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Column: ATF Agent Says Agency Can Get an Agent Confirmed as Director if They’re Top Notch

Vincent Cefalu is a special agent with ATF. His column is in response to a column authored by ex-ATF official James Cavanaugh, who said appointing an ATF director by presidential appointment isn’t working. Cavanaugh said the appointment should be made by the umbrella agency — the Justice Department.

Vincent Cefalu

By Vincent A. Cefalu
For ticklethewire.com

I too I have worked for many Directors for 25 years and am STILL on the job. Therefore I would like to respond to the ATF unofficial mouth piece, Jim Cavanaugh.

First of all please stop speaking for ATF management, they are big boys. They have chosen to speak through DOJ attorney’s instead and that is quite troubling.

Your comments early in this debacle suggested you were trying to mitigate and minimize HQs accountability for being so out of control. You were making excuses for how hard catching gunrunners is. Let me break it down for you; you develop evidence and probable cause you seize their guns and arrest them or not. No Guns hit the street.

They LET 2000 guns go to criminals because no one in the loop had the courage or integrity to stop it. Sound familiar Jim? You are obviously doing a Great bit of promoting. And I am intimately aware of the gunshots you heard in anger, and the circumstances of why you heard those shots. That’s not a GOOD thing Jim. Why exactly did you hear gunshots at all?

Have you lost your mind? Keep the appointment in Justice? Yeah that’s who I want overseeing and making sure ATF is accountable.

We have the opportunity to stand with the big boys and because of a totally ineffective and abusive Executive staff, you assert that we can’t get a Director confirmed.

Enter Clarance Thomas, he got confirmed, enter an EXTRA 2 years for the Honorable Mr. Mueller. Stop telling the American people St. John cant get confirmed. How would you know that. All three of our last attempts failed. Stop selecting poor candidates and we will have a Director. Just because he has an ATF badge, doesn’t make him competent

I think what you fail to acknowledge is that Mr. Magaw saved and rebuilt this agency, love him or hate him. He definitely would have been confirmed. Then Mr. Truscott began the process of bosses being bigger than the mission.

Then Mr. Sullivan, who paid about as much attention to our agency as you do to facts. Half United States Attorney and half ATF Director. I think I may have figured out why we have lost our explosives jurisdiction for all practical purposes.

Our ESF 13 function was openly criticized by the GAO. Our NRT program is in the tank and we have more employee disputes than either the FBI or DEA. The industry that we have all worked so hard to become partners with over the last 30 years hate us and don’t trust us.

A Director from inside would be preferred by ALL. The notion the NRA will tank anybody for no reason is insane.

The abuses brought down on the industry by bad policies, the legislating from inside a Bureau has to stop. The total adversarial demeanor has to change, between the field and HQ. Most have lost faith.

That’s not going to happen, dipping a little deeper into the same poison well. They are all either promoted by or have promoted each other.

We need clean crisp leadership to groom a future Agent as our Director. A General Stanley McChrystal of sorts, that realizes HQ is here to support the field, not the other way around. Put a strong “A” political Cop Boss in their and he will get confirmed as a Director.

The exact reason the current and your generation of bosses got away with so much is because the layers of accountability were so thick, and there was no transparency.

No one much had accountability that he/she couldn’t hand off to somebody else. Lets be accountable. We are ATF. We don’t redact 95% of a document to a Congressional Chairman. We hand all of our stuff over. We are ATF and we have nothing to hide.

So Jim, if we let the Justice Department pick our Director, is it your assertion that they would hold likes of Mclemore, Crenshaw, Ford, Hoover at bay?

Um, do you watch the news? The agency lacks character and accountability at the highest levels. An outsider has to clean house, and then provide a short list of qualified managers for consideration as our Director. And no Jim, that is not going to be you. If it makes you feel better, I don’t want the job either.


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