Who Is Carl Truscott and Why Did Bush’s DOJ Protect Him?
Actually, I know who Carl Truscott is–he’s the former head of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms who resigned in 2006 under pressure for financial and other management abuses. But what I’m really interested in is why Bush’s DOJ went to great lengths to protect him.
The former Deputy Director of BATF, Edgar Domenech, filed a whistleblower complaint on Monday asserting that he was demoted for reporting Truscott’s abuses. Domenech’s complaint details Truscott’s abuses, including:
- Creating his own personal security detail
- Dragging official photographers to all his events
- Building an gym expansion in a building that would only be used for two additional years
- Adding $4 million in design changes to the new BATF headquarters
- Hiring an unqualified former co-worker to an Assistant Director position
Perhaps the best example of Truscott’s egomania is the way he’d invite his buddies over for lunch on the BATF’s dime:
On numerous occasions during Director Truscott’s.tenure, he has invited individuals representing private’ corporations and businesses with no apparent connection to ongoing contracts or activities with ATF to have lunch at government expense in his office or at nearby restaurants. Many of these individuals are former members of the Secret Service, or were referred to him by retired or current Secret service members. During the course of these meals, two female (GS-13 and GS-12) staff members are required to serve Director’ Truscott and his guests in the Director’s’ Office and have been specifically instructed to announce to the Director that "Lunch is served", causing undue humiliation to these professional staff employees and forcing them to engage in activity at work which is outside the scope of their duties. This is clearly indicative of a hostile work environment towards women. These employees have not advised Director Truscott that these unexpected service requests are degrading for fear of reprisal and intimidation. Initially, the lunches he hosted were sandwiches, however he recently demanded of staff to provide hot meals for his personal guests, which the staff must ayange, acquire and serve, causing additional strain and hours for ATF support staff to ensure the meals are served at appropriate temperatures. [my emphasis]
The complaint goes on to explain that Truscott’s financial mismanagement resulted in a net $20 million loss in BATF’s operating budget in FY 2006, leading to shortages of key equipment and capabilities.
In many ways, Domenech’s descriptions of Carl Truscott remind me of descriptions of Rachel Paulose’s ill-fated fiefdom as USA for Minnesota, with the same focus on self-promotion and little focus on the management of the agency.
Yet in spite of Domenech’s documentation of such abuses (which were confirmed by an OIG investigation), DOJ protected Truscott. For example, in late 2006 and early 2007, Domenech and the Director of Field Operations twice approached the Deputy Attorney General’s office with the problems, but got no response. Domenech again approached the DAG in February 2007, but was dismissed.
Mr. Mercer was dismissive of Mr. Domenech’s concerns and equally dismissive of the complaint that had been filed, expressing his belief, and that of the DAG office, that the complaint was motivated by "disgruntled career staff.”
Truscott resigned in August 2007, but even after that, DOJ protected him. In May 2007, Truscott’s replacement, Michael Sullivan, invited Truscott to the department’s annual memorial service. In August 2007, Sullivan invited Truscott to the annual awards ceremony and thanked him for his leadership.
On January 17, 2007, 41 days after eight US Attorneys were fired en masse, Domenech was demoted three levels. The excuse was similar to the one used with the USAs (though Domenech is a career employee, therefore presumably not subject to such political whims): the department was going to go in a different direction; Domenech didn’t share Sullivan’s vision of the department. But Domenech alleges he was fired because he’s the one who forced DOJ to deal with Truscott’s incompetence and abuses.
DOJ the White House Protect Truscott?
I said earlier than Truscott reminds me of Rachel Paulose, so on one level, it should not be surprise DOJ protected Truscott. DOJ made several efforts to help Paulose stay in her USA position. And when Mukasey came in, they quietly moved Paulose to another position in DOJ rather than firing her.
But the thing is, we know why DOJ was so loyal to Paulose. In addition to being one of Gonzales’ clique members, Paulose had defended the GOP in an election-related case, defended a faith-based healthcare program, and had fought against non-American detainees claiming rights via international treaties. Paulose had demonstrated, both ideologically and through her work, that she was a loyal member of Bush’s team. So they showed her the same loyalty in return.
