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Under attack: Depth of federal arms race should surprise, shock citizenry
watchdog.org ^ | 4/3/14 | Rob Nikolewski

Posted on 04/03/2014 10:06:02 PM PDT by Nachum

Photo taken from EPA promotional video.

Photo taken from EPA promotional video.

THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW GETTING LONGER: The number of law enforcement agents, such as these from the Environmental Protection Agency, have grown in recent years.

 

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE, N.M. — In late February, four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley in what was called a “saturation patrol.”

Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling and impaired driving in the ski resort’s parking lot and surrounding area.

But the agents weren’t from the FBI, ATF or even the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service.

READ ALSO: Advocate: Police are ignoring the 4th Amendment

“It’s one of the untold stories about government,” said former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who lives in Taos, is an avid skier and has been a leading critic of the operation that turned up only a few minor infractions. “People don’t grasp the size and the scope of these entities and their law enforcement arms.”

It may come as a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers, but a slew of federal agencies — some  whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime — carry active law enforcement operations.

Here’s a partial list:

That’s right, NOAA — the folks who forecast the weather, monitor the atmosphere and keep tabs on the oceans and waterways — has its own law enforcement division. It has a budget of $65 million and consists of 191 employees, including 96 special agents and 28 enforcement officers who carry weapons.

“There’s no question there’s been a proliferation of police units at the federal level,” said Tim Lynch, director of the Project On Criminal Justice for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. “To me, it’s been a never-ending expansion, a natural progression, if you will, of these administrative agencies always asking for bigger budgets and a little bit more power.”

It’s been estimated the U.S. has some 25,000 sworn law enforcement officers in departments not traditionally associated with fighting crime. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and in a tabulation compiled by the Wall Street Journal in 2011, 3,812 criminal investigators are working in areas other than the U.S. departments of Treasury, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.

Lynch says it’s hard to tell how much money federal agencies spend on their respective law enforcement divisions.

“We need a fuller accounting of exactly how many police units have proliferated in the federal government and how much it’s costing taxpayers,” said Lynch, who said he would like to see members of Congress ask agency officials direct questions about budget and staffing.

The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2008, agents armed with assault rifles from NOAA, along with officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, raided a businesswoman’s offices in Miami looking into charges that she was violating the Endangered Species Act by trading in coral.

“I felt like I was being busted for drugs, instead of coral,” Morgan Mok said afterward. “It was crazy.”

Mok said she obtained the coral legally and eventually paid a $500 fine and served a year’s probation for failing to complete the proper paperwork.

Why is a law enforcement arm necessary at NOAA?

“NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement protects marine wildlife and habitat by enforcing domestic laws and international treaty requirements designed to ensure these global resources are available for future generations,” NOAA spokesman David Miller said in an email to New Mexico Watchdog, pointing out that the division has existed since 1970. “Our special agents and enforcement officers ensure compliance with the nation’s marine resource laws and take enforcement action when these laws are violated.”

RANGER RICK’S DUTIES EXPAND: The U.S. Forest Service employs about 700 law enforcement personnel. U.S. Forest Service photo.

As for the U.S. Forest Service, Special Agent Robin Poague defended the use of the agency’s law enforcement officers — called LEOs — in the Taos operation that resulted in harsh criticism from many residents.

“Rangers were armed when the Forest Service started 100 years ago,” Poague said. “We have a long history of law enforcement.”

Portions of the Taos Ski Valley sit on federal land. If there were suspicions of drug activity leading to the operation in February, why not use the DEA instead?

“U.S. Forest Service land is our primary responsibility, it’s not the DEA’s,” Poague told New Mexico Watchdog by telephone from his office in Albuquerque.

A Forest Service recruitment video says the agency employs about 700 law enforcement personnel. Poague said the service’s law enforcement division was created in 1994.

But many other federal agencies established their own after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the FBI shifted its attention to tackling terrorism, and Congress gave permanent powers to inspectors general in more than two dozen agencies.

By last count, 25 agencies with law enforcement divisions fall under their respective offices of inspectors general.

With their growth has come criticism that officers are becoming overly militarized.

“The whole notion of police operations these days, that they’re dressed to kill, that they’re up against an enemy, is wrong,” Johnson said. “Citizens are not the enemy.”

