President Barack Obama intends to nominate the chief of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to lead the Justice Department agency, the White House announced Monday night.
Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver, who joined the ATF in 1987, would be the agency’s first Senate-confirmed Director, if confirmed. Temporary appointees have led the ATF since a 2006 law gave the Senate the authority to confirm the Director.
Former Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan was the last nominee for ATF Director. But Senate Republicans held up the George W. Bush nominee over concerns about the ATF’s treatment of small gun owners. Sullivan was acting Director from 2006 to 2009.
ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson has headed the agency since 2009. He initially was acting Director, but his title was changed. The law limits the amount of time acting chiefs can lead federal agencies.