How do You Lose 1.0 Million People Janet?

Editor’s Note – Two government entities have provided official reports to Congress demonstrating how the Department of Homeland Security lost over 1.0 million visitors. Let that number sink in – 1.0 million. That is larger than many entire cities across America including forty of the top fifty.

With the most recent scandal blitz we in the American homeland, with all the fraud, collusion, ineptness, obfuscation, delaying and lies, losing people and accounting for their whereabouts adds to the threat on our national security as well as it throws sand in the gears of the immigration debate and legislation coming out of the Senate.

So what is the answer? Do we question Janet Napolitano about the issues? Oh wait, she has moved on already; she was named to take over the 10 campus University system in California. The budget of the University of California system is immense.

The former Arizona governor is set to leave her Homeland Security post and take over the huge 10-campus university system at the end of August. The system has an operating budget of more than $24 billion, almost triple the entire state budget in Arizona and larger than most state governments. (Read more)Napolitano2

When your primary responsibility as Secretary of Homeland Security is to secure the borders and track foreigners, among whom are future terrorists for certain, and you blow it, what makes you qualified to run a huge university system? How did the Regents of that system arrive at your name? Once again, California leads in the “picking failures” category!

In short, we scream and demand this remain in the headlines and ensure you are protecting yourselves from those that lurk among us as the Tsarneav brothers did, no one else is capable apparently. Stand your ground and understand your local laws as well as the Castle Doctrine – you have the unalienable right to self defense and more. We wonder how much she will lose track of in the University of California system.

Homeland Security Loses Track of One Million Foreigners

by Stephen Dinan – Washington Times

The Homeland Security Department has lost track of more than 1 million people who it knows arrived in the U.S. but who it cannot prove left the country, according to an audit Tuesday that also found the department probably won’t meet its own goals for deploying an entry-exit system.

The findings were revealed as Congress debates an immigration bill, and the Government Accountability Office’s report could throw up another hurdle because lawmakers in the House and Senate have said that any final deal must include a workable system to track entries and exits and cut down on so-called visa overstays.

The government does track arrivals, but is years overdue in setting up a system to track departures — a goal set in a 1996 immigration law and reaffirmed in 2004, but which has eluded Republican and Democratic administrations.

“DHS has not yet fulfilled the 2004 statutory requirement to implement a biometric exit capability, but has planning efforts under way to report to Congress in time for the fiscal year 2016 budget cycle on the costs and benefits of such a capability at airports and seaports,” GAO investigators wrote.

Outside business groups and Republican donors are trying to breathe life into the push for getting an immigration bill through Congress this year.

Millions arrive, many stay and DHS has lost 1 Million of them.
Millions arrive, many stay and DHS has lost 1 Million of them.

Nearly 100 top donors and former party officials signed a letter Tuesday pleading with House Republicans to pass a bill legalizing illegal immigrants, saying it could open the door to earning immigrants’ political support.

“Doing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules,” the donors said in their letter.

They aimed their pitch at House Republicans, who are trying to figure out a way forward and find themselves trapped between rank-and-file Republican voters who say legalizing illegal immigrants is an amnesty, and the party’s elites and donors who say the party cannot survive nationally without embracing legalization as part of a strategy to win over Hispanic voters.

The donor letter was sent the same day that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 400 other businesses and umbrella groups fired off a letter to House leaders of both parties, urging them to pass something — though the business leaders did not specifically call for legalizing illegal immigrants.

The business leaders and donors appeared to be sensing the momentum for immigration slipping away, little more than a month after the Senate passed its version on a bipartisan 68-32 vote.

How to handle visa overstays was a major part of the Senate bill debate when it came through the Judiciary Committee, though the issue received less attention on the Senate floor.

Under current law, the government is supposed to be developing a system to check every visitor’s entry and departure from the country, using biometric identifiers such as fingerprints. The system is supposed to apply to air, land and sea ports of entry.

But members of both parties have said that is a giant task. The Senate bill waters down those requirements, saying only that there must be a biographic-based system, which means using a photo, and that it be limited to air and sea ports.

