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Tag: Andrew Traver

Denver’s ATF Head Lands Job As New Director of Naval Criminal Investigative Service

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF’s head of the Denver field division has been named the new director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Denver Post reports.

The Navy announced Andrew Traver’s new position Friday.

“It is an awesome privilege to be chosen to lead a top-tier, elite agency in NCIS, and I intend to do my very best to ensure that NCIS continues to be a highly proficient, efficient and accomplished force, setting an inspiring professional standard for all to emulate,” Traver said.

Traver had been nominated by President Obama to become the new director of ATF, but his nomination stalled and never went anywhere.

 

 

Andrew Traver Who Was Nominated for Director is Named Head of ATF’s Denver Office

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Andrew Traver, whose nomination by President Obama to head up ATF seems to have gone nowhere, is the new head of ATF’s  Denver office.

Before getting this new assignment he was head of the Chicago ATF.

Traver began his ATF career in 1987 as a special agent in the Chicago Field Division and went on to other posts, including Group Supervisor in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New Orleans.

In November 2010, Traver was nominated by President Barack Obama to become director of ATF. He was subsequently re-nominated to the new session of Congress in January 2011, the first ATF career Special Agent to be so nominated.

But there seemed to be resistance on the Hill to appointing him and the nomination seemed to go nowhere.

 

Major Shakeup at ATF; Thomas Brandon Named New Deputy Director

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A big shakeup has begun at ATF.

Thomas Brandon, who had recently been sent from Detroit to head up the Phoenix Division and clean up the fall out from Operation Fast and Furious, will become the agency’s deputy director — the number two person.

The acting number two person, William J. Hoover, will move from headquarters to head up ATF’s Washington Field Office. And  Mark Chait, Assistant Director of Field Operations, will head up the Baltimore Division.

At headquarters, Mark Potter, former head of the Philly office, who recently was named Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations for the Western Region of the U.S. and International Operations, will become the ATF Assistant Director for the Office of Management. Larry Ford Will become Assistant Director of Office of Field Operations. Julie Torres will become Assistant Director of Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations.

Other changes are as follows: Gregory Gant will become the Assistant Director of Public and Governmental Affairs; James McDermond will return to the Office of Science and Technology as the Assistant Director; Theresa Stoop, head of the Baltimore Division, will become the Assistant Director of the Office of Human Resources and Professional Development; Vivian Michalic will become the Deputy Assistant Director of Office of Management and will remain the Chief Financial Officer for ATF; and Melanie Stinnett will become Deputy Chief Counsel of ATF.

The shakeups come in the midst of a Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, a failed operation that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of those guns have surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

They also come as  the new acting director B. Todd Jones moves to try and resurrect an agency that has been suffering from a severe case of low morale.

Reaction inside and outside ATF about the appointment of Brandon was met with praise.

“He’s a straight shooter, extremely competent, and he wants to do what’s right,” said one veteran ATF agent.

Andrew Arena, who heads up the FBI in Detroit, where Brandon was special agent in charge until recently, said:

“He’s one of the top officials I‘ve ever worked with in nearly 24 years of law enforcement. He gets what the mission is and he’s not into turf battles. He’s about getting it done.”

And Barbara McQuade, the U.S. Attorney in Detroit said “You’ll never meet a more dedicated law enforcement professional than Tom Brandon. He’s incredibly hard working, no ego and just cares about getting the job done. He’s everything you would want in a public servant.”

The change also come as the White House’s nomination for permanent director, Andrew Traver, remains in limbo. The NRA and other gun-rights groups have opposed his nomination, which has stalled in the Senate.  Observers say the nomination is likely to simply die. Traver heads up ATF’s Chicago office.

Brandon might have a better chance of getting confirmed as director. That being said,  the Obama administration isn’t like to spend political capital trying to get a director confirmed before the November 2012 election.   Jones, who is also a U.S. Attorney in Minnesota, is expected to stay on as acting director at least through the end of President Obama’s first term.

 

Column: Traver Likely to Become Acting Chief of ATF; Not Likely to Get Confirmed

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Andrew Traver, the man the White House nominated last November to head up ATF,  is in Washington Tuesday to speak to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.

His arrival comes in the midst of a major controversy — or screw up as some might say — involving ATF’s “Operation Fast and Furious”, which encouraged gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers” — all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

What’s expected to happen is that Traver, who heads up the Chicago ATF office,  will be appointed acting director of ATF, replacing the acting head Kenneth Melson, who will likely be pressured to resign.

After that, what’s also likely to happen is that Traver will never be confirmed. I could be wrong. But the NRA has launched an aggressive campaign to block his confirmation, claiming he’s very anti-gun rights. The confirmation has been stalled in the Senate.

The Obama White House doesn’t seem to have the appetite for a fight like that. And it’s  not likely to want to spend it’s political capital on Traver — at least not until the 2012 election is over.

