Friday, May 24, 2013



Note: Burke has been a key staffer to J. Napolitano throughout much
of her career in government. Was very active at staff level in anti
2nd Amendment efforts with the original Semi Auto rifle ban a few
years ago.

Former Arizona Prosecutor Leaked Gunwalking To Media
By Michel Marizco
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Audio clip
Former Arizona Prosecutor Leaked Gunwalking to Media
OIG Report
Download .PDF

TUCSON, Ariz. — The former federal prosecutor for Arizona who
resigned after a gunwalking scandal known as Operation Fast and
Furious may now face ethical violations.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice said
former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke leaked a memo to Fox News in 2011.
The OIG said it believes Burke was trying to discredit a key
whistleblower to the gunwalking operation.

The memo in question was one written by John Dodson, a Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent. In the memo, Dodson
had recommended letting guns walk so they would be used in crimes,
opening up the possibility of charging the gun buyers with federal

That practice was the same one being employed by agents in Fast and
Furious. Dodson was a critic of that operation and later said he only
wrote the memo to highlight what he saw as the erroneous thinking
behind Fast and Furious. Burke was already under investigation when
he leaked the memo.

He had told OIG investigators that he had earlier leaked information
to The New York Times. Burke resigned as Arizona's U.S. Attorney in
August 2011. The OIG is pushing for the former prosecutor to be
investigated by ethics boards in the states where he is licensed to
practice law.


Note: last sentence the punch line.

Tim Steller: Every leaker acts out of own interests
8 hours ago • Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star

Dennis Burke, the former U.S. attorney for Arizona, tried to
undermine a whistleblower in the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking
case by leaking a document to a journalist, but he failed.

The reason is significant: The journalist, Fox News producer Mike
Levine, checked out Burke's information and declined to pursue the

Burke's episodes of leaking information about Operation Fast and
Furious in 2011, detailed in a new report by the Justice Department
Office of Inspector General, contain lessons in leaking. There's a
how-to lesson - Burke's office was exposed as the source of one leak
for a comical reason - and a lesson in how leaking information can
work for the common good when handled well.

Both of these are increasingly relevant in light of the revelations
this month that the Justice Department has pursued journalists'
records in its effort to find leakers of government-produced
information. Chillingly, the Justice Department has seized phone
records from Associated Press reporters and a Fox News correspondent
in its effort to prosecute leakers of information about North Korea
and a foiled Yemeni terrorist plot.

In Burke's case, the leaks centered on Operation Fast and Furious,
the flawed ATF investigation of Arizona gun traffickers buying
weapons for Mexican drug cartels. As 2011 went on, Republican members
of Congress were pressing an investigation, and Burke's office was on
the defensive because one of the hundreds of guns allowed into
criminal hands by the operation was left at the scene of the killing
of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

On June 14, 2011, the New York Times published a story about the
congressional investigation that included a link to a memorandum
about Jaime Avila, the man who bought the gun later found at the
scene of Terry's murder. The memorandum provided a defense of the
Phoenix U.S. Attorney's Office's handling of gun-trafficking cases in
a story that otherwise was largely critical. It provided worthy
balance, in my view.

But as originally published, the online image of the memorandum
revealed the apparent leaker: The fax number for the U.S Attorney's
Office in Phoenix was printed at the top of the page as the sender of
the document.

Although a Justice Department official confronted Burke about that
leak on June 16, 2011 - and investigators eventually concluded Burke
was involved - he carried out another one soon after. Burke was upset
that ATF Special Agent John Dodson was given credit as a
whistleblower against Fast and Furious when Dodson himself, according
to one email Dodson had sent, once pursued a similar tactic of
selling guns to criminals as part of a separate investigation.

On June 28, 2011, Burke sent a copy of Dodson's email from his
personal email account to a friend of Levine, the Fox News producer
in Washington, D.C., the report says. The friend printed the email
and hand-delivered it to Levine.

Burke did not return a phone message left for him late Thursday

I spoke with Dodson on Thursday, and he told me he learned of the
leak of that email when Levine called him about it almost two years
ago. Dodson recounted for me Thursday the explanation he gave Levine
then: His supervisor had asked him to write the email proposing that
he purchase the guns for a suspected criminal, so that the plan could
be approved by a higher-up. In other words, it wasn't Dodson's idea.

Levine talked over Dodson's email with a fellow reporter and decided
not to pursue it, the report says. That's to his credit because it
appears the point Burke was trying to make with the leak was false.

"I agree with you that the more information that's out there, the
better," Dodson told me. "My problem, especially with the leak is,
the context in which it comes out."

This is the part that the public doesn't see when good journalists
receive leaked material. Every leaker has an interest that the
journalists must consider, and every leak has a context. The
reporters' job is to contact those affected, talk with each other and
decide how to proceed.

The New York Times did this in 2005, publishing an exposé that
revealed the National Security Agency had conducted "warrantless
eavesdropping" on American citizens. The story was based on leaked
information, and the paper delayed publication for months in part to
consider White House objections.

In a much less consequential example of a story based on a leak, I
wrote in February about a new order to Border Patrol spokesmen that
they no longer give interviews or ride-alongs related to the border.
I provided the email to Customs and Border Protection, discussed it
with them and included their perspective in the column.

Burke resigned in August 2011, after admitting to Justice Department
investigators that he leaked Dodson's email, but Dodson says he holds
no grudge.

"Whatever you may think about Dennis Burke, that guy is the only one
in any of this who has stepped up and taken responsibility for
anything," he said.


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