By providing Congress key information about the shortcomings of Fast and Furious, these whistleblowers put their careers on the line to prevent reckless operational tactics from ever being employed again and to make sure the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry got the whole truth about their son’s death. On numerous occasions, we have stressed to ATF and the Department of Justice the importance of protecting whistleblower disclosures and preventing retaliation against whistleblowers.
We recently reviewed a video message you sent to ATF employees on July 9, 2012. In this message, entitled “ChangeCase #8: Choices and Consequences,” you stress to ATF employees that “if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences…” The essence of whistleblowing is reporting problems outside of an employee’s chain of command when the chain of command has failed to address them. In fact, for a disclosure to be legally protected, it is often necessary for the employee to report the wrongdoing to someone other than his or her supervisor.
Your ominous message–which could be interpreted as a threat–is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to Contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified.
You must remind ATF employees about their right to talk to Congress and provide Congress with information free and clear of agency interference or retaliation.
ATF whistleblowers Jay Dobyns and Vince Cefalu are also hitting back against Jones’ remarks. Both Dobyns and Cefalu, agents with more than 20 years of experience in the bureau, expressed concerns about unethical behavior to their superiors and nothing was done. Cefalu founded CleanUpATF.org back in 2009 in order to give ATF agents across the country an anonymous place to expose corruption within ATF without fear of retaliation. His website is where Operation Fast and Furious was first exposed. Dobyns worked undercover for two years within the Hells Angel gang, risking his life for ATF, and is now being punished by the bureau for speaking out against supervisors who ignored death threats against himself and his family.