ATF Continues to Mix Up Staffing Assignments in Wake of Fast and Furious Scandal

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has announced several more staff changes “aimed at refocusing the bureau’s direction on its core mission,” according to an ATFpress release (to see changes click here).  

“I have assembled a team to move ATF forward in its mission to fight violent crime and protect the American people, and to ensure that an experienced and strong staff is in place to implement that mission,” current ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones said. 

One will recall the recent changes in staffing at the ATF, which included the promotion and reassignment of several key figures involved in the highly controversial Phoenix-based gunrunning operation, Operation: Fast and Furious, along with the resignation of former Acting Director Kenneth Melson

What’s interesting about this press release is that the ATF has finally admitted that the changes in staffing are a direct result of the ongoing investigations looking into Fast & Furious.  It states:

Jones was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently to lead ATF following the departure of former Acting Director Kenneth Melson. The leadership change followed the reassignment of several other ATF officials within the agency following concerns raised about Operation Fast and Furious, a firearms trafficking investigation out of Phoenix now under review by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). While today’s changes are geared toward refocusing ATF under a new acting director, additional staff reassignments may be warranted at the conclusion of the OIG’s report.

Prior to this particular press release, mentions of Fast & Furious were conspicuously missing from ATF publications and press releases related to reassignments and resignations. 

For example, when Melson announced that he was stepping down, the press release made no mention of Fast & Furious, it simply stated, Melson “is leaving the agency to become Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) where he will specialize in forensic science policy issues at the Department of Justice.”

It’s good to see that the ATF is finally, to some extent, owning the disaster that was Operation: Fast and Furious.  However, the reality is they no longer had a choice as they were duly exposed for their recklessness and stupidity.  Hopefully when that OIG report comes out, it calls for less reshuffling and more resignations amongst ATF staffers. 

And also it’s time for Eric Holder and the DOJ to own up to their part in the operation.  Even if they did nothing but fail to act and intercede to stop what was a terribly run operation, they need to be held accountable. 

The only advice to give the DOJ is: salvage what integrity you have left and own your mistakes.  If you continue to prevaricate on this matter it’s only going to get worse.  Remember, the truth will set you free.