The ATF Agent who has been loudly criticizing the "Project Gunrunner" scandal has received his walking papers, and he says its a clear case of government retaliation against a whistleblower.
Agent Vince Cefalu, who has worked for the ATF for 24 years, was effectively terminated last week, pending appeal while he is on paid administrative leave. Here he is on Fox Business:
Cefalu has been in the news recently due to his criticism of the so-called "Project Gunrunner" fiasco -- also known as "Fast and Furious" -- and even appeared on Fox News channel to critique the faulty operation. (We at the Blaze covered the controversy in an earlier post here).
Apparently Fox News has been in contact with Cefalu for months, reporting that:
Cefalu first told FoxNews.com about the ATF’s embattled anti-gun smuggling operation in December, before the first reports on the story appeared in February. “Simply put, we knowingly let hundreds of guns and dozens of identified bad guys go across the border,” Cefalu said at the time.
Since then, Cefalu’s claims have been vindicated, as a number of agents with first-hand knowledge of the case came forward. The scandal over Project Gunrunner led to congressional hearings, a presidential reprimand – Obama called the operation “a serious mistake” – and speculation that ATF chief Ken Melson will resign.
Fox News also makes the case that the ATF lately has made a habit of going after whistleblowers:
Cefalu’s dismissal follows a string of allegations that the ATF retaliates against whistleblowers. When the Project Gunrunner scandal broke, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote the ATF that an agent who had been giving his staff members information about the scandal had been "allegedly accused... of misconduct" by the agent’s boss for talking with Grassley’s staffers.
And two days before Cefalu was served with termination papers, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the ATF warning officials not to retaliate against whistleblowers.
The ATF is claiming Cefalu was fired because he leaked documents on a website, along with a string of other allegations of unprofessional conduct.
Agent Cefalu counters that explanation, pointing to good performance evaluations, 18 years without a disciplinary action and, of course, the politically convenient timing of his firing.
“I think it’s obvious why they’re doing this," Cefalu said, "it was my willingness to expose and support other people to come forward.”
Additional Note: This one year old video of Cefalu, reported on by CNN, shows him discussing how he is paid $150,000 a year to do nothing in response to his ATF criticisms.