As a candidate on 2008 Obama claimed to support whistleblowers. His website claimed that whistleblowing events were “acts of courage and patriotism” that “should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration.”
If back then we had used our Obama Bullshit Decoder Ring and applied DrJohn’s Law, we would have known how that was going to go.
“The Sterling case…sends a clear message to people in government service: You won’t get in trouble as long as you do what you’re told (even torture people). But if you talk to a reporter and tell him something we want kept secret, we will spare no effort to destroy you.”
Without a doubt. It echoes a Sharyl Atikisson remark. Atkisson said
If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state.
Enter Jay Dobyns
Dobyns was a highly decorated Firearms Special Agent of the ATF. He penetrated the Hells Angels gang as an undercover operative. Dobyns’ work put a number of the gang in prison and he made enemies.
Threats were made against Dobyns and his family:
Approximately a year after Operation Black Biscuit concluded beginning in 2004 through 2008, Dobyns and ATF became aware of credible and substantial violent threats against him and his family. Those threats included plans to murder him either with a bullet or by injecting him with the AIDS virus, kidnapping and torturing his then 15-year-old daughter and kidnapping his wife in order to videotape a gang rape of her. Dobyns and ATF also learned contracts were solicited between the Hells Angels, the Aryan Brotherhood and the MS-13 gang to carry out these threats.
During Operation Black Biscuit, Dobyns operated as a special field agent under ATF Phoenix Field Office management. At the time of the threats, that management team included Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Phoenix Field Division William Newell, Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett and ATF Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon, who served as Newell’s direct supervisor at the time. All were intimately involved in Operation Fast and Furious. Newell and McMahon have both testified before the House Oversight Committee regarding their roles in the lethal gun trafficking operation that deliberately put over 2,000 high powered weapons into the hands of ruthless Mexican drug cartels and allowed those weapons to be lost south of the border.
Dobyns wanted the threats taken seriously. There were not.
Dobyns reported these threats to Special Agent in Charge William Newell, asking for protection for his family. The threats were based in Arizona and Dobyns lived in Arizona at the time. Newell was in charge of investigating and handling all threats made against agents working out of the ATF Phoenix Field Office. The threats were ignored. When Dobyns essentially “blew the whistle” on Newell, pointing out his failures to address violent death threats against a federal agent, he was retaliated against. Newell dismissed the threats and then covered up his blatant dismissal of those threats within the Phoenix Field Office.
It got worse.
On top of ignoring death threats, recently Dobyns’ house was set on fire at 3 a.m. with his wife, son and daughter sleeping inside in a confirmed act of arson. It is suspected members of the Hells Angels, or close associates of the gang carried out the arson in retaliation of Dobyns’ undercover work.
The ATF then tried to frame Dobyns
When Dobyns reported the incident to both ATF and Newell. He asked for an investigation into the case. Newell not only refused to investigate, calling the incident “just scorching,” but allowed his subordinates, including Gillett, to attempt to frame Dobyns, accusing him of purposely burning down his own home with his family inside, has named him as a suspect and is investigating him. Newell conspired to destroy and fabricate evidence to “prove” his case. Emails, witness testimony, phone conversations and other documentation show the ATF Phoenix Field Divisions’ intentions, led by Newell, were to frame Dobyns, yet Newell denied under oath any involvement in this activity. His subordinates Gillett and ATF Tucson Group Supervisor over Operation Wide Receiver Charles Higman, also denied any attempts to frame Dobyns under oath, despite evidence showing otherwise.
Why does this matter?
Newell was the brainchild of Operation Fast and Furious in the ATF Phoenix Field office. Newell is also the agent who was in regular contact with a member of the White House national security team, Kevin O’Reilly, about the lethal program. Newell also said he would conduct Operation Fast and Furious again, despite two Americans and hundreds of innocent Mexicans dead as a result of the program.
Newell used Dobyns as a test run, to see just how much he could get away with in his management position within ATF before getting reprimanded. Considering nobody was held accountable for the mistakes made in handling death threats against Dobyns, Newell knew he had the green light to do whatever he wanted, at the highest levels of corruption. The Dobyns case empowered him. Newell was protected and defended for ignoring violent death threats against a federal agent, he had free reign to do what he wanted. This gave Newell everything he needed to get away with Operation Fast and Furious, which started in Fall 2009.
