Friday, November 15, 2013

ATF - As Seen by New Director Todd Jones, Keeping Track of 300 Million Firearms (Part-1)

"ATF head Jones reflects on agency's outdated technology, system vulnerabilities" PBS Newshour 11/14/2013


JUDY WOODRUFF (Newshour):  Now to our newsmaker interview with B. Todd Jones, the new director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives.  The agency, charged with keeping track of the nation's 300 million guns, lacked a permanent head for the last seven years.  Jones was appointed shortly after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, and he was confirmed in July.

I spoke with him this afternoon at the bureau's headquarters here in Washington.

Director Todd Jones, thank you for talking with us.

B. TODD JONES, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:  Well, thank you for being here.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  In your confirmation hearings to become the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, you called this an agency in distress.

Others have called it the neglected stepchild of federal law enforcement.  They have called it a bureau under siege.  How do you see it now that you're here?

B. TODD JONES:  I call it a resilient law enforcement agency.

I had the privilege of serving in an acting capacity for two years, which gave me the benefit of getting to know the people, getting to know the organization -- the organization better, and also identifying some immediate actions that we wanted to take.  And it's -- 24 months has gone by really fast.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The ATF hadn't had a permanent director for seven years before you took the job.  You have a budget that is -- yes, it's grown, but it's not nearly as vast as the budgets of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency.

It's been pointed out your number of agents smaller than many city municipal police departments, sheriff's departments.  How are you managing?

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