Two significant insider accounts that would expand public knowledge about the government’s role in the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” criminal enterprise are being withheld from public dissemination because the sources fear reprisals, an “Armed American Radio” panel discussed on last night’s nationally syndicated program. This correspondent joined host Mark Walters, Producer Sean Young, guests Joe Weaver of WGUL 860 AM and blogger George “Mad Ogre” Hill, to examine the effects the slow pace of the investigation and a perceived lack of will to pursue serious legal consequences by the GOP leadership have had on discouraging a whistleblower and an industry source from allowing their stories to be made public.
The first account deals with an ATF whistleblower. Gun Rights Examiner engaged in extensive telephone conversations with a known source, followed by numerous emails, to clarify information provided, only to be asked not to publicly release the report after it had been drafted. The reason for this was the source had no confidence that anyone would provide protection, particularly in light of personal experience as well as other documented cases of retaliation by the government.
The second story was sourced by an industry insider in a geographical region that is not the Southwest, but who nonetheless provided details of gunwalking and straw purchasing to include the name of an agent from Phoenix familiar to those who have followed reporting on Fast and Furious. Again, after a long and detailed telephone interview, supplemented by a series of clarifying follow-up questions, the source elected not to proceed with publication because of a sudden ATF visit that could devastate the business or worse. Further or more specific details cannot be provided in order to protect this source’s identity, but it can be said that (he/she) runs an enterprise many gun owners would recognize and this person is also implicitly trusted by the head of a prominent state-level gun rights group who brought (him/her) together with Gun Rights Examiner.
“Through the lack of aggressive leadership by the Republicans, two things are happening,” this correspondent observed. “People who want to come forward with information, information that I have and can now not share, are backing off because they’re scared that they’re going to be left out to hang.”
“That’s frightening,” Walters remarked. “Frightening. Free society? Free? These people are petrified of their own government and won’t open their mouths.”
Indeed. And these are but two instances with which Gun Rights Examiner has had direct recent experience. That similar reluctance to get involved is probably more widespread seems a reasonable assumption, and it’s fair to ask what more the public isn’t learning-- and may never know--because those who do see no personal “up” side in coming forward and plenty of sobering reasons not to.