So what did Carl Truscott do to deserve the same loyal treatment?
Domenech’s complaint makes it clear that Truscott’s protection came directly from the White House.
In December 2006, Messrs. Domenech and [Director of Field Operations] approached two Assistant Principal Attorney Generals, Richard Hertling and Uttarn Dhillon, and expressed their concerns over the future of ATF and its current financial situation, which would soon be escalating into a crisis. Mr. Hertling and Mr. Dhillon acknowledged that Mr. Truscott appeared to be in over his head, but since his name came directly from the White House, there was little to be done about the situation.
But perhaps that’s not a surprise. After all, Truscott’s chief preparation for running BATF came from working at the White House … as Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service’s Presidential Protective Division and after that, in charge of Secret Service’s IT. And while there, Truscott appears to have gotten an award every year of Bush’s term.
Mr. Truscott joins the Bureau from the U.S. Secret Service, where he served as the Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Research and was responsible for the Secret Service’s investigative and protective intelligence, threat assessment activities, technical security, information technology, emergency preparedness, as well as science and technology. Prior to his term as Assistant Director, Mr. Truscott served as the Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division, where he had primary responsibility for supervising all protective matters relating to the President, First Family and the White House.
Mr. Truscott has received numerous awards and commendations throughout his distinguished law enforcement career, including: the Director’s Life Saving Award in 1986; Senior Executive Service performance awards in 2001 and 2002; a Special Award for Distinguished Service to the Executive Office of the President in 2002; and the Presidential Rank Award as Meritorious Executive in 2003. [my emphasis]
Note, there is not necessarily something suspicious about Truscott moving from protecting President Bush to being protected by Bush as Truscott trashed the BATF. Bush is, after all, the kind of guy that appoints cronies of all types, and Bush may have just grown chummy with Truscott when Truscott was protecting him.
But then consider the favors Secret Service did for Bush. Truscott worked in Secret Service during the period when a gay prostitute started visiting the White House for overnight visits. Truscott appears to have been in charge of Presidential Protection during the period when Abramoff was visiting the White House–the records of which visits the White House later tried to hide. Truscott was also at the White House during the period when the Secret Service adopted its processes for records management with regard to visitors’ records. (Though Truscott left the Secret Service long before OVP ordered Secret Service to give it all records of visitors to the Vice President’s Residence.)
In other words, while at the White House, Truscott was in the position to do all sorts of favors for–or to collect all sorts of embarrassing information about–George Bush. It’s worth noting, too, that Truscott’s abusive lunches and inappropriate hire involved buddies from the Secret Service–so even active officers were benefiting from Truscott’s little fiefdom.
Bush’s DOJ went to some trouble to make sure Truscott didn’t pay for his abuse of office. I wonder why.
Update: fiefdom corrected per MadDog.
Looks like Kos & co have been reading EW:
MI-07: Tell Dick Cheney how much you like him
I seem to recall that during the Ken Starr Chamber, Secret Service agents were subpoenaed to testify about President Clinton’s private moments with Monica Lewinsky. And Arkansas State Troopers of course. And if of course President Clinton had been suspected of providing a nice sinecure for these individuals to ensure their silence, as he was alleged to have tried for Ms. Lewinsky, it would have been added to the Articles of Impeachment. So, of course nothing will be said about Mr. Truscott’s prior employment, and no one will even think of asking besides EW.
Note, too, that Truscott was at SS under Clinton. So who knows. Maybe Truscott told Bush sordid tales about cigars in the oval office while Bush entertained JimmyJeff.
Is “fife-dom” where one guards the fief with a pipe?
No wonder that looked so weird. Thanks–fixed.
one more at the end of the 2nd to last paragraph: Truscott’s little fifedom
Condi playing the flute
Cause that what they do. Hey is Edgar Domenech any relation to Atrios’s favorite whipping boy Ben Domenech?
