Jay Dobyns is back and he is still flogging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the accusations that Hells Angels or their surrogates burned his home and that he was betrayed by his employers.
Yesterday, on the sixth anniversary of the arson, Dobyns published “An Open Letter to the United States Congress.”
Dobyns was an ATF agent who pretended to be a gun runner in Bullhead City, Arizona and a member of the Solo Angeles motorcycle club as part of an ATF investigation of the Hells Angels. Eventually Dobyns prospected with what was then the Skull Valley charter of the Angels. For public relations reasons, four separate investigations were lumped together and renamed Operation Black Biscuit. The name was invented on the set of a Fox Television show named America’s Most Wanted.
The ATF wanted Dobyns to be famous and so he was. He was one of the main subjects of a book called Angels of Death by Julian Sher and William Marsden. Then he was the hero of Kerrie Droban’s book Running With The Devil. Finally he was the hero of his own book No Angel. During the last eight years he has made numerous television appearances.
Dobyns believed he and his family were inadequately protected from reprisals by the Hells Angels and he sued the ATF. In September 2007 the Bureau agreed to pay Dobyns $373,000 to drop his suit. Eleven months later, someone tossed a can of flammable liquid on the back porch of his Tucson hacienda and set the porch on fire. Dobyns was “verifiably out of town” at the time. His cell phone was turned on and cell tower records indicated that at the time of the fire Dobyns’ phone was actually travelling away from Tucson but his wife and kids were home. News reports estimated the amount of the damage at $30,000. Dobyns claimed his home was almost totally destroyed.
He encouraged the belief that his home was torched by the Hells Angels in retaliation for his undercover work. ATF officials accused Dobyns of setting the fire himself.
Eventually Dobyns sued the ATF again. The ATF countersued. The lawsuits are still unfinished, a year after a secret trial might have resolved them. Virtually the entire case is sealed. The parties are currently haggling over whether to work out how much each side owes the other in mediation. So far, they can’t seem to agree on that. As his case has infolded, Dobyns has attempted to link his grievances with the ATF Gunrunner Scandal.
In yesterday’s letter Dobyns told Congress:
“My situation may be unique, in that there was an attempt to murder me and my family, but the nature of cover-up and retaliation that I have suffered is similar to dozens, if not hundreds, of other cases in ATF. As I await the court’s resolution of my case, there are clear and decisive measures that Congress can take now to prevent situations like mine from being repeated. To date, none of those have been implemented, and no hearings have been held. DOJ and ATF have been empowered by your exhaustion for seeking the truth. In their eyes, they have won. They have weathered the storm, out-waiting and out-litigating your inquiries.”
“As evidence of those agencies unchecked brazenness; in May of 2013, one month before the trial regarding my allegations of failure to assist a threatened employee, I was attacked on a commercial airline flight by gang members who recognized me. ATF, the FBI and DOJ once again failed to conduct even the most elementary investigation of that event ignoring the simplest and most basic investigative procedures that would have quickly resulted in arrests and prosecutions. I assume that that they did not react knowing that this new attack on me was outside the scope of the allegations pending before the court and could not be discussed at trial.”
And, he concludes:
“I have done all that I can to seek truth, justice and accountability. I am but one man mostly powerless to force or affect change. Please do your part to ensure that no other government employee, no other lawman or woman anywhere, has to suffer the consequences that I have behind their service to America’s law enforcement missions.”
You can read the complete text of Dobyns’ letter as well as previously sealed documents presented at his trial here.