Dobyns sought financial damages and was awarded $173,000 by Judge Francis Allegra:
The case centers on Dobyns’ claim that ATF supervisors failed to adhere to a previous agreement to properly protect him following death threats made over his undercover work in the outlaw motorcycle gang.
In the voided decision, Allegra awarded Dobyns $173,000 after finding that supervisors improperly withdrew his covert identification and misdirected an investigation into an arson — and possible murder attempt — that destroyed his house in Tucson in 2008.
But then Allegra voided his decision. And this is where it gets really interesting. There is strong suspicion of fraud on the part of Department of Justice lawyers. The belief is strong enough that Allegra banned the DOJ attorneys from filing any more documents in his court:
A federal judge suspects that seven attorneys representing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives committed fraud in the case of a retired federal agent who infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Arizona.
Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra banned the attorneys from filing documents in his court, and he ordered additional hearings to investigate the attorneys’ actions, essentially creating a trial within a trial.
The accusations are spelled out in newly unsealed court documents in the case involving former federal agent Jay Dobyns, a onetime University of Arizona football star who sued the ATF for improperly handling threats against him following his undercover stint with the Hells Angels.
The judge previously ruled in Dobyns’ favor, but withdrew his own decision after learning about the ATF attorneys’ conduct.
Allegra also found evidence of intimidation:
The controversy began after someone burned down the home of Dobyns. Dobyns claimed the ATF failed to protect his family, but the agency claimed Dobyns burned down his own home, a charge he denied. Dobyns then sued the ATF in U.S. Federal Claims Court for damaging his reputation and retaliation.
That’s when Justice Department lawyers got involved. In the ruling from last month, Allegra found a key witness in the trial said he was threatened by another ATF agent – and that ATF lawyers told the threatened agent not to tell the judge about it.
“[ATF lawyers] ordered the agent in question not to communicate the threat to the court and stated that there would be repercussions if the agent did not follow counsel’s instructions,” Judge Allegra said in his ruling.
The judge also noted that a tape recording indicates that multiple DOJ lawyers knew about misconduct and did not inform the judge.
Allegra also took a most unusual and serious action:
In a newly unsealed, Dec. 1, 2014, court ruling that legal experts said was highly unusual, Allegra accused seven Justice Department lawyers of “fraud upon the court, banned them from making any further filings in the case and took the unusual step of directly notifying Attorney General Eric Holder.
“In 40 years of legal practice, government and private, I’ve never seen that done,” said David Hardy, a constitutional law expert who formerly worked in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.
“[T]he court … issued an order voiding the prior judgment based upon indications that the defendant [ATF], through its counsel, had committed fraud on the court,” Allegra wrote. “[F]raud on the court consists of conduct: 1. On the part of an officer of the court; 2. That is directed to the ‘judicial machinery’ itself; 3. That is intentionally false, willfully blind to the truth, or is in reckless disregard for the truth; 4. That is positive averment or is concealment when one is under duty to disclose; 5. That deceives the court.”
Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star wrote:
“You can’t read the few filings that have been unsealed in the case without wondering why the Justice Department is going to such extremes and spending so much on what is, at base, a relatively minor contractual dispute that could have ended years ago.”
Arizona lawyer David Hardy:
This is DOJ’s Watergate… or worse. Attorneys and agency officials concealing evidence, secretly threatening witnesses, agency surveillance of attorneys and witnesses. All over a civil lawsuit — can you imagine what they’d do over something big?
Jay Dobyns has prepared twenty one questions he’d like to see asked of Eric Holder and ATF Director Todd Jones. The first eight:
1. Who was briefing you on the status of Dobyns v. USA?
2. What were you told and are you satisfied that your briefings were accurate and complete?
3. When did you first see the two ATF Internal Affairs reports [‘Reports’] on ATF’s reaction, response and investigation of the Dobyns home arson and on ATF’s removal of Dobyns’s backstopped countermeasure identifications?
4. What did you do about the factual allegations of criminal conduct and policy violations contained in the Reports?
5. What was Deputy Director Thomas Brandon’s role in this matter and upon whose instructions was he following?
6. Who was disciplined based on the facts, evidence and recommendations contained in the Reports and to what extent?
7. Who ordered that the Reports be withheld from Dobyns and his attorney and why?
8. When did you first learn that DOJ attorney(s) advised Judge Allegra that the Reports were irrelevant to Dobyns v. USA?
Let’s hope answers are demanded of all.