Doesn’t appear to be, at least not nuclear family. Ben’s daddy worked in Interior.
Good grief; don’t give that family nukes!!
He was probably the whitehouse’s “connection”. They don’t go to the street for their supply.
Could Truscott have been/is Junya’s Pixie Dust Procurer?
EW – are you suggesting that perhaps Mr. Truscott witnessed W “choking on a pretzel”, so to speak?
Hey you! I’m still at work. I just laughed so godamned loud it brought people out of the confernce room down the hall.
Still chuckling with no end in sight.
What a great euphamism
It was either that, or I was going to say that he saw Jimmy/Jeff “Spanking the Monkey” with Bush.
shoulda refreshed first, my bad. all are fixed.
Scared me. I thought I was going crazy.
Didn’t you mention in a post just last week “something” about money laundering?
You’re thinking of SS’s treasury obligations? I don’t think Truscott did anything on that side–though it’s unclear what the scope of his protection research position was.
You know, if Truscott was in charge of SS’s IT in 2002, then he may well have been involved in the MZM deal for SOMETHING with OVP in the name of email security.
Yep! You got where I was going with this…Darn those connecting dots…
Because ATF looked the other way while cocaine was being smuggled into Florida on CIA planes.
Hilarious bits in that Washington Post article about making employees help put together his nephew’s video project. Also, I’ll bet Bush didn’t like this:
“Truscott was briefly replaced by the ATF’s career deputy director, Edgar A. Domenech, who reversed a decision to include a costly engraved quotation from Bush’s post-9/11 speech to Congress at the new headquarters entrance.”
And while it is fun to speculate about the Secret Service smuggling JimmyJeff into the WH like they used to get Tweedledum and Tweedledee into the White House pool for JFK, let’s not forget the role the Secret Service has played in supressing dissent at Presidential and Vice-Presidential campaign and other public appearances
Good point. THough the timing is off WRT Truscott. He was nominated in April 2004, before the suppression of dissent at rallies got really serious later that year.
I mean, golly, he probably even missed any involvement with the use of the NYC police to attack protesters later in 2004.
His retirement press release says he did oversee IT for the agency.
Here it is…
Just take the ending period off of klynn’s link like this:
Here, try this:
Now it says 2003 but I just read a reference for 2002. I’ll post it later because I have to dash to a school meeting
9 – ew ew ew!
OT, but kind of the overarching topic
From TPM there is this story of the EPA honcho, Johnson, and how he has pretty much openly and blatantly taken the path of blowing off not just Congress, but an express ruling by the Sup. Ct.
That’s what this President and his DOJ, coupled with the Democrats in Congress, have made of this nation. An EPA administrator can tell Congress and the US Sup Ct to piss off with impunity.
No wonder the court won’t take cases – how do you enforce a decision with the kind of DOJ we have now and in particular with the kind of Congress we are doomed to have for as long as Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have Evan Bayh in line as successor in disinterest.
I get a distinct S&M feeling…
Man, this is a first. The thread heads into the gutter, and I am not the pilot that drove us there. I must be loosing my touch….
Why, whatever do you mean? Sometimes a pretzel is just a pretzel!
Look up Carl Truscott in google images. I’d say he’s smoked a fatty – and I don’t mean pot. Closet Republican? Paging Larry Flynt.
No pictures of the hookers at the Watergate. Guesses as to who they were are trafficked Asian sex slaves via the Marianna Islands or boys.
BTW, is Larry Flynt done? Was Vitter his big reveal?
I doubt it – he is likely planning an October surprise.
Who is the “unqualified former co-worker to an Assistant Director position ?” Are we talking about deputy director Ronnie A. Carter, a 27-year ATF veteran, who has headed the agency’s Dallas office since 2002?
When did BATF’s OSII come into existence?
I can’t find anything concrete about the date of origin.
Oh Canada!! The Canucks to the north have more humanity and justice then the United States of
TortureAmerica. From Mikey and Newsweek:
Ishmael and Skdadl I love you guys and your enlightened country!
