New ATF Director Wants to Refocus Agency on Violent Crime


The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is fighting for its life, says NPR. The agency is under pressure from Republicans in Congress after the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking operation and the scandal has cost the ATF leader and a top prosecutor their jobs. The Obama administration is counting on former Marine B. Todd Jones, to get the agency back on track. “There are going to be some changes that happen, and there’ll be a refocusing on our primary mission, which is violent crime,” he tells NPR.

Jones soon will head out for one-on-one meetings across the U.S. to tell ATF employees not to be distracted by two big congressional investigations of the agency’s conduct or an ongoing review by the Justice Department’s inspector general. Says Jones: “This is a good agency; it’s got a lot of professionals in it; it’s got an expertise I think that doesn’t exist in other parts of the government, with respect to firearms, violent crime, explosives and everything related to that.” Some ATF agents have worried that Jones, the top federal prosecutor in Minnesota, might not understand what investigators do on the streets every day. He says he commanded a military police unit in the Marines and built violent crime and conspiracy cases with ATF agents when he worked as an assistant U.S. attorney.

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