Attkisson: Fast and Furious Whistleblower 'Rare Example' Amidst Obama's 'War On Leaks'

Sharyl Attkisson touted 'Fast and Furious' whistleblower John Dodson as "a rare example, especially amid the Obama administration's war on leaks" during a segment on Monday's CBS This Morning. Attkisson, whose reporting on the arms trafficking scandal won CBS a Edward R. Murrow Award, spotlighted the ATF senior agent's new book on "the inside story of why he went public to expose the government's false denials about its gunwalking secrets."

The correspondent also pointed out how "there's still a court battle over the 'Fast and Furious' documents that President Obama is withholding from Congress under executive privilege". She also featured a clip from Dodson where he emphasized that this is an ongoing controversy that deserves more media attention: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

JOHN DODSON: Part of all of this is to try to make people realize that it hasn't all been answered. You know, it's not – it's not over. It's just that you've forgotten about it. You've been – you know, diverted. Don't look at my left hand – look at my right. What's going on over here? These things haven't been answered, and you can make a difference. Ask the questions!

Anchor Charlie Rose led into Attkisson's report by noting that the whistleblower's new book, titled "The Unarmed Truth", "tells the inside story of how he helped expose the government's dirty little secret". The CBS journalist first stated that "less than three years ago, Justice Department officials were denying that they had ever allowed such a thing. Dodson stepped forward to prove them wrong."

Attkisson continued with her "rare example" and "war on leaks" phrases, and disclosed that Dodson's book is published by Simon & Schuster, which is a division of her network. After zeroing in on the litigation surrounding the undisclosed documents, the correspondent highlighted how the ATF "tried to block 'The Unarmed Truth', saying it would hurt morale, but eventually cleared the content for publication".

Back in October 2013, the CBS correspondent revealed a new debacle involving the smuggling of grenades into Mexico on President Obama's watch. Attkisson pointed out how "a grenade used in the murders of three Mexican police officers last week has been linked to an alleged arms trafficker that U.S. officials left on the street to operate long after they had evidence of his crimes."

The full transcript of Sharyl Attkisson's report from Monday's CBS This Morning:


NORAH O'DONNELL: In 2011, an ATF agent blew the whistle on a government program that intentionally let thousands of weapons flow from the U.S. into the hands of Mexico's killer drug cartels. The guns have showed up at dozens of crime scenes, including the killing of a beauty queen in Mexico, the downing of a Mexican police helicopter, and the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

CHARLIE ROSE: In a new book published by Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS, special agents – Special Agent Don (sic) Dodson tells the inside story of how he helped expose the government's dirty little secret.

Sharyl Attkisson has been investigating the controversy for years. She has the latest from Washington. Sharyl, good morning.

SHARYL ATTKISSON: Good morning, Charlie. It's called 'letting guns walk', and less than three years ago, Justice Department officials were denying that they had ever allowed such a thing. Dodson stepped forward to prove them wrong.

[CBS News Graphic: "Fast And Furious, Revealed: Book Details Government's Gunwalking Operation"]

ATTKISSON (voice-over): Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms senior agent John Dodson stands as a rare example, especially amid the Obama administration's war on leaks.

ATTKISSON (on-camera): I would say the average whistleblower ends up losing his job.

JOHN DODSON: For me to still be employed there – I think everyone is surprised by it.

ATTKISSON (voice-over): He first blew the whistle on the case known as 'Fast and Furious' in a CBS News report in 2011.

ATTKISSON (on-camera, from March 3, 2011 report): You were intentionally letting guns go to Mexico.

DODSON: Yes, ma'am. I mean, the agency was.

ATTKISSON: Dodson's new book, from CBS division Simon & Schuster, is called 'The Unarmed Truth'. It tells the inside story of why he went public to expose the government's false denials about its gunwalking secrets.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1 (voice electronically altered): Oh, he's got a whole bunch of cases.

ATTKISSON: Dodson may have been at the heart of it all, but he says he still doesn't have the 30,000-foot view as to who orchestrated the controversial strategy and why. 'Fast and Furious' was the biggest and best known of the gunwalking cases, but there were many involving multiple federal agencies.

DODSON: Part of all of this is to try to make people realize that it hasn't all been answered. You know, it's not – it's not over. It's just that you've forgotten about it. You've been – you know, diverted. Don't look at my left hand – look at my right. What's going on over here? These things haven't been answered, and you can make a difference. Ask the questions!

ATTKISSON: Today, there's still a court battle over the 'Fast and Furious' documents that President Obama is withholding from Congress under executive privilege.

DODSON: So, what are those documents? What do they say? What is in there that won't be turned over?

ATTKISSON: After two transfers, Dodson is now working out of ATF's Tucson office. The agency tried to block 'The Unarmed Truth', saying it would hurt morale, but eventually cleared the content for publication. Dodson says the only danger of the book is that it empowers other would-be whistleblowers.

DODSON: It tells people out there: you know what? You can make a decision. You can make a choice. You know, you can say no – you can stand up and take a stand against the agency. And they don't want that to get out there.

ATTKISSON (live): ATF says the agency encourages anyone who sees wrongdoing to report it through the proper channels, but had no comment on Dodson or his book. Meantime, the Justice Department says Dodson is free to speak out about his experiences and publish his book, but is forbidden from accepting compensation for it under ethics rules. Dodson says the book will be published with or without compensation. Charlie and Norah?

ROSE: Sharyl, thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center