The Department of Justice Inspector General published a report that accuses Dennis Burke, the former U.S. Attorney General of Arizona, of intentionally leaking documents to the media in order to smear John Dodson, the whistleblower in the Fast and Furious scandal. Dodson had gone to Congress and CBS to reveal that the ATF and the DOJ had worked together to illegally move thousands of assault rifles into Mexico in order to trace the guns' movements.
The document states, “We also concluded that Burke’s disclosure of the Dodson memorandum to Levine was likely motivated by a desire to undermine Dodson’s public criticisms of Operation Fast and Furious.” The Inspector General claims that this was in direct violation to general operating procedures found in the United States Attorneys’ Manual.
The Inspector General didn’t pull its punches. “We found Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney,” the document reads. “We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member.”
The report cites the all-too-convenient circumstances surrounding the leak: “[W]e 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.”
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The Inspector General has also unveiled emails wherein senior Department of Justice officials discussed smearing John Dodson. Tracy Schmaler, the Director of the Department’s Office of Public Affairs, was one of the officials in the emails. She resigned from her position after the Freedom of Information Act made the emails public.
Schmaler wasn’t the only one. Burke also resigned from his post as a U.S. Attorney because of the incident. He has told reporters that he regretted leaking the documents.
He may regret it even more in the future. With this official document publicly condemning Burke for his actions, the former Arizona U.S. Attorney may have a rocky road ahead.