Obama's ATF Nominee to Face Tough Questions on Capitol Hill

Katie Pavlich
Posted: Jun 11, 2013 9:03 AM
Obama's ATF Nominee to Face Tough Questions on Capitol Hill

Tuesday on Capitol Hill, acting ATF director and President Obama's nominee for permanent ATF director Todd Jones, will face tough questions from lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As a reminder, Jones is notorious for whistleblower intimidation and has quietly embraced the "shut up or be punished" culture inside ATF when it comes to agents exposing corruption and scandals like Operation Fast and Furious. Jones' style came under direct fire last year when he warned agents against "jumping their chain of command" when dealing with problems inside the bureau. 

 “… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don't respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

"Disciplinary process."

Jones is sure to be questioned about his role in Operation Fast and Furious and his service as an advisor to Attorney General Eric Holder. Jones will also be questioned about ATF's latest screw up in Milwaukee,where agents lost a fully automatic machine gun.

A store calling itself Fearless Distributing opened early last year on an out-of-the-way street in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, offering designer clothes, athletic shoes, jewelry and drug paraphernalia.

Those working behind the counter, however, weren't interested in selling anything.

They were undercover agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives running a storefront sting aimed at busting criminal operations in the city by purchasing drugs and guns from felons.

But the effort to date has not snared any major dealers or taken down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and failures, including an ATF military-style machine gun landing on the streets of Milwaukee and the agency having $35,000 in merchandise stolen from its store, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found.

When the 10-month operation was shut down after the burglary, agents and Milwaukee police officers who participated in the sting cleared out the store but left behind a sensitive document that listed names, vehicles and phone numbers of undercover agents.

And the agency remains locked in a battle with the building's owner, who says he is owed about $15,000 because of utility bills, holes in the walls, broken doors and damage from an overflowing toilet.
Jones was nominated as part of President Obama's 20 executive actions on gun control earlier this year. You can watch the hearing live here starting at 9:30 EDT.