While ATF Chief, Kenneth Melson refuses to step down, ATF whistleblower, Agent Vince Cefalu, who has worked for the ATF for 24 years, was terminated last week, he believes because they want to make an example out of him:
The Blaze reports:
Apparently Fox News has been in contact with Cefalu for months, reporting that:
Cefalu first told FoxNews.com about the ATF’s embattled anti-gun smuggling operation in December, before the first reports on the story appeared in February. “Simply put, we knowingly let hundreds of guns and dozens of identified bad guys go across the border,” Cefalu said at the time.
Since then, Cefalu’s claims have been vindicated, as a number of agents with first-hand knowledge of the case came forward. The scandal over Project Gunrunner led to congressional hearings, a presidential reprimand – Obama called the operation “a serious mistake” – and speculation that ATF chief Ken Melson will resign.
Fox News also makes the case that the ATF lately has made a habit of going after whistleblowers:
Cefalu’s dismissal follows a string of allegations that the ATF retaliates against whistleblowers. When the Project Gunrunner scandal broke, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote the ATF that an agent who had been giving his staff members information about the scandal had been “allegedly accused… of misconduct” by the agent’s boss for talking with Grassley’s staffers.
Also at the Blaze, you can view the one year old CNN video of Cefalu discussing how he was paid $150,000 a year to do nothing in response to his ATF criticisms.
Katie Pavlich at TownHall reported on the ATF’s tendency to retaliate against whistleblowers:
ATF has a history of retaliation against agents who don’t fall in line with orders, even when those orders break the law or are unethical. Last week, Congressman Darrell Issa warned ATF and Justice Department officials against retaliation toward agents who come forward with valuable information about corruption within the system. Issa sent a letter expressing his concern to ATF Deputy Director William J. Hoover:
I write to request your assurance that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will not retaliate against witnesses who have provided information to this Committee. I make this request in light of the fact that on June 15, 2011, in a hearing before the Committee entitled “operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes,” three veteran ATF special agents gave testimony highly critical of the ATF. They should not face reprisals of any kind for their testimony. No other ATF employees who cooperate with Congress should face retaliation either.
The Committee relies on whistleblowers to conduct unvarnished and thorough oversight. Witnesses who choose to coorporate with the Committe must be confident that they can provide information without fear of punishment.
Cefalu was dismissed two days after Issa sent the letter to Hoover.
During the second hearing on Capitol Hill about Operation Fast and Furious before the Oversight Committeon June 15, 2011, Assitant Attorney General Ronald Weich testifed under oath there would be no retaliation toward whistleblowers.
“I want to assure the committee — I think a number of Members raised this — that the Department of Justice will not, would never, retaliate against whistleblowers.”
More via Politisite:
In May, (2010) Cefalu did a three part interview with CNN b Anderson Cooper, concerning problems in the ATF; since then, he has only been given 122 minutes worth of work, not the usual investigative work, he was instructed to change batteries or fill up cars with gasoline.
He has endured seven internal affairs investigations, since he blew the whistle, with an attorney present, he answered every question.
He represents dozens of other officers with grievances against the ATF and if he is terminated or retired early, he thinks the ATF will consider those grievances dead..
Cefalu maintains that there should be prosecutions in the failed Operation Fast and Furious, AKA as Gunwalker.
The embargo on documents and testimony from the ATF on Project Gunwalker/Operation Fast and Furious appears to have ended. According to the Daily Beast last night, a deal brokered between Senators Pat Leahy and Charles Grassley will bring ATF chief Kenneth Melson, other witnesses, and a large set of documents to Congress as it probes the ATF and the Department of Justice’s gunrunning sting operation gone horribly awry.
Bob Owens handicaps the potential outcomes for Pajamas Media. He considers the option for Melson to take the fall himself to still be possible, but notes that Melson could easily have already done this. Why wait? The next step up from Melson is the DoJ’s Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer. Breuer personally authorized a wiretap for Gunwalker, so he is already involved. Breuer, though, is an old political hand that would resign in a heartbeat to shield others from responsibility. It’s when it gets above Breuer that the stakes get interesting:
3. Breuer isn’t the highest link in the chain: Melson implicates Attorney General Eric Holder.
Chairman Issa states that AG Holder “absolutely” knew about Gunwalker earlier than he testified that he did, and if Issa has the evidence to prove that the attorney general is part of a cover-up, then there is every reason to suspect Holder will be forced to resign, or will face impeachment.
This is a far more likely scenario than many think.
4. Collateral damage.
There is the distinct possibility that Lanny Breuer and Eric Holder are not the only administration officials that run the risk of going down as a result of their roles in Gunwalker and its cover-up. While ATF and their parent organization the Department of Justice were ultimately responsible for the operation, other executive branch departments were involved.
The Department of Homeland Security played a role in Gunwalker, and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano would possibly be kept abreast of Gunwalker since she was both the former governor of Arizona and the state’s attorney general from 1999-2002. Lesser-ranking figures within DHS and other agencies were certainly involved, but Napolitano is the cabinet-level official other than Eric Holder who would have most likely known about Gunwalker.
Ace suspects the fix may be in. So do I….
Don’t get your hopes up too high because Leahy wouldn’t agree to this if it was going to wipe out Eric Holder.
We are dealing with the most corrupt administration, ever, after all. These people are brazen.
To me, the firing of the whistleblower was a bad omen.