After Inappropriate Firing, ATF Settles Lawsuit From Agent and Whistleblower Vince Cefalu

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Oct 07, 2014 12:00 PM
After Inappropriate Firing, ATF Settles Lawsuit From Agent and Whistleblower Vince Cefalu

After a long legal battle and use of major DOJ resources, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has settled a lawsuit submitted to the government by veteran agent and whistleblower Vince Cefalu after he was inappropriately fired in a Denny's parking lot and retaliated against for exposing corruption inside the agency. A trial was set to start yesterday but was cancelled after the settlement was reached late last week. 

Some background on the case:

Special Agent Vince Cefalu has worked for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms for more than 25 years. On top of successfully placing dozens of hard criminals behind bars throughout his career, Cefalu has received promotions and consistently positive evaluations. When he started raising his voice about ATF corruption and illegal wiretapping in 2005, things changed. Tuesday evening [October 2012], Cefalu was asked to meet Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division Joseph Riehl at a Denny's Restaurant near Lake Tahoe. When he arrived, he was served termination papers in the parking lot.

IPrior to becoming a whistleblower in 2005, Cefalu put dozens of hard criminals in prison and received promotions in addition to consistently positive evaluations. In 2009, he launched the website CleanUpATF.org in order for agents within ATF to blow the whistle on corrupt behavior anonymously due to the agency's history of retaliation against those who "jump their chain of command." His website is where bloggers and news reporters first saw allegations of gunwalking in Operation Fast and Furious. The site is heavily monitored by the Department of Justice. In 2012, he was fired without cause.

Cefalu will receive $85,000 in damages from ATF and legal fees have been mitigated. ATF is also required to expunge his record of any negative or adverse information. The termination notice issued to Cefalu at Denny's will be rescinded. After three decades of service, Cefalu plans to retire in November.

David Codrea also has a write up of the settlement. You can check that out here.