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Fast & Furious: Illegal restraint

| Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is outrageously preventing publication of a book about its “Fast & Furious” fiasco — allowing illegal U.S. gun purchases, then failing to track those guns to Mexican drug cartels — by that scandal's first public whistleblower.

Significantly, strange political bedfellows are supporting Special Agent James Dodson in this “First Amendment showdown,” The Washington Times reports. Representing him in a formal protest, the American Civil Liberties Union is effectively siding with the scandal's two leading congressional investigators, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. — who co-wrote the book's foreword.

And making the ATF's refusal to let Mr. Dodson publish all the more suspect is its weak rationale — a joke, really — for that decision.

The problem, says the ATF, isn't that the book would make public information that's classified, sensitive or harmful to law-enforcement operations. Rather, the ATF claims publication would have “a negative impact on morale” in the Arizona office — where the ill-advised “gun-walking” scheme was set in motion — and “a detrimental effect” on the ATF's relations with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Too bad. That's the Justice Department's problem.

The ATF's reasoning and its illegal attempt to restrain Jim Dodson's right to publish are clear indications that the Obama administration remains determined to cover up the full Fast & Furious truth.

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