B. Todd Jones, the U.S. Attorney for the District Of Minnesota, has been picked as the new interim head of the the interim head of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Jones replaces acting director Kenneth Melson, who came under fire after his controversial Fast and Furious anti-gun-trafficking operation allegedly led to a number of guns making their way into the hand of criminals. Melson will move to the Office of Legal Policy, where he will be a senior advisor on forensic science.
“As a seasoned prosecutor and former military judge advocate, Jones is a demonstrated leader who brings a wealth of experience to this position,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a conference call with reporters. “I have great confidence that he will be a strong and steady influence guiding ATF in fulfilling its mission of combating violent crime by enforcing federal criminal laws and regulations in the firearms and explosives industries.”
While serving as interim head of the ATF, Jones will not technically resign his current position, which required Senate confirmation. There has not been a Senate confirmed head of the ATF since 2006, due to arguments about gun control policy.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) issued a written statement blasting the decision to replace Melson. “Instead of reassigning those responsible for Fast and Furious within the Department of Justice, Attorney General Holder should ask for their resignations and come clean on all alleged gun walking operations…,” Cornyn said.