In 2012, former-ATF-agent-turned-whistleblower John Dodson revealed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was supplying guns to the Mexican drug cartels via a "gunwalking" sting called Operation: Fast and Furious. Now, Fox News has reported that John Dodson's book is being blocked by the ATF under the justification that it will have bad effects on agent morale.
Agent Dodson first attempted to stop the operation in 2010 from inside the ATF, but failed. When ATF agent Brian Terry was gunned down using weapons sold in the ATF sting, a media storm ensued that caused General Eric Holder to be held in contempt of Congress over decisions regarding documents about Operation: Fast and Furious, and the family of Brian Terry would file suit against those they believed responsible.
Dodson's efforts, meanwhile, continued: having affiliated himself with publisher Simon & Schuster, Dodson submitted a manuscript for his book The Unarmed Truth to the ATF's Ethics department for review. The book, which represents the first insider's story of how the U.S. government sold 2000 guns to Mexican cartels, was denied review altogether.
An ethics official with the ATF, Greg Serres, said that they can deny Dodson's request for any reason, specifically that "this would have a negative impact on morale and would have a detrimental effect on our relationships with DEA and FBI [agents]."
The ATF's outside work policies state that employees can't make outside money as a speaker or writer without permission, but the ACLU argues that the policies are too restrictive.
The ACLU attorney who represents Dodson, Lee Rowland, has said that the ATF's policy "grants supervisors the discretion to censor critical speech simply because it annoys the supervisor or embarasses the ATF."
"Given the national importance of both the Fast and Furious operation and ATF practices more broadly, ATF 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 about Operation Fast and Furious," she added.
Meanwhile, the family of Brian Terry has released a statement through the Brian Terry Foundation in which they express solidarity with John Dodson.
"Do we really need to remind ATF leadership that the men that killed Brian Terry were carrying weapons supplied to them by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, an investigation that both President Obama and Attorney General Holder have publicly called ill-conceived?" Ralph Terry, the foundation's president, said.[Image via this CBSNews YouTube report]