As National Gun Rights Examiner Dan and Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman reported yesterday, Kenneth Melson is stepping down as Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), to go to what Politico describes as “an obscure, new post” (“Senior Adviser on Forensic Science” in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy)–presumably as fallout of the “Project Gunwalker” scandal. His replacement will be the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, B. Todd Jones.
Much attention is being–quite properly–focused on how much this latest move looks like a rather clumsy attempt to shield officials higher in the political food chain from their own “Project Gunwalker” culpability. There’s even some credible speculation that Jones himself was complicit in “Gunwalker.” Those are important questions, that must be answered, but today we’re going to look at something else.
Here’s an interesting aspect of Mr. Jones’ appointment:
Jones will continue to serve in the capacity of U.S. Attorney when he assumes the role of ATF acting director on Aug. 31, 2011.
In other words, President Obama’s Department of Justice, under Attorney General Eric Holder, is making leadership of the BATFE a part-time position. That’s the kind of move that one might think would draw howls of protest from the forcible citizen disarmament lobby.
The Brady Campaign, some might remember, in what seems to have been their first acknowledgment of “Project Gunwalker,” back in March, blamed the debacle on the fact that the BATFE did not have a permanent director:
The basic problem is that the ATF has not had a permanent head in five years. The person that George W. Bush had proposed was blocked in the Senate; the person that President Obama proposed is blocked in the Senate. ATF has no leadership, nobody calling the shots; they have very little resources.
That was former Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke (who, ironically, considering the Brady Campaign’s apparent distaste for “acting” leadership, has so far been replaced only with Acting President Dennis “What People?” Henigan).
Helmke was far from alone in taking the position that an “acting” director, is in too weak a position to . . . act as director, the holder of that position apparently so powerless as to be unable to not pressure gun dealers to sell guns against their better judgment to known straw purchasers with connections to brutal mass murderers. That has, in fact, been one of the favorite excuses of the “gun control” lobby/BATFE apologists, echoed by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), over and over and over and over and over again, and by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (who was then thanked by CSGV), and countless other “gun control” sycophants in the mass media.
Those who express outrage at the Senate’s inability to confirm a permanent director generally lay the blame at the feet of the “gun lobby,” with little (if any) regard to the fact that an appointee who was not an extremist in his hostility to private firearm ownership might easily win the Senate’s blessing. How will they react, though, to the fact that the Obama administration’s latest move is not only another acting director, but one who can devote only part of his attention to leading the bureau–through what is, let’s face it, perhaps the roughest storm in the history of what even Time Magazine once referred to as perhaps “the most hated federal agency in America”?
It should also be pointed out that the office of U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota is also presumably a fairly significant position, worthy of a dedicated civil servant’s full-time attention, which it will now obviously not be receiving. It does almost seem as if the Obama administration’s Department of “Justice” is less concerned with justice than with damage control. Will the Brady Campaign, CSGV, Rachel Maddow and the rest object?
Update: National Gun Rights Examiner Dan points out in comments that the Washington Post sees things the same way. That’s nearly enough to force me to reconsider my position.
- A journalist’s guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part One
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker-Part Two
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Three
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Four
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Five
- Official Correspondence on the Project Gunwalker Scandal.
- Sharyl Attkisson’s stories on CBS
- Gunwalker scandal: Melson out at ATF
- Confirmed: Melson out at ATF, replaced by U.S. Atty from MN
- The Night of the Short Knives: “Scratch one flattop.” Melson transferred to a rubber room job at DOJ, Burke forced to resign.
- Melson ousted as ATF director
- Fast and furious sacrifices
- ATF Acting Director Todd Jones Interviewed By Minnesota Public Radio
- Michelle Malkin on “The Night of the Short Knives.” “Screw up, move up, cover up: It’s the Holder way, the Obama way, the Washington way.”