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November 09, 2011

US Attorney With Close Connections To Obama's White House Admits To Leaking Sensitive Document To Smear Fast and Furious Whistleblower

(By the way, I've been trying to find out for a half hour how this document "smeared" the whistleblower Dodson. Most accounts gloss over this key background detail. I don't think the reporters actually checked. Anyway, found one that explains it.)

Dennis Burke now admits he leaked the document used to smear Dodson.

A politically-connected U.S. Attorney who resigned in August over the Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning probe acknowledged through his lawyers on Tuesday that he leaked a memo as part of what lawmakers say was an effort to smear a federal law enforcement agent who publicly criticized the probe's tactics.

Dennis Burke, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney in August as part of a Justice Department reshuffle of personnel involved in Fast and Furious, acknowledged to internal department investigators weeks earlier that he released the memo written by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent John Dodson. Dodson testified publicly at a House hearing in June about his unsuccessful attempts to persuade ATF higher-ups to abandon the tactic of gunwalking, in which government agents deliberately passed up opportunities to intercept suspicious shipments of weapons believed destined for Mexican drug cartels.

That's from the NPR account, quoted at Sipsey Street Irregulars. The NPR account continues:

Chuck Rosenberg, a lawyer for Burke, told NPR that "Dennis regrets his role in disclosing the memo but he's a stand-up guy and is willing to take responsibility for what he did. It was absolutely not Dennis's intent to retaliate against Special Agent Dodson or anyone else for the information they provided Congress."

From Politico:

Prior to his sudden exit in August, Burke was extremely well-regarded within the department and enjoyed close ties to President Barack Obama's cabinet. He served as a top aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, both in Washington and earlier when she was governor of Arizona. Burke was also frequently mentioned in Arizona as a potential Democratic candidate for statewide office.

So, he deliberately leaked a memo to smear Dodson, who was telling the truth about the murderous Fast and Furious program.

In what way did the release smear Dodson? Well, the Daily Caller actually explains that bit.

The leaked memo actually revealed Dodson's attempts to get his higher-ups to realize Fast and Furious was a terrible operation and was killing people. And how could that be used to smear Dodson?

By making it appear as if Dodson leaked the highly-sensitive document, and was therefore a lawbreaker:

The memo was leaked to press and had the names of criminal suspects deleted — but kept Dodson’s name on it. Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire during Tuesday morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when he wouldn’t answer any questions from Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley about the leaked memo, who was held accountable for it and how they were held accountable.

So, while the document actually confirmed the details Dodson was talking about, Burke attempted to set Dodson up by making it seem as if he was leaking confidential documents.

Burke claims it was just "a mistake." And yet, when people began accusing Dodson of leaking the memos, I don't see any note that he began telling reporters that wasn't true. Seems he sort of permitted people to draw that conclusion.

Dodson doesn't think Burke acted alone.

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posted by Ace at 02:00 PM

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