DOJ to allow ATF agent to publish a “Fast and Furious” book, just not profit from it. Oh, and only after they edit it first.

posted at 3:21 pm on October 16, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Last week, Ed brought brought us the story of the administrative drama currently plaguing Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John Dodson in the endeavor to publish his personal account of his experiences in blowing the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious, the not-botched ATF operation in which the Obama administration pressed American gun dealers into selling thousands of weapons to Mexican narcotraffickers. Evidently, the Department of Justice was not entirely keen on the idea of Dodson writing a tell-all on the behind-the-scenes circumstances of the operation’s fallout, because they announced their intention to block his book’s publication due to some clearly made-up reasons about the possibilities for negatively affecting the agency’s “morale,” or something.

Even the ACLU — the ACLU, for goodness’ sake — saw the DOJ’s farcical excuse for what it was (i.e., a lame First-Amendment violation attempting to cover their own behinds) and announced they would be representing Mr. Dodson in his suit. Now, it looks like the DOJ may be having second thoughts about making a federal case out of Dodson’s book and drawing more attention than necessary to the deadly operation that they would really rather the American public never think on again: Hey, sure we’ll let Dodson publish his book — with just a few conditions, of course.

CNN reports:

A federal agent will be allowed to write a book with an insider’s account of Operation Fast and Furious, reversing an earlier government attempt to block publication for “morale” reasons. However, John Dodson, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, won’t be allowed to make money on the book.

A U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the matter says the Justice Department, ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will review Dodson’s manuscript and, after making redactions to protect sensitive law enforcement information, will clear it for publication. However, federal employee guidelines prohibit Dodson and other active agents from making a profit from their work in law enforcement, the official said. …

In an October 8 interview with Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s “New Day,” Dodson rejected the claims about morale or about the ATF’s relationship with other agencies. “I think what happened, what we were doing, what the agency was doing, the Phoenix field division, the operation itself, I think that is what is harmful for morale,” Dodson said. “I think that is what is a detriment — to not only our relationship with other federal agencies, but our relationship with the American people and their trust in us.”

If the DOJ really wants to enforce the rules about active employees making a profit off of their work, then fine, but I have the gravest doubts that the DOJ personally redacting his story is going to be much of an improvement over simply banning the book’s publication altogether; Dodson has already clarified that he isn’t looking to reveal any sensitive information about ongoing operations, and I have a funny feeling that they’ll probably still rely on that utterly silly “morale” excuse as a major editing guideline.

I suppose we can only conclude that it isn’t for nothing that the Department of Justice is still actively stonewalling Congress on turning over thousands of documents that would shed more light on what can most generously be interpreted as the Obama administration’s willful and lethal negligence. Hmmm.


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Find a European company that will publish and distribute it in the rest of the World and pay Dodson.

slickwillie2001 on October 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I am thoroughly enjoying your snark, Erika

John the Libertarian on October 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Most open and transparent administer EVER….Nothing to hide here at all

sadsushi on October 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM

You vill tell the story ve tell you to tell…

d1carter on October 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I’d do it anyway and then dare them to stop me.

joekenha on October 16, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Have Issa call Dodson to his committee, then enter, as testimony, the entire unredacted manuscript.

rbj on October 16, 2013 at 3:29 PM

He can self publish. There is a company in Ann Arbor Michigan that will publish anyone’s book professionally. The person just has to pay for the copies up front. It is quite reasonable and will make as few as ten copies or into the thousands.

Rose on October 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

I’m pretty sure that the morale of ATF would be most improved by them straightening up and flying right. And that won’t happen until they admit their errors.

Surellin on October 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Unacceptable.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Life under Stalin Obama…

PatriotRider on October 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Why doesn’t he register as a charity and position himself as the CEO . He could donate a % of the profits to the families of the deceased .

EnglishRogue on October 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

From the CNN article:
“After Dodson last week complained about his book being blocked, ATF officials acknowledged that his supervisors had noted morale as one reason. However, the agency said the rejection was “not about 1st Amendment rights. This is about a current employee trying to profit financially from knowledge he has gained while currently employed as a special agent.”

By that standard, wouldn’t all former senators, congressmen, and cabinet members be barred from “retiring” and becoming obscenely-paid lobbyists, and then calling on their former agencies/departments?

VastRightWingConspirator on October 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

He can self publish. There is a company in Ann Arbor Michigan that will publish anyone’s book professionally. The person just has to pay for the copies up front. It is quite reasonable and will make as few as ten copies or into the thousands.

Rose on October 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

He already has a publisher. The issue here is the non-disclosure documents most government people have to sign. And Dodson is apparently still employed as an agent. But clearly the DoJ is using it punitively here.

Happy Nomad on October 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Hostage takers, extremists.

the_nile on October 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM

I’d do it anyway and then dare them to stop me.

joekenha on October 16, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Sure, and he would have the IRS up his A$$ along with the DOJ pulling a Zimmerman on him while the NSA trolls his and his extended families computers and plants stuff on them….

Johnnyreb on October 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

By that standard, wouldn’t all former senators, congressmen, and cabinet members be barred from “retiring” and becoming obscenely-paid lobbyists, and then calling on their former agencies/departments?

VastRightWingConspirator on October 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Perhaps, but then we don’t hold senators, congressmen, and cabinet members to ‘standards’ of any kind – including insider trading, or a host of other things that openly flout any sense of ‘equal protection’, etc.

Midas on October 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM

A U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the matter says the Justice Department, ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will review Dodson’s manuscript and, after making redactions to protect sensitive law enforcement information, will clear it for publication.

I’m sure the “redacted” version will read something like this:

.

