CNN Takes Stock of Feds’ Police Militarization

Forty-cal sub-gun (courtesy minutemannewscom)

Remember the White House announcement of a post-Ferguson investigation into police militarization? It was so important TTAG posted it as a breaking story. I guess it done broke. We’re not hearing a peep from the Prez’ peeps on the subject these days. Equally, no one in the halls of power seems to have paid much attention to Sgt. Patrick Hayes’ point that the vast majority of the militarization is happening on the federal, not local, level. Inspired by the recent(ish) revelation of the USDA’s .40-cal sub-gun purchase, all 85 of them, CNN reporter Matt Knight took a look at the feds’ arsenal . . .

At 73 federal agencies and departments, independent sub-agencies called the Offices of the Inspector General, or OIGs, conduct oversight, perform audits and enforce laws.

It is that last function that led the USDA to order the .40-caliber “submachine guns” in May. A spokesman for USDA OIG told CNN that these “semi-automatic” weapons were acquired on September 9, 2014 . . .

“Regarding the need for weapons’ procurements, OIG’s Investigations division conducts hundreds of criminal investigations each year, some of which involve OIG agents, USDA employees, and/or members of the public facing potentially life threatening situations,” USDA Deputy Counsel Paul Feeney said.

The Department of Education’s OIG put out a similar purchase order in 2010 for 27 shotguns.

Yeah, we knew about those Department of Education (DOE) shotguns, and bitched about them before (even as we told our kids that the Agency’s truancy section received the scatterguns).

But I’m still not clear what life-threatening situations United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agents face – that couldn’t be faced with some local law enforcement organization (LEO) or federal law enforcement (FLE) backup. Like their pals at the equally armed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Social Security Administration (SAA) . . .

In 2011, the FDA conducted armed raids of an Amish farm searching for raw-milk related infractions . . .

In justifying the need for Social Security’s audit arm to carry guns, SSA’s Inspector General Patrick O’Carroll cited a standoff with a murder suspect. But O’Carroll acknowledged Kentucky State Police accompanied Social Security’s agents in that pursuit . . .

Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, whose members have been raided by the FDA, said agents have even pointed their guns at unarmed food producers suspected of permit violations.

“These people don’t need their own enforcement teams.”

“They have the U.S. Marshals at their disposal, if there really is a problem,” Kennedy told CNN.

Yes, there really is a problem: the United States federal government is too damn big. Giving so many federal agencies armed agents is not a good idea. [Click here for TTAG’s 2010 post featuring a full list of armed federal agencies.] Equipping them with firearms unavailable to average American citizens is also patently unfair.

Put that in your Presidential blue ribbon panel and smoke it.

comments

  1. avatar Chadwick P says:

    But to question the federal agencies is to question the laws they are required to uphold and to question the laws is to question freedom and to question freedom is un-American. I have heard from a credible source that doing any of the above questioning will result in the terrorists winning…

    1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      The qUestion need be: the terrorists winning?…….winning what?

    2. avatar Sid says:

      I am sorry, dear, but to question my practices is to question the Ministry, and by extension, the Minister himself. I am a tolerant woman, but the one thing I will not stand for is disloyalty.

  2. avatar KingSarc48265 says:

    Armed raids on the Amish over milk? I admit that I know little about the Amish but aren’t they pacifists? Hope their dogs made it out alright.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Not if the discovery channel has anything to say over it…

      1. avatar SleeStac says:

        Not the Amish Mafia! I wonder if the feds invoked the RICO act over the milk?!

    2. avatar Sertorius says:

      I don’t really get why anyone would want straight-from-the-cow unpasteurized milk, but the fact our government uses guns to stop people from buying milk like that makes me weep for our country. Can you imagine what Patrick Henry would have said about the federal milk gestapo?

      1. avatar Sian says:

        Raw milk can be used to make some pretty fantastic cheeses.

        1. avatar knightofbob says:

          Which are perfectly legal in the U.S. as long as they are aged over a certain length of time.

