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Why Is the Government Arming More Federal Bureaucrats Than US Marines?


BY: MARK HEMINGWAY | NOVEMBER 18, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/11/18/why-is-the-government-arming-more-federal-bureaucrats-than-u-s-marines/

DSS Miami Field Office (MFO) hosts instructors from the Firearms Training Unit (FTU) to conduct the High Risk Environment Firearms Course – Pistol (HREFC-P) at the Homestead Training Center located at Homestead,
The idea that agencies are empowered to effectively create their own laws and go out and enforce them with armed federal agents should be alarming.

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When Congress authorized $80 billion this year to beef up Internal Revenue Service enforcement and staffing, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned that “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you.” A video quickly went viral racking up millions of views, purporting to show a bunch of clumsy bureaucrats receiving firearms training, prompting alarm that the IRS would be engaged in military-style raids of taxpayers. The GOP claims were widely attacked as exaggerations — since the video, though from the IRS, didn’t show official agent training — but the criticism has shed light on a growing trend: the rapid arming of the federal government.

A report issued last year by the watchdog group Open The Books, “The Militarization of The U.S. Executive Agencies,” found that more than 200,000 federal bureaucrats now have been granted the authority to carry guns and make arrests — more than the 186,000 Americans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. “One hundred three executive agencies outside of the Department of Defense spent $2.7 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between fiscal years 2006 and 2019 (inflation adjusted),” notes the report. “Nearly $1 billion ($944.9 million) was spent between fiscal years 2015 and 2019 alone.”

The watchdog reports that the Department of Health and Human Services has 1,300 guns including one shotgun, five submachine guns, and 189 automatic firearms. NASA has its own fully outfitted SWAT team, with all the attendant weaponry, including armored vehicles, submachine guns, and breeching shotguns. The Environmental Protection Agency has purchased drones, GPS trackers, radar equipment, and night vision goggles, and stockpiled firearms.

2018 Government Accountability Office report noted that the IRS had 4,487 guns and 5,062,006 rounds of ammunition in inventory at the end of 2017 — before the enforcement funding boost this year. The IRS did not respond to requests for information, though the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division does put out an annual report detailing basic information such as how many warrants the agency is executing in a given year.

More than a hundred executive agencies have armed investigators, and apparently no independent authority is monitoring or tracking the use of force across the federal government. Agencies contacted by RealClearInvestigations from HHS to EPA declined to provide, or said they did not have, comprehensive statistics on how often their firearms are used, or details on how they conduct armed operations.

“I would be amazed if that data exists in any way,” said Trevor Burrus, a research fellow in constitutional and criminal law at the libertarian Cato Institute. “Over the years of working on this, it’s quite shocking how much they try to not have their stuff tracked on any level.”

All this weaponry raises questions about whether the 200,000 armed federal agents are getting adequate weapons and safety training. HHS did not respond to a request for comment on the $14 million in guns, ammunition, and military equipment it purchased between 2015 and 2019 or its new National Training Operations Center within the Washington, D.C. Beltway. Another government agency — Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers — also declined to speak with RCI for this article.

According to Burrus, recent history helps explain the militarization of the federal government. “This is 20 years of the war on terror, with the production of an excessive amount of access to weaponry,” he says.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 extended law enforcement authority to special agents of 24 Offices of Inspectors General in agencies throughout the government, with provisions to enable other OIGs to qualify for law enforcement authority. As a result, even obscure agencies such as the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s Office of Inspector General now have armed federal agents. This summer, before the expansion of the IRS was approved by Congress, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz singled out the RRB as an example of the excesses of an armed bureaucracy. He introduced a bill to stop federal agencies from stockpiling ammunition.

Federal agencies doing their own criminal investigations raises important constitutional and civil rights questions. Last year, the EPA raided a number of small auto shops across the country for allegedly selling equipment that helped car owners circumvent emissions regulations.

“It was 12 armed federal agents, and they had little EPA badges on and everything,” John Lund, the owner of Lund Racing in West Chester, Pennsylvania, told the Washington Examiner. The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.

While it’s hardly a new complaint that federal bureaucracies are overstepping their rulemaking authority, the idea that executive agencies are broadly empowered to effectively create their own laws and go out and enforce them with armed federal agents is another matter.

