Janice’s Review Blog

Book follows disasterous path of gunwalking operation

Posted on: June 22, 2012

Even though the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives couldn’t keep track of the guns “walking” from the United States into Mexico, Katie Pavlich in her new book, “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-up,” accurately tracks the timeline of the events of this disastrous and deadly operation.

"Fast and Furious" follows the disastrous gunwalking operation.

“Fast and Furious” follows the disastrous gunwalking operation.

ATF Special Agent Jay Dobyns writes the introduction to the book and points out the changes within the agency over his 25-years of service. He says the agency managers went from those made of up law enforcement officers and investigators, who knew all aspects of their jobs and wore street clothes, to those who had little hands-on experience, got great test scores and knew how to wear a spiffy suit and tie.

Dobyns writes, “The ATF was viewed internally as a law enforcement Titanic… Then like the Titanic, the luxury liner ATF, commanded by incompetent captains, hit an iceberg: Fast and Furious.”

 Chapter One, A Warrior’s Death, gives readers a glimpse into the life of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who on Dec. 14, 2010, became one of the victims killed by the guns permitted to “walk” through Operation Fast and Furious. Pavlich describes Terry’s background as a former Marine, an elite Border Patrol Agent and a son, brother and friend.

The book also shows how ATF agents who blew the whistle on the agency or its managers suffered through intimidation and vindictive, demeaning treatment. When Dobyns reported substantiated death threats to himself and threats of unspeakable acts aimed at his family, the Phoenix Office’s Special Agent Bill Newell ignored his requests for protection and retaliated against Dobyns. This same kind of intimidation and retaliation by ATF was used against agents who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious. Even though Congress passed an act to protect whistleblowers in 1986, Pavlich reports, “…the Justice Department,  has been exceedingly lax when those laws have been applied to its own operations.”

 Pavlich reports that “a handful of bloggers and whistleblowers” first uncovered Fast and Furious through the use of the website CleanUpATF.org. She follows the trail of Fast and Furious and documents the investigation and parties involved when this information came to light. She does an excellent job of including interviews and the play-by-play as the investigation unfolds and progresses.

The appendices include a timeline starting on April 2009 and continuing through Feb. 2, 2012. She gives the readers specimens of emails, photos and documents with significant redactions, but clear explanations of the content of each specimen. A comprehensive list of notes organized by chapter documents all of the information she included in the book.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how this disastrous operation came to pass. It also shows the bravery of whistleblowers to uncover this operation even knowing the consequences to their careers and families. Katie Pavlich wrote an excellent book. I look forward to her final installment with the outcome of the Fast and Furious investigation.

Photo by Janice Semmel





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