ATF Officials Who Challenged Director Moved to Lower Posts

Questions about spending on the new ATF headquarters helped lead to the  departure of the agency's director.
Questions about spending on the new ATF headquarters helped lead to the departure of the agency's director. (By Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)
Monday, February 12, 2007

Two senior officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who opposed many questionable management and spending decisions by the agency's former director are being moved to lower-ranking positions effective Thursday, officials said.

Deputy Director Edgar A. Domenech, who also served as acting director last year, is being moved out of ATF headquarters to lead the agency's Washington field office. The assistant director for field operations, Michael Bouchard, will become an assistant to Michael J. Sullivan, a U.S. attorney who is temporarily running ATF.

The transfers are widely seen within ATF as demotions. They come seven months after the sudden departure of Carl J. Truscott, the former director, who clashed with Domenech and other senior executives over spending and management practices.

An inspector general's report issued after his departure showed that Truscott -- who previously served as head of President Bush's security detail at the Secret Service -- engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of questionable expenditures on a new ATF headquarters, personal security and other items. The report also said that he violated ethics rules by forcing employees to help his nephew prepare a high school video project.

Domenech took over for Truscott after he resigned and reversed a decision to include a costly engraved quotation from Bush's speech to Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the new headquarters entrance.

ATF spokeswoman Sheree Mixell characterized the moves as routine and said "both are important positions."

Domenech and Bouchard could not be reached to comment last week.

The new deputy director will be Ronnie A. Carter, a 27-year ATF veteran, who has headed the agency's Dallas office since 2002. Bouchard's replacement is William J. Hoover, a 20-year veteran. Hoover headed the Boston office for about three years before taking over the Washington office in January 2006.

-- Dan Eggen

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