      2. avatar Kyle in CT says:

        Because it’s delicious, and perfectly safe as long as proper handling and storage procedures are followed. On small scales (very small, think trusted family farm where it’s a couple of people and a few cows) pasteurization isn’t necessary, though it’s still not a great idea for certain people, as the potential for certain bacteria can pose a danger for very young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

      3. avatar Anonymous says:

        http://www.realmilk.com/safety/fresh-unprocessed-raw-whole-milk/

        Raw milk is alive. It has white blood cells floating around it it. Vitamins, fat, protein. Boiling the milk destroys many of these beneficial elements.

        Raw milk can acquire pathogens if kept in unsanitary conditions. That said, pasteurized milk can too. In fact, leave some raw milk on the counter and some pasteurized milk on the counter and watch and see which one goes bad first.

        There is nothing wrong with raw milk any more than many other foods. Need to keep a clean environment and sanitary conditions. Pasteurization helps the factories that process the milk as they don’t need to focus too much on sanitary conditions when they are going to boil it anyways, put it in a carton, and feed it to you.

        When I was a small boy my father and I milked a goat. Then I was handed a small pail of hot goat milk freshly squirted right out of a teat and I drank it down with great satisfaction – complete with milk mustache. I will say raw milk tastes much better than the garbage in the store.

        Regardless. I don’t understand why there would be an armed raid on Amish???!? for raw milk. An armed raid. Amish. Milk. The ridiculousness meter just maxed out there. Also, if I want to drink raw milk from an Amish guy’s cow – the FDA should not be interfering on behalf of the giant food industry lobbyists. It is my business.

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/28/feds-sting-amish-farmer-selling-raw-milk-locally/?page=all

        Total ridiculousness. They refer to the milk as “contraband.” and the customers “willing.”

        She first did what’s called cow sharing, which is when a group of people buy shares in owning a cow, and pay a farmer to board and milk the cow. But Maryland outlawed that practice and she was forced to look elsewhere for raw milk, and turned to Mr. Allgyer’s farm.

        Illegal milk people! Contraband! I really don’t understand how a “cow share” bothers anyone, or affects anyone – at all – except the people consuming the product (who want it anyways). Sounds like it was one of those yacht trips from the milk industry for the Maryland legislation members that changed their minds.

        1. avatar Anon in CT says:

          This is the natural, logical end result of the idea that government has a vested interest in your health.

          It’s vile.

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “It’s vile.”

          Very well said.

          And, since I’m in an anagramy mood…would could also say “evil.”

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      Further fed moron trivia. A spill of milk (any variety) is known to the feds (EPA etc) as a hazardous waste spill. A tank truck wreck with leakage has to be treat same as a from a leak of black gold/Texas tea/etc. What is milk – water with some good stuff added.

  3. avatar IdahoPete says:

    And let’s not forget the Department of Education conducting armed SWAT team raids on student loan defaulters! Those deadbeats are dangerous!

    You do realize that reporting on this story brands TTAG as members of the “right-wing tinfoil hat extremist” group? And probably racist, as well? There’s nothing to see here, move along, move along.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      What, you think we’re not already branded?

      That’s the whole point of the antis’ efforts.

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        Sorry – forgot the /sarc off/.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Pretty much everyone is branded by the Feds for one reason or another already.

      Carry on.

  4. avatar Defens says:

    Arm Federal Clerks – ’cause a clipboard just ain’t (tacti)cool.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        ‘Murica as a nation is officially doomed.

    1. avatar Mediocrates says:

      A take home MRAP for every clerk!

      1. avatar Tom Jefferson says:

        Should I feel bad that I would really like to have an MRAP of my very own? A British Ferret would be my first choice, but if they’re just givin’ ’em away………

        1. avatar int19h says:

          Owning a MRAP is not a problem. It’s the part where owners take it to use as a battering ram to blow holes in other people’s homes to serve warrants for non-violent crimes where it becomes one.

  5. avatar Roscoe says:

    So, in reality, these IG alphabet agencies administrators and procurement officers have turned into gun collectors at taxpayers expense too, because …Gunz, and they’re neat to have around, just because, and just in case.

    Gawd, wait until Obama and Biden hear about this; shot will fly, not because of needlessly wasting taxpayer money, but because more gunz.
    NOT!

    Anything that furthers the expansion and proliferation of federal authority and growth over us non political elitist citizen “flies” is especially favored by this socialist administration.

