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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.

Truscott’s Abuses

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.

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Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.