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July 2012


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

ATF Whistleblower Says New Leadership Unfairly Accused of Trying to Stifle or Intimidate Whistleblowers

By Allan Lengel

ATF whistleblower Peter Forcelli told on Thursday that the current leadership at ATF is being unfairly attacked and wrongly accused of trying to silence whistleblowers like himself.

“It’s not fair, these guys are trying to do the right thing,” he says about the new leadership at ATF.

The comments by Forcelli, who has testified before Congress as a whistleblower about Operation Fast and Furious, comes a day after Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa questioned a video message ATF Director B. Todd Jones delivered to ATF agents. The two lawmakers said they feared the statement may have been meant to put a chill on whistleblowers.

Jones statement said:

“… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

Forcelli, who was in the Phoenix Office as a group supervisor and who is now at headquarters as program manager for criminal groups and gangs, says: “The chain of command has been broken for a long time. They ‘re trying to get people to follow chain of command . I don’t think their intention is to disuade people from blowing the whistle.”

Forcelli says disgruntled ATF agents may be fueling Capitol Hill with allegations that the current regime is trying to put a chill on whistle blowing, but that’s not true, he said. For one, he said, he’s a whistleblower and he’s been treated very fairly.

“Whistle blower cases were mishandled. That was in prior administrations. These guys are paying for their sins,” he says of Jones and second in command, Tom Brandon.

He says that Brandon was nothing but supportive when he was blowing the whistle on Fast and Furious.

He said Brandon told him: “This is a big deal, if you need to go, you need to tell the truth. Don’t minimize. Don’t embellish. Run to the truth. He said they’re going to throw fast balls. Hit them out of the park.”

“Where ATF has screwed up, I’m not going to apologize,” Forcelli said. But he repeated that the attack on the new leadership is unfair.

Forcelli says that as a whistleblower, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix retaliated against him and blackballed him. He said people in that office were directed to report any contact with him, even at a coffee shop over the weekend.

He went on to say that “I totally support Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa’s inquiry into what happened with Fast and Furious. I appreciate what they did for me when I was retaliated against” by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“But I feel that some people have cried wolf with respect to this video” with the message from Director Jones by suggesting it’s putting a chill on whistle blowing.

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Comment from mspbwatch
Time July 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Shame on Forcelli for questioning the motivations of employees who brought this to light. As a whistleblower, he ought to know better. The video speaks for itself, the threat was there for all to see. Jones told his staff to respect the chain of command under implied threat of penalty… but the law (Whistleblower Protection Act) allows whistleblowers to sidestep the chain of command. Any disclosure is (supposed to be) valid, whether “appropriate” in the eyes of Jones or not.

Forcelli’s unique experiences as a whistleblower who didn’t get treated badly doesn’t speak for all whistleblowers at ATF – certainly not the ones who had a manager threaten to “take them down,” which we found out about a few weeks ago – and certainly not for other whistleblowers in the Obama administration who have been and continue to be mistreated (and there are many).

Leave the partisan politics out of it, Forcelli.

Comment from mspbwatch
Time July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Another chink in Forcelli’s armor:

“A veteran ATF agent who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal (hmmmm………) confirmed that he and his colleagues interpreted the message to mean they would be punished, with vigour, for going outside the ATF agency chain of command to report concerns.”

Whatever they’re paying you, it’s not worth it.

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