Whistleblowers: ATF 'Firing Squad' Warning Is No Joke

Image: Whistleblowers: ATF 'Firing Squad' Warning Is No Joke

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 12:39 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

A    A   |
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives apparently has put out a warning to potential whistleblowers, suggesting in its training manual that leaking secret government information could result in death by firing squad.

Citing a federal law-enforcement official, The Washington Times reports that the training materials not only warn that whistleblowers could be shot but include a turn-of-the-century photo of a firing squad in the introduction to its annual National Security Information online course.

The Times notes that the reference to a firing squad is creating controversy at a time when the agency can little afford it.

The ATF already is under fire for its handling of the controversial Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation. The agency also is battling the American Civil Liberties Union and congressional conservatives over blocking publication of a book, written by John Dodson, an ATF agent who blew the whistle on problems with the Fast and Furious program.

The firing-squad photo and warning has been part of the ATF manual since March 2008. Richard Marianos, special agent in charge of the ATF's Washington division, said the Justice Department plans to remove it from training materials, but for now it has to stay until the government reopens.

Richard Roberts, a public information officer for the International Union of Police Associations, said the photo simply is meant as a joke to underscore a serious warning about the importance of keeping information about investigations from leaking out.

“During many years of law-enforcement experience, I can attest to the fact that law-enforcement personnel often use gallows humor as a release from the grim realities of the profession,” he told the Times.

But Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, isn't laughing. He told the Times the photo is evidence that the Justice Department has forgotten about rights under the First Amendment, which protects leaks to the media.

Kohn called the photo "hypocritical, unconstitutional, and unprofessional," adding that it is meant "to silence and intimidate whistleblowers."

“The government leaks information all the time and they get away with it,” Kohn said. “They don’t go after leaks that they support. The government leaks, and when it is officially condoned they do not investigate or prosecute.”

People who disclose classified government information sometimes are faced with the punishment of death. Bradley Manning, the soldier who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, could have been sentenced to death for "aiding the enemy" with his historic leak.

Related Stories:

Congressional Report Details Deadly Consequences of Mexican Gun Sting

US Attorney Retaliated Against 'Fast and Furious' Whistleblower

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Generic Drug Shortage Fueled by Government Actions, Critics Say

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 16:49 PM

A proposed Food and Drug Administration rule on product labeling will exacerbate shortages of generic drugs already resu . . .

Bitter Court Feud Erupts Over Sweet Vidalia Onions

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 16:40 PM

No Vidalia onion will be harvested before its time. So says the agricultural commissioner who claims farmers should face . . .

Va. GOP Can't See End to Medicaid Standoff, Fears Loss of Bond Rating

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 15:17 PM

If leading Virginia Republicans are right, the battle over Medicaid expansion could leave the state wounded. Virginia Ho . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved