The officials at Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) appear to have added books as an imminent threat to safety. Agent John Dobson has reportedly been blocked by the ATF from publishing a book on Operation Fast and Furious. Dobson blew the whistle on the disastrous operation that led to the sale of 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels, including one used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. The reason? The book would embarrass the ATF.
Dodson’s book, titled “The Unarmed Truth,” provides his account of trying to stop the operation and is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster. He submitted the book for review and it should not have been a problem since much of the operation has been made public through congressional and media reports. However, he was reportedly told by Greg Serres, an ATF ethics official, that any of his supervisors at any level could disapprove outside employment “for any reason.” Serres is quoted as saying “This would have a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix Field Division and would have a detremental effect [sic] on our relationships with DEA and FBI.”
It appears that the ATF folks are in a vulnerable place these days, particularly after a report finding the agency conducted dozens of unauthorized undercover investigations into illicit cigarette sales, misused $162 million in profits, and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes. However, would’t a far greater morale buster be for the agency leadership to stop doing remarkably stupid acts? Just think how good morale would be then.