ATF to Whistle-Blower: You Can't Publish a Book

John Dodson wrote account of Operation Fast and Furious

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 7, 2013 12:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – ATF agent John Dodson blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious, in which feds accidentally handed Mexican drug cartels 2,000 guns. Now Dodson's bosses say he can't publish a book on the scandal—though he plans to do so anyway, Fox News reports. Dodson gave the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms a manuscript of The Unarmed Truth, in accordance with federal rules, but the bureau said its publication "would have a negative impact on morale" and hurt "our relationships with DEA and FBI."

Dodson's bosses have the power to reject any outside work "for any reason," an ATF ethics official said. An ACLU lawyer backing Dodson opposes the blanket restriction, which "grants supervisors the discretion to censor critical speech simply because it annoys or embarrasses the ATF," as opposed to a detailed response calling for certain redactions. "Given the national importance" of the issues involved, the bureau "faces an extremely high burden in demonstrating that its interests outweigh Agent Dodson's right to speak—and the public's right to hear—his views."

This Friday, June 24, 2011 picture shows ATF agent John Dodson in Phoenix.
This Friday, June 24, 2011 picture shows ATF agent John Dodson in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York)
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