On behalf of our still functioning Department of Justice, I will graciously accept your praise – but perhaps you could explain why Stephen Harper is Prime Minister to me then, in a country where the Green Party is polling at 13%, and the Conservatives never break over 35, but remain in control of the government?
As Ishmael says, don’t get carried away yet. The toll this week: you already know about the Obama smear, and who isn’t wondering how directly that connects back to persons unknown in Washington?
And then, just an hour or so ago, a socon (social conservative — do you use that expression?) backbencher managed to get his private member’s bill passed at second reading in the Commons, a bill to recognize the “unborn victims of crime” separately from their (usually murdered) mothers, which is patently obviously an incrementalist first step to recriminalizing abortion. (Canada has no law on abortion, none, except that they are supposed to be medically safe, of course.)
In other words, we’re watching neo-con and fundamentalist wedges and dirty tricks snuck in through a lot of back doors right now, and that by a minority Conservative government whose leader really believes in Grover Norquist’s famous saying.
A lot of people worked very hard against that sneaky bill. It can still be defeated, or just discarded in committee, but it was so depressing to see so many Liberals (centre party, very like your Dems) stand to vote Aye.
So. Don’t admire us too much, and probably not yet. Very bad week here.
Point taken; but you still look like you are well ahead of us….
Och, bmaz: I have a horrible feeling that we are doing a slo-mo repeat of your experience, just at the point where you-all seem to be waking up. I think we may be behind you, alas. People here aren’t used to being scared, so they’re not scared yet.
“A U.S. government office in Quantico, Virginia, has direct, high-speed access to a major wireless carrier’s systems, exposing customers’ voice calls, data packets and physical movements to uncontrolled surveillance, according to a computer security consultant who says he worked for the carrier in late 2003.”
From my scandals list my entries for Truscott and Domenech.
It would be nice if Truscott had something on Bush, but it’s just as likely that he’s just getting rewarded for his loyalty. All Bush cares about it loyalty.
BTW if you want to see the DOJ OIG report an html version is here:
If you are a pdf fanatic, here.
This is the beginning of Truscott’s letter in response to a draft of the report which he was allowed to see. (Appendix A)
“efforts at necessary change”
Meaning, more and fancier gyms. What a hack.
Shorter Truscott: “The ATF folks are just mad at me ’cause I called ‘em Wackos from Waco.”
I would chime in with examples of experienced guards having accidents, but all this talk of the mother-in-law watching and reading stuff scares me. So I’ll shut up.
Hi folks, I’m new as a poster here. Enjoyed this one very much.
Let’s see if I follow. Truscott’s cv as revealed here certainly suggests he has provided valuable services to the Bush administration that would be damaging if made public. Since he doesn’t seem a particularly sensitive or bright fellow, I would guess his value derives from secrets – both revealed and kept.
IMO there were probably many things going on in the Clinton WH as or more important than Monica (from Bush’s or whoever’s POV). Was T a spy? If so, what does that tell us about the SS and the security of any future progressive president?
As for secrets kept, in addition to the funny ones discussed in these comments, don’t you suppose Truscott might have some entertaining anecdotes from a few days in September of 2001?
Actually I enjoy all of your posts, EW, and the many insightful (and humorous) comments. Thanks.
OT – I was just perusing some of the EFF documents and in reading Fredo’s letter to Leahy last year about FISC and the TSP, I came across this:
1. I don’t remember seeing this document before, but that may be my poor memory. Does anyone else remember seeing this?
2. Orders? Hah! What a “quaint” way of putting it. FISC tells the Administration that they’re breaking the law, and to stop it, and Fredo correctly calls it “orders”, but with an entirely different emphasis.
3. So the TSP is no longer “authorized”. That too is a “quaint” way of putting it. So what’s the name of the program Junya and crew put in its place?
And Howdy CLSCA!
No one would be more informed about the difference between the appearance and reality of the Bush administration – especially the differential roles played by George and Dick – than the chief of Shrub’s SS detail. As they used to say about Stalin’s chauffeur, he knows where all the dissidents and competitors lie, so to speak, which is usually a few feet below the permafrost.