In 2010, the Department of Education defended its purchase of 27 12-gauge shotguns to replace old firearms used by its Office of Inspector General, the law enforcement arm of the department. DoE said the guns were necessary to help combat “waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs and operations.”

A year later, DoE Office of Inspector General special agents raided a California home at 6 a.m. to apprehend a man the department said was involved in criminal activity. DoE officials did not say why the raid was conducted, releasing a statement that said, “the office conducts raids on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.”

“In these cases, it causes you to think, is this agency really necessary, is this unit really necessary,” Lynch said.

In an email to New Mexico Watchdog, a spokeswoman for the DoE Office of Inspector General — the department’s law enforcement arm — reported it has a staff of 260 members, 90 of which are criminal investigators. Its budget is $57.7 million for fiscal 2014.

Defenders of the agencies say armed law enforcement provides a deterrent and that agents need to be armed to protect themselves against potentially dangerous criminals.

In fact, just last month a Forest Service ranger in North Carolina was shot and killed by a murder suspect, who also killed a police dog. On Jan. 1, 2012, a National Park ranger was shot and killed at Mount Rainier, in Washington state.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arms; federal; leo; race

1 posted on 04/03/2014 10:06:03 PM PDT by Nachum
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/


2 posted on 04/03/2014 10:06:31 PM PDT by Nachum (Obamacare: It's. The. Flaw.)
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To: Nachum; HerrBlucher

Is that Frau Blucher in the first photo?


3 posted on 04/03/2014 10:13:52 PM PDT by null and void (I don't mind getting older, but I hate wearing out!)
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To: Nachum

And now you begin to actually SEE Obamas “Civilian National Security Force - just as strong, just as well-funded as the U.S. Military”.

And still, idiots try and tell me that we are not turning into Nazi Germany.

They may be right.

We are turing into something far worse.


4 posted on 04/03/2014 10:18:00 PM PDT by INVAR ("Fart for liberty, fart for freedom and fart proudly!" - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: null and void

A better question: Is that a red squirt gun in the male agent’s holster?


5 posted on 04/03/2014 10:18:05 PM PDT by Right Brother
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To: Nachum

So if government agents are shot and killed by criminals, it justifies massive amounts of firearms for those agencies.

But if citizens are shot and killed by criminals, it means their guns need to be restricted and seized.

Righty-o.


6 posted on 04/03/2014 10:18:27 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Talisker

Looks like Holder, zero and Jarrett and DHS have trained to execute one hundred Wacos.


7 posted on 04/03/2014 10:22:54 PM PDT by txhurl
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To: Right Brother
Taser probably, with a pistol grip to facilitate grabbing a real gun by accident and not feeling the difference until the trigger is pulled.

The female would not look out of place as one of the NatCs camp guards.

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” Barack Hussein Obama, 7/2/2008

They don’t call it a Civil Defense force, that would imply we need (or perhaps that we deserve) defense.

The official name is National Civilian Community Corps.

I think of it as the NatCCC, or more simply as the NatCs...


8 posted on 04/03/2014 10:23:22 PM PDT by null and void (I don't mind getting older, but I hate wearing out!)
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To: Nachum

bkmk


9 posted on 04/03/2014 10:25:26 PM PDT by AllAmericanGirl44
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To: Right Brother

Promotional video. Dummy gun.


10 posted on 04/03/2014 10:32:42 PM PDT by metalurgist ( Want your country back? It'll take guns and rope. Marxists won't give up peaceably.)
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To: Nachum
flame me if you must, but the photo looks like the government is gathering up ... um ... perfect specimens and making them into leo's of SOME kind

Your friendly, neighborhood cop is no longer middle aged and a little pudgy, but a youing 30 year old that says yes sir, no sir, how high and what color.

11 posted on 04/03/2014 10:32:44 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: Talisker

12 posted on 04/03/2014 10:33:54 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: INVAR

I didn’t read your post before my #11 and I agree with you


13 posted on 04/03/2014 10:34:29 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: metalurgist
They picked Frau Blucher on purpose????
14 posted on 04/03/2014 10:34:34 PM PDT by null and void (I don't mind getting older, but I hate wearing out!)
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To: Nachum

What Good Can a Handgun Do Against An Army?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-backroom/2312894/posts


15 posted on 04/03/2014 10:38:21 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: knarf

Nah to me looks like a female letting a man do all the work while they stand by with their hands folded or on their hips...you know sort of like at home working around the house...(j/k females ...well sorta...: ) that young gal wouldn’t last but a few seconds alone with a belligerent male criminal on her hands.