Bitter Clinger on October 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM

OT-

I just sent Boehner a piece of my mind about being a surrender weasel. Won’t change anything but it made me feel better. Might help others who are as bitter as I am this afternoon.

I wanted to fight the good fight now instead of getting stupid lectures about living to fight another day. By the time that bit of moronic prattle would apply, there will be no United States worth fighting for.

I’m following Cruz no matter what the GOP does in 2016. The stupid people who are cheering surrender today also support another electable RINO like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush. Eff them all!

Happy Nomad on October 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM

I’m sure the “redacted” version will read something like this:

.

Bitter Clinger on October 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Maybe not. If I were the DoJ editor, I’d have some fun. Maybe only allow “the” or “and” through.

Happy Nomad on October 16, 2013 at 4:00 PM

With all this out of control spending and $17 trillion in debt maybe there’s something to be said for drawing a hard line and saying this has got to stop. Pelosi says the “shelf is bare” for spending cuts.

No, huge amounts of nearly painless cuts remain to be made. Start with the Alphabet Soup govt. Eliminate or streamline and consolidate any “essential functions” of the morass of antiquated and counterproductive agencies and depts. Start by disbanding the ATF. Talk about antiquated, its name tells the story of this mismoded dinosaur: “The ATF was formerly part of the United States Department of the Treasury, having been formed in 1886 as the ‘Revenue Laboratory’ [???] within the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Internal Revenue. The history of ATF can be subsequently traced to the time of the revenuers or ‘revenoors’ [??] and the Bureau of Prohibition, which was formed as a unit of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1920, was made an independent agency within the Treasury Department in 1927, was transferred to the Justice Department in 1930…”

anotherJoe on October 16, 2013 at 4:01 PM

I don’t understand this story. America doesn’t have an Official Secrets Act. What happened to the First Amendment? Why does he need anybody’s permission to write his book.

rrpjr on October 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I don’t understand this story. America doesn’t have an Official Secrets Act. What happened to the First Amendment? Why does he need anybody’s permission to write his book.

rrpjr on October 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Because you still sign non-disclosure documents as a government official. It’s really designed for things like preventing disclosure of methods or tactics. And it even extends to make sure the former submariner doesn’t get too realistic when writing some Tom Clancy-like thriller.

Non-disclosure is being abused here because it is clearly being imposed to prevent the ATF and DoJ from looking bad. That’s illegal. I think the not-for-profit thing has to do with the fact that Dodson is still an active agent.

Happy Nomad on October 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Have Issa call Dodson to his committee, then enter, as testimony, the entire unredacted manuscript.

rbj on October 16, 2013 at 3:29 PM

I like that idea.

Maybe Dodson should just retire, and publish. I’d buy it. Anybody know how many years of service he’s got?

iurockhead on October 16, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Happy Nomad on October 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Got it. But this doesn’t explain away their peremptorily effort to block it under grounds of hurting morale. They should have only argued that they would need to review it for possible unauthorized disclosures.

rrpjr on October 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Actually, VRWC, Congress has exempted themselves & their staffers from insider trading rules. They have tightened up recently but still nowhere near what laws we have to follow.

rbj on October 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Got it. But this doesn’t explain away their peremptorily effort to block it under grounds of hurting morale. They should have only argued that they would need to review it for possible unauthorized disclosures.

rrpjr on October 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Nobody said they were the brighest bulbs on the tree.

Bitter Clinger on October 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Got it. But this doesn’t explain away their peremptorily effort to block it under grounds of hurting morale. They should have only argued that they would need to review it for possible unauthorized disclosures.

rrpjr on October 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

They don’t have a legitimate case. When the opening argument includes morale, they’re admitting that they can’t find legitimate reasons for stopping publication.

Happy Nomad on October 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

America, land of the free & sacrifices of the brave. We look the other way while an America hating Holder & Communist president who never served or suffered want to fundamentally transforms us.

RdLake on October 16, 2013 at 5:29 PM

So how many YEARS will it take ‘the most transparent administration, evah’ to “review” the book?

Dodson needs to take his book overseas and have it published.

GarandFan on October 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Why doesn’t he register as a charity and position himself as the CEO . He could donate a % of the profits to the families of the deceased .

EnglishRogue on October 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Do you think the IRS is going to even consider thinking about maybe rejecting that request? That form could take years and cost millions of dollars to process!

Freddy on October 16, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I agree with slickwillie2001. Publish it in Europe. That way, we might have a better chance of getting an uncensored version with the TRUTH. Who would have ever thought this would happen in America?

mobydutch on October 16, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Write the manuscript, send it to Benghazi – then let CNN find it and publish the material.

Odie1941 on October 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM

send it to greenwald, lets see if he’ll print something not fitting his normal stuff.

dmacleo on October 16, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Just send the transcript to Darryl Issa so it can be read into the record as testimony.

Then publish that.

It is already freely available and on the record, yet you can bet there will be people willing to pay for the book of the testimony of the book by the writer.

ajacksonian on October 16, 2013 at 8:08 PM

If I was him, I would insist to the publisher that the “redacted” text be left as whitespace in the ARC copy. and substitutions have both the whitespace from the original and a different color text to make it really really obvious what the ATF deleted and changed.

jhnone on October 17, 2013 at 4:04 AM

Can we sue James Hansen and the other government employees who have profited off of their activist roles? Hansen was paid huge amounts of money for promoting global warming. He certainly profited off of his status in NASA.
It’s time to hold all government employees to the same standards. Not just the people whom the liberals love to crucify.

djaymick on October 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I think if I were in his situation…I would conclude that my government Is @#$%ing me and I would move to a FREE-ER country…write my book and have it published, and sell it in the US….Let the corrupt DOJ..try to shut every publishing company in the world down…..

nonstopca on October 17, 2013 at 12:15 PM