"One hundred percent us."
By Mike Vanderboegh & David Codrea
Official ATF documents as well as sources in Arizona and Washington D.C. confirm that in at least two instances in 2010, an agent of the United States government purchased Kalashnikov-pattern semi-automatic pistols from licensed federal firearms dealers with taxpayer money and delivered those weapons directly into the hands of cartel smugglers.
In a letter dated June 1, 2010, then Phoenix ATF Group VII supervisor David Voth instructed a Federal Firearms Licensee in Arizona as follows:
Per Section 925(a)(1) of the Gun Control Act (GCA) exempts law enforcement agencies from the transportation, shipment, receipt, or importation controls of the GCA when firearms are to be used for the official business of the agency.
Please accept this letter in lieu of completing an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of four (4) CAI, Model Draco, 7.62x39 mm pistols, by Special Agent John Dodson. These aforementioned pistols will be used by Special Agent Dodson in furtherance of the performance of his official duties. In addition, Special Agent Dodson has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. If you have any questions, you may contact me at telephone number 602-605-6501.
ATF Group Supervisor
Phoenix Group VII
In the lower left-hand margin of the one-page letter is the hand-written notation:
"Paid Cash" is underlined.
The existence of this letter provided to these reporters by a previously reliable source familiar with the Fast and Furious investigation, coupled with interviews of other sources across the country which put it into context, provides startling proof that the Federal government did not merely "lose track" of weapons purchased by "straw buyers" under surveillance by the ATF and destined for the Mexican drug cartels. In an undercover operation ordered by Fast and Furious supervisor David Voth, the U.S. government purchased firearms with taxpayer money from licensed firearms dealers, instructed them to conduct the sales "off the books," and used an ATF agent, John Dodson, to deliver them directly to people that Dodson believed were conducting them across the border.
According one source close to the Issa committee and knowledgeable of its workings, this revelation "puts a stake in the heart of the 'botched sting operation' lie." He continued, "There never was any 'sting,' there was only a deliberate effort to provide weapons to the DTO's (Drug Trafficking Organizations)." He added, "this was one hundred percent us -- our money, our guy, our (gun)walking."
This source also provided context and explanation of how the letter came to exist in the first place.
(It should be noted that although we would never reveal our sources for any story, it is important in this case for the readers to understand where we did NOT get it. Neither John Dodson nor his lawyer provided us this letter. Nor did they pass it through to us via a third party, as the DOJ has been known to do lately.)
"Dodson was given this undercover assignment by Voth," said the source, "to purchase weapons directly and provide them to the smugglers. He was operating under cover, pretending to be a 'straw buyer.'" He continued, "I think Dodson demanded the letter from Voth to cover both himself and the FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee). He didn't want to be hung out to dry" by Voth.
A source also said that the undercover assignment was an effort by Voth to "dirty him (Dodson) up," pointing out that by the time of the undercover assignment that Dodson's vocal opposition to "letting guns walk" was well known to his superiors in the Phoenix ATF office.
Sources also describe a second letter from Voth to another FFL authorizing Dodson to purchase two more Draco pistols. One source stated flatly: "Issa and Grassley have copies of both letters, and have had for a long time."
Subsequent to this undercover weapons buying and transfer to cartel smugglers by Dodson, say the sources, "Dodson just about came apart all over them (his supervisors)." In a "screaming match" that was heard throughout the Phoenix office by many employees, Dodson yelled at Voth and Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett, "Why not just go direct and empty out the (ATF) arms room?" (to the cartels), or words to that effect.
After this confrontation, say the sources, ATF managers transferred Dodson to a post as "liaison to the intel guys at FBI" in the Phoenix office. For clarification, it is worth noting that the Brian Terry murder investigation was at this time being carried out by the criminal investigations side of the FBI out of the Tuscon office, not Phoenix.
Sources describe continuing harassment of Dodson as his access to the Phoenix office building was restricted. "They removed him from the (Fast and Furious) case as politically unreliable," said another source, adding, "And of course after the Terry murder all the shots were being called by D.C."
After the death of Brian Terry, the "rumor" post on the ATF agent's website, CleanUpATF.org and the initial coverage by these reporters in the early weeks of January, 2011, "things got ugly" for Dodson. Blamed by his immediate supervisors as well as many of his fellow agents in the Phoenix office for "treason" as one source described it, Dodson's existence at the Phoenix office was described as "precarious" by one D.C. source. The threats to his life were perceived to be so great that "solitary range days" were arranged by a sympathetic supervisor so Dodson could practice marksmanship in safety. "He (the supervisor) didn't want him (Dodson) to eat one in the back" in a range "accident," said the source.
Dodson has not given any more interviews of late. "Not since the hearings as far as I know," said one source, and it is not because he hasn't been asked.
"They're (the Justice Department) coming at him hard, looking for anything they can use against him," said another. "Can you blame him for keeping his head down?"
Although our sources firmly agree that Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa have both of the Voth/Dodson letters, we are forwarding copies of the June 1, 2010 letter to staffers of both men, asking for comment on this story and an explanation as to why they have not previously released the letters.
Given the fact that it is a weekend, these reporters do not expect any reaction until later on Monday morning.