The head of the ATF announced a major shakeup Wednesday in the wake of the botched Fast and Furious gun program.
“We are going to hit the reset button,” acting Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones, who has been at his new post for a little over a month, said during a press conference, The Associated Press reports.
Jones unveiled 11 new staff assignments at the executive level, including the appointment of a new deputy director and assistant directors for field operations and for public and governmental affairs.
The changes are aimed at giving the ATF a fresh jolt of energy in its mission to fight violent crime, Jones said in a written statement.
The Washington Post reported that Jones “urged Washington insiders to ‘calm down’” about the latest developments in Fast and Furious, but the paper provided no other details about his comments.
Jones replaced former acting director Ken Melson more than a month ago, amid the growing controversy over the gun operation.
“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,” Attorney General Eric Holder had said in announcing Jones’s appointment.
Holder has come under fierce criticism over the Fast and Furious gun sting since documents surfaced suggesting the attorney general may have known about the controversial program earlier than he had told Congress.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has called for a special counsel to investigate whether Holder had misled members of Congress in a recent testimony. The DOJ has said Holder has never misled anyone about the program.
Fast and Furious allowed ATF to purchase illegal firearms in Phoenix with the intention of tracking the weapons to gun traffickers. But the agency lost track of more than 2,000 firearms, and many were later discovered in crime scenes in Mexico.
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