July 19, 2012
On July 9, 2012, ATF Acting Director Todd Jones told potential whistleblowers they will face “consequences” if they don’t “respect the chain of command” and ask permission to release information damaging to the agency.
“Choices and consequences means simply that 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, because we cannot tolerate — we cannot tolerate — an undisciplined organization,” he said.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa., and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sent a letter Wednesday to Jones declaring the message “could be interpreted as a threat” and asked him to clarify.
“Your ominous message — which could be interpreted as a threat — is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to contact Congress,” they wrote.
“What it appears to be is a not-so-veiled threat telling (ATF employees) not to do what they did to expose Fast and Furious,” Issa said. “He’s basically saying ‘no, keep it in the chain’.”
The ATF insists the video (above) was taken out of context.
“It was directed at employees who violate the rules. It was not directed at those with protected disclosure,” said ATF spokeswoman Ginger Colbrun.