FDA Police? The American Police State

By SUA Staff – We have witnessed a great expansion of power by the Executive Branch of government in recent years with the creation of Czars, Signing Statements, Executive Orders, the NDAA, Obama Care, the Patriot Act, massive land grabs, and much more…including circumventing the Congress and openly challenging the Judicial Branch. But what most people do not know, is that the Executive Branch employs more offices of law enforcement than you would believe.

One of these agencies, the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, was the subject of a vote in Congress today. Rand Paul of Kentucky offered an amendment that speaks to this issue. He asked why the FDA needs guns. He mentioned there are over 40 federal agencies that have police powers, but he was underestimating.

His amendment to do away with these ‘insane’ police powers failed today, but we thought you may want to know more in the context of the growing police state that is America.

The number of Federal Agencies with police powers has grown dramatically since a study was conducted by Sarah Foster for WND in 1997 that was eye-opening then:

From Comeandtakeit.com – By Sarah Foster, 1997, WorldNetDaily.com

According to a recent report from the General Accounting Office, as of last September, the number of law enforcement personnel stood at just under 50,000 — distributed through 45 agencies — an increase of about 12,000 agents in 10 years with 2,436 added in 1996 alone. These are full-time agents, authorized to execute searches, make arrests, and/or carry firearms “if necessary.”

But that number is not complete. When some 7,145 Customs inspectors and 317 Customs Department pilots are added — all of whom have the above listed law enforcement powers — the total is pushing 60,000. Why doesn’t the GAO count them? Not because they aren’t armed and dangerous, but because they have different retirement benefits.

In a recent look by SUA, there are at least 50 offices where law enforcement powers exist. These do not include the ones we all know; those within the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, our military, and the Department of State. Six other law enforcement offices also not counted are in the Judicial and Legislative Branches. We also excluded the CIA from that number.

Some are easily explained, since Offices of the Inspector General (OIG) exist in most agencies, but it is surprising to learn about a few: (Likely not comprehensive we fear.)

  • Department of Agriculture (USDA) – U.S. Forest Service, OIG
  • Department of Commerce (DOC) – National Institute of Standards & Technology Police, NOAA Fisheries OLE, OIG,
  • Department of Education – OIG
  • Department of Energy (DOE) – Health Safety and Security, OIG
  • Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Criminal Investigations, National Institute of Health Police, OIG
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development – Protective Services Division, OIG
  • Department of the Interior (USDI) – Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Mgt., National Park Service, Rangers, OIG
  • Department of Labor – OIG
  • Department of Transportation – OIG
  • Department of the Treasury – Engraving and Print Police, IRS Criminal Division, OIG for Tax Administration, Mint Police, Special OIG for TARP
  • Department of Veterans Affairs – OIG, VA Police
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Division, OIG
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Security Services, OIG
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission – OIG
  • Office of Personnel Management – OIG
  • Railroad Retirement Board – OIG
  • Small Business Administration – OIG
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – OIG
  • General Services Administration – OIG
  • United States Postal Service (USPS) – OIG, Inspection Services, Postal Police
  • Smithsonian Institution – Protection Services, National Zoological Park Police, OIG
  • Amtrak – Amtrak Ploice, OIG
  • Federal Reserve Bank – Federal Reserve Police
  • Tennessee Valley Authority – TVA Police, OIG
  • United States Agency for International Development – OIG

TARP has police? Perhaps the most perplexing law enforcement unit at the Federal level is the Special OIG for TARP, yes the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and please, tell us what the US Agency for International Development even is, and why does it need an Inspector General? We searched for a comprehensive report on just how many law enforcement personnel there are on the Federal level, but by the time of this posting, we had yet to locate those data.

All of this raises many questions, especially in light of recent reports SUA and many others have shown regarding the massive amounts of ammunition that was recently ordered. It is also important to ask why these types of ammunition are needed.

The folks at Natural News report on these questions, and they make quite a statement about what many believe is coming, wide-spread civil strife, possibly even open hostilities between the Federal government and its citizens. You be the judge.

From our previous reports:

ATK, the company now infamous for supplying upwards of 750 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammunition to the Department of Homeland Security, has just secured a $266 million dollar contract to supply ammunition to the U.S. Army. (ATK press release on first contract awarded.)

From Natural News:

…”hollow point” ammunition is never purchased for practice or training. This ammunition is purchased for the sole purpose of being used in active fighting. At the same time, it is a violation of the Geneva Convention to use hollow point ammunition on the battle field.

Furthermore, DHS does not fight wars overseas. It is a domestic agency with domestic responsibilities.

Natural News also asked in its article what 450 million rounds means, but of course we know the actual number is much higher from more recent reports of other ammunition orders. But their insight and questions show in stark relief what that much ammo really means:

…located testimony by Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III, given in 2004 before the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives. This testimony reveals that: In active battle operations in Iraq, ammunition is expended at the rate of 5.5 million rounds per month.

