ATF Director B. Todd Jones, formerly the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, took Kenneth Melson’s place after he was reassigned to another position at the Justice Department’s headquarters in Washington.
He was brought in to reform the embattled Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the wake of the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal.
The following videotaped message, obtained by the Washington Guardian, was distributed to ATF employees this month warning there would be “consequences” for reporting wrongdoing outside their chain of command.
“Choices and consequences means simply that if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences,” Acting Director B. Todd Jones told the employees in a video distributed July 9 by email and closed-circuit TV and obtained by the Washington Guardian.
The 3 minute, 22 second videotape was the last of eight “Changecasts” that Jones distributed to ATF employees in recent weeks to describe how he planned to run the agency, improve morale and instill a new culture in the aftermath of one of the agency’s worst scandals.
ATF officials in Washington and rank-and-file agents told the Washington Guardian that the tape was interpreted by many as a warning not to pursue the path of the Arizona agents who went outside the agency in 2011 and reported concerns to Congress about the bungled Fast and Furious gun probe that let semiautomatic weapons flow to Mexican drug gangs.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, whose investigative work uncovered the Fast and Furious investigation, on Wednesday called the video message outrageous and a threat to lawmakers’ ability to interview whistleblowers.
“It ought to be a wake-up signal for everybody in Congress who wants to do their job of constitutional oversight,” Grassley told Sinclair Broadcast, which reported the story with the Washington Guardian. “You can’t put up with agency heads like this having this attitude.”
“It is outrageous that a leader of a major organization of any department, particularly law enforcement, would have the temerity to make those sort of comments.”
Whistleblower advocates said the effect of the message was to discourage ATF employees from coming forward.
Read their full Report.
Here is an open letter to the DC Bar Association from a fed up agent who is choosing to ignore “Jones’ order not to air ATF’s dirty laundry” as posted at Clean up ATF:
To the D.C. Bar Association:
US Atty General Eric Holder needs to be held accountable according to the ABA’s Model Rules because rules are rules for everyone. According to the ABA rules (that have been adopted by the D.C. bar), he should be disbarred. Holder was held in contempt, the ABA rules demand he be sanctioned. The aggravating factors listed in the ABA’s Rules demand that the sanction be severe. Where is the public media in researching and publicizing this information?
What has Holder done since he supposedly learned of F&F? He appointed his close personal friend, US Atty for Minnesota, B. Todd Jones to be the acting Director of ATF. He is allowing Jones and ATF to retaliate against the whistleblowers of ATF that broke this news story by coming forward to Sen Grassley and Congressman Issa.
Holder is allowing those who oversaw the operation to remain as high paid federal government managers yet not be punished in accordance with ATF policies that require them to be on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations by ATF IA and DOJ OIG. Holder refuses to appoint an outsider such as Louis Freeh, a Democrat, to conduct an complete and full external investigation of F& F. Holder is the head of the snake apparently in the F&F chaos that has cost lives on both sides of the border, as well as violated international firearms trafficking laws.
Holder needs to be recognized for his continuing involvement to coverup this scandal, for punishing those who are truthful, and for defending those who are deceptive and culpable such as Lanny Breuer and Weich, Melson, Rubenstein, Chaite, Newell, McMahon, Hoover, and Voth. Holder is truly where the buck should stop in this deadly, unlawful international criminal act (Janet Reno understood this). Holder’s behavior would lead people to believe the White House is involved, but this is actually highly unlikely. Perhaps the one guy who was sent to Iraq had some knowledge from his personal friend Newell, but probably not the facts and dangers and problems of the actual operation. However, Holder’s actions clearly demonstrate he was involved, he had knowledge, he was ok with Breur and Weich providing the go ahead approving nod to the poorly planned operation by Voth and Newell. Holder tries to divert this to Wide Receiver, yet that was a totally separate type of operation that was ended because it proved impossible. Voth’s plan did not use any technical or intense surveillance efforts to keep track of the firearms. This plan was ill conceived and Holder approved it indirectly, then directly when he failed to read his emails and failed to inquire further when the initial leaks of this grossly mismanaged operation was leaked. Eric Holder did not care enough to worry himself over dead Border Patrol and ICE agents, much less hundreds of Mexican citizens. They were collateral damage, expendable. Voth’s broken eggs for the Holder omelet.
The ABA needs to be pressured to enact their own rules by suspending Holder’s law license because he has been held in contempt. Their rules are for everyone with a law license, so they must be applied to everyone equally. Disbar AG Holder now!
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says of the vote to hold him in contempt of Congress, “you have to be exceedingly naive to think that vote was about … documents.”
Prove it, sir. Put your documents where your mouth is. Because if the Justice Department and the White House truly believe a Democratic government should be accountable to those it governs, then releasing all documents in the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation is necessary.
While there is little doubt there is plenty of embarrassment to go around in the decision by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow 2,000 guns to walk away, believing real life is like a Hollywood movie and law enforcement would be able to track each of them to powerful Mexican drug cartels, there is no doubt the operation went horribly wrong.
Two of the guns were found near the body of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Yet Holder says it’s all about him, and he has “become a symbol of what they don’t like about the positions this Justice Department has taken; I am also a proxy for the president in an election year.”
Hat tip: Sipsey Street Irregulars