A well-known whistle-blower in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed to FoxNews.com that he was fired this week, and he claims his complaints about Operation Fast and Furious played a role in his dismissal.
Vince Cefalu said he was served his termination papers Tuesday in a Denny’s parking lot in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. But he doesn’t plan to go quietly.
“It will be challenged,” he said.
Cefalu, who’s served as an ATF special agent for 25 years, was first notified of the plan to fire him more than a year ago but had been on administrative leave until now. He said officials told him he was being canned for “lack of candor,” in reference to a handful of statements he made in testimony in a separate court case.
However, Cefalu has been outspoken against ATF practices for years and told FoxNews.com that his whistle-blowing on Fast and Furious “was the final straw.”
Cefalu was one of the founders of the website CleanUpATF, a virtual platform for complaints about the agency. He was among the first to speak up about Fast and Furious, the failed anti-gunrunning operation that let thousands of guns slip across the U.S.-Mexico border. Weapons from the program were founded at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
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, 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. Classy move. The exchange was secretly recorded by a confidential source. David Codrea has more:
The video, shaky at times from being handheld, and with color imbalance streaking happening inadvertently in the uploading to YouTube, was recorded by a confidential source and shows Cefalu approached by two ATF management representatives including Joseph M. Riehl, Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division, which encompasses Northern California and Nevada field offices.
Riehl, seen talking to Cefalu through his Jeep window and reportedly telling him he couldn’t leave because he had to sign papers, had been criticized on the CUATF forum, and Gun Rights Examiner is attempting to track down audit reports to determine what an independent assessment reveals about the allegations there. But the bottom line is, an employee with over 25 years of service who has been a leading spokesman for whistleblowers was unceremoniously canned in a public parking lot by senior division management.
And remember, retaliation is standard practice at the ATF.