Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (emphasis added)
Apparently the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is unfamiliar with the first amendment, as the agency is attempting to block the publishing of a book about the botched gun running operation Fast and Furious, according to the Washington Times. A few years back the ATF decided it was a good idea to send semi-automatic guns across the Mexican border in order to catch drug cartels with them and bolster their case against the cartels (apparently the ATF thought semi-auto weapons charges would stick, more than beheading innocent people on the regular). So the guns were sent across the Mexican border and promptly started showing up at crime scenes in a new rash of drug cartel violence. Then one of the Fast and Furious guns showed up in the US at the murder scene of border patrol agent Brian Terry. As much as they tried, the ATF could not stop some whistle-blowers from informing the public on this terribly conceived program with an even worse outcome. The word got out, and a few top officials at the ATF were fired, but Obama exerted executive privilege over some documents pertaining to the case, so the Congressional probe went cold, and Attorney General Eric Holder was off the hook; with the documents blocked it was impossible to know how involved he was in Fast and Furious.
But now, one of those ATF whistle-blowers has written a book, and officials at the ATF do not want it to be published. After reviewing the manuscript the reasons given were not national security concerns, nor classified information; the ATF said it worried the book would hurt morale at the Phoenix office, and damage the agency’s relationship with the FBI and the DEA. Is that a good enough reason for the First Amendment to go down the drain? The possibility of damaging morale at a redundant incompetent agency? The ATF needs to be watched closer than most agencies, as Fast and Furious was not its only recent blunder. The ATF lost a fully automatic machine gun while performing a reportedly pathetic sting in Milwaukee; it seems that banning the federal government from possessing machine guns would do more to curb gun violence than restricting private gun ownership.
The ACLU has taken up the case for the author of the book, Special Agent John Dodson. This would mark yet another recent unlikely partnership between the historically liberal ACLU, and conservative causes. Recently the NRA filed a court brief backing up an ACLU case. As for the book in question, it poses threats of further embarrassment in the already scandal plagued Obama administration.
Mr. Dodson was the first ATF special agent to go public in 2011 with allegations that his supervisors had authorized the flow of semi-automatic weapons into Mexico instead of interdicting them, touching off a scandal that toppled most of the top leadership of ATF in Washington and Phoenix. The controversy also led to angry recriminations in Mexico, which dealt with a wave of violent crime linked to the weapons, and high-profile congressional hearings that embarrassed the Obama administration.
embarrassed the Obama administration in Mexico, but since the media in the United States barely reported on the scandal, many Americans have never even heard what happened. It is very sad that the media is so absent on important stories that Americans should know about, namely government abuse, cover ups and incompetency. Instead they sensationalize non-stories for the sake of ratings and propagating their own skewed world view. The American government is responsible for much of the border violence, and many illegal guns entering into the hands of criminals in Mexico and America alike. The best case scenario would be to eliminate the entire ATF. In fact what happened in Waco Texas alone in 1993 should have been grounds for dissolving the incompetent-at-best agency. The officials responsible in the ATF need to be held accountable for their harassment of whistle-blowers and attempts to subvert the First Amendment. Since Eric Holder is the head of the Justice Department who the ATF reports to, his involvement or lack of involvement in the original scandal and subsequent cover ups is also relevent, which makes Obama’s blocking of evidence that much more frustrating.