Thursday, October 12, 2006

More rottenness at the ATF

From The Washington Post:

The former director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives violated ethics rules by requiring 20 employees to help his teenage nephew prepare a high school video project, part of a wide-ranging pattern of questionable expenditures on a new ATF headquarters, personal security and other items, according to a report issued yesterday.

Carl J. Truscott, who previously served as head of President Bush's security detail at the Secret Service, also took several trips with excessive numbers of ATF agents, including a $37,000 journey to London in September 2005 with eight other employees, according to the report.

The report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also finds fault with Truscott's treatment of some female employees, saying that he ordered two female administrative staff members to prepare meals for guests on several occasions. One of the employees was allegedly required to announce, "Lunch is served."

These and other findings follow Truscott's abrupt resignation in August amid growing questions about his conduct. The Washington Post reported in February that Truscott had allegedly authorized or proposed hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of unnecessary plan changes and upgrades to ATF's new 438,000-square-foot headquarters, which is behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.
This is no shock.

The BATFE is the current incarnation of the BATF which is what the Prohibition agents became when Prohibition was ended.

Prohibition was a law that should never have been passed and the law enforcement agency created to enforce it should never have been created. After Prohibition was repealed it should have been disbanded and the agents dismissed to find work in the private sector.

The ATF has a history of corruption and incompetence and its enforcement of firearms laws has frequently taken on the character of some kind of rogue Gestapo.

The ATF has a record of hiring people rejected by other federal agencies (often for failing the psychological screening process) and its agents have been accused of many instances of racial and sexual harassment such as passing around "nigger hunting licenses".

Congressional proposals to fold the ATF into the FBI have been stopped by the adamant refusal of the FBI to accept the ATF's agents into their ranks.

The BATFE is now a part of the Department of Justice, but nothing has been done to change the culture of the Bureau or weed out the emotionally unstable and/or corrupt and incompetent personnel.

Until there are massive and radical changes at the ATF, changes which would have to include the firing of most of the personnel who have been involved with the enforcement part of the Bureau and their replacement with much higher quality people, there will be no end ot reports like this one.

Changing the person at the top will have no effect unless he comes in not with a "new broom'" to sweep clean, but with a "new razor sharp machete" to cut and hack down to the very bone and build what will essentially a new agency on the grave of the old one.


A friend who works for the Department of Homeland Security called to remind me that the BATFE had been taken over by the Department of Justice, not Homeland Security. I have made the correction and I apologize to any DHS employees who were offended. DHS has enough problems of its own without having another agencies dumped onto them.