“So many of the regulations that can be enforced at the point of a gun have almost nothing to do with what people would normally call dangerous crime, that would be the kind of thing where you might want armed agents there,” said Burrus. “And especially coming from agencies such as the EPA and other agencies that are more quality-of-life agencies dealing with regulatory infractions, rather than involved in solving real crimes.”

This article was adapted from a RealClearInvestigations article published Oct. 6.


Mark Hemingway is the Book Editor at The Federalist, and was formerly a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @heminator

Trump Celebrates ‘All Wins’ from Both GOP And Democratic Primaries


By NICOLE SILVERIO | MEDIA REPORTER | August 24, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/08/24/trump-celebrates-gop-democratic-primaries-florida-new-york-oklahoma/

Donald Trump Campaigns In Golden, Colorado
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump celebrated the victories of Democrats and Republicans in the Tuesday primaries, many of whom he endorsed. The former president jokingly endorsed two Democratic candidates running in the New York primary, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and attorney Dan Goldman. Goldman then won the Democratic nomination to represent New York’s 10th district in Congress, while Maloney lost her bid to Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler.

“Looks like a fantastic evening of ALL WINS — Great Candidates!!!” Trump wrote on a Truth Social post.

“26 and 0 tonight, turning numerous tight races into big endorsements and easy wins!” Trump said in a separate Truth Social post. “Overall for last 4 years, 98.4% on Endorsements!”

Trump-endorsed Republican New York Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik and Claudia Tenney all won their primaries Tuesday night.

COMMERCE, GA - MARCH 26: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (L) shakes hands with former U.S. President Donald Trump (R) during a rally at the Banks County Dragway on March 26, 2022 in Commerce, Georgia. This event is a part of Trump's Save America Tour around the United States. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Trump’s preferred Republican candidates also achieved victories in the Florida primary. Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz defeated his opponent, former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo, in Florida’s 1st district. His other endorsed candidates in Florida, including Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Anna Paulina Luna, Kat Cammack, and John Rutherford, swept their races. (RELATED: Trump Endorsed Candidate Kari Lake Wins GOP Arizona Gubernatorial Primary) 

Other candidates who won their primaries include Democratic Florida Rep. Val Demings, who captured the Democratic nomination and will attempt to unseat Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. Democratic Florida Rep. Charlie Crist won the nomination to challenge Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race.

Meanwhile, Trump-endorsed Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin defeated T.W. Shannon, a banking executive, in the Republican senate primary run-off election.

The former president made over 40 endorsements in recent primaries taking place in Washington, Michigan, Missouri, Arizona and Kansas, where the majority of the Trump-endorsed candidates achieved victories, Politico reported.

Adam Schiff and the Chamber of Secrets: Inside the Impeachment Dungeon


Authored by Kristina Wong | 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/10/24/adam-schiff-and-the-chamber-of-secrets-inside-the-impeachment-dungeon/

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 15: (L-R) Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Committee returns to a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees October 15, 2019 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Kent was …Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Talk of the impeachment inquiry is everywhere in America, but Americans have no idea what it actually looks like.

That’s because House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has so far conducted the entire impeachment inquiry in a secret room in the basement of the Capitol building that is not accessible by the general public.

Just to the south of the Capitol Visitor Center underneath the dome and down one spiral staircase is a room hidden behind two heavy wooden doors. On the doors are red signs with white letters that say: “Restricted Area. No public or media access. Cameras and recording devices prohibited without proper authorization.” Behind those doors is a hallway, which leads to the secret room where Schiff is conducting the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee has a huge hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building where they can hold hearings that do not concern classified material, which members of the public and journalists can attend. But the impeachment inquiry is taking place in the committee’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) — a room for members to use when discussing and viewing classified material.

Republicans say the impeachment inquiry is not an intelligence matter that needs to be in the SCIF, but its location gives Schiff the ability to tightly control everything — and everyone — going in and out.

Security guards stand in front of the two wooden doors to make sure reporters and other unauthorized members of the public stay out. But inside the hallway, there are security officers who make sure unauthorized members of Congress and staffers stay out of the SCIF. Schiff and the Democrats control who is allowed in.

