When Special Agent Jay Dobyns put his life on the line to work undercover in the Hell's Angels gang for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, he expected his supervisors would have his back once his job was done. They didn't. Instead, ATF supervisors ignored death threats and tried to frame Dobyns in an effort cover-up their own corruption.
In 2008, after years of death threats towards Dobyns and his family, including a threat to gang rape his wife and daughter on video tape, Dobyns' home was burned to the ground in Tucson, Arizona. His wife and two children were sleeping inside and he was out of town when the incident occured. Luckily, they survived. Instead of sending out an investigative team to look into the arson, Bill Newell, ATF Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division at the time, called the incident "minor scorching" and supervisors, with the support of the Department of Justice, proceeded in attempts to frame Dobyns by accusing him of starting the fire. You can read about the details of the situation here.
A DOJ Inspector General report concluded that management within the ATF Phoenix office, despite having the necessary resources, did not adequately address threats made against Dobyns and found "absence of any corrective measures proposed to address the failure to conduct timely and thorough investigations into the death threats made against Dobyns."
In addition, a U.S. Office of Special Counsel report concluded, "I note with concern the absence of any corrective measures proposed to address the failure to conduct timely and thorough investigations into the death threats made against Special Agent Dobyns. ATF does not appear to have held anyone accountable in this regard. Fully addressing the problems and failures identified in this care requires more than amending ATF policies and procedures. It requires that threats against ATF agents be taken seriously and pursued aggressively and that ATF officials at all level cooperate to ensure the timely and comprehensive investigation of threats leveled against its own agents."
Now, NRA News' Ginny Simone is out with a new report on the latest details of Dobyns' case and his lawsuit against the government for failing to address serious threats and for the retaliation against him. Closing arguments were made in Tucson in February and a ruling from U.S. Court of Claims Judge Francis Allegra is pending. During closing statements, Allegra described government attorneys as answering his questions with "less than candor." Further, Allegra described ATF's treatment of Dobyns as "wretched," "purposeful" and "simply spiteful."
"They were corrupt, they were dirty, they were criminals...I never believed that my legacy would be someone that was fighting against my government for justice."
The same supervisors who targeted Dobyns were in charge of Operation Fast and Furious in Arizona. Dobyns retired as a Special Agent in January after 27 years in the Bureau and has been outspoken for a decade about rampant corruption and mismanagement inside ATF and the Department of Justice. He has certainly paid the price for doing so.
This post has been updated.