Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Ministry of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Truth

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Ministry of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Truth

    The Ministry of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Truth
    By Rita Cant, Attorney, ACLU at 11:16am

    The frenzy over "Operation Fast and Furious" has been hard to avoid. It's been the subject of a massive DOJ report, Congressional hearings, contempt votes, subpoena fights in federal court, and relentless media scrutiny. But if there's one telling the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) would love to rectify, it's the "thoughtcrime" account of Agent John Dodson, one of the ATF insiders who helped bring the operation to public light.

    The ACLU sent a letter today to the ATF, which has refused to allow Agent Dodson to publish a manuscript about Fast and Furious. Our letter explains why the denial violates his First Amendment rights, and undermines the importance that whistleblowers and public employee speech play in revealing wrongdoing and contributing to public debate.

    If "Fast and Furious" makes you think of Vin Diesel, and "gunwalking" of vigorous calisthenics, let's back up a bit. The Phoenix field division of the ATF launched a gun smuggling investigation in late 2009, in which they deliberately let straw buyers get their hands on assault rifles, which agents hoped to follow south to their ultimate consumers – drug traffickers in Mexico. But the ATF lost track of some 2,000 weapons, later implicated in hundreds of murders in Mexico.

    Agent Dodson blew the whistle on the decision to "walk" the guns – alerting Congress after it appeared that two were used in a shootout that killed a U.S. border patrol agent. But when he recently asked to publish his own first-hand account of these events, ATF censorship was fast, and it was furious.

    Foregoing redactions, they nixed his entire manuscript. Claiming a right to refuse publication requests "for any reason" (the ATF's emphasis), the ATF explained to Agent Dodson that his book would have "a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix [Field Division] and would have a detremental [sic] effect on our relationships with DEA and FBI." Agent Dodson doesn't deny that his book could add to the ATF scrutiny, or even its three-year streak of bad press as a result of the affair. But these reasons just don't cut it when it comes to a whistleblower's right to speak – and the public's right to hear what he has to say.
    More at the link.

    ACLU
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."
Working...
X