Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released a statement Friday on Project Gunwalker and on ATF Agent John Dodson’s on-camera interview with Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News.
ATF Whistleblowers Question SW Border Strategy
Last night, for the first time an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) spoke publicly with CBS News and The Center for Public Integrity about his concerns that the agency he works for had knowingly let guns be purchased by straw buyers.
This whistleblower, and more than a dozen more ATF agents, tell me that their supervisors kept them from stopping gun traffickers with the normal techniques that had been successfully used for years. They were ordered to only watch and continue gathering information on traffickers instead of arresting them as soon as they could. In the meantime, the guns were allowed to fall into the hands of the bad guys, while the agents knew there was wrongdoing going on.
Many of the guns have subsequently been found in firefights along the border, including one firefight where Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed on December 14, 2010.
The ATF agents who spoke with my staff warned their supervisors that this kind of risky operation would get someone killed. Tragically, they were right. The ATF clearly had plenty of information on the bad guys. The problem was that they didn’t act on the information they had.
I’ve been hounding the Justice Department and the ATF to come forward and be accountable to the American people and the family of Agent Terry. There remain unanswered questions about what transpired at the ATF and the Department of Justice during this time period and the policy that allows guns to walk. Up to this point, I’ve gotten nothing but stonewalling to my five letters. Federal officials have given both me and the Terry family the cold shoulder. And, to make matters worse, they’ve made this whistleblower feel like a skunk at a picnic for simply telling the truth.
My oversight efforts won’t stop. I’ll be looking for answers to my inquiries and working to get to the bottom of how the ATF could let guns be purchased by known straw dealers and then transferred across the border. That practice should have ended long before the death of a federal agent finally forced it into the light of day.