ATF Director B. Todd Jones proves he is “a man of change” by announcing his decision to step down from his position at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and leaving the agency all together for the private sector. The rumor mill has it as he will be a lawyer for the National Football League.
The Obama-approved and Eric Holder-appointed Jones was acting director of the ATF since 2011 and voted in as permanent director in 2013. He was one of six acting directors in six years. The ATF will, yet again, be replacing the director with current Deputy Director (Thomas E. Brandon).
Brandon has served as Deputy Director since 2011. Prior to his current position, he was a special agent in charge of the field division in Phoenix, Arizona.
Just as B. Todd Jones entered into the agency amid controversy—as is his exit with the pending M855 ammo ban—so will Brandon.
Prior to becoming Deputy Director, Brandon was the Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division for operations in Arizona and New Mexico. In Operation Fast and Furious, from 2006 to 2011, the ATF in Tucson and Phoenix purposely let illegal guns “walk” into Mexico in hopes the ATF could track down and arrest cartel leaders. The ATF lost track of over 2,000 firearms. Including the one used to murder United States Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. As a guest on a 2012 radio show called “The Badge,” Brandon said about Operation Fast and Furious, “Being totally candid with you and the public, we made mistakes and we’re owning up to them.” None of my research returned that Brandon was ever called to testify or questioned about his role in Operation Fast and Furious.
B. Todd Jones resignation is effective March 31, 2015. He said, “I will truly miss leading and working side-by-side with these men and women in their pursuit of ATF’s unique law enforcement and regulatory mission.” Besides Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF has been widely criticized for its many botched sting operations operating fake gun stores throughout the country where agents took advantage of mentally incapacitated individuals, losing track of firearms and leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages to properties in Operation Fearless.
It has been nearly a decade in which the ATF’s operations including the recent proposal to change the framework for “armor piercing ammunition” have been a disaster. So much so, that last year, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner said he was going to draft a bill to eliminate the ATF. Supporters of the bill called the ATF, “unaccountable,” “a debacle” and an “embarrassment.” Judging by the agency’s track record, I just don’t see it or Brandon digging themselves out of the hole they so furiously dug.
From the ATF’s press release:
ATF Announces B. Todd Jones to Depart WASHINGTON, D.C. – B. Todd Jones, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), today announced he will depart to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Jones’s resignation becomes effective March 31. “ATF employees are hard-working, dedicated individuals who serve the public to make our nation safer every day,” said Jones. “I have seen firsthand their extraordinary commitment to combating violent crime, ridding the streets of criminals, and leveraging all available resources to keep our communities safe.” “I will truly miss leading and working side-by-side with these men and women in their pursuit of ATF’s unique law enforcement and regulatory mission,” Jones added. Jones was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position of ATF director on Jan. 24, 2013. On July 31, 2013, Jones became the first ATF director in history to receive Senate confirmation. As Director, Jones led the nearly 5,000 ATF employees whose responsibilities include enforcing firearms and explosives laws that protect communities from violent criminals and criminal organizations. Prior to becoming ATF’s permanent Director, Jones served as the acting ATF Director starting Aug. 31, 2011. While serving as the acting director of ATF, Jones was also the U. S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, a post he held from Aug. 7, 2009, until his confirmation as ATF Director. ATF Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon will serve as Acting Director after Jones departs. Brandon was appointed Deputy Director of ATF in October 2011. Brandon has more than 26 years of experience with ATF. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director, Brandon served as the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division beginning in March 2011, and special agent in charge of the Detroit field division from January 2008 until his assignment to Phoenix. A law enforcement professional, Brandon began his ATF career in 1989, with Detroit as his first office assignment. Rising through the ranks at ATF, he served in many management positions including the position of chief of ATF’s National Academy, in Glynco, Ga. His vast experience ranges from participating and leading firearms and explosives enforcement operations to supervising arson investigations. ATF is a unique law enforcement agency in the Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research and use of technology.
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