Elisabeth Meinecke

In February 2011 and 2012, Townhall Magazine was once again ahead of the mainstream media by covering both Fast and Furious and the man in Washington who is working to uncover the truth behind the scandal. In fact, we thought these issues were so important that we devoted cover stories to them.

Here's an excerpt of Townhall Magazine's February 2012 Fast and Furious cover story, "Diary of an ATF Whistleblower" by Vincent Cefalu, who's had a 30-year career as a law enforcement officer, 24 of those with ATF::

My name is Vincent A. Cefalu. I am a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms under the U.S. Department of Justice. Welcome to our nightmare. I say “our” because dozens of us can’t write a single article, and I have been asked and am privileged to speak on behalf of my peers who have not had the opportunity to voice their concerns related to ATF mismanagement, particularly with Operation Fast and Furious. This grotesquely dangerous and reckless operation should have never been considered, much less allowed to occur. It employed the unprecedented practice of allowing fi rearms to be transferred to violent criminals without any interdiction effort at all, in hopes of somehow later identifying high-level Mexican cartel members. But it was the pattern of gross mismanagement that had been allowed to exist in ATF—and that I witnessed—which fostered an environment that unleashed this operation, violating public trust on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

At no time in my career prior to becoming a complainant against my own agency—the agency I love and have been honored to serve— could I have ever been convinced I would be the poster boy for whistleblowers and challenges to corrupt government. As a young Marine military policeman, I was thrilled, proud and honored to be in law enforcement. I never considered it work....

But I ended up the lead agent in a case with huge vendetta overtones by my state and local counterparts, where members of an ad hoc task force insisted on fast-tracking wiretap attempts against the suspects. I refused. When I reported this officially, senior management retroactively fabricated justifications for the actions they were preparing to take against me. This led to a network of frustrated agents and inspectors, which ultimately resulted in my being contacted regarding the gun-walking practices and cover-ups related to Fast and Furious. I took this information to Congress and advocated others to do the same.

In the 18 months leading up to Fast and Furious, Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell’s actions required that the agency had to pay out over a million dollars in settlements which should have led to his removal for the related conduct, had it ever been investigated and documented. Special Agent in Charge George Gillette had been disciplined multiple times, and his subordinates had logged dozens of complaints related to his incompetence and mismanagement. Had ATF dealt with them at the time, the Fast and Furious program would never have been undertaken. However, by attacking those who exposed corruption, ATF was able to keep their golden boys in place. This process was repeated all over the country (Newell has since been relocated to D.C. headquarters, but not fired). So pronounced was the mismanagement that ATF logged more complaints than either the DEA or FBI per agent. This is notable because the latter two are much larger agencies.

I write this article almost 6 years into the whistleblower process with ATF and only after millions of taxpayer dollars and countless hours of manpower have been expended by my agency to attack and discredit me and other whistleblowers. ...

To read more of this expose on Fast and Furious, order this back issue by calling 800-527-5226.


Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is TOWNHALL MAGAZINE Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lismeinecke.