“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is asking about the handling of multiple claims of sexual harassment, bullying, gender discrimination and witness intimidation by senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) managers dating back to 2012, including alleged attempts to prevent independent oversight by the Inspector General,” a Wednesday committee media advisory reported. “The allegations from eight whistleblowers include threats, unwanted sexual advances, graphic sexual comments and attempts to retaliate against employees who disclosed the inappropriate behavior.” . . .
The press release links to a letter Grassley wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Monday. A confidential source provided advance information to this correspondent on the condition that the story would be embargoed until the release was published.
“Reports of these practices have been widespread, with many originating from inside the Special Operations Division (SOD) and dating back to 2012,” Grassley wrote. “Special Agent Sherry Ann Quindley—a 25 year ATF veteran—along with 7 other whistleblowers indicate that they have experienced some form of the above harassment and sought help from the Internal Affairs Division (ATF IAD), largely to no avail.
“According to these whistleblowers, it is not uncommon for allegations to be suppressed for several years, preventing the Office of the Inspector General (DOJ OIG) from properly determining whether to conduct further investigations,” Grassley explained.
Observers of ATF management practices over the years will not be surprised by these allegations. Rather, especially for those who paid close attention to the treatment of Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” whistleblowers, retaliation appeared to be the rule, rather than the exception.
Likewise, witness intimidation and other acts of official misconduct have been documented by The Truth About Guns in the case of former ATF agent and whistleblower Jay Dobyns. He sued ATF for failure to properly investigate an arson attack that destroyed his home and endangered his family, and for reneging on protection agreements over death threats he received after ATF withdrew his cover identity following his undercover investigation of the Hells Angels.
As noted in that report, Senior Judge Francis M. Allegra of the United States Court of Federal Claims characterized the behavior of Department of Justice and ATF attorneys as . . . “fraud upon the court,” after allegations that they had engaged in witness intimidation and withholding information from the court.
As for sexual harassment and other alleged acts of intimidation, the allegations, if corroborated, are outrageous and inexcusable. If attempts to retaliate against whistleblowers are confirmed, the charges could escalate to conduct warranting criminal charges if substantiated.
“Abuse by power-corrupted executives at ATF is the cancer killing ATF,” Dobyns told TTAG. “The bureau has become an ‘us managers’ against ‘them field employees’ work environment. Real oversight is needed, not just talk of it or threatening letters being sent.
“I’ve known Sherry Ann for her entire career and she simply did not deserve this,” Dobyns stated. “No one would.”
Whether AG Lynch agrees with that assessment, or instead continues her predecessor Eric Holder’s and the administration’s pattern of stonewalling, remains to be seen.