Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fast and Furious: Consequences for Whistleblowing

From the Washington Guardian comes this rather chilling piece.  It seems the federal prosecutor who was tasked with reforming the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives isn't so interested in reforming the organization as he is interested in people not blowing the whistle.

In a video to ATF Employees, he states, "Choices and consequences means simply that if you make poor choices, that if you don't abide by the rules, that if you don't respect the chain of command, if you don't find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences."

How this can be perceived as anything other than a threat to silence whistle-blowers is beyond me.   The Acting Director, B. Todd Jones, was brought in specifically to rehabilitate ATF in the wake of the Fast and Furious Scandal (required note: Watergate did not have a body count).  The only reason we know about Fast and Furious is whistle-blowers who did not "find the appropriate way to raise [their] concerns..." 

In any organization, employees need someone who is outside their "chain of command," to whom they can take complaints.  Whatever the law says, retaliation is real, and employees who have legitimate complaints need a way to raise those complaints without risking reprisals.  This is especially true when your employer is a government agency and your "complaint" is that you believe your agency is conducting an act of war against an allied foreign power.

These comments show that ATF not only has not learned this lesson, but is trying desperately to avoid it.

Watergate did not have a body count.
Fast and Furious was an Act of War against an allied foreign power.

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