ACLU says ATF blocks whistleblower book on scandal

  • Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013 12:39 p.m.

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 whistleblower.

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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

Notice about comments:

Salisburypost.com is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. Salisburypost.com cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not Salisburypost.com. If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.