So Traver will remain acting chief, certainly past the election. Should Obama win re-election, then he might go for a recess appointment, or just let Traver remain as acting.  Or maybe he’ll find someone who is more acceptable to the NRA, though I think that’s not likely — not if you’re looking for someone to aggressively enforce gun laws.

Unfortunately, acting directors never have the same clout,the same sway as a permanent director.   And just  in case they still have a shot at confirmation, they have to be extra careful as to what they say or what initiatives they launch or who they appoint to executive spots. They can become overly cautious. That can be very stifling and bad for the agency.

But politically, they never want to give Congress ammunition to sabotage the confirmation.

As for Meslon. Well, he was decent guy and a smart one at that. But agents thought the ex-federal prosecutor didn’t really understand the agency culture and the agents’ mindset.

As one veteran ATF agent told me: “A lot of guys thought he wasn’t the best fit. He was a nice man, but at times he could be arrogant. I don’t think he intended to come across that way. I kind of feel sorry for him.”

White House Likely to Replace Head of ATF

ATF's Kenneth Melson /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Obama White House  had no intention of keeping Ken Melson, acting head of ATF.

In fact, last November it nominated Andrew Traver, head of the Chicago ATF office, to become the permanent head of the agency.  But the confirmation process seemed to hit a big bump as the pro-gun lobbying groups attacked him, claiming he was hostile to gun owners.

But things may be changing.

Wall Street Journal reporters Evan Perez and Devlin Barrett report that the Justice Department is likely to soon oust Melson. The move would come as  the agency is coming   under sharp attack by some Congressional members for a questionable ATF operation known as Fast and Furious, which encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hope of tracing the guns to Mexican drug cartels.

Problem was, agents lost track of the guns and authorities say some of the guns were linked to the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry late last year.

The Journal reported that  Traver is set to travel to Washington on Tuesday to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

The Journal said the administration is trying to figure out whether it should name Traver acting director or name someone else as “acting” in the interim  while Traver awaits  Senate action.

ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson told the Journal : “Acting Director Kenneth Melson continues to be focused on leading ATF in its efforts to reduce violent crime and to stem the flow of firearms to criminals and criminal organizations. We are not going to comment on any speculations.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

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Nearly Six Months After Nomination, No Confirmation Hearing Set for ATF’s Andrew Traver

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –  Nearly six months after the White House nominated Andrew Traver to head ATF, there’s no sign of a confirmation hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said there’s nothing scheduled for Traver, who heads  the ATF Chicago Office, and explained that the committee has so many confirmation hearings to deal with.

But some observers think there’s more to it.  They think ATF is a low priority, plus they think there’s no hurry to rush the confirmation process in the midst of the bubbling controversy over an ATF program known as Operation Fast and Furious, in which gun dealers in Arizona were encouraged to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of the guns ended up being used in crimes.

James Cavanaugh, a former ATF official, said Friday that he suspects that the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious will probably delay the confirmation.

“I think it will have an impact, I think it will delay the director,” he said. ” Its such a big dust up on the Hill.”

He said the gun lobbying groups, which oppose Traver’s nomination, may also use the controversy over Fast and Furious to delay the confirmation.

“The gun lobbying groups don’t want Traver,” he said. “If they can use the controversy to stall the confirmation and block it and drag it out, they will.”

Traver was nominated last November.

Gun Advocates Oppose White House Nominee to Head ATF

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF and the NRA are two acronyms that seldom play together well.

So it’s no surprise that the NRA — the National Rifle Association — and other gun rights advocates aren’t happy with the White House’ nomination of Andrew Traver to head the agency. Traver currently heads up the ATF Chicago office.

USA Today reports that gun rights advocates see Traver as an anti-gun zealot, and they oppose his nomination.

“Traver has been deeply aligned with gun-control advocates and anti-gun activities,” the NRA said in a statement, according to USA Today. “This makes him the wrong choice to lead an enforcement agency that has almost exclusive oversight and control over the firearms industry, its retailers and consumers.”

But Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has a different take.

“I see (Traver’s nomination) as a very big opportunity for the administration,” Helmke told USA Today. “Since this administration took office, they have run from the gun issue. … They need to fight for this.”

Traver’s nomination has yet to be scheduled for Senate consideration.

His nomination comes in wake of the Tucson shooting, which triggered a renewed national debate over gun control.

To read more click here.

Police Chiefs Endorse Andrew Traver to Head ATF

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on Friday voiced its “strong support” for the nomination of Andrew Traver as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Traver, who was nominated to the post by President Obama last month, currently heads up ATF’s Chicago division.

“A career law enforcement professional like Andrew Traver is an ideal selection to lead ATF, IACP President Mark Marshall, chief of the Smithfield, Va. Police Department, said in a statement.

“Throughout his career, Special Agent Traver has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to protecting public safety. His 23 years of experience at ATF have provided him the opportunity to work with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.”

“He has gained a unique understanding of the challenges and complexities they face in combating firearms violence, gang crime and other threats to our communities.”

“The IACP urges the Judiciary Committee and the members of the United States Senate to confirm Special Agent Traver’s nomination in a timely fashion.”