The ATF reached an agreement this week with Peter Forcelli, an agent who blew the whistle on misconduct in the failed “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking operation. By perhaps no small coincidence, the Department of Justice Inspector General assigned to Fast and Furious announced a new position Wednesday; a “Whistleblower Ombudsman.”
According to a DOJ statement, the position “will enable the office of the inspector general to continue its leadership as a strong and independent voice within the Department of Justice on whistleblower issues.”
DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz says the new position will focus on training and educating employees within the DOJ on the role and importance of whistleblowers in improving effectiveness and efficiency of the Department’s operations, as well as their legal rights and protections against retaliation.
The Washington Times reports that lawmakers say Forcelli had been threatened with his job after telling a House committee in June 2011 that agency supervisors had allowed weapons — including semi-automatic rifles — to be “provided to individuals whom they knew would traffic them” to Mexican drug cartels. Forcelli had told the committee that the operation “endangered the American public.”
On “Real News” Thursday the panel was joined by ATF special agent Vincent Cefalu. Cefalu is uniquely qualified to comment on the DOJ’s new position for he was also a victim of retaliation within the bureau after he blew the whistle on an illegal wiretap in a racketeering case in 2005.
After spending 24 years going undercover with motorcycle gangs and white supremacist groups, his supervisors claimed he had performance and discipline issues, and sent him to a desk job dealing with oversees equipment inventory.
On GBTV Thursday, Cefalu explained his negative experiences being retaliated against from the highest levels of the bureau, his take on how much further the Fast and Furious scandal may go, and what can be done to fix problems within the ATF.