That’s 66 million rounds in a year. The General’s testimony states that the “past year” in Iraq “resulted in the expenditure of 72 million rounds,” which isn’t too far off from 66 million. I’ll use 70 million as a rough figure for annual ammo usage in an active war zone.

This is 70 million rounds of all types, including rifle rounds such as 5.56, .308, .50, etc. Pistol rounds most likely include 9mm (the common NATO round) and .45. There isn’t much .40 pistol ammo used by soldiers serving overseas, by the way.

There are so many instances popping up in the news, at least on the internet, where the real news gets reported, about crazy raids. Armed raids on the Amish for selling milk, the Gibson Guitar factory fiasco, the EPA debacle at Priest River, Idaho, and so on. No wonder the fear factor is off the charts, and everyone fears FEMA instead of lauding it as a safety net in times of disaster. It is actually beyond that fear alone now, a growing number of Americans are in abject fear of all that is Federal these days.

Incessant lies, twisted statistics, disingenuous rhetoric, plausible deniability arguments, and craftily worded messages abound. No wonder so many have lost trust in the government. More to come, of that we are sure…

Rand Paul Introduces Amendment to End the FDA’s Insane Police Powers:

“I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.”

By  – Reason.com

“I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow,” Rand Paul said yesterday in a rousing speech calling for an end to the Food and Drug Administration’s police powers. More from the transcript, provided by Paul’s office:

Some of you might be surprised the FDA is armed. Well, you shouldn’t be.

We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow.

I think we have too many armed federal agencies, and that we need to put an end to this. Criminal law seems to be increasing, increasingly is using a tool of our government bureaucracy to punish and control honest businessmen for simply attempting to make a living.

Historically the criminal law was intended to punish only the most horrible offenses that everyone agreed were inherently wrong or evil, offenses like rape, murder, theft, arson – but now we’ve basically federalized thousands of activities and called them crimes.

If bureaucrats need to involve the police, let’s have them use the FBI, but I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.

Paul’s amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act has two parts: Part I would allow the makers of health products to advertise their benefits. “There’s no earthly reason why somebody who markets prune juice can’t advertise it helps with constipation,” Paul said. Part II of the amendment would prohibit FDA employees (as well as all other Health and Human Services employees) from carrying weapons and making arrests without warrants.  (See the video of the speech here at Reason.com.)

The amendment failed by a vote of 78-15

Growing government control, a shift to militarization at home

Editorial Note – In recent weeks and months, SUA has reported on the militarization of our police, the gross expansion of federal powers, the anti-constitutional power grab by the Executive branch, and the complete disregard for performing the duties our Legislative branch is tasked to do.

That is not necessarily a broad brush inclusion of all legislators, just the ones who will not do their job, like passing a budget in the Senate for over 1,000 days, and blaming others in political rhetoric as they rammed through legislation and spending we did not need or want.

The following article by Matt Holzmann gives the reader a very well-crafted and complete look at the numbers and the subjects mentioned. We highly recommend reading it in its entirety. Its a font of fact that true conservatives can use to rebut leftist talking points and political spin.

Our Growing Police State

By Matt Holzmann

American Thinker

Last week, the FBI released its preliminary crime statistics for the first half of 2011, and across the nation violent crimes dropped 6.7% while property crimes dropped 3.7%. This continues a downward trend that dates back to the 1970’s.

Many of the violent crimes reported this year have been sensational. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Federal Judge John Roll were targeted by a lone, crazed gunman and there were a number of other gruesome crimes. The Giffords/Roll shooting was brought to an end by a bystander. The Ft. Hood massacre on November 5, 2009, which killed 13 American soldiers and wounded 29 others was brought to an end by two base police officers using conventional sidearms and procedures. The warning signs for this terrorist attack, the first on American soil since 9/11, were ignored and yet it was the local cops on the beat who faced and dealt with a terrible crime.

Every case one can think of was resolved by conventional methods. And yet the police powers of government on a local and national level have been growing at an alarming rate. And despite a dissonant data base there is a growing trend towards militarization of police forces and of an invasive state security apparatus.

The concept of militarization of police forces in this country began with the Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) teams in Los Angeles in 1967 -68. Its formation was a response to events including the Watts riots of 1965, and the emergence of snipers such as Charles Whitman, who killed 13 people on the campus of the University of Texas in 1966; the rise of armed revolutionary groups such as the Weathermen and, later, the Symbionese Liberation Army. Eventually SWAT returned to a more traditional police role of hostage/barricade incidents and suicide intervention.

Prior to and concurrent with this, the FBI in its battle with communism regularly investigated American citizens and the Hoover Files became famous. Today they are known primarily for salacious tidbits in the files on celebrities such as John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe. It was a time with different mores and the democratic principles of the country were in a cold war with a real and formidable enemy. Such was Hoover’s justification.