  6. avatar T-DOG says:

    Maybe they are to protect Shannon Watts former employers genetically modified wheat.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/09/genetically_modified_wheat_fou.html

  7. avatar West says:

    Here in the Ozarks, the USDA just called in the local sheriff and MO Highway Patrol when they confiscated & destroyed some evil cheese. I feel so much safer now. (/sarcasm)

  8. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Speaking truth to power tends to fade power. There are few things better than open criticism to accomplish this. That’s were we come in. We have several LEO’s who comment on TTAG who express concern about this problem and what it’s doing to how police relate to the public and—importantly—how the public relates to the police. Good police work cannot happen without the trust of the citizenry and, with the militarization of police, that traditional trust is being rapidly eroded. There was a time when People Of The Gun could be counted on to be ardent supporters of cops. We all thought we were on the same side. Now that trust has been eroded. There were 80,000 no knock raids in 2011. When cops routinely invade people’s homes, destroy property, kill pets, and humiliate the citizens they are supposed to serve, they are behaving worse than the thugs they are supposed to police. This is a violation of the public trust and when this happens we have a big problem.

    I think it’s time for those LEO’s, current and retired, who see this as a problem to become more vocal in their criticism. Doing this means that you have to come out from behind the “blue wall” and speak truth to power. That’s not always easy to do, but the more truth is spoken out in the open in places like TTAG, the more the potential for change becomes enhanced. People pay attention to TTAG and comments made here are a lot more influential than a lot of people might think. Change starts with truth and TTAG is just the place for that to happen.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Correct.

  9. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Keeping the world safe from raw milk…

    One geared up raid at a time.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Gotta squelch that bio-terrorism. Good thing the FDA is kitted up to handle those imminent threats when they arise, in the name of counter terrorism, of course.

  10. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    full auto for all the MAD COWS there are going to come across….LOL

  11. avatar Don Nelson says:

    USDA includes the National Forest Service, which employs a few sworn LEOs. I assume they carry a long backup in their trucks in addidion to their holstered short guns.

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      I’m not as worked up about the Forest Service being armed as some of the others. In some areas forest rangers are facing well-armed growers, as well as coyotes running illegals.

      1. avatar Don Nelson says:

        I’m just fine with the Forest Service. Every day I hike on USFS land and have twice contacted the one and only USFS LEO in the Black Hills to report folks dumping a car or trash.

        The original post wasn’t well researched, nor were several comments.

  12. avatar Ed says:

    In the article you mention that they could use federal law enforcement for their purposes. However, the USDA has their own federal law enforcement, which is where these guns are going. Forest Service LEOs. Just because I point this out doesn’t mean I agree with them getting these weapons, just seems like the article is drumming up furor where it doesn’t belong.

    1. avatar Bear The Grizzly says:

      I would like to point out I have seen extensive footage of USDA raids on farming communities for selling raw milk and those guys are dressed like it is Iraq. It’s certainly possible these guns are going to real Leo’s, but I think it’s more possible someone bought them because they could.

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Are you sure the Forest Service is getting these? A .40-caliber short-barreled “sub-gun” seems like a pretty poor choice for that role. Great for clearing houses (or Amish milk barns, I guess), but if you’re way out in the woods by yourself, wouldn’t you rather have a real rifle in the truck, instead of a goosed-up pistol?

  13. avatar neiowa says:

    I’m pretty sure the feds have seen the light of the Constitution and the Rule of Law and are demilitarizing. My evidence being that as of today there are 950ea PISTOL .40 CAL H & K USP COMPACT listed as surplus/excess by the TSA on GSA excess website.

    Or perhaps they are blowing $ on upgunning? No couldn’t be.

    Item Location

    TSA / FAMS
    FAA WM. J. HUGHES TECH CENTER
    BLDG 291-M
    ATLANTIC CITY , NJ-08405

    1. avatar Don Nelson says:

      Many agencies are abandoning .40S&W for 9mm because they don’t stand up to heavy range use.

  14. avatar Roll says:

    FFS, really? USDA Agents armed like a SWAT Team? This is ridiculous…I wonder what other gov agencies have unnecessary SWAT teams as well…

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      It’s easier to list the ones that don’t.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Here’s one of the secrets of why government growth is so out of control: jealous bureaucrats who want what the other bureaucrats have.

