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Judicial Watch • The ATF Under Fire

The ATF Under Fire

The ATF Under Fire

Judicial Watch

The recently departed director of the federal agency that regulates firearms and explosives is guilty of severely mismanaging government funds and misconduct during his tenure at the agency.

As head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Carl Truscott misspent federal dollars, committed travel abuse, engaged in improper hiring practices and created a hostile working environment. Details of his tumultuous two years as head of the agency are revealed in a scathing, 173-page report published by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Among Truscott’s wrongdoings is improperly hiring an unqualified former Secret Service colleague who was eventually awarded with a bonus and pay raise by the former ATF director. Truscott also committed travel abuse by taking lavish trips to London, Ottawa, New York and Boston and he spent $100,000 on unnecessary gym equipment as well as thousands more on decorating his office.

Truscott also ordered 20 staff members to help with his nephew’s intricate high school project, wasting the agency’s time and violating ethics rules. The project consisted of a documentary about the ATF that took 10 months to complete and the report says using agency resources was one of Truscott’s many lapses in judgment.

The former director was highly regarded in law enforcement circles when then Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed him to run the ATF in 2004. He was a former investigator for the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and a longtime U.S. Secret Service agent who had been based in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC. Amid controversy, he resigned as ATF director in August.

One political blog says there is no shock in this news since the ATF has a history of corruption and incompetence as well as a record of hiring people rejected by other federal agencies, often for failing the psychological screening process.

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