The former U.S. attorney in Arizona leaked an internal report about an ATF agent who had criticized the failed gun operation.

By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times
May 20, 2013, 8:53 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The former top federal prosecutor in Arizona retaliated against the lead whistle-blower in the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal by leaking an internal report that suggested the whistle-blower once favored allowing illegal gun sales as a way to track weapons to drug cartels in Mexico, the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office said Monday.

Dennis K. Burke, who resigned from the U.S. attorney’s office following the Fast and Furious matter, told investigators that he leaked an internal memorandum to a television producer in which ATF Special Agent John Dodson discussed an earlier case involving gun trafficking on the border. Burke told investigators that he did not believe he had done anything illegal.

However, he was sharply admonished by his supervisor, the deputy attorney general in Washington. He was prodded to resign over Fast and Furious and left the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix in August 2011. Until then he had been seen as a rising Democratic political star.

Under the Fast and Furious program, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposely allowed hundreds of guns to be illegally purchased in the hope of tracking them to Mexican cartel leaders. Instead, almost all of the firearms were lost. Two turned up at the site of the slaying of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in southern Arizona in December 2010.

Burke could not be reached for comment Monday.

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