“You can’t go in unless you’re on the list,” a congressional source with knowledge of the impeachment inquiry told Breitbart News. “[They] have like a list, so you can’t sneak into the SCIF or try to get an extra staffer in there or something like that.”

Under Schiff’s rules for the impeachment inquiry, only members of the three committees involved in the inquiry — House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees — are allowed in. The House Intelligence Committee can have as many staffers as they want in the SCIF, but the other two committees can only have two staffers each.

The SCIF is a small windowless room that has a long rectangular table in the middle, sources said. Democrats sit on one side, Republicans sit on the other, and the witness sits at the head of the table.

Although the room is intended to seat 30 to 40 people, during the recent deposition of Amb. Gordon Sondland there were as many as 70 to 80 people crammed inside, forcing lawmakers to stand and sit on the floor, according to a Republican source on a committee involved in impeachment. With so many bodies packed in there, it quickly got too hot, requiring the blasting of air conditioning, which then made it too cold, the source said.

Having so many people inside the room and dozens of reporters loitering outside is a security hazard and potentially a fire hazard, the Republican source said.

“The SCIF is supposed to be a secure location for safe-holding of classified information, but there are real concerns about having so many people wandering around,” said the source.

The depositions typically start with opening statements, then Democrats have about an hour to ask the witness questions, and then Republicans have about an hour. There is usually a break before Democrats begin another round of questioning, and then Republicans, and so on, until there are no more questions left. The recent depositions have lasted as many as ten hours.

Inside that secret room, Schiff has lorded his power over the process, Republicans say.

“He will remind you early and often that he is in charge,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who has attended every deposition and transcribed interview.

“Schiff likes to interject himself during the Republican questioning and we always have to point out to him we obviously don’t do the same thing during their questioning, but he just can’t help himself,” he said.

Since the House has not formally voted on beginning an impeachment inquiry — which would give Republicans certain rights and the Trump administration due process, Republicans are not able to subpoena witnesses and the White House is not able to have a counsel present. Zeldin said Schiff is taking full advantage of that and forcing witnesses to answer questions they are not sure they can answer.

“He’ll tell the witness to speak even if the witness isn’t sure and there may be an outstanding question about executive privilege or something else,” he said.

“So inside the super secret bunker of the Capitol, the basement where the impeachment inquiry charade depositions are taking place, he is the grand jury, the judge, and the prosecutor,” he said.

Zeldin said Democrats have been petty about sharing materials as well.

“If a person asks for an additional copy of the exhibit, the sick smile that will be on some people’s faces as if somehow being in the majority means that we should make a petty moment of what might be a genuine ask,” he said.

Republicans say Democrats are keeping transcripts from members of Congress who will ultimately vote on any articles of impeachment, and even from Republican members involved in the inquiry.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes said Republican members involved in the inquiry cannot even view transcripts without having “minders” looking over their shoulder. “That is unprecedented,” Nunes told Fox News on Wednesday. Staffers of the committees say the environment inside and outside the SCIF is tense.

“It is so, so tense. I mean, it is like what you see in movies tense. It’s weird,” said the congressional source.

“It is just crazy. No one talking to anybody. Everyone being real quiet, because you just don’t know who’s standing around you,” the source said. “You’re dealing with three committees and you don’t know who everyone is.”

Republicans say the depositions and interviews are unclassified and there is no need for them to take place behind closed doors.

Schiff has defended the secrecy of the hearings by comparing it to a “grand jury,” claiming he does not want potential witnesses to be able to compare stories. But Republicans argue that his claim is undercut by the numerous leaks from Democrats to reporters about what is being said during the closed-door interviews, despite House ethics rules gagging both sides.

“Unfortunately, this process of cherry-picking leaks withholding key facts and outright lying is a formula of Adam Schiff that many in the media are playing along with, and many people who were part of the enraged liberal activist base eat up,” Zeldin said.
“This whole project, is Schiff’s desire to write the world’s worst parody to take down a sitting president,” he said, referring to Schiff reading a fake conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a hearing and later justifying it as a “parody.”

Republicans suspect that Democrats instructed the “whistleblower” to file his complaint with the intelligence community inspector general instead of the State or Justice Department inspector general so that the matter could be handled by