Sunday, June 9, 2013

Senate Judiciary Hearing On B. Todd Jones (Updated)

The Senate Judiciary Committee takes up the nomination of B. Todd Jones to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives next Tuesday, June 4th, at 10am - it has been rescheduled to June 11th at 9:30am. Jones is currently the Acting Director as well as the US Attorney for the District of Minnesota. Interestingly, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will be presiding over this nomination hearing instead of Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT).

Given the Obama Administration's efforts to punish whistle blowers as well as intimidate the press, Mr. Jones' roll in this should be examined. Last July, Jones issued a video to all ATF employees under his "Changecast" set of videos. Changecast No. 8 was entitled Choices and Consequences. While Jones tried to portray this as a warning not to do stupid stuff, most in the field took it as a warning not to follow the path of whistle blowers like Senior Agent John Dodson. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) saw it this way as well and pressed him on this. I don't know if he ever bothered to answer their letter.

Even if Jones sticks with his denial that it was meant as a warning to whistle blowers, it most certainly has had that impact. A case in point is the website. Many who have followed this blog for a while know that it is a website run by and for dissident ATF agents who were fed up with the cronyism, stupidity, and malfeasance of the ATF leadership.

For the most part, this website has gone quiet since the beginning of the year. The Grapevine thread which used to be very active has had no posts since March. The Fast and Furious page has had nothing except a cartoon since February, The ATF-EEO violations thread has had nothing since January.

I'm sure veiled and not so veiled threats have been made to ATF Special Agents that they are to keep their mouths shut if they want to keep their badge. I do realize that correlation isn't causation but I don't think CUATF going quiet is just happenstance. While I do think ATF needs a permanent director, I don't think B. Todd Jones is the person for the job.

UPDATE: The webmaster at CUATF posted the following on June 4th regarding the nomination of B. Todd Jones and their adamant opposition to it. I think they make a good case as to why B. Todd does not deserve to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will soon hold hearings regarding B. Todd Jones, Barrack Obama’s nominee to become the next Director of ATF. By any rational measure, Jones has been a pathetic disgrace and utter failure as ATF's Acting Director. He represents exactly what is wrong with the Bureau; a profound lack of integrity, transparency and competence, shameless cronyism, vicious protection of the ATF management "good `ol boy club", and institutionalized corruption. His confirmation as Director will only ensure that what was once one of the world's greatest law enforcement agencies will contine to decline and fail in its primary mission. If anything, Jones should be summarily fired, if not prosecuted for his breathtaking malfeasance as Acting Director.

While it is certainly true that ATF desperately needs a permanent Director, can't we do better than this? In a nation of over 300 million people, can't we find someone who actually has the basic integrity, commitment to justice, and elemental competence to finally put an end to the embarrassing plague of disgusting corruption and managerial stupidity that has paralyzed the Bureau for far too many years?

As Acting Director of ATF, B. Todd Jones has:
  • Played a starring role in ATF's criminal obstruction of justice and outrageous stonewalling of Congress in a wide variety of matters, but particularly with regard to the "Fast & Furious" debacle.
  • Engaged in flagrant relatiatory conduct against legitimate Whistleblowers. He is currently the subject of several federal investigations for this illegal conduct.
  • Presided over one of if not the lowest government-wide employee approval ratings ever recorded since such surveys have been conducted.
  • Repeatedly protected, promoted or otherwise rewarded profoundly incompetent and corrupt managers, including the SAC/DAD of Milwaukee, who was directly responsible for ignominously failed operations. Jones personally ensured that this beacon of performance was quietly transferred to where he had been begging to go for years.
  • Allowed the ATF Reno office to be closed due solely to grotesquely incompetent local leadership, with zero adverse consequences for the guilty managers.
  • Personally approved or at least looked the other way regarding the blatantly illegal arrangement" under which William McMahon, one of the primary perpetrators in the horrendous "Fast & Furious" scandal, was allowed to "double-dip" (collect a "no-show" ATF paycheck while actually working elsewhere) in flagrant violation of federal law and ATF policy. This was most likely done to buy McMahon's silence and protect both the Obama Administration and ATF from rightful scrutiny.
  • Personally assisted the notoriously lawless, abusive and shockingly corrupt Chief Counsel's office to unlawfully attack, smear, relaiate against and personally destroy legitimate Whistleblower and EEOC complainants, while aggressively protecting the litany of corrupt managers who necessitated the complaints.
  • Promoted one of the most viciously corrupt, dishonest and incompetent managers in the history of ATF (and that is really saying something) to head the Bureau's Internal Affairs Division.
  • Has repeatedly rewarded unethical or demonstrably incompetent Assistant Directors that have miserably failed in their HQ duties by giving them paid moves back to cushy SAC positions of their choice.
  • Engaged in numerous additional actions to cover ATF management's asses at all costs, regardless of trivial considerations such as truth, justice, law, policy or the disasterous consequences that all of this corruption has wrought on the agency and its ability to protect the American public.
The U.S. Congressional Committee on Government Oversight and Reform assesses B. Todd Jones' tenure as Acting ATF Director as follows:
  • Failure to hold all the ATF personnel responsible for Operation Fast and Furious accountable – Nearly two years have gone by since the congressional investigation began. Still, several key individuals identified by both Congress and the Inspector General as having played prominent roles in using reckless tactics remain with the agency.
  • Failure to support Fast and Furious whistleblowers – The Congressional investigation, the independent Department of Justice Inspector General, and an internal ATF review during Jones’ tenure exonerated the Fast and Furious whistleblowers. Yet, Jones has never commended or publicly defended these agents who brought the wrongdoing in Operation Fast and Furious to light. These whistleblowers faced retaliation from both inside and outside the Department of Justice, but Jones has steadfastly declined to recognize their heroic efforts to stop ATF gunwalking.
  • Perceived hostility to ATF whistleblowers – In a video sent agency wide, Jones instructed ATF employees not to complain about problems outside their chain of command. ATF released the video as Fast and Furious remained prominently in the news. Agents within ATF were concerned enough to contact Congress about what they perceived to be a veiled threat and indirect criticism of Fast and Furious whistleblowers who spoke to Congress and reporters about gunwalking after complaints to ATF officials had fallen on deaf ears.
  • Affording special treatment to ATF supervisor cited for negligence in Fast and Furious – In a particularly outrageous series of events, one of the key players in Operation Fast and Furious accepted a lucrative job at J. P. Morgan while still on ATF’s payroll. While the agency had no obligation to do so, the supervisor was given a special waiver under Jones’ tenure as Acting Director to remain employed by ATF while he simultaneously worked for J.P. Morgan. This was apparently done so that the agent could gain seniority for his government pension.
  • An unwillingness to engage Congress – Jones has refused to discuss his actions and problems within his agency related to Operation Fast and Furious with congressional investigators. This position stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, former Acting ATF Director Ken Melson, who proactively sought an opportunity to tell investigators his understanding of what had gone wrong in Operation Fast and Furious and with the Justice Department’s flawed response to whistleblower allegations.
  • Failure to apply lessons ATF has learned from Fast and Furious – Jones has, to date, exhibited a general failure to articulate to Congress, ATF agents, and the public his understanding of what went wrong, who is responsible, and what ATF needs to do in the future to be successful in its mission of enforcing firearms laws. He has not offered plans for reforming or restructuring the failed supervisory framework that allowed reckless tactics to continue for over a year and contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent and numerous Mexican citizens.
Please contact your Congressmen and Senators immediately and urge them to just say "Hell No!" to B. Todd Jones.

1 comment:

  1. Concur, and 'friends' have noticed the same thing... CYA will be the word of the day if Jones gets in!