By PAUL D. THACKER
Whoa! Things are really heating up with the "Fast and Furious" illegal gun running program that we reported on earlier today. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) just announced 11 senior-level promotions/demotions at ATF headquarters. To be honest, I can't remember a time in recent years when a federal agency announced such a major shake up.
But I don't know if this is really going to staunch the flow of blood in the Obama administration. The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is demanding that Obama appoint a special counsel to investigate if Attorney General Eric Holder misled Congress during congressional testimony last May.
We find it hard to believe the ATF could have run a program that fed AK-47s and other weapons to Mexican drug lords without the cognizance of at least some senior level officials at the Justice Department and State Department (because of the international aspects).
And we just learned that House Republicans plan to send more subpoenas to the White House and Department of Justice within the next 24 hours.
See the ATF press statement below. Or you can see a longer version on the ATF site.
Paul D. Thacker is a POGO Investigator
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE ACTING DIRECTOR REGARDING STAFF REASSIGNMENTS AT ATF HEADQUARTERS
During the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet and speak to many of you at headquarters and across the country as I traveled to ATF field offices. I am impressed with your dedication to ATF and optimistic about our future as we refocus our efforts on violent crime and protecting the American public. This is our core mission. This is what ATF does best.
In my original message to you, I indicated that my goal is to provide stability and leadership. Today, I am announcing key staff changes aimed at putting this agency back on track. In addition, shortly after you receive this message, the Public Affairs Division will distribute a news release to the media outlining the changes below.
Under the changes, ATF executive staff will be reassigned as follows:
- Thomas Brandon will become Deputy Director.
- W. Larry Ford will become Assistant Director (AD) of the Office of Field Operations (FO).
- Gregory Gant will become the AD of PGA.
- James McDermond will return to OSII as the AD, the position he held before most recently serving as AD of PGA.
- Julie Torres will become the AD of the Office of Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations (OPRSO).
- Theresa Stoop will become the AD of the Office of Human Resources and Professional Development (HRPD).
- Mark Potter will become the AD of the Office of Management (OM).
- William Hoover will become SAC of the ATF Washington Field Division.
- Mark Chait will become SAC of the ATF Baltimore Field Division.
- Vivian Michalic will become the DAD of OM and will remain the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for ATF.
- Melanie Stinnett will become Deputy Chief Counsel of ATF.
These changes in no way portend the outcome of the OIG investigation of Fast and Furious. However, depending upon the results of that review, additional assignments may occur.
The following Assistant Directors will remain in their current positions:
- Arthur Herbert, AD of the Office of Enforcement Programs and Services.
- H. Richard Holgate, AD of the Office of Science and Technology.
- Stephen Rubenstein, Chief Counsel.
Thank you for your continued dedication to ATF and its mission of protecting the American people.