The man brought in to repair one of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies after it was scarred by a gun-running scandal is stepping down, ABC News has learned.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones has informed Attorney General Eric Holder he plans to resign, effective March 31. Jones has secured a new job in the private sector in New York City, and may be joining a professional sports league, ABC News was told.
Jones, 57, first took charge of the agency in August 2011, holding the position in an “acting” capacity until the U.S. Senate confirmed his presidential nomination nearly two years later. ATF had been without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years.
During that time, the ATF and the Justice Department, more broadly, were blindsided by the “Fast and Furious” scandal, named for the ATF-led investigation in Arizona that put guns into the hands of criminals in Mexico, two of which ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in late 2010.
In the wake of the scandal, President Obama then tapped Jones to chart a new course for the ATF. At the time, Jones was serving double-duty, holding onto his position as U.S. attorney – the Justice Department’s top prosecutor – in Minnesota.
Once confirmed, though, Jones left the U.S. attorney’s office, devoting his full attention to what ATF’s website says is “the unique law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice with the responsibility for enforcing firearms and explosives laws that protect communities from violent criminals and criminal organizations.”
Some within the agency and on Capitol Hill say privately that, besides improving morale, Jones has done a reasonably good job of reforming some of ATF’s management practices that led to problems like “Fast and Furious.”
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SOURCE: ABC News, Jack Date and Mike Levine