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.