        When they see the IRS or some other paperwork agency get guns and ninja-doll suits, they want to have their own stuff and teams, so they look like they’re just as cool. Once one agency put in a SWAT team, it was only a matter of time before they all wanted one.

        I had to deal with the USDA and EPA as a farmer. Some of their old school employees were useful, hard-working people. Most of their people now under the age of 40 are seeking to make a career out of being a bureaucrat and they want to get as much money and people into their budget as possible, which pushes them up the GS-n ladder for more pay and benefits. I saw them hiring multiple people under 40 to replace one person who had just retired at 65. Over half of what the new people did was go to conferences and “training seminars,” which trained them in how to be better, fatter, more lushly paid bureaucrats. You could almost never get in touch with these junior bureaucrats – they were never in their offices. This is why they needed two (or more) people to replace a single retiree. The retiree didn’t go to conference and seminars, he did the job we paid him to do.

        The SWAT team concept is absolutely perfect for bureaucrats. They have to spend 90% of their time (or more) in training, doing nothing of actual value for the taxpayer. It’s a bureaucrat’s wet dream: goof off with lots of neat, expensive toys on the taxpayer’s dime, and not accomplish anything all day, every day.

        The fact that they get to point guns and shout obscenities at taxpayers and citizens is just glazing on the donut.

        1. avatar Avid Reader says:

          I had a family member (now deceased) who was career Forest Service. He retired about 30 years ago from a senior post. One of the things that upset him the most about the Service as he left was the increasing bureaucracy in the system, and the very thing you raised-multiple bodies to do the work of one. Couple that with the increased hiring based on quotas vs. merit, and you get the recipe for what we’re seeing now.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “When they see the IRS or some other paperwork agency get guns and ninja-doll suits, they want to have their own stuff and teams, so they look like they’re just as cool. ”

          Right *THERE*.

          Every last one of those teams need to rolled into one agency, U.S. Marshals perhaps.

          ONE agency. Develop standards. Enforce those standards. (No flash-bang grenades in baby cribs)

          DEMAND accountability.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    The militarization of local police is a cause for concern, but what really alarms me is the Nazification of Federal agents. There was a time when only the ATF stormed around like jackbooted thugs. I guess that other agencies were jealous, because the culture of uniformed thuggery now extends to the EPA, USDA and the rest of the Federal alphabets.

    When armed Federal agents can point weaponry at and possibly kill people for an alleged violation of a regulation enacted by the same agency, then the US is no longer a government of laws. It’s a government of thugs. We’ve seen that movie before, and it didn’t end well.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Many reports of “SWATing” in some areas of the country.

      Why is we aren’t seeing “SWATing” of one fed thug agency by another? Not what would be theater. As USDA thugs raiding the office of the NOAA thugs? ATF hitting the VA. Feds generally appear to not be able to find their own butt and left hand not know what the right is doing.

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Well said, Ralph! I am afraid that this country is well along in becoming a police state and that the only thing that will rescue our children from it will be the collapse of the dollar once they have cheapened it to nothing. It will be a long cold brutal climb back out of that economic pit and the states will likely break off into regional groups that will never empower a strong central government again. Thankfully, I expect to be a very old man before the wheels come off the train….sorry to be such a downer.

    3. avatar int19h says:

      Police militarization has been largely driven by the Feds from its inception, even when the specific force that’s being militarized is state or local. In some cases those forces are local in name only, due to the way the laws are written – they work directly with the feds and over the head of the local administration.

  16. avatar pieslapper says:

    It has been postulated that if/when the fecal debris hits the rotary oscillator that the vast majority of our military would stand with the citizenry against an out of control tyrannical government, or shall we say even more out of control tyrannical government. The various militarized alphabet agencies may not be so inclined as, to my knowledge, they do not take the same oath that our military does. Of course these agencies attempting to act in a coordinated manner may work in our favor as their internecine jealousies arguably may have led to their march to militarization in the first place.

  17. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    This is what should be the concern about militarization of police, not whether our local LEO’s have modern sporting rifles or type IIIA vests or a semi-auto pistol (they should have all the above, IMHO).

    The EPA running a swat raid should scare the holy begeezus out of you. It is both an end run around the Posse Comitatus Act and an end run around a military that Progressives cannot trust to ignore their oaths.

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