The GAO said most of the overstays came by airplane, but 32 percent came through land ports of entry, and 4 percent came by sea. The average length of overstay was 2.7 years.

The Congressional Budget Office, which analyzed the Senate bill, said it will cut out about half of all illegal immigration. CBO said stiffer border security will limit those crossing the border illegally but that the system would boost the chances for illegal immigrants to come to the U.S. under new guest-worker programs and stay beyond their visas.

The executive branch is supposed to report annually to Congress on how many people have overstayed their visas but has failed to do so for the past two decades, saying the information isn’t reliable enough.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano told the Senate this year that her department would begin to report in December, but the GAO said Homeland Security officials aren’t sure what methodology they will use.

The department has repeatedly pushed back its deadlines for setting up an exit system at airports, telling GAO investigators this year that it will finalize plans in the near future. But GAO said the department is already behind its own schedule.

“For example, DHS had planned to begin scenario-based testing for biometric air exit options in August 2013; however, according to DHS officials, the department now plans to begin such testing in early 2014,” the auditors said.

The total of 1 million potential overstays in the country is an improvement from two years ago, when the GAO found Homeland Security had lost track of 1.6 million people.

Homeland Security went back and looked at those names and found that more than half had either actually left the country unbeknownst to the government, or had gained legal status that allowed them to remain in the U.S.

Of the others, the department decided most were deemed not to be security risks and so there was no need to track them down. But 1,901 of them were deemed significant national security or public safety threats, and 266 of those were still unaccounted for as of March.

In its official response to the GAO report, the Homeland Security Department said it is creating a working group to try to improve its data, and pointed to its success in reducing the backlog of overstay cases from 1.6 million to 1 million.

“DHS remains committed to strengthening and building upon existing capabilities to better identify and report on potential overstays,” said Jim H. Crumpacker, the department’s liaison to GAO.

"Phony" – Who are you to call anything phony?

By Scott W. Winchell – This must be the quote of the decade – perhaps a mirror is in order as it was uttered by President Obama:

“With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.”

SUA wants to know what Charles Woods and Patricia Smith think about Benghazi being phony; we already do. How about all those people investigated and stymied by the IRS, are they phony? How about the families of the 30 dead warriors killed on Extortion 17; ask Karen and Billy Vaughn about what is phony? How about James Rosen’s parents being part of that ridiculous DOJ investigation; phony? What about Brian Terry’s family; was Fast & Furious phony? What about the NSA and Prism?

The only thing that is phony is this current administration. From Jack Lew lying to Congress, the fake economic recovery, and don’t forget “jobs saved” and “shovel ready” projects, these are true examples of phoniness.Phony

Now Americans are poorer than ever, are they phony? How about GM being saved while Detroit filed for bankruptcy, watch for the use of Obama Care money to bail them out. How about those wonderful crony capitalism failures like Solyndra and Fisker?

Then there was the debacle of all-time, the one we had to pass so we could see what was in it – Obama Care, the law the vast majority of America does NOT want. Even the Unions do not want it – phony?

Then ask Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, or look up the “Pigford Scandal” – who is phony again?

Remember the ‘Beer Summit’ – phony. Remember “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon” – phony.

Then there was that other whopper: Benghazi was a protest over a video! Let’s also go into the other phoniness, like that fraudulent so-called Birth Certificate the White House posted, or the fact that Obama attended a church run by Jeremiah Wright and was friends with a domestic terrorist – Bill Ayers.

Then there is the ‘Sequester’ and not being able to tour the White House, while he and has family strode across Africa and now they go to Martha’s Vineyard to vacation in a posh palace as they threaten that Social Security checks may be stalled in September as he fights Congress over the debt ceiling again – PHONY!

Ask Sarah Palin about what she was not allowed to talk about while she was running with John McCain.

What about Obama’s education records, his Harvard Law Review work, all sealed – phony? How about his arguments over the Keystone XL pipeline – phony?

The list is almost endless, watch what Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox News had to say then read the article below about Obama and Jack Lew on the Sunday talk shows – just shameless! …and the media just buys in.

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Also, read more here: Lew Won’t Say Whether Chief Counsel Has Been Asked About IRS Scandal and see Chris Wallace grilling Lew here.