16 posted on 04/03/2014 10:49:47 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: knarf
Your friendly, neighborhood cop is no longer middle aged and a little pudgy, but a youing 30 year old that says yes sir, no sir, how high and what color.

Nuremberg is a precedent…
So is the practice of hanging unlawful combatants and [enemy] spies.
(Note that the NSA's domestic espionage programs means that they view us as their enemy, and thereby have they become our enemy…)

17 posted on 04/03/2014 10:53:37 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: null and void

Yep. It shows the EPA is rough and ready.


18 posted on 04/03/2014 10:59:57 PM PDT by metalurgist ( Want your country back? It'll take guns and rope. Marxists won't give up peaceably.)
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To: Nachum

Have you caught the radio spots by NTEU trying to sell how many “good” thing feral employees do for us? More like to us.

Have a retch on me.

http://www.nteu.org/


19 posted on 04/03/2014 11:00:18 PM PDT by Sequoyah101
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To: Sequoyah101
Have you caught the radio spots by NTEU trying to sell how many “good” thing feral employees do for us? More like to us.

So, you're saying it's kinda like the obamacare commercials which tout how great it is and hype it up because there weren't (still aren't?) enough enrollees.

20 posted on 04/03/2014 11:49:31 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark

Round up program. Got to invent crimes and criminals. And real criminals are used to expose and round up those free ones that were not “amnestized”


21 posted on 04/03/2014 11:51:37 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: OneWingedShark

Indeed. They create a terrorist base. 7 million enrollees who would riot with the illegals... what an orchestra.

... but we are the privileged few who are corrupt vigilantes... giving ourselves license....


22 posted on 04/03/2014 11:57:26 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: lavaroise

It could easily turn out “not well” for them.
7 Million out of 300 Million is ~2.3% — and there’s a LOT more than that who DON’T like it and don’t want it. .. and that’s presupposing all that 7 mill will be ‘loyal’ to the program and whims of those in charge.


23 posted on 04/04/2014 12:02:38 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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bookmark


24 posted on 04/04/2014 12:05:29 AM PDT by freds6girlies (many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. Mt. 19:30. R.I.P. G & J)
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To: Nailbiter

bflr


25 posted on 04/04/2014 2:29:41 AM PDT by Nailbiter
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To: txhurl

Here is one about a hundred agents used to raid a 90 year old man who collected artifacts. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/3140315/posts


26 posted on 04/04/2014 4:01:59 AM PDT by Colorado Doug (Now I know how the Indians felt to be sold out for a few beads and trinkets)
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To: Nachum; Liz; sickoflibs; LucyT

A Partial list:

The U.S. Department of Education
The Bureau of Land Management (200 uniformed law enforcement rangers and 70 special agents)
The U.S. Department of the Interior
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (with an armed uniformed division of 1.000)
The National Park Service (made up of NPS protection park rangers and U.S. Park Police officers that operate independently)
The Environmental Protection Agency (200 special agents)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (224 special agents)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

That’s right, NOAA — the folks who forecast the weather, monitor the atmosphere and keep tabs on the oceans and waterways — has its own law enforcement division. It has a budget of $65 million and consists of 191 employees, including 96 special agents and 28 enforcement officers who carry weapons.


27 posted on 04/06/2014 1:26:19 PM PDT by GOPJ ("Dog Shit by Mail" could be sold to 7 million Americans IF IRS muscle was behind the venture.)
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To: GOPJ; Jim Robinson; Old Sarge; null and void; Velveeta; Rushmore Rocks; Oorang; Myrddin; ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

.

28 posted on 04/06/2014 2:04:54 PM PDT by LucyT (If you're NOT paranoid, you don't know what's going on.)
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To: Right Brother

https://www.armsunlimited.com/mobile/Product.aspx?id=38188


29 posted on 04/06/2014 3:41:26 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: null and void

Betty badass.


30 posted on 04/06/2014 3:42:10 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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