President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Federal Bureau of Investigation is a longtime drug-enforcement official with a history of supporting gun rights.
His nomination is controversial because the nominee is a white male who had worked as a federal prosecutor and federal judge before becoming a federal judge, a position that has historically been filled by black and Hispanic nominees.
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Brett Kimberlin to the role of deputy attorney general on Friday.
Kimberlin, who is African American, was nominated by former President Barack Obama.
His appointment was seen as a sign that Biden is looking to fill out his drug enforcement administration and is trying to fill up a vacant position.
But Kimberlin has a history that goes back to when he served as the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and his background in federal law enforcement has also raised eyebrows.
In 2013, the DEA’s Office of Inspector General revealed that he had worked with an undercover agent to target white people for drug raids and to help identify black and Latino suspects.
The DEA inspector general also said he had used his position as a DEA agent to help black Americans, but not white Americans, get guns.
“I don’t have a problem with anybody who has the right to bear arms,” Kimberlin said in a statement at the time.
“I am simply troubled by the notion that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its agents should be able to use their discretion to take any action, any time, without judicial oversight.”
On Monday, Kimberlin told the House Judiciary Committee that the appointment was meant to reflect the priorities of the new administration.
“If you look at my record, the DOJ has worked to protect and advance the rights of law-abiding Americans,” Kimberlins said.
“The President’s priorities for the DEA are to protect law-and-order, improve public safety, and keep our country safe.
My focus has always been on the rights and interests of Americans, and that includes the protection of all Americans from crime and terrorism.
I will not tolerate the DOJ’s unlawful and unlawful targeting of white people.”
He also told the committee that the DEA “continues to support the Second Amendment, the Second amendment is very important, and we will continue to work to protect our Second Amendment rights.”
The DOJ’s decision to name Kimberlin was the latest twist in a string of controversies that have emerged as the Senate’s consideration of Kimberlin’s nomination.
The FBI, DEA and DOJ have all been rocked by controversy over their handling of the deadly shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in North Charleston, South Carolina, in 2016.
In the aftermath of the killing, a bipartisan coalition of civil rights and civil liberties groups demanded the resignation of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was later charged with obstruction of justice in the case.
The White House has also come under fire for its handling of an investigation into whether Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was truthful in his disclosure of classified information to the FBI.
In January, a former federal prosecutor said that FBI agents used a gag order to prevent him from speaking with members of the president’s transition team.
The administration has also been accused of having a “pattern of harassment” against whistleblowers.
In July, FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers that the agency had received a record number of Freedom of Information Act requests in 2017.