"ATF chief warns of 'consequences' to outside whistleblowing.""No more Mister Nice Guy."
The federal prosecutor brought in to reform the embattled Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the aftermath of the Fast and Furious gun scandal distributed a videotaped message to employees this month warning there would be “consequences” for reporting wrongdoing outside their chain of command.The video, obtained by the Washington Guardian, immediately raised alarm among agents in the field, members of Congress and whistleblower advocates“Choices and consequences means simply that if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences,” Acting Director B. Todd Jones told the employees in a video distributed July 9 by email and closed-circuit TV and obtained by the Washington Guardian.The 3 minute, 22 second videotape was the last of eight “Changecasts” that Jones distributed to ATF employees in recent weeks to describe how he planned to run the agency, improve morale and instill a new culture in the aftermath of one of the agency's worst scandals.ATF officials in Washington and rank-and-file agents told the Washington Guardian that the tape was interpreted by many as a warning not to pursue the path of the Arizona agents who went outside the agency in 2011 and reported concerns to Congress about the bungled Fast and Furious gun probe that let semiautomatic weapons flow to Mexican drug gangs.
Darrell Issa and Charles Grassley are not amused.
Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, “Your ominous message – which could be interpreted as a threat – is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified.”
Their letter here.