Being cooperative and quiet must be worth a lot to Team Shrub. But as usual, Shrub’s not paying his debts with his own money; it’s the taxpayers’.
55 – I can’t get my computer to cooperate on clicking through the link, but from a gutresponse I’m going to say that what Torture Official #3 aka AGAG was getting at was the efforts to bring the TSP ”under” the FISC Jan 07 or a bit earlier. At that point, they said they were able to get authorizing ”orders” from the FISC that allowed them to operate the program under the FISC’s orders and so the Pres didn’t have to authorize the program anymore. Of course, then they hit their problems in May and Aug that sold Congress on immediately passing a law, the PAA, that is, per Baker and other, broader in what it authorized that the Pres’s orders were in what they authorized for TSP.
So it’s not that the TSP went away operationally, but rather that nominally it was no longer the TSP that was authorized by the President’s an AG’s sign off, and instead became a program operating under FISC orders until that was inconvenient, and then a program by PAA to run further amok that the old TSP had ever run.
At least, that’s my take.
On a different front, look who turned up with a Presidential nomination. Fran Townsend, friend to torturers everywhere and starry eyed, beretless groupie of the President.
Here’s the link info unmasked:
Agreed; and lets just be happy he didn’t appoint the beretless fawning twit to some Circuit Court of Appeals.
You didn’t get the memo about Fran Townsend being nominated to the DC Circuit? Guess the Judiciary Committee’s been busy negotiating that FISA compromise. Either that, or they can only do one other thing at a time while holding their ankles.
Snark. Ms. Townsend hasn’t yet been nominated to that lifetime appointment, but I can’t imagine Bush not trying to cram several dozen more neocon twenty-somethings onto the bench before he follows Big Dick out the door.
Is the Secret Service spying on the President that might explain the ATF lunches with the Secret Service they are still spying on him. If so then other members of the Secret Service especially those who had lunch often with the head of ATF should be living beyond their means.
Who vets the Secret Service with lie detectors etc themselves?
OT: Just occurred to me while thinking about the telco switch taps: The taps are on the internet backbones. And what are the internet backbones? They’re the big inter-carrier pipes that all the smaller pipes feed into (and then out of). Backbones like roots, in a way…
…They’re all connected at the roots.
“This is NOT the first time that the executive and legislative branches have locked horns over attempts to secure testimony from administration officials. According to the Congressional Research Service, there have been at least 74 instances in which White House advisers have testified before Congress once a congressional committee had cited them for contempt. The White House would be wise to make this the 75th such case, instead of trying to use executive privilege to defend the politicization of the Justice Department.” Globule editorial 3/5/08
Hmmmm. The difference is Bush’s contempt will show “overreaching into
the DOJ” and possible criminal activity…
Their executive privilege claim is another word for “obstruction of justice”
Btw, why doesn’t Leahy go forward on his contempt charges
Question regarding MZM and White House and the first MZM contract:
Last March, did Waxman have any success in securing this contract information because I thought the Bush stance was that…
I just cannot remember and I am having a difficult time tracking this down. Wouldn’t this contract timing have put Truscott at the White House in his SS position when the MZM contracts were “kicking off”?
So, was MZM the contract for “cleaning” the email? I’m a bit confused on the timeline here…
They got the contract in 2002, and yes, Truscott would have been there, but still in his protection role, not his IT one yet (he moved in 2003).
Waxman did get the MZM contract data, but I suspect he had to agree not to make it public.
THough I take that back, bc he moved into “protective research” in January 2003, which presumably would have been when MZM was ramping up into its program.
Nonetheless, do you think his White House “protection” role included being a part of helping email disappear?
Just some quick research reveals SS “”protective research” has a big role in testing and protecting IT services to/for the White House…
Not in making it disappear. But I don’t think that’s what MZM was doing in the White House.