Lew warns GOP to avoid ‘false crises’ over spending, debt limit

By Peter Schroeder – The Hill

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Republicans to avoid “false crises” over a government shutdown and the debt limit in the coming months.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Lew continued to hammer the message President Obama has been touting this week, about renewing a focus on boosting the middle class and avoiding self-inflicted wounds on the economy.

“We need to remember that this isn’t just about cutting budgets. Obviously, we need to have our fiscal house in order,” he said. “What it’s about is building the foundation for a strong economy.”

He added that there is a “majority in Congress” that wants to do away with indiscriminate sequester cuts, replacing them with “more sensible policies.”

“Our challenge is breaking through the logjam in Congress to get that done,” Lew said.

Lew also echoed the White House message when he said the president would not be willing to negotiate over the debt limit, which will need to be raised this fall to avoid a default. He said even opening talks over raising the debt limit, after the lengthy standoff in 2011 that led to the first-ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating, would bring into question whether the U.S. is able to meet its obligations.

However, he stopped short of demanding a “clean” debt limit bill, that is, legislation that raises the debt limit and nothing else.

“Congress is going to have to pass a debt limit that can reach bipartisan consensus in the Congress and that the president can sign into law,” he said.

Lew also indicated that the White House would not be providing any sort of financial rescue to Detroit, which declared bankruptcy earlier this month.

The AFL-CIO called on the federal government to provide relief, and Republicans have already warned the president not to try and rescue the city with federal dollars. Lew gave no sign such an idea was in the works.

“Detroit is going to have to work with its creditors on this,” he said.

Time is Now for Special Select Committee on Benghazi – Spec Ops

Editor’s Note – With only 50 days to go for the first anniversary of the 9-11 Benghazi attack and the 12th anniversary of the 9-11-01 attack we still have no accounting for the four dead heroes of Benghazi.

Stalling, political posturing, non-disclosure statements, lies, obfuscation, hiding witnesses – the list goes on and on in the hopes that the American people will forget is the methodology of the “say anything, do anything” Obama Administration.

We will never forget, but a lot of America will if we do not make sure the correct people are held accountable – this cannot keep getting dragged out – the time is NOW!

Special Forces Veterans, Members of Congress Demand Special Benghazi Investigation

By Matthew Boyle – Breitbart

Several members of Congress joined representatives of the special forces military veterans and grassroots organizations on Tuesday to launch an effort to force the House to have a thorough, public investigation into the terrorist attack at Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) has introduced legislation to create a special select committee to investigate both the terrorist attack and subsequent actions by President Barack Obama’s administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Wolf’s bill has 161 co-sponsors. House GOP Leadership has not scheduled a vote on the bill.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) plans to harness the support for Wolf’s bill into a “discharge petition” that would force a floor vote on the bill. The petition would need to be signed by 218 members of the House.

SpecOpsScrollPetition

“I’m going to describe what a discharge petition is because a lot of people have asked me questions exactly what it is,” Stockman said at the Tuesday press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building. “It’s to ask our leadership or actually demand from our leadership that we have a vote on Frank Wolf’s bill. [Wolf is] a congressman from Virginia who has a long history of being here and is articulate in demanding that we have an independent investigation.”

Stockman added, while gesturing to blown up photographs behind him of the four Americans murdered in Benghazi, “if Congress is silenced,” then “the blood of these folks behind us is on our hands.”

“We can’t be silent any more,” he said. “It’s been a year going by that we haven’t had justice. These folks demand justice. They cry out for justice. Silence is not an option any more. We’re going to challenge them. We’re going to have a discharge petition. I encourage you to contact your congressman to sign the discharge petition.”

Stockman expects most or all of the 161 members on Wolf’s bill to support the discharge petition, and at the press conference specifically said House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) is supportive of circumventing House Leadership via the discharge petition.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dick Brauer, the founder of Special Operations Speaks, said the combination of Wolf’s bill and Stockman’s discharge petition “would be done to fully investigate, something that has not been done to date, the national tragedy in Benghazi, where we lost four great citizens in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.”

