Skip to comments.Under attack: Depth of federal arms race should surprise, shock citizenry
Posted on 04/03/2014 10:06:02 PM PDT by Nachum
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 resorts parking lot and surrounding area.
But the agents werent from the FBI, ATF or even the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service.
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Its 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 dont 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.
Heres a partial list:
Thats 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.
Theres no question theres 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, its 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.
Its 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 its 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 its 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 businesswomans 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 years probation for failing to complete the proper paperwork.
Why is a law enforcement arm necessary at NOAA?
NOAAs 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 nations marine resource laws and take enforcement action when these laws are violated.
As for the U.S. Forest Service, Special Agent Robin Poague defended the use of the agencys 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, its not the DEAs, 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 services 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 theyre dressed to kill, that theyre 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 departments 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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski
The list, Ping
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Is that Frau Blucher in the first photo?
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.
A better question: Is that a red squirt gun in the male agent’s holster?
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.
Looks like Holder, zero and Jarrett and DHS have trained to execute one hundred Wacos.
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 weve set. Weve got to have a civilian national security force thats just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. Barack Hussein Obama, 7/2/2008
They dont 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...
Promotional video. Dummy gun.
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.
I didn’t read your post before my #11 and I agree with you
What Good Can a Handgun Do Against An Army?
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.
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…)
Yep. It shows the EPA is rough and ready.
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.
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.