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IG Report Says U.S. Attorney Sought to Undermine Credibility of Fast and Furious Whistleblower

U.S. Attorney fingered for two leaked documents to the press and lying to Deputy Attorney General

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following statement after an Office of Inspector General Report showed that U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke leaked a sensitive document to the press regarding a whistleblower who had come forward with allegations of gunwalking, that he leaked an internal memo regarding Fast and Furious suspect Jaime Avila to the New York Times, and that he lied to Deputy Attorney General James Cole. The document leaked to Fox News was deemed so sensitive by the Justice Department that it was not provided to Congress, except in a secured room at department headquarters.

“The Inspector General outlined the Justice Department’s efforts to undermine Special Agent Dodson’s credibility, the whistleblower who had the guts to come forward and tell Congress the truth about Operation Fast and Furious. The Inspector General confirmed that Mr. Burke went to great lengths to discredit Special Agent Dodson and Congress’ investigation into the gunwalking that led to the death of Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Mr. Burke’s refusal to cooperate with the Inspector General’s investigation shows me that he didn’t operate in good faith. His actions are indicative of this administration’s willingness to attack whistleblowers who cooperate with Congress and show the administration’s commitment to undermine legitimate congressional oversight.

“The report brings into question, yet again, the treatment that whistleblowers receive from this administration. Instead of examining the allegations that came forward, the Justice Department almost immediately began to attack the credibility and good name of a dedicated federal agent upset with what he was ordered to do.”

Further background information
The Inspector General report does not include the following important context regarding the Dodson Memo that was leaked to Fox News. The memo is addressed in Grassley’s first report on Operation Fast and Furious, written with House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa. That segment of the report (Appendix III) can be found here and sections regarding the Dodson memo are highlighted (pp. 33-39). The full report can be found here.

Here is some additional information from the report that addresses the Dodson memo.
• As Dodson’s supervisor, David Voth had responsibility for the Fernandez case, ordered the memo to be written, and edited it before it was approved by the Assistant Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix. Still, Dodson did not hide from what he did. In fact, he expressed remorse for it.

• In his very first public appearance on CBS Evening News, Dodson told the world in a powerful interview that he had walked guns: “Here I am. Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did. Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did.”[1] He also apologized to the Terry family: “First of all, I’d tell [Agent` Terry’s family] that I’m sorry.”[2]

• Agent Dodson was upfront about the Fernandez case throughout his interactions with Congressional investigators, and Senator Grassley’s letter attaching the Fernandez documents came out the same day Dodson went on the CBS Evening News and publicly expressed remorse for his admitted role in walking guns.

• As the documentation makes clear, Dodson’s participation in walking guns in the Fernandez case came just weeks after Voth’s schism email, which warned dissenters to fall in line or find another job.

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