“You will hear this from me and others today but we need your help and your friends’ help and everybody else’s to make this happen because it’s our one chance to do something before the anniversary of that tragedy which will occur about seven weeks from now,” Brauer said.

At the press conference, Brauer’s group unrolled an enormous scroll of a petition that includes the signatures of about a thousand special forces veterans joining the call for this investigation. “What you see on my left is a one of a kind. I don’t think it’s ever been done before: a four-foot-by-sixty-foot copy of the Special Operations Speaks petition that we sent to the House of Representatives on the Eighth of April asking for this select committee with subpoena power,” Brauer said. “The scroll is signed by nearly 1,000 special operations veterans, from the rank of Lieutenant General Three Stars down to every other rank you can imagine, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, all of them passionate about what we’re trying to do.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a congressman who supports the discharge petition, said at the press conference that he was asked by a reporter recently about Benghazi: “Gee, that was so long ago. Do we really want to pursue this now?”

“I told the reporter that when I was a judge handling felony cases, I had defendants ask me that question – ‘that was so long ago, do we really need to get into all this now?’ I can tell you when the blood of American patriots cries out, when the blood of individuals who were sent there into harm’s way, knowing how dangerous it was in Benghazi, and especially two former SEALs who were even told to ‘Stand Down’ but they wouldn’t have it,” Gohmert said. “They went to save lives and that’s exactly what they did. They even recruited another State Department man, a former army ranger, to go up there on the rooftop with them. What they knew from the first moment mortars were fired was that this was an organized, well-prepared attack on our people. We need to get to the bottom of it. Their blood cries out for that.”

Former Florida Republican Rep. Allen West concurred with the others there, adding: “If it’s more important to some people in Washington, D.C., to protect President Obama and to protect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I say shame on you. Every single member of the United States House of Representatives should have their name on this discharge petition. If their name is not on that discharge petition, you are complicit in this cover-up of what happened.”

Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy said that if the truth is not uncovered in Benghazi, a terrorist attack like it is likely to happen again. “I believe that this is not likely to be an isolated incident,” Gaffney said at the press conference “If we don’t learn the lessons of what happened in Benghazi, how we got to there, what we did on the occasion and what has happened in the aftermath, you can be sure there will be other Americans who end with the same fate.”

Bob Adams, the president and founder of grassroots group Revive America which has been rallying members of Congress behind the calls for a real investigation into Benghazi, placed the blame for the lack of a real investigation at the feet of House GOP leadership.

“When Revive America first joined this fight back in March, only 48 House Republicans had mustered the courage to stand as cosponsors of this bill,” Adams said. “Frankly, the level of support at that time was an embarrassment. But over the next several weeks, after thousands of Americans had deluged Congress with a flood of phone calls, emails and personal visits, support for the House Select Committee soared to what is today 161 cosponsors. That’s over two thirds of all House Republicans.”

“But today only one person really stands in the way of a full and public investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attack in Benghazi. It’s not President Obama. It’s really not even Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Eric Holder. That one person is none other than House Speaker John Boehner.”

Law Enforcement Becoming a Domestic Military System

Editor’s Note – Has the Law Enforcement community found a way around ‘Posse Comitatus‘ for the Department of Defense?

Right under our noses, law enforcement has become a domestic military operation across our homeland and we need to ask some hard questions as to the legality and the determine the real objectives.

The police tactics at issue in the Stewart case are no anomaly. Since the 1960s, in response to a range of perceived threats, law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier.

The Department of Defense provides funding and equipment to countless law enforcement agencies nationally which is a supplement to what the Department of Homeland Security provides. The question is why, and just what is the defined agenda? How many failed missions have there been and who is responsible?

Rise of the Warrior Cop

Is it time to reconsider the militarization of American policing?

By Radley Balko – Wall Street Journal

On Jan. 4 of last year, a local narcotics strike force conducted a raid on the Ogden, Utah, home of Matthew David Stewart at 8:40 p.m. The 12 officers were acting on a tip from Mr. Stewart’s former girlfriend, who said that he was growing marijuana in his basement. Mr. Stewart awoke, naked, to the sound of a battering ram taking down his door. Thinking that he was being invaded by criminals, as he later claimed, he grabbed his 9-millimeter Beretta pistol.

Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  Matthew David Stewart, was ordered to stand trial for allegedly killing 30-year-old Ogden police Officer Jared Francom. Stewart, 38, is charged in 2nd District Court with aggravated murder for Francom’s death. He also is charged with seven first-degree felony counts of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly trying to kill other officers, and one second-degree felony count related to alleged marijuana cultivation. Judge Noel Hyde decided there was enough evidence to order Stewart to stand trial on all nine counts.
Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune
Wednesday, November 7, 2012.
Matthew David Stewart, was ordered to stand trial for allegedly killing 30-year-old Ogden police Officer Jared Francom.
Stewart, 38, is charged in 2nd District Court with aggravated murder for Francom’s death. He also is charged with seven first-degree felony counts of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly trying to kill other officers, and one second-degree felony count related to alleged marijuana cultivation. Judge Noel Hyde decided there was enough evidence to order Stewart to stand trial on all nine counts.

The police say that they knocked and identified themselves, though Mr. Stewart and his neighbors said they heard no such announcement. Mr. Stewart fired 31 rounds, the police more than 250. Six of the officers were wounded, and Officer Jared Francom was killed. Mr. Stewart himself was shot twice before he was arrested. He was charged with several crimes, including the murder of Officer Francom.

The police found 16 small marijuana plants in Mr. Stewart’s basement. There was no evidence that Mr. Stewart, a U.S. military veteran with no prior criminal record, was selling marijuana. Mr. Stewart’s father said that his son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and may have smoked the marijuana to self-medicate.

Early this year, the Ogden city council heard complaints from dozens of citizens about the way drug warrants are served in the city. As for Mr. Stewart, his trial was scheduled for next April, and prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. But after losing a hearing last May on the legality of the search warrant, Mr. Stewart hanged himself in his jail cell.

The police tactics at issue in the Stewart case are no anomaly. Since the 1960s, in response to a range of perceived threats, law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier.

Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment—from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers—American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop—armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.

The acronym SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. Such police units are trained in methods similar to those used by the special forces in the military. They learn to break into homes with battering rams and to use incendiary devices called flashbang grenades, which are designed to blind and deafen anyone nearby. Their usual aim is to “clear” a building—that is, to remove any threats and distractions (including pets) and to subdue the occupants as quickly as possible.

The country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.

The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids.

A number of federal agencies also now have their own SWAT teams, including the Fish & Wildlife Service, NASA and the Department of the Interior. In 2011, the Department of Education’s SWAT team bungled a raid on a woman who was initially reported to be under investigation for not paying her student loans, though the agency later said she was suspected of defrauding the federal student loan program.

The details of the case aside, the story generated headlines because of the revelation that the Department of Education had such a unit. None of these federal departments has responded to my requests for information about why they consider such high-powered military-style teams necessary.

Americans have long been wary of using the military for domestic policing. Concerns about potential abuse date back to the creation of the Constitution, when the founders worried about standing armies and the intimidation of the people at large by an overzealous executive, who might choose to follow the unhappy precedents set by Europe’s emperors and monarchs.

The idea for the first SWAT team in Los Angeles arose during the domestic strife and civil unrest of the mid-1960s. Daryl Gates, then an inspector with the Los Angeles Police Department, had grown frustrated with his department’s inability to respond effectively to incidents like the 1965 Watts riots. So his thoughts turned to the military. He was drawn in particular to Marine Special Forces and began to envision an elite group of police officers who could respond in a similar manner to dangerous domestic disturbances.

Mr. Gates initially had difficulty getting his idea accepted. Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker thought the concept risked a breach in the divide between the military and law enforcement. But with the arrival of a new chief, Thomas Reddin, in 1966, Mr. Gates got the green light to start training a unit. By 1969, his SWAT team was ready for its maiden raid against a holdout cell of the Black Panthers.

At about the same time, President Richard Nixon was declaring war on drugs. Among the new, tough-minded law-enforcement measures included in this campaign was the no-knock raid—a policy that allowed drug cops to break into homes without the traditional knock and announcement. After fierce debate, Congress passed a bill authorizing no-knock raids for federal narcotics agents in 1970.

