FBI agent
"I could have sworn I put my body camera in here this morning." (Shutterstock)
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Congress and a string of presidents for nearly 30 years have been pushing federal law enforcement to reform and become more transparent. But those four agencies overseen by the Justice Department, among the most prestigious in the country, have been slow to adopt reforms long embraced by big-city police departments, such as the use of body cameras and the release of comprehensive use-of-force data. …

As of this fall, none of the Justice Department’s law enforcement agencies examined by NBC News have fully implemented the use of body cameras. Each agency said it is rolling them out across major cities or divisions, and the Marshals Service has published a map of its current use. The FBI added body-worn camera training to its new agent curriculum at Quantico, Virginia, this year, a spokesperson said. An ATF spokesperson said rollout is “dependent on funding.” The devices are expensive — since 2021, all four agencies have asked Congress for more than $206 million for their body camera programs, according to federal documents. They’ve received slightly over $84 million.

Meanwhile, tensions between local police leaders and federal officials remain. Local agencies that participate in Justice Department task forces can’t release video from such operations, even if their officers are the ones who record it, without permission from the Justice Department, because the video is considered federal record.

Sheriff Michael Chitwood of Volusia County, Florida, which includes Daytona Beach, doesn’t trust that permission to come quickly. “You are going to tell me when something goes down and the camera is running that you have no right to that footage?” he asked. “F— you.”

Chitwood pulled his deputies off a U.S. Marshals task force over the issue this year. “My community has a right to see what happens,” he said.

The FBI and the ATF said they release video when the media asks “as soon as practicable” after having reviewed it for redactions. The ATF added that under “exigent circumstances,” it releases video within 72 hours. The Marshals Service and the DEA didn’t respond to questions about body camera video.

 and  in Defying Presidents and Congress, the ATF, DEA, FBI and u.s. Marshals Shroud Their Shootings in Secrecy

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  1. All of these agencies are unconstitutional. Only states have the power to create and maintain such organizations. The best these agencies should be is an information sharing hub with no enforcement powers.

      • The state of Missouri is absolutely correct. They refuse to allow their cops to work with the federal government. And made it a felony if the cops work with the feds.

        That is a good starting point to lobby all the States to refuse to work with federal law enforcement. And make it a felony for local cops if they work with the feds.

        The Feds in the past have prosecuted local law enforcement over badge cam videos.

        • “The 24-page decision issued in March by US District Judge Brian Wimes ruled that the law is “invalidated as unconstitutional in its entirety.”

          “State and local law enforcement officials in Missouri may lawfully participate in joint federal task forces, assist in the investigation and enforcement of federal firearm crimes, and fully share information with the Federal Government without fear of (SAPA’s) penalties,” Wimes wrote.”

          Sounds like the law was struck down. And the law didn’t make it a felony for police, it allowed for a $50000 civil fine.

    • According to the Constitution, only the States have police powers. The federal government has usurped the powers for as long as the feds have existed. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” was coined by the English historian Lord Acton in 1887. All federal policing laws are in violation.

      • So says the internets most famous legal scholar. You think the federal government can make and enforce immigration laws? Which US state is supposed to be in charge of immigration in lieu of the federal government?

      • So says the internets most famous legal scholar. You think the federal government can make and enforce immigration laws? Which US state is supposed to be in charge of immigration in lieu of the federal government? Do you need a visa from every U.S. state you plan to visit?

  2. “Because someday(s), they will have video too incriminating to release, and they want to be consistent.”

    What? Nah, that’s crazy talk.

  3. The feds demand to see everything you do.
    You cannot see everything they do.

    Don’t forget to pay your mandatory tithe to the shadowy figures in the back room constantly warning you of existential threats to your very existence.

  4. The solution is simple, congress create a law that makes use of the body cams mandatory for ALL federal law enforcement or they do not have law enforcement powers and can not be armed.

    Well, maybe not so simple after all…but most of these agencies ‘agents’ should not have law enforcement powers to begin with nor should they be armed.

    • .40 cal Booger,

      Speaking of “agents”, have you noticed over the last few years that their jackets are now saying:


      Versus years past when they would say:


      or just:


  5. And in other news, Anthony Senter is getting paroled out of life + 20.

    Isn’t Presidential Biden is just the greatest!?!

  6. The FBI refuses to use recordings and refuses to allow others to use recordings, instead they write notes, transcribe them to an official form (usually just before action is taken) and destroy the original notes. It is not to facilitate perjury, absolutely not, it is just a homage to the early Hoover years when this was standard procedure.

