Earlier this week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Deputy Director William J. Hoover, insisting on assurances there would be no reprisals against the ATF agents who have chosen to testify about the failed Operation Fast and Furious — the operation Issa has called “felony stupid.”
Just a day later, ATF Special Agent Vince Cefalu received notice ATF wants to terminate his employment after more than 30 years with the agency. Cefalu is one of the founders of CleanUpATF.org, a message board dedicated to addressing abuses within the ATF. He is one of the most vocal critics of the heads of the organization.
He said the main reason given in the four-page document for his termination is “lack of candor.”
I threw the locals under the bus. … I became the most vocal critic and they got sick of my s***.
He’s since spent four years in a do-nothing job, with ATF managers hoping he’d get the message and retire:
They put me in a cage, paid me full salary, and hoped it would break me down mentally and I would retire.
Since he did a three-part series of interviews about the problems in ATF with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last May, Cefalu says he’s been given only 122 minutes of work:
Not GS-13 investigative work either. Changing batteries or filling cars with gas.
Cefalu said he’s suffered persecution in several other ways as well:
[Acting Director] Ken Melson can’t even respond to a letter from a committee chairman. … I can’t fart in public without being accused of violations. I’ve submitted to seven internal affairs investigations since I blew the whistle. Without an attorney present, I answered every question.
I’m representing dozens of agents [in greivance cases]. They take me out of play, they take a bunch of these cases out of play.
Cefalu says there should be prosecutions in the failed Operation Fast and Furious case, also known as “Gunwalker.” When asked if ATF had violated the law in this case, he responded:
Of course it violates the law! They conspired to traffic firearms, you can’t do that under color of law. … There was no intent to follow the guns, this never had a chance of succeeding. It was a failed plan from the beginning.