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Over the next several years, stories emerged of federal agents breaking down the doors of private homes (often without a warrant) and terrorizing innocent citizens and families. Congress repealed the no-knock law in 1974, but the policy would soon make a comeback (without congressional authorization).

During the Reagan administration, SWAT-team methods converged with the drug war. By the end of the 1980s, joint task forces brought together police officers and soldiers for drug interdiction. National Guard helicopters and U-2 spy planes flew the California skies in search of marijuana plants. When suspects were identified, battle-clad troops from the National Guard, the DEA and other federal and local law enforcement agencies would swoop in to eradicate the plants and capture the people growing them.

Advocates of these tactics said that drug dealers were acquiring ever bigger weapons and the police needed to stay a step ahead in the arms race. There were indeed a few high-profile incidents in which police were outgunned, but no data exist suggesting that it was a widespread problem. A study done in 1991 by the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute found that less than one-eighth of 1% of homicides in the U.S. were committed with a military-grade weapon. Subsequent studies by the Justice Department in 1995 and the National Institute for Justice in 2004 came to similar conclusions: The overwhelming majority of serious crimes are committed with handguns, and not particularly powerful ones.

The new century brought the war on terror and, with it, new rationales and new resources for militarizing police forces. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Department of Homeland Security has handed out $35 billion in grants since its creation in 2002, with much of the money going to purchase military gear such as armored personnel carriers. In 2011 alone, a Pentagon program for bolstering the capabilities of local law enforcement gave away $500 million of equipment, an all-time high.

The past decade also has seen an alarming degree of mission creep for U.S. SWAT teams. When the craze for poker kicked into high gear, a number of police departments responded by deploying SWAT teams to raid games in garages, basements and VFW halls where illegal gambling was suspected. According to news reports and conversations with poker organizations, there have been dozens of these raids, in cities such as Baltimore, Charleston, S.C., and Dallas.

In 2006, 38-year-old optometrist Sal Culosi was shot and killed by a Fairfax County, Va., SWAT officer. The investigation began when an undercover detective overheard Mr. Culosi wagering on college football games with some buddies at a bar. The department sent a SWAT team after Mr. Culosi, who had no prior criminal record or any history of violence. As the SWAT team descended, one officer fired a single bullet that pierced Mr. Culosi’s heart. The police say that the shot was an accident. Mr. Culosi’s family suspects the officer saw Mr. Culosi reaching for his cellphone and thought he had a gun.

Assault-style raids have even been used in recent years to enforce regulatory law. Armed federal agents from the Fish & Wildlife Service raided the floor of the Gibson Guitar factory in Nashville in 2009, on suspicion of using hardwoods that had been illegally harvested in Madagascar. Gibson settled in 2012, paying a $300,000 fine and admitting to violating the Lacey Act. In 2010, the police department in New Haven, Conn., sent its SWAT team to raid a bar where police believed there was underage drinking. For sheer absurdity, it is hard to beat the 2006 story about the Tibetan monks who had overstayed their visas while visiting America on a peace mission. In Iowa, the hapless holy men were apprehended by a SWAT team in full gear.

Unfortunately, the activities of aggressive, heavily armed SWAT units often result in needless bloodshed: Innocent bystanders have lost their lives and so, too, have police officers who were thought to be assailants and were fired on, as (allegedly) in the case of Matthew David Stewart.

In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn’t a suspect in the investigation.

What would it take to dial back such excessive police measures? The obvious place to start would be ending the federal grants that encourage police forces to acquire gear that is more appropriate for the battlefield. Beyond that, it is crucial to change the culture of militarization in American law enforcement.

Consider today’s police recruitment videos (widely available on YouTube), which often feature cops rappelling from helicopters, shooting big guns, kicking down doors and tackling suspects. Such campaigns embody an American policing culture that has become too isolated, confrontational and militaristic, and they tend to attract recruits for the wrong reasons.

If you browse online police discussion boards, or chat with younger cops today, you will often encounter some version of the phrase, “Whatever I need to do to get home safe.” It is a sentiment that suggests that every interaction with a citizen may be the officer’s last. Nor does it help when political leaders lend support to this militaristic self-image, as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did in 2011 by declaring, “I have my own army in the NYPD—the seventh largest army in the world.”

