Serial perjurer "Waco Jim" Cavanaugh -- who has been serving as the ATF's unofficial criticism deflection spokesman ever since he retired (no point in subpoenaing him since he's no longer in the chain of command so the SOB can say anything he wants without factual challenge) -- tells us that the Director position of the ATF should be made "non-political." Cavanaugh wants to put the appointment process out of the reach of those blue meanies at the NRA. The meme, of course, is on track with the firearm confiscationist crowd's assertion that the Gunwalker Scandal would never have happened if the ATF had a permanent director. Here's the latest example of that from the editorial page of the Chicago Tribune.
Robert Mueller of the FBI, Hillary Clinton at State, Janet Napolitano at DHS, and all the heads of the various subordinate agencies except ATF were permanent appointees. They all saluted the Gunwalker idea when it was run up the flag pole and made sure their agencies got in line with the White House's desires. Each of those agencies is still covering up their own culpability in the worst federal government scandal ever.
If you know much of "Waco Jim's" career, the hypocrisy drips from every sentence.
Leaders earn and gain their real power not from certificates or anointments, rather from three things: Their integrity, their willingness to accept responsibility and their experience and competence to do the job.
So, in essence, the most effective way to get that leader is to keep it where it had been for the many decades: In the career civil service and in the career Senior executive service. The Justice Department can choose a very able person from that system to head up the agency.
I believe the director of ATF should be an ATF Special Agent, one who has sat out all night in the rain on a surveillance, worked on difficult bombings and arson cases, made undercover buys from violent felons, worked with victims of violent crime, talked to gun and explosives dealers and understands their issues, obtained and served dangerous search warrants, testified many times as a witness, worked with informants, heard shots fired in anger, and listened to the hate filled rants of Klansmen and militiamen neo-Nazis.
In other words, a leader who understands and has experienced the unique challenges that ATF faces.
Riiiight. Here's the real motivation of this piece. Cavanaugh, as savvy a political player in ATF's senior executive service as there ever was, a man willing to commit perjury to protect himself and his bosses, a man who was such a "team player" that he let the Waco dynamic raid go forward even when he knew the security was compromised at the risk of his own men, is speaking from his own ego here.
According to my sources within the ATF, HE always wanted to be Director, always thought he deserved it, and yet after Waco there was never going to be a political appointment for him, which is why he never got further up the chain than the Nashville field division.
He also may be trying now to make the case for himself as a dark horse candidate.
Whatever Cavanaugh's motivation, you can bet your ass it is self-serving and favor-currying. His career at ATF demonstrates little else, and his retirement has changed nothing.
You want to make somebody Director of ATF? Well, if the agency isn't going to be abolished (and I am on record as saying that as long as the current firearm laws aren't going to be repealed -- and they're not -- that I prefer the devil I know in rehab enforcing them to the devil I don't, like the secret political policemen at DHS), my vote is for Vince Cefalu. We disagree on one helluva lot, but at least he's honest. And, unlike Cavanaugh, he's not a serial perjurer. In fact, Vince blew the whistle on perjurers, which is what got him in trouble with the ATF's Chief Counsels Office to begin with.
Hey, now there's the first thing that Waco Jim and I have ever agreed on. The head of the ATF, if it is going to exist at all, maybe ought to be an honest street agent, somebody tough enough to tell his political bosses when they come to him with a BS idea like Gunwalker to go take one flying at a rolling doughnut.
However, I'm certain that Vince Cefalu is probably not the guy that Cavanaugh -- or the DOJ bosses that he is still trying to curry favor with -- had in mind.