As the “Fast and Furious” federal gun-running scandal continues to grow, top Republican lawmakers and concerned analysts are crying foul after Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) boss B. Todd Jones was caught making statements perceived as a threat against agents who blow the whistle. Trying to stop or retaliate against whistleblowers who expose unlawful actions, of course, violates federal law.
The controversial statements by ATF Acting Director Jones were made in a video recording for agents posted online earlier this month. "Choices and consequences means simply that if you make poor choices, … if you don't find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences, because we cannot tolerate — we cannot tolerate — an undisciplined organization," Jones warned agency officials, ordering agents to “respect the chain of command” or suffer the consequences.
The ATF has been embroiled in a monumental scandal for over a year surrounding its deadly scheme to put thousands of American guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels — allegedly an operation aimed at somehow disrupting weapons trafficking, but later shown to have been exploited to lobby for gun control. Some of those taxpayer-funded weapons have been recovered at crime scenes including the slaying of U.S. federal agents such as Border Patrol officer Brian Terry and hundreds of murders in Mexico.
Fast and Furious, which eventually led to disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress, was originally exposed by brave ATF agents who risked their careers to blow the whistle. Since then, however, multiple allegations of unlawful retaliation against the whistleblowers have emerged. And the Department of Justice has been scrambling to cover up the expanding scandals for over a year.
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Photos of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)(L) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)(R): AP Images