A former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), with the help of a public-interest, legal watchdog group, on Wednesday filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Back in Sept. 24, 2012, ATF Special Agent John Dodson had filed FOIA applications requesting specific information that included all of the email communications between (either directed to or received from) the DOJ's Director of Public Affairs Tracy Schmaler and Fortune Magazine writer Katherine Eban, between the dates of January 20, 2011 and September 24, 2012.
Dodson's case is expected to reveal just how closely the Obama administration and news organizations collude with one another to denigrate perceived enemies of President Barack Obama and his minions, noted former police detective and attorney Paula Fierstein.
"Whomever came up with the idea for Operation Fast and Furious had limited, if any, law enforcement experience. I believe this whole snafu was the brainchild of political hacks with an agenda," said Fierstein.
Dodson's FOIA request requested all of the emails -- sent and received -- by the DOJ's Schmaler that contained the name "John Dodson," "Dodson," or that referenced any "ATF whistleblower" directly or implied between Jan. 20, 2011 and Sept. 24, 2012.
Dodson also requested all communications emanating from Department of Justice between Jan. 20, 2010 and Sept. 24, 2012 including emails, memos, letters, drafts, recordings and other documents, which referred to Special Agent John Dodson either by name or through implication or any reference to Dodson's role as an ATF whistleblower.
Unfortunately DOJ officials ignored Dodson’s legal requests as stated in the FOIA law, and this failure to comply brought about Judicial Watch's lawsuit which the group's attorney filed on behalf of Dodson. The lawsuit asks that the District Court to order the DOJ to search for all of the records listed on the FOIA request applications. Judicial Watch, in its lawsuit on Dodson's behalf, is seeking a federal judge's order for the DOJ to “produce, by a certain date, any and all non-exempt records, along with indices of all records that DOJ continues to declare exempt"
Dodson is seeking these documents as a result of the alleged leaking of information about him by the now former DOJ Director of Public Affairs Tracy Schmaler to Fortune Magazine's writer Katherine Eban. Dodson accuses the DOJ's Schmaler of providing his confidential personnel file to Eban for a Fortune Magazine article appearing in the June 2012 issue that defends the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The article was condemned by the House Oversight Committee and the committee publicly demanded a retraction.
The leaking of Dodson's personal information is believed to have been "payback" for his being the first ATF agent to publicly accuse his superiors of authorizing the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling operation. In fact, the Justice Department's own inspector general reported that senior staff members at the DOJ -- including Tracy Schmaler -- discussed how they might discredit Dodson and soil his reputation as a professional lawman.
Without notice to the news media by Attorney General Eric Holder or President Barack Obama, Schmaler quietly resigned from her position at the DOJ in March 2013 right after news broke that she colluded with the George Soros-funded, left-wing organization Media Matters to smear Dodson, as well as other whistleblowers, members of Congress intent on investigating the Fast and Furious scandal, and the news media, such as Fox News, who sought to probe the DOJ's scandals.
“It is clear that John Dodson was smeared by DOJ officials for having the courage to be the first whistleblower in the Fast and Furious scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And it is equally clear that those who attacked him have gone unpunished, despite the disciplinary provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Act. Perhaps once we have the complete records of Ms. Schmaler’s actions, the Office of Special Counsel will do its job and we will finally see justice prevail.”
“For almost two years, the Obama Justice Department has stonewalled my efforts to receive information about me,” said Dodson. “It is disappointing that I have to sue to receive information about how my employer provided personal and confidential information about me to eager reporters willing to tell the administration’s side of the story.”