With the fall of the Soviet Empire, instead of the “end of history”, the world was fragmented into dysfunctional states and many of the same pawns used during the Cold War turned their hands towards criminal operations. The drug wars became the new front for law enforcement. Sometimes the gangs were as well or better equipped than the police.

Today, Afghanistan provides 90+% of the world’s heroin while the largest military action in the 21st Century takes place in that country; the opium poppies in many cases grow right up to the razor wire of American bases. A de facto civil war is taking place between the government and the narcotraficantes in Mexico that has cost 36,000 lives. Today the street prices of cocaine and heroin are at historic lows. It would seem that the War on Drugs is truly lost and that our government simply doesn’t care. And yet over $20 Billion/year is spent on the War on Drugs; most of it on law enforcement. This seems to be a very poor return on the investment.

On September 11, 2001 the jihad being waged against the West since the mid 90’s struck at the heart of the infidel empire and 3,000 civilians were murdered. Everything changed that day. The West invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq with the goal of defeating the jihadists. Over 10 years later there has not been a single successful attack on the United States. Attacks in the UK, Spain, and Indonesia were successful, but there has been a steady decline caused by greater global cooperation and information sharing as the primary differentiators.

Along the way a massive security infrastructure and bureaucracy was created. The Patriot Act authorized the broad use of enhanced surveillance techniques and intelligence gathering while including domestic terrorism under the scope of the intelligence services. To date the only truly domestic terror prosecution seems to have been a few retired white supremacists in Georgia. The Ft. Hood massacre was officially classified by the White House recently as a workplace related shooting.

A key provision of the Patriot Act was the expansion of the authority of the Department of the Treasury to investigate money laundering, and yet the narcotics trade has risen from $321 Billion in 2003 according to the United Nations to an estimate of $500 Billion this year by the Center for Strategic & International Studies. In Afghanistan, hundreds of millions of dollars in cash are shipped out to banks in Dubai openly and with the government’s approval with no questions asked. The opium/heroin trade alone is estimated at $4 Billion/year which funds both the warlords on our side and the Taliban warlords. So Afghanistan is not only bleeding our military, but also our civilian population.

And we now have a Department of Homeland Security that employs over 216,000. The Transportation Security Agency consists of over 58,000 of those employees. The Border Patrol is of equivalent size, while ICE employs approximately 20,500. In an address delivered by retired General Barry McCaffrey, he emphasized the real dangers of the War on Drugs and an out of control border. The criminal networks have become ever more sophisticated and now act as paramilitaries, destabilizing one of our most important allies. And yet the inward directed nature of much of our security establishment does nothing to address real and present dangers.

The Wall Street Journal in an article entitled “Federal Offenses: law enforcement teams grow at government agencies” wrote on Saturday of the proliferation of heretofore nonexistent police forces in federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce, Labor Department, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency, and many others who have the power to conduct investigations, seek indictments, or simply raid violators of even regulatory violations. Cases where armed agents have raided homes and workplaces have included the infamous Gibson Guitar raid for illegal wood; documentation errors on otherwise legal imports, and even the recent batch of a 881 lb. Bluefin Tuna by a New Bedford trawler. “Put the tuna on the ground and raise your hands”.

The Internal Revenue Service has been strong arming countries around the world to open their bank records not to trace narcotics cash or Russian mobsters, but income tax evaders. The “Stop On Line Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the recent NDAA Act, which is now law, have broadened the policing authority of the Federal government to a never before greater degree at a time when ordinary crime is decreasing. The SOPA Act, in the words of one IT manager, would make our internet similar to China’s. The NDAA allows for the President to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including American citizens. The law then becomes a matter of semantics to the unprincipled.

In the meantime, corruption and cronyism have risen to a level not seen since the 1870’s.

Nat Hentoff has written extensively on the assault on civil liberties and on due process starting with many of the measures of the Bush Administration. This accelerated, according to Mr. Hentoff, under President Obama, who has concentrated power in the White House to an extraordinary degree. By avoiding Congressional approval and his own Executive Branch through the appointment of “czars” ranging from the auto industry to regulation to ethics to climate to consumer affairs, the president has subverted the separation of powers repeatedly in an imperial presidency that is unparalleled.

Crime rates have been dropping for 20 years and yet today there is more danger to civil liberties posed by government than ever before. Our government continues to expand the definition of crime while approving special powers usually found in police states.

When Members of Congress urged the President to ignore their own branch of government during the recent Congressional debt ceiling debate and act by fiat or the insistence of some of those same Members of Congress on the recusal of Justice Thomas in the health care case before the Supreme Court, one can easily understand the danger of even a well intentioned government to its own people.

As the terrorism threat used to rationalize many of these powers has receded, government power has never been greater or more at odds with the Constitution. In the meantime the narcoterrorism network which funds many those terrorist organizations, is on the sidelines. The law is at odds with itself.

Our government has built an anti-Constitutional framework that can and will eventually be turned against our citizens. On one side we have our civil/criminal system, and the other the growing power of Orwellian dysfunction. Think about it.