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Dobyns case highlights continued ATF failures, corruption and abuse

“No Angel” Dobyns with attorney Jim Reed.
“No Angel” Dobyns with attorney Jim Reed.
© 2008-2014 Jay Dobyns Group, LLC. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Calling the case “discomforting” and “wrenching,” U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra ordered yesterday’s closing arguments in Tucson open to the public in the case of Dobyns vs. United States, KGUN9-TV reported Tuesday.

The case involves a contract dispute suit in which retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Jay Dobyns maintains that, following an undercover operation in which he infiltrated the Hells Angels, ATF “failed to protect him and his family from threats and violence [and] that ATF's actions (and lack thereof) violated an agreement he had with the agency.”

For their part, ATF maintained Dobyns breached any contractual obligations they owed him by authoring the book “No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels,” which is curious considering the bureau proudly featured it in their headquarters on an ATF Authors display.

“Dobyn's attorney James Reed argued that the ATF failed to protect Dobyns and his family against death threats and tried to frame him for arson,” the KGUN report continued. "ATF was audio recording him twice without his permission, without his acquired authorization from the US Attorney's office," Reed told reporters outside the courthouse.

Dobyns, who has been the subject of or a source for numerous Gun Rights Examiner reports, and his family, were the victims of a subsequent arson fire that burned their home to the ground. Per the KGUN report, ATF agents admitted under oath the fire was improperly investigated, describing the response as “embarrassing” and “worse than a mess,” that ATF actions were “inadequate, between that and horrendous” and “an extremely poor response ... it’s probably the worst response we’ve ever given to any fire...”

ATF agent Vince Ceflau, another subject of several reports in this column who is also involved in litigation with ATF, had a telling quote in the KGUN report, saying the Bureau “has lost its way and has been unable to accept responsibility and unable to right the track" dating back before the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation.

"Had they acted on it then, none of us would be in this position," Cefalu maintained.

The report reintroduces a familiar Fast and Furious figure to longtime readers of this column, then-Phoenix ASAC George Gillett, named in a CleanUpATF whistleblower website forum post first reported by Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars in December, 2010. In it, he noted a comment entered by a member using the screen name “1desertrat,” who later became the subject of still another report in this column, when ATF’s acting director and chief counsel tried to ascertain what their retaliation options against him might be.

“Word is that curious George Gillett the Phoenix ASAC stepped on it again,” 1desertrat revealed, giving the first hint into an evil, cynical operation people are still at risk of being killed from. “Allegedly he has approved more than 500 AR-15 type rifles from Tucson and Phoenix cases to be ‘walked’ to Mexico. Appears that ATF may be one of the largest suppliers of assault rifles to the Mexican cartels! One of these rifles is rumored to have been linked to the recent killing of a Border Patrol Officer in Nogales, AZ. Can anyone confirm this information?”

Gillett’s attitude in the Dobyns investigation appeared to bolster the reputation he holds among whistleblowers.

“[W]hat I can control (and fully intend to control) is the specific information that is briefed to the chain of command," Gillett wrote in an email to ATF Supervisor Charles Higman about the arson investigation. "I stand with you and your agents on this so not releasing significant details (to anyone) that we may discover that would compromise our work won't come from me. I'll go out of my way to conceal them. Please trust that ... I have enough LE and intelligence community experience to know how to protect myself and my subordinates. (I can hide the ball with the best of them.)"

And hide and obscure it looks like he did, and in coordination with two other key Fast and Furious players.

“When Dobyn's house was burned down, allegedly an arson by those associated with the Hell's Angels, ATF supervisors attempted to frame Dobyns to cover their own failures and corruption,” Katie Pavlich reported on, providing details on the extent of threats ATF knew Dobyns had been subjected to. “The management team in place at the time 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.”

As with Gillett, Newell and McMahon have also been subjects of numerous reports in this column.

“U.S. Court of Claims Judge Francis Allegra [said] his assessment of ATF’s treatment of me was ‘wretched,’ their acts were ‘purposeful,’ derived out of ‘professional jealousy’ and ‘simply spiteful,’” Dobyns told visitors to his website yesterday. “Judge Allegra went on to say that during trial, witnesses testifying for the government had answered questions in his courtroom with ‘less than candor.’ That is a tactful way of saying they committed perjury, or for the rest of us laymen -- they lied.”

The judge’s assessment, along with Report of Investigation copies and Dobyns’ narrative of his meetings with ATF officials including Deputy Director Thomas Brandon (the right-hand man of then-acting and now "permanent" director B. Todd Jones, and the subject of yet more Gun Rights Examiner reports), makes it quickly evident that for the ATF operating out of the Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and Barack Obama’s administration, the more things have been represented as changed, the more they have stayed the same.

“We don’t know how yet but we will find a way to make sure you never experience victory,” Dobyns reported DOJ attorney Thomas Kinner told him in April of last year. “We will tie you up for a very long time.”

Kind of like Holder and the documents subpoenaed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform....

With “the most transparent administration in history,” what’s clear is, these people are all doing what is expected of them.


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Despite all those blood-curdling screams coming from those haunting the halls of politics, the true chilling threat is to our rights. My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Ghost Guns.”

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