Former ATF Agent John Dodson was one of the chief whistleblowers on Operation Fast and Furious, a covert program that channeled over 2000 U.S. gun store guns to Mexican drug thugs. In 2011, Dodson told Congress that ATF bosses told agents monitoring these illegal guns to “stand down” and let the guns “walk.” Dodson’s cashing-in on his insider knowledge of Fast and Furious with a new book The Unarmed Truth. Americans looking for the unvarnished truth about the stingless ATF sting should look away now. The excerpt published in The New York Post offer no new insights into the extra-legal activities of an Obama administration agency gone rogue. In fact, it reveals Dodson as a mindless minion of a program whose rationale remains hidden by an Attorney General who remains in power, despite a citation for contempt of Congress. Here’s a taste . . .
As had become our routine, we would follow the straw purchasers to a stash house or other location. On occasion, they would meet up with another vehicle and pass box after box from one car to the other. I struggled to reconcile us knowing what was in each one of those boxes, where the guns were headed to, and what they were going to be used for, with how could we just watch them drive away.
There were several times we actually saw money change hands. We were ordered to always stay on the known straw purchaser, the one we already knew everything about, rather than follow the new player who left with the guns.
We recorded everything we witnessed, wrote reports about it each time and kept every document. Other than that, we just allowed it all to happen month after month.
In all, we watched thousands of weapons leave, all bound for the carnage-riddled fron‑tera, the Mexican border.
Clearly, Dodson knew what he was doing was wrong. Clearly, he knew that the ATF was doing sweet FA to keep track of the illegally purchased weapons, violating standard law enforcement protocols for “stings.” And yet he did it “month after month.” Never questioning his superiors. Or so we are led to believe. Even after his boss, ATF F&F case officer Hope MacAllister, called off a major potential bust,
On Dec. 15, 2009, DEA agents working on a similar case met with Hope. Dubbed a “deconfliction” meeting, it became clear that ATF and DEA were working some of the same people.
Since the case didn’t involve drugs, the DEA agents were eager to punt whatever information they had about firearms trafficking to ATF.
Shortly thereafter, DEA called again and dropped a fresh new nugget of intel. Acosta was planning a transfer of 32 semiautomatic AK-variant rifles to his cartel contacts in El Paso who would then take them the rest of the way into Mexico. The break of all breaks — it doesn’t get any better than that.
If the purpose of the case is to stop firearms trafficking, then you interdict this load and shut the group down. If the purpose was to get evidence on Acosta, DEA had just provided all that was needed to catch him in the act. If the purpose was to do a wire, DEA was already up on one and intercepting Acosta’s calls on the other end. If the purpose was to take down a cartel, DEA had just given us the chance to jump one rung of the ladder higher than Acosta before we ever even got up and running.
However, four days later, on Dec. 19, 2009, when DEA called with more information about the pending weapons transfer, Hope outrageously told them that we were too short on bodies because of Christmas to staff a surveillance team and so we wouldn’t be covering it.
And . . . that’s it. Dodson leaves readers with the impression that MacAllister’s excuse, while “outrageous,” was genuine. I don’t think so. Not as it’s part of a pattern of not doing squat about any of the gun smugglers. I repeat, there was not ONE SINGLE ARREST during the 10 months that Fast and Furious was in full swing (ended only after a Mexican rip crew murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with a Fast and Furious firearm).
Later we learned that these folks Acosta was reporting to weren’t just targets of the joint DEA-FBI investigation; they had been cultivated as informants and were in fact assets of the FBI. More shocking, they had been using FBI money to ultimately purchase a significant portion of the firearms.
Take the government out of this equation and nothing gets done. No guns get purchased, because there is no FBI money to pay for them; no guns get sold, because ATF is not coercing the gun dealers to sell them; and no guns get trafficked, because ATF is not using the guise of a “big case” to allow it all to happen.
And yet the Justice Department was happy to let the farce continue, telling my ATF bosses they were doing a great job.
You can’t make this s–t up!
Back-up. Dodson just said the ATF “coerced” gun dealers to sell guns to known criminals. Never mind his grand theory that it’s all the FBI’s fault. That is completely outrageous and deserves a full investigation. The how, when, where, who and what of it.
Most importantly of all, why? Why was the DEA, FBI, ATF (and the rest) in the business of gun smuggling? As a low level ATF Agent with no apparent curiosity, Dodson’s excerpt offers no explanation. He paints Operation Fast and Furious as a genuine law enforcement goals stymied by administrative sloth and incompetence.
Judging from the excerpt, the book comes down on the side of the adage “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Dodson makes the point with a story about illegally purchased guns equipped with a GPS tracker that are lost to Agents due to bureaucratic inefficiency.
Unknown to [ATF Agent] Casa and I, there was a delay in the information we were getting; the GPS was being monitored by a technician who was then relaying the information to an analyst, who then relayed it over the phone to Hope in the Strike Force office, who then relayed it over the radio to us. Although it was ridiculous that so many links need to be in the chain in the first place (we should have had the capability to monitor the GPS directly), it wasn’t overly problematic, until . . .
Hope’s voice came out over the radio, “Does anyone have eyes on the vehicle?”
Shaking my head, I thought, You told us to stay back so we couldn’t be seen; if it can’t see us — we probably can’t see it.
Someone answered, “Negative.”
After a brief pause, the radio crackled again as Hope’s voice broke the static: “We’ve lost the tracker. It may have went down or gone somewhere where the signal can’t get out.”
There he is again: Hope MacAllister. And once again, the F&F jefe somehow manages to screw things up. Accidentally on purpose? If so, Dodson ain’t saying.
In short, The Unarmed Truth provides ammunition for administration apologists and obfuscators looking to disarm critics of Operation Fast and Furious. This real story behind a government conspiracy to arm vicious criminals—and/or monumental f-up by an amoral federal agency (or five)—remains to be told.