The motivation of the average American cop should not focus on just making it to the end of his shift. The LAPD may have given us the first SWAT team, but its motto is still exactly the right ideal for American police officers: To protect and serve.

SWAT teams have their place, of course, but they should be saved for those relatively rare situations when police-initiated violence is the only hope to prevent the loss of life. They certainly have no place as modern-day vice squads.

Many longtime and retired law-enforcement officers have told me of their worry that the trend toward militarization is too far gone. Those who think there is still a chance at reform tend to embrace the idea of community policing, an approach that depends more on civil society than on brute force.

In this very different view of policing, cops walk beats, interact with citizens and consider themselves part of the neighborhoods they patrol—and therefore have a stake in those communities. It’s all about a baton-twirling “Officer Friendly” rather than a Taser-toting RoboCop.

Corrections & Amplifications
The Consumer Products Safety Commission does not have a SWAT team. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that it did.

Mr. Balko is the author of “Rise of the Warrior Cop,” published this month by PublicAffairs.

McCarthy – Civil Rights violations? Yes, on Zimmerman.

Editor’s Note – Civil rights violations on Trayvon Martin by Zimmerman? How about Zimmerman’s civil rights to a fair trial and ‘double jeopardy’? Will there be “triple jeopardy” a civil suit as well?

As each day goes by since the Zimmerman case ended in a ‘not guilty’ verdict, the rhetoric just rises and rises. Now its a civil rights case to so many who did not like the verdict. Therefore, they want another crack at Zimmerman – there must be a way to get that “white Hispanic” to pay for his sins – a theme based in emotion and zealotry. A theme many in the media continue to whip up as they employ words and phrases that are just not true yet raise the blood pressure of those who are ignorant of the law and act out of emotion.

As we pointed out yesterday, and as clear thinking jurists who know and understand the law point out, there never should have been a criminal case. The ‘Special Prosecutor’ appointed by Governor Rick Scott of Florida, Angela Corey, should have never been appointed in the first place because the legal system there was doing its job as well as any jurisdiction in the United States. Alan Dershowitz is openly calling for her disbarment.

Famed defense lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz is calling for a federal investigation into civil rights violations stemming from the George Zimmerman case — but he says the probe should focus on prosecutorial misconduct rather than on allegations of racial profiling and bias. (Newsmax)

Angela Corey and Eric Holder
Angela Corey and Eric Holder

We agree, Corey should be sanctioned and disbarred for her actions. She filed charges even though a Gran Jury was already scheduled that she cancelled and then she hid exculpatory information and other evidence from the defense. But that is not all. Now her ilk and the race-baiters of this age want Eric Holder to investigate and bring Federal Civil Rights charges against Zimmerman.

What about Zimmerman’s civil rights? There is no Federal interest in this criminal case, but there is a political interest. So now George Zimmerman faces ‘double jeopardy’!

He was tarred and feathered in the media, the DoJ actively helped organize protests against him, ‘community organizers’ descended upon him, politicians ratcheted up the heat, the President weighed in, the NAACP and the Black Panthers foamed at the mouth, and the man was declared guilty before he even went on trial.

Talk about civil rights violations. We also wonder why Rick Scott has been so quiet. Please read the words of a true legal expert, Andy C. McCarthy on the subject:

For Politicized Justice Department, Zimmerman ‘Civil Rights’ Case Is CIA Interrogators Case All Over Again

For those of us who are very proud of our service in the Justice Department – I was a federal prosecutor for nearly 20 years – there is nothing more appalling than seeing the attorney general of the United States heaping praise on, and joining in the machinations of, a race-mongering political demagogue such as Al Sharpton. As I’ve summarized before, Sharpton not only has a history of obstructing the administration of justice but was actively threatening, at the very time Eric Holder colluded with him, to “occupy” Sanford, Fla., if the state declined to file charges against George Zimmerman.

dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz – Noted Harvard Law Professor calls for Corey to be disbarred

In my two decades at the U.S. attorney’s office in New York, most of my best friends and many of the best prosecutors I knew were liberal Democrats. This made for lively debates when we’d go out for beers on a Friday night. But it had nothing to do with our performance of the job.