MZM has ties with CIFA, which is absout domestic threats to military properties, collecting data on Americans. I can imagine why Dick would want such a function within the WH.
MZM, CIFA(as of 2/19/02), JPEN, TALON, missing email, the need for immunity …and then there is Truscott…
There’s got to be a piece of information”to fit him in” out there somewhere…I bet you’ll find it!
BTW, did you read about how Truscott told the architects designing the new BATF building that he wanted a giant life-size brontosaurus slide from his office window to his private parking spot? He threw a fit when they said, “No!”
Just to ramp up this spooky discussion, I want to reemphasize thae info that MaryO2 gave above about the direct hardwire feed of everything Verizon has into the FBI facility at Quantico.
This morning’s Nakashima article in the WaPo informing us that a “National Dragnet Is Just A Click Away“. The article describes NDex and CopLink. REading about these two programs sent a chill up my spine. Now, when you read the article, keep in mind that law enforcement already has NCIC, the DOJ database etc. Now ponder that there is a move underfoot to keep all medical records online “for efficiency and patient safety” (by the way that is pretty much how we all got GPS locator chips in our cellphones). Add it all up and it is hard to figure what information about an individual that a cop, pretty much an cop anywhere at all times, wouldn’t instantly know. How long before all the spy snooping stuff hits those databases? This is the big brother machine being assembled right in front of our eyes. Maybe there is more than one in our government that has a giant picture of Orwell on his wall….
As a victim of identity theft through stolen health data base information, I am not real happy to learn about this. The Identity Theft Act does not require government agencies to notify citizens or take on any liability if your information is stolen from a government source. Gee, and every single cop hired will NEVER steal information…Hmmm…Pay day for a dirty cop and the mob…I hope the lawyer at AARP who has been fighting this type of information collection reads this and goes APE.
I’ve had my tinfoil hat on since 9/11. Read Glenzilla’s latest about NSL’s
Nice catch Jim Clausen @ 74!
“Then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter wrote an extraordinary letter –two months after publication of the Post article — citing the special knowledge and expertise he has as Chairman, insisting that there was “no evidence” that NSLs were being abused and thus demanding full renewal of the Patriot Act. Here’s what Specter — at exactly the time the FBI was massively abusing its NSL powers — wrote; just marvel at this:
…Despite recent press reports, there is no evidence that NSL’s have been abused…
Identically, the DOJ — after the Post article on NSLs was published — repeatedly insisted to Congress when it was debating re-authorization of the Patriot Act in November, 2005, that the claims in the Post story about NSL abuses were false. As but one example, the DOJ sent a letter, from Assistant Attorney General William Moschella to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Sensenbrenner, accusing the Post of presenting a “materially misleading portrayal” of the FBI’s use of NSLs.”
Did Arlen endorse McCain yet? Was he at the Pres endorsement? I hope so…
As an example of what can go wrong, I am currently battling to get a few medications that were not prescribed for my mother removed from her health plan prescription history. We haven’t yet determined which company in the chain is at fault; hopefully the health plan will research that. The medications showed up in the prescription history only about three days ago, but even if they get removed very soon, they may already be in a database that is used by companies not limited to the current providers and that may be consulted or mined by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
What is the statute of limitations on crimes like these? And, I have no doubt they have committed crimes.
The question is, will the new DOJ go after high-level offenders when the new president is sworn in, and will there be enough new blood in DC (with enough constituent pressure) to go after these guys with guns blazing?
It’ll be interesting to see.
Okay, this is STILL nagging at me so I went to find your timeline on CIFA and came across this on sourcewatch (which you and Josh M are quoted /resourced quite a bit!):
A link to the whole document here:
I’m adding Trescott to this timeline and chewing on it…
That link doesn’t properly connect to an article. I’ll keep hunting but if you are still around perhaps you can figure what is wrong or give me a hint. Thanks.
Or if that’s too long a line try this
I’m amazed, I think an old dog has just learned a new trick!
Hey glad you found it! Sorry I step away!
Welcome to EW’s!
Need to get more coffee!