September 25, 2006
Mr. Glenn A. Fine
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Mr. Fine:
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to respond to your Draft Report
concerning anonymous allegations made during my tenure as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In the Draft Report, you found no basis for
substantiating a single allegation relating to administrative misconduct. In spite of this, you have chosen to bury these conclusions in a Draft Report that: 1) is negative in tone; 2) impugns my
character and integrity without basis; and 3) second-guesses my professional judgment,
discretionary decisions, and management style based upon criticisms from unidentified sources.
The unidentified sources were likely persons within ATF who were resistant to my status as an outsider from another rival federal law enforcement agency and my efforts at necessary change.
Your Draft Report also fails to put the allegations made in context, to make mention of the significant progress ATF made during my stewardship and under difficult circumstances, or balance the allegations made against my unblemished professional career. As Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales noted in his August 2006 public statement, I have been a leader in law enforcement and have had "a long and distinguished career in government service including the personal protection of four presidents while at the Secret Service before [taking] the helm of the ATF in 2004."1 I consistently received favorable views from other Department of Justice leadership, and from officials who have served in leadership posts throughout my career, including during my time at ATF. Many of those leaders are prepared to step forward and vouch for me, my integrity and my professional judgment. One of those officials, the ATF Chief of Staff, strongly condemned the allegations made against me in the attached declaration to the executive staff.2 If your Report were made public in its current form, none of this would be recognized. On this basis alone, the Draft Report should not be released until appropriate revisions are made.
I believe strongly in the inspector general concept, but inspectors general, given their awesome powers, have an obligation to be impartial and fair, to make judgments based upon legal norms and a careful review of the facts, and to operate within their statutory mandates. Nothing in the Inspector General Act gives you the license to second-guess professional discretionary judgments. You have, in my view, not been guided by these principles in this Draft Report. I respectfully request, therefore, that the Report be revised in substance and tone to reflect in unequivocal terms that there were no findings of administrative misconduct; and that decisions made with respect to all of the other allegations, with the single exception of my nephew's high school project, were within my discretion to make. More specific responses to these allegations and recommendations on modifying the Draft Report are set forth below.
I believed ATF's move into its first permanent headquarters' building would be an organizational and institutional transformation and have a long-lasting and professional influence on the bureau. My detail-oriented experience coupled with sentiments such as those expressed below by building architect Moshe Safdie, motivated me to be attentive to the new ATF headquarters' building in general. Specifically, I believed that the Director's office area should not be built and designed in accordance with my personal preferences, but for any Director and staff who occupy them and in the best interests of the American taxpayer.4 ATF's plan was consistent with similar space which I had seen first-hand at the offices of other Departmental component heads and the General Services Administration has stated that ATF acted within established guidelines.
The first time it was brought to my attention that certain items for the Director's office and contiguous areas had not been previously budgeted for, I - not the Deputy Director, notified the executive staff and I told them that given the current budget environment the items should be
eliminated - and they were. These discussions occurred before I was made aware of the existence of the anonymous letter. Additionally, a process was initiated subsequent to my discussion with the executive staff, guided by the Deputy Director, to consider and execute other cost-saving measures. Also, I did not ask on two occasions that wood floors remain in the Director's office after they had been eliminated.
Additionally, in unsolicited correspondence I received from Moshe Safdie, he wrote in part:
"In reading the commentary of your "over-involvement" in the design of the ATF headquarters, I could not help but reflect how misinformed and misunderstood the subject of architecture and the environment are in the public eye. After all, the working environment of the ATF is of far-reaching impact on the effectiveness on the working community for generations to come. It is not only worthy of the Director's attention, but absolutely demands it. How many public buildings have we seen conceived and constructed only to take their toll on the efficiency and effectiveness of the working community within them?"5 (Emphasis added)
Assistance on Nephew's High School Project
My nephew is a young man who is passionate about everything he does - particularly as it relates to his personal interests of videography and his career aspirations of following in my footsteps as a career public servant in the field of law enforcement. He wanted to produce a video and I facilitated his request, assuming that the bureau's participation. would be minimal while advancing a good story about ATF.6 I was not contemporaneously aware of the role of every ATF employee as you suggest, but I should have been aware of the anticipated extent of ATF involvement and I should have placed appropriate limits on the resources that could be used in support of the project. I only wish I had received the advice and counsel as described by the witness.