We all understood that our duty was to keep the politics out of the courtroom and out of law enforcement. And it wasn’t hard to do: It was what the judges expected of us, it was what we expected of the judges, and it was what ordinary citizens who serve on juries were told in every single trial — decide the case based on evidence, not passion, prejudice, fear or favor.

This ethos is being destroyed by Holder and the other movement progressives he has strategically installed in various DOJ policy-making posts (see, e.g., here). Indeed, it is being destroyed by the Obama administration more broadly, which is how you get an IRS bureaucracy – traditionally apolitical and independent – that now harasses and discriminates against conservative groups. That happens only one of two ways: Either the IRS bureaucrats were directed to politicize their mission or they felt encouraged to do so by the “community organizer” approach to governance quite consciously instilled by President Obama.

As I recounted over the weekend, after a Florida state jury acquitted Zimmerman on all counts in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Holder’s Department announced the resuscitation of its preposterous civil-rights investigation of Zimmerman. The main Obama/Holder precedent on which I’d rely to evaluate what’s going on – which is politics, not law – is Holder’s reopening, and later quiet dropping of, the investigation of CIA agents involved in the Bush-era enhanced-interrogation program.

Observe that what the Justice Department has announced is an investigation, not a prosecution. This is the same pedantic distinction Holder drew when he was caught misleading Congress in connection with the surveillance of Fox News correspondent James Rosen. Investigation is cost-free for Holder. The only one who gets harmed is Zimmerman, because he has to live in fear of prosecution, and the continued investigation means a continued spotlight which implies continued harassment by the hard Left. Holder only gets hurt if he actually tries to file charges – he will be humiliated if the grand jury refuses to indict or a jury (or the trial judge) laughs the case out of court.

As I argued last year when Holder did his Sharpton collaboration,

(a) the civil-rights statutes are of dubious constitutionality in terms of federal jurisdiction over intrastate activity by private citizens that involves no federal interest; and

(b) even if that were not so, a federal civil-rights case against Zimmerman would be weaker than the state murder case – if it is possible, there is even less evidence that Zimmerman intended to interfere with Martin’s enjoyment of a recognized federal civil right than that Zimmerman possessed the criminal intent required to sustain a murder conviction.

So when all is said and done, I believe the Justice Department will not indict Zimmerman, the trial would be too embarrassing for DOJ.

Nevertheless, it could be a long time before “all is said and done,” and in the meantime mere investigation is tactically shrewd for a political operator such as Holder. Recall that Holder, as an Obama campaign operative in 2008, stoked Obama’s Bush-deranged political base by promising a “reckoning” against Bush officials for purported war crimes.

Al Aharpton - remember Tawana Brawley?
Al Aharpton – remember Tawana Brawley?

Of course, there were no prosecutable crimes by the CIA and other officials – career prosecutors had scrutinized the allegations arising out of interrogations and determined that no colorable charges could be brought. Holder reopened the case anyway, continued the investigation for a couple of years, and then quietly dropped it.

The advantage for our Janus-faced attorney general was that he could promise Obama’s angry base that he was actively looking into matter while simultaneously telling Congress and the media that it was absurd to accuse him of harassing the CIA (and thus endangering our security) since he hadn’t actually brought any charges. This kept the issue alive, which was politically useful for the hard-left groups continuing to campaign against Bush, but spared DOJ the humiliation of a trial on a shoddy indictment.

Expect a reprise on Zimmerman. Holder tells the Left he is aggressively investigating; but tells Congress he is just poking around in a responsible way, hasn’t really done anything in the way of filing charges, and respects the verdict in Florida. No charges get filed, but the racial-grievance industry has a green-light to continue agitating, Zimmerman endures the anxiety and expense of a continuing threat of prosecution, and we all watch the spectacle of our justice system used as a tool of racial politics and political fundraising.

As some of us warned five years ago, to confirm Holder as attorney general was to guarantee politicized justice – that, after all, is what “social justice” is.