Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

OIG Report Not Surprising

The US Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, has released a report titled Report Concerning Alleged Mismanagement and Misconduct by Carl J. Truscott, Former Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

I worked with Carl Truscott when he was in the Secret Service's Los Angeles Field Office. He was clearly on someone's fast-track to the Senior Executive Service. He was bright and did the work he was assigned, so as expected he was rapidly promoted. He was more interested in dignitary protection than in criminal investigations, so it was completely unsurprising that he ultimately became the Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division. The person occupying that position nearly always moved up the Secret Service ladder.

The OIG report linked above referred several times to Truscott's errors in judgment. It is not surprising that this contributed to his downfall. To say he was too young and inexperienced to have been approved as the Director of the BATF is an oversimplification but not necessarily an inaccuracy. Rising stars like Truscott were moved from position to position without being given sufficient time to mature in any of those positions. That is the danger of too-rapid promotion. Not everyone learns and matures in a position at the same rate. When a person had been fast-tracked by "Mahogany Row" as Headquarters was often called, the critical supervision and mentoring that would have enhanced maturity and judgment was lessened.