Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) are seeking answers as to why the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives blocked publication of an insider’s look at the failed gun-walking operation, “Fast and Furious.”
In December 2010, Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed at a shootout in Arizona with Mexican bandits. Two guns from the Fast and Furious probe were found at the crime scene. Terry’s death ignited a long-running investigation by congressional Republicans of the flawed Operation Fast and Furious that led to the House holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not providing requested documents for the probe.
Special Agent John Dodson blew the whistle to Grassley about the gun-walking operation.
He wrote a manuscript, “The Unarmed Truth,” recounting the incident but agency supervisors have prohibited him from publishing it, citing ATF’s right to refuse outside employment, including requests to speak, write or teach.
In a letter sent yesterday to Director B. Todd Jones, the lawmakers write that they “find it disconcerting that ATF denied Special Agent Dodson’s request merely because the content of his book might be uncomfortable and embarrassing to some within your organization.”
Grassley, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Jones’s “position does not reflect the commitment you made in your confirmation hearing to be supportive of whistleblowers in your role as director of the ATF.”
The lawmakers asked Jones, who was sworn in Aug. 29 as the first permanent director in seven years, to send them all of the cases since 2009 in which ATF employees have tried to publish a book as well as documents related to Dodson’s request. They asked for a response by Oct. 22.