    • Not sure where you’re getting your info, but it’s wrong. Notes are stored in the 1A subfile, and have been considered part of the investigative file for decades. Recordings are the same.

  7. The Feds want the narrative they give to be the only possible version of the events and they lie, lie, lie. The FBI will not even allow an interview with anyone to be taped.

  8. “Local agencies that participate in Justice Department task forces can’t release video from such operations, . . . , without permission from the Justice Department, because the video is considered federal record.”

    OK. So We the People of our respective municipalities and states ought to demand of our local officials that they cease cooperation with Federal agencies until those Federal agencies give blanket a priori permission for our local police to publish their own video.

    The Feds are – as our founders anticipated – far from the People. They do as they please, just as King George III’s men did as they pleased in Boston, leading to the Boston Massacre. I surmise that it was precisely that incident that inspired the 10A reserving the “police power” to the states.

    The Fed’s ability to police us is highly limited if they have no access to call for cooperation from state and municipal police. Essentially the drug laws are unenforceable within the interior without municipal police.

    Our most powerful weapon against Federal power is to withhold our municipal police from aiding and abetting Federal tyranny.

  9. State and Local law enforcement agencies figured out the whole camera thing a decade ago, federal agencies are reinventing the wheel because you know…
    Remember that state and local agencies also developed professional enforcement and forensic certification standards which require recertification often, the feds have reluctantly done so but to their “certifications” which are well below those of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Commission on Acreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, and International Association of Directorsof Law Enforcement Standards were all developed in-house, have very flexible “recertification” times and are not publicly scrutinized.


    Only speak to LE with body cameras, and you have no duty to assist them by answering questions. “Here is my DL, registration and insurance card” and “Am I free to go?”…

    Oh , and “I have a recording GPS for my speed in this vehicle” as I hand documents over.

    • Your post reminded me of something:

      Rule # 1: It is not enough just to remain silent. What you must do is specifically invoke the 5th Amendment to keep your ‘silence’ from being used as evidence of guilt against you.

      It turns out that the 5th is not in effect until you specifically invoke it.


      In 2013 SCOTUS ruled that that a person must verbally invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to prevent police and prosecutors from using any resulting silence and incriminating body language as evidence of guilt during a jury trial.

      Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court, in turning aside an appeal by a defendant convicted of murder in Texas.: “The Fifth Amendment guarantees that no one may be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; it does not establish an unqualified right to remain silent, … “Before petitioner could rely on the privilege against self-incrimination, he was required to invoke it,”.

      You have no obligation to speak to police, but you can’t just remain silent without specifically invoking the 5th Amendment and expect a ‘right to remain silent’ to protect you from your silence and body language from being used as evidence of guilt.

  11. Excellent question. Could it be that t hey are scared to have their actions availaable for the public to see because they are illegal acts. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

    • Could it be congress hasn’t appropriated funding to purchase and maintain body cams as well as infrastructure to store videos as well as technology to redact and provide FOIA release?

  12. I have been serving legal papers since I retired from the State of New York in 2003. As soon as good chest cams became available in 2013, I purchased one and use it every day I serve papers.

    I recently has started using it when I carry to document any incident I might encounter while carrying.

  13. The most anti-people organization in the United States is the federal government, chief among the Fed is their “law enforcement” agencies. You see, they’re just better than us peeons. Or so they think…..

    • Truth.

      Although there are some pretty bad state and local jackboots too, there is at least usually some semblance of local control over the worst of their thuggish behavior.

  14. The Feds know that video of “Jackboots on necks” is bad publicity.

    Yeah, I said it. Prove me wrong. Change my mind.

  15. If you were one of the BATFE “snipers” that was stationed at the undercover house across the street from the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, would you want video released of your sniper team firing three dozen rounds of .223 and .308 rounds? This is in context of a few forensic facts:

    Only one of the Branch Davidians who was on the backside of the Branch Davidian compound being killed with .223.

    All the other members of the congregation were killed with 9mm, 147 grain Hydroshock projectiles.

    In spite of public statements by the BATFE that their team was ambushed with a fusillade of fire from .50 caliber rifles and fully automatic AK-47s, all of the deceased agents were shot with .223 caliber or .308 caliber projectiles.

  16. Whereas ACAB some B’s are worse B’s than other B’s -and the Federals B’s are on the top or that list of the very worst B’s.

    just sayin’

  17. The public should NEVER see police bodycam videos.

    Everybody acts differently when they know they’re being recorded. To the extent of causing policemen to override their “Cop-Sense” because they know (probably too well) that a non-LEO reviewing the video isn’t likely to see it the same way a cop does. And there are members of the public who have a paranoiac distrust of police and always will see the glass as half empty (with a pubic hair in it). So they’re never going to give the Officer an even break, even when what he did was situationally appropriate.

