On August 3rd, the Brady Campaign released a report chastising Obama for lack of leadership on gun issues. They specifically criticize him for not naming a Director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Eighteen months into his presidency, Barack Obama has left vacant the critical position of Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – the agency charged with enforcing federal gun laws. President Obama’s failure to fill this crucial position is part of a continued lack of leadership on gun policy from the White House and an abdication of the President’s responsibility to protect families and communities from gun violence.
The failure to nominate an ATF director for over a year and a half is unprecedented and threatens our nation’s ability to combat gun crime and trafficking that arms criminals and terrorists. No other President has allowed this critical position to remain vacant for so long.
The next day, Al Kamen in his In The Loop column for the Washington Post, floats the name of Andrew Traver, Special Agent In Charge of the Chicago Field Office of ATF. Kamen notes,
If approved, Traver would be the first-ever Senate-confirmed ATF director. The position had been filled (at the Treasury Department and more recently at Justice) without Senate input. Since it became Senate-confirmable in 2006, seems no one has made it past the watchful eyes of the gun lobby.
Kamen was named as one of the 50 best journalists in Washington by the influential Washingtonian Magazine. They note “The top reporter on the region’s top employer–the federal bureacracy–Kamen and his In the Loop column often seem to know what’s going on in government better than the Office of Management and Budget.” If you are going to leak the name of a potential nominee, who better to give it to?
The Ticklethewire.com website which covers Federal law enforcement also noted the possible nomination of Traver. They said their sources indicated that Traver had expressed an “intense interest in the job” and that two members of the Illinois congressional delegation had written letters in support of him for the job.
Then they add this recommendation for Traver,
“He’s an experienced special agent with more than 20 years,” former ATF official James Cavanaugh, who recently retired after 33 1/2 years with the agency, told ticklethewire.com. “He’s a good leader. He’s quiet. He’s strong. He certainly has the battle scars of law enforcement and law enforcement command.”
“I think he would be a good pick because he’s not a political person.”
That would be James “Waco Jim” Cavanaugh who is endorsing Traver and to his suggestion that Traver is not political, I say bullshit. One does not get to be the SAIC of a major ATF field office without being something of a politician. That goes doubly true when you are talking about a city like Chicago run by anti-gunners.
I noted another blog mentioned Traver as the possible ATF Director on July 3rd. On July 28th, I noticed someone from the U.S. Department of Justice had read that story on this blog. They had used a Google search with the key words “andy traver atf and joyce foundation”. You can see the Sitemeter screen capture here.
As I said in the title of this post, I don’t believe in coincidences. You have the Bradys criticizing Obama for not naming a Director for ATF and then the next day it is leaked that Andrew Traver is considered the leading candidate. Barely a week earlier, someone from DOJ was checking out my blog to see what had been written about Traver. I think someone in the Obama Administration or DOJ is either floating a trial balloon to see if they get any flak or they are signaling to the Bradys that they are about to appoint a strong anti-gunner as head of ATF.
Traver’s ties to the Joyce Foundation and anti-gun politicians will be left to a latter post.