May 28th, 2010
09:30 AM ET

Part II: ATF whistleblowers share unlikely ties

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/28/story.edgar.domenech.cnn.jpg caption="Former deputy director Edgar Domenech says he was also a victim of retaliation from the ATF"]

Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Dublin, California (CNN) - For the first 19 years of his career, Vince Cefalu spends most of his time in the field as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

But those days are over.

Now, he just sits in his office in Dublin, California, all day, and by his own admission, does virtually nothing. He said it's punishment for complaining and ATF's way of forcing him to quit. CNN gave him a camera to document five days at work.

"After several transfers, suspensions, attempts to terminate me, attempts to attack my credibility and my reputation, the end game was to assign me to this position," Cefalu said.

Five years ago, Cefalu was the lead agent on a racketeering case and complained to his supervisors about what, he says, were plans for an illegal wiretap. ATF disputes his claim and says he's had disciplinary and performance issues.

But since then, he says, ATF has made his life miserable. He has filed a series of grievances and complaints related to his job, which is now overseeing ATF property.

Full Story

Follow Abbie Boudreau on Twitter: @Abbiecnn

Read Abbie's blog post "Bureaucrats and Bullies"

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Renaldo

    Domenech is a hypocrite and a phoney in its absolute form. He retaliated against employees and abused his power in many instances. Lucky for him and despite his pleas he has not suffered. In fact, he has prospered from a financial settlement and a govt paid tuition free stint in a Masters program. What he is whining about is much like any puny dictator – his loss of POWER. He is part of the problem at this Agency.
    Notwithstanding his statement that their have been no disciplinary findings against him (I think the same could be said for North Korea's Kim Jong-il) he did receive an official reprimand for saying in Bureau HQ that "he could piss on any white man on this job." He has made other racist remarks against African-Americans while in the New York Office. This is the kind of despicable behavior that this Agency rewards with promotions and supervision. Shameful. But as he wishes Mr. Cefalu "nothing but the best," I too, wish him as is said in some cultures – may you Domenech live in very interesting times.

    May 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  2. Lucille Cooke

    Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau formally (ATF for Tax & Compliance Operations is no better. TTB has retailiated against employees who file cases. I myself have been a victim. TTB is now working had to force employees over age 50 to retire (employees who are former ATF). They have gone one step further by only hiring and promoting family members. Our summer Interns are all family members.

    The record of TTB on EEO Issues should be investigated

    May 28, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  3. Chalupa

    It is very common for governmental and/or military whistleblowers to suffer retaliation. I am aware of at least three examples of such retaliation and when it was reported, nothing was done in spite of laws against retaliation.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm |