WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - An internal Justice Department inquiry found that a former Arizona federal prosecutor improperly disclosed information to a reporter related to a botched Mexican gun-trafficking investigation in an attempt to "undermine'' a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agent who went public with his criticisms of the gun case.
Dennis Burke, who resigned as the top federal prosecutor in Arizona in the midst of a 2011 inquiry into the trafficking investigation known as "Operation Fast and Furious,'' acknowledged providing an internal ATF memorandum to a Fox News reporter in June 2011, a Justice Inspector General's Office report found.
The document had been drafted by ATF agent John Dodson, whose criticisms helped expose how the agency allowed an estimated 2,000 firearms to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers and other criminals.
"Although Burke denied to congressional investigators that he had any retaliatory motive for his actions, we found substantial evidence to the contrary,'' the report concluded. "We found the timing of the disclosure coupled with Burke's apparent frustration regarding Dodson's testimony to Congress to be strong indicators of his state of mind and motivation.''