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Mon October 22, 2012
Lawmakers Demand Update On 'Fast And Furious' Personnel
Two Republican lawmakers investigating the botched gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious say they aren't finished yet.
In a letter obtained by NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are demanding an update on personnel actions taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives after a lengthy investigation by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general.
Watchdogs concluded earlier this year that the operation, in which federal agents lost track of nearly 2,000 AK-47s and other weapons resulted from "misguided strategies ... errors in judgment and management failures."
Among those cited in the inspector general report for management lapses was William McMahon. But in their Oct. 19, 2012, letter, the Republican lawmakers say McMahon "appears to be improperly exploiting the taxpayers with ATF's approval," by collecting a federal salary and working overseas for J.P. Morgan Chase.
"At the same time ATF appears to be helping one of the supervisors responsible for Fast and Furious double-dip at taxpayer expense, it apparently has no qualms about pursing a personnel action against the man who blew the whistle on Fast and Furious," Grassley and Issa write.
The lawmakers say they have learned that agent, John Dodson, is the subject of an ATF internal affairs investigation. But they also say he didn't get notice of the probe or any chance to review the findings. ATF told Dodson his case would be reviewed by the bureau's Professional Review Board on Oct. 25 — this Thursday.
"Given the secrecy and timing of this alleged internal affairs investigation, it raises the question of whether this is a thinly veiled attempt to punish special agent Dodson for speaking to Congress," the lawmakers write.
Mike Campbell, a spokesman for the ATF, tells NPR that agency brass have received the letter from Congress and that they are reviewing it. He declined further comment about personnel actions.
"The IG report was pretty clear that John's version of events was vindicated," said Dodson's lawyer, Robert Driscoll, said during a telephone interview. "It's fairly outrageous the ATF would take steps to discipline John when they haven't done anything to the individual wrongdoers identified in the report. I assume that ATF leadership will rectify this situation once they review it."