    Which is bad. So what needs to happen is every police department appoint a Special Master — preferably one who has been “on the job” — whose role will be to determine whether a video needs to be see outside the department. If Special Master reviews the video and determines it shows evidence of a crime, then it goes to the DA for action. And if used at trial, no one should see it apart the judge, opposing counsel and the jury (all of whom should be sworn to secrecy at risk of contempt of court). But if all it shows is an officer acting appropriately, proportionally, and within department guidelines, or if it shows an incident of a nature that would be appropriate to handle with an internal review and disciplinary action, then NO ONE outside the department should ever see it.

    Because otherwise you lose cops behaving like cops and turn them into characters on a TV reality show. This way you still have strictest accountability but not in a manner that’s needlessly detrimental to the department or the officer. Because there are some who reuse to be satisfied. If you hanged the subject policeman in public, they would complain that he should have been made to dangle longer before dying. They are NOT rational and there’s no point trying to appease them.

    • I disagree. There are too many cops who are gung-ho about their job. I remember a cop who arrived on scene, and pulled his billy club out, just begging for a reason to use it. The only thing that prevented that happening, was his supervisor arrived on scene within about 90 seconds, and defused the situation. That hopped-up juvenile delinquent really needed a body cam, and the community really needed to see him in action. Had my skin been a darker color, I have no doubts at all that he would have started whaling on my head within that 90 second window before his supervisor arrived.

      No, the department doesn’t get to decide what the citizenry can see. That’s just a pretty way to cover stuff up, while pretending to transparency. Every bit of it needs to be available to the public, and not 5 or 10 years in the future, after all the court cases are settled.

    • Porkie, Body cams are a great deterent to both the police (avoiding misconduct) and on the criminal and general public.

      I use a chest cam when I serve legal papers and it has gotten me out of trouble when someone alleged I “chest bumped” him. He was charged with falsely reporting an incident.

  18. Congress isn’t really pushing. Congress has the power of the purse, after all. They can tell each agency exactly what they expect, and if an agency doesn’t conform, Congress just chokes them through the purse. Defund the tyrants, it’s just that simple. An agency that simply won’t conform to Congress’ expectations can simply be dissolved, disbanded, and completely defunded. If/when Congress decides that they need an agency to perform the former agency’s functions, they can create a new agency with staff that understands who they work for.

    Lemme see – there goes the DEA, ATF, and maybe some more. Hell, the FBI can be disbanded, for all I care. The Marshall service? They don’t seem to have made a lot of headlines with outrageous nonsense in my lifetime, but even they can be disbanded and/or replaced.

    The power of the purse is an awesome thing, if only the chickenshits can learn to use it.

    • “Congress has the power of the purse, after all.”

      Even if we agree that in context of your comment “Congress” includes House and Senate, “Congress” has the power of the purse the President signs-off on.

      Today, there is zero potential for budget cutting to even make it to the Senate, much less gain presidential signature. To actually discipline a government agency through budget cuts/elimination, House and Senate must pass such legislation with a veto-proof (2/3)majority.

  19. so…CBP…40,000 plus all over the country…everyone gets a camera?
    forget the cameras…storing the footage…reviewing the footage…obtaining the footage in the first place
    on for entire shift (up to 12 hours)? can you turn off for bathroom break when needed?
    when should it be on? when not? when is privacy of other person a concern, if ever?
    maybe start with FBI and Secret Service? or senate/congress?

    • “Footage?” The 20th Century called, and they want their anachronism back.

      There’s this new-fangled thingamajig called “digital.” It’s the bee’s knees!

  20. The real headline should be “Why won’t Congress mandate and provide funding for body cams.”

    The answer is federal records regulations and FOIA. Every body cam recording is a federal record and has to be maintained according to the federal records guidelines for retention and FOIA means they all have to be available to the public which mean more bureaucracy to receive, maintain, redact and respond to FOIA requests. When Congress budgets it every TYAG’er will bitch about the cost.

  21. The fbi won’t use body cameras for the same reason they dont do video, only their notes, to record interviews. If there is video evidence it can’t always be twisted for political agendas.

  22. Can you imagine looking through the camera of an Elf Bee’s Eyes.
    Timothy Leary’s dead but dude everything is in ultraviolet and multi multispectral.
    Dogs look like monsters to me man.
    I’m like seeing 50 gunms


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