As you substantiated, the security for the ATF Director was established and approved by ATF senior leadership prior to my arrival as Director; it was reviewed by and comported with the Department of Justice Executive Protection Program7 and it was codified in Title 31, Section 1344, Passenger Carrier Use.8 Additionally, I believe the overall security arrangements were a measured approach for a bureau head with direct responsibility for firearms and explosives crimes and contributing to the Department's highest priority of preventing terrorism. I never requested additional personnel, vehicles or other resources above what had been established by the ATF senior leadership.
As an example of a weakness in your Draft Report and notwithstanding your lengthy discussion regarding Suburbans, several weeks prior to my arrival at ATF the Deputy Director was driven to Secret Service headquarters to meet with me to discuss my pending arrival at ATF. He was driven in a Suburban by the same special agent who ultimately headed the Executive Protection ranch when I arrived at ATF. The suggestion that Suburbans were utilized after my arrival and based solely on my personal preference is undeniably wrong.
My travel to Boston, Massachusetts and Ottawa, Canada; London, England; and New York, New York, was undertaken to "effectively and economically accomplish the purposes of the Government"9 and to build necessary relationships to advance ATF. If the purposes of the trip had not met those thresholds, the ATF personnel would not have traveled. With respect to my travel, my expenses would not have been reimbursed without the approval of the office of the Deputy Attorney General - and they were.
I concur with your recommendations regarding two additional areas of procedures that ATF should address. First, you found that ATF employees failed to comply with FTR and ATF travel procedures by failing to document the reasons for incurring costs beyond the government rates for hotel accommodations. ATF employees, particularly the executive staff, should be reminded of the need to comply with all ATF and Departmental travel procedures. Second, concerning the September 2005 ATF reception at the IACP Convention in Miami Beach, ATF failed to enter into a clear agreement with the
charter boat company servicing the event. The structure which I incorporated at ATF requiring Chief Counsel review of every activity relating to the Director's office should have included reviewing contracts with vendors who would be providing ATF services and I should have ensured they had done so.
Requested Modifications and Summary
- Your Draft Report found no basis for substantiating a single allegation relating to administrative misconduct. Hence, the Report should unequivocally state that you found no evidence to substantiate a single allegation relating to administrative misconduct. As such, there is no justification for the public dissemination of this unbalanced Draft Report as it is presently written. Additionally, your anticipated public disclosure of ATF component head security matters is irresponsible despite the fact that I have resigned. The "Security" section of your Draft Report (including Appendices C, D, and E, were written and approved by others within ATF and unseen by me until after the anonymous letter had been written) does not contain classified information, but most-assuredly contains operational security information which is of value to an adversary of current and future ATF Directors. You should also re-evaluate your public disclosure regarding the security posture for the Director of the U. S. Marshall's Service and redact appropriately.
- I will accept responsibility for everything that actually occurred at ATF during my tenure.
That point is unmistakable, as I alone am answering to you and ultimately to the Attorney
General for the allegations which have been made. Your Report should not indicate that I was reluctant to do so.
- The tone of your Report should be modified so that it is not unjustifiably negative and does
not make insinuations based on contradictory witness statements that are not based on contravention of statute, regulation, or policy.
- The title of your Draft Report includes the words "mismanagement" and "misconduct." The Draft Report did not substantiate misconduct; and mismanagement is a subjective editorial
observation and has no place on a title page. The title page should be edited accordingly.
- I request that my response be included as an appendix in your final Report and please mail
me a printed copy of the final Report.
- Please provide me with a copy of the anonymous letter, dated January 20, 2006.
Under the leadership of President George W. Bush, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, my contributions and leadership at ATF have been noteworthy and I will forever be proud of them. I departed public service earlier this year grateful for the honor and privilege of serving with the trust and confidence of the American people.
Please respond to my requested modifications in writing, prior to the finalization of your report.
Carl J. Truscott
cc: Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales