Ending a tumultous eight-year tenure, Customs Commissioner William von Raab left office yesterday with a blistering final round of attacks on the State Department, Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and, most pointedly, his former boss, Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady. "I'm quitting, obviously, because I'm not getting along with Secretary Brady," said von Raab as he stood in front of a Customs Black Hawk helicopter that had been imported onto the Washington Mall for the agency's bicentennial celebration. It was, at least in part, the kind of dramatic exit von Raab had been planning for months, although the script had to be hastily rewritten at the last minute. Von Raab had intended to give a hard-hitting farewell address at yesterday's ceremony, expressing his frustration at senior Bush administration officials, including Brady and Thornburgh, for failing to wage a truly tough war on drugs. Von Raab said he agreed to tone his speech down "at the specific request" of Brady. But the commissioner vented his anger anyway, handing reporters a blunt resignation letter to President Bush, charging that "political jockeying, backstabbing and malaise" were undermining the antidrug effort. The letter was quickly derided by Brady's chief spokesman. Sending a resignation letter to Bush was "kind of hard to do," said Roger Bolton, assistant treasury secretary for public affairs. "Number one, he doesn't work for the president, he works for the assistant secretary of the treasury. Number two, his resignation was accepted last March." According to Bolton, the only time von Raab even met with Brady was five months ago, when he asked to remain as commissioner, but was turned down. Von Raab had earlier made an unsuccessful bid for the job of national drug policy director, a post that went to William J. Bennett. Brady, however, acceded to von Raab's request to stay on at least until yesterday's Customs celebration. Bolton confirmed that Brady, after seeing a draft, had asked von Raab to tone down his farewell speech, but because it was not "appropriate" for the occasion. "It was all 'I,' 'I,' 'I,' Willy, Willy, Willy," said Bolton. "It seemed to be focused on himself, not the Customs Service." These final, parting exchanges were nothing new for von Raab. Throughout much of his tenure, he often seemed to relish interagency combat, especially over the drug issue. While detractors derided him as a "loose cannon," his admirers applauded such bold moves as his plan to shoot down drug-smuggling aircraft or his efforts to seal off the Mexican border after the murder of a federal drug agent in Mexico. Yesterday was no different. Von Raab blasted unidentified State Department officials for their "quest to make the world safe for cocktail parties." He laced into Thornburgh, whose Justice Department "has never been more turf-conscious than it is now." As for Brady, his Treasury Department has "treated the drug problem as a bother," von Raab wrote Bush. "In the past year, Treasury officials have only devoted a few minutes of their time to deal with drugs issues . . . . In addition, it appears that Treasury is actively discouraging the kind of bold steps with which I am associated . . . . " Von Raab specifically criticized Treasury's failure to stand by his plan, code-named Operation Paladin, to offer huge bounties to private citizens who seize drug lords such as Panama's Manuel Antonio Noriega. He also charged that Treasury had failed to stand by his "zero tolerance" policy of seizing planes and boats found with small amounts of drugs. But Bolton disputed both counts, saying that Treasury has left the door open on Operation Paladin while it was Congress -- not Treasury -- who had gutted zero tolerance. Late yesterday, von Raab did not appear to be around to respond. At his earlier news conference in front of the helicopter, von Raab said his immediate plans were to take a month off. But he wouldn't announce where, he said, perhaps only half-jokingly, "because they're still people out there who would like to kill me."