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Before Mr. Dodson blew the whistle, he was a highly rated ATF agent assigned to an elite team working on border gun-running cases.

On Monday, The Times was the first to report that ATF was blocking Mr. Dodson from publishing a book for pay, claiming his retelling of the Mexico “gun-walking” scandal would hurt morale inside the embattled law enforcement agency. The Times also disclosed that Mr. Dodson was receiving help from ACLU in the case.

The gun-walking strategy — part of an undercover case called Fast and Furious — violated ATF’s long-standing policy to interdict weapons from straw buyers.

In all, officials permitted more than 1,700 semi-automatic weapons to flow through the hands of straw buyers for the Mexican cartels, with many crossing the border.

Senior ATF officials hoped to trace the guns to crimes, then make a bigger case against the Mexican druglords. The strategy, however, backfired when hundreds of the weapons began showing up at crime scenes on both sides of the border, including Mr. Terry’s murder. Mr. Terry’s family issued a statement Monday supporting Mr. Dodson anew and asking that his book be allowed to be published.

The Justice Department initially denied that guns knowingly had been allowed to flow across the border, then months later reversed course and admitted the tactic had been used for more than a year. The change in the story led to allegations of a cover-up.

The revelations exploded into public in spring 2011, catapulting Mr. Dodson and other ATF field agents who had objected into dual investigations by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. both claimed they knew nothing about the strategy until the controversy erupted, but the president has invoked executive privilege to block Congress from seeing certain documents, thus thwarting the completion of that probe. A court recently ruled in favor of Congress in the ongoing legal dispute.

Both the congressional and inspector general investigations concluded that the gun-walking tactics were poorly conceived and put lives in jeopardy. The fallout forced the ouster of numerous top officials, including the U.S. attorney in Phoenix, Dennis Burke, and the acting director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson.

The ATF, under new director B. Todd Jones, said it has imposed sweeping procedures to ensure gun-walking doesn’t occur again.