WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is blocking a federal law enforcement agent from publishing a book about the failed “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling sting operation because of concerns that the book would negatively affect morale, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday.
The ACLU charged that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is worried that the book proposed by an ATF agent would hurt relationships with other U.S. law enforcement agencies.
In a six-page letter to ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, the ACLU said the bureau’s decision to block the book proposed by Special Agent John Dodson was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The ACLU described Dodson as a whistleblower.
According to the letter, the ATF denied Dodson’s request to try to publish a book about his version of the Fast and Furious scandal because the bureau predicted it would have “a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix (Field Division) and would have a detrimental” impact on ATF relationships with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The ATF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A federal law enforcement official said the government is still considering whether Dodson can publish his proposed book if he doesn’t make any money. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter, said federal law generally bars government employees from outside work that is based on their official duties.
The Washington Times first reported the ATF’s decision Monday.
Dodson was an agent in the Phoenix field office, where Fast and Furious investigation was run, when he went to Congress with details about the sting operation in which the ATF allowed gun-runners to buy weapons in hopes of tracking them and disrupting Mexican gun smuggling rings. At least one of the guns was found at the scene of the 2010 shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in southern Arizona.
In the wake of the public revelations about Fast and Furious, many top bureau leaders were reassigned, forced out of the agency or retired, including then-Acting Director Kenneth Melson.
In a statement provided by the ACLU, Dodson defended his book.
“At the end of the day, we have a right to know and talk about what law enforcement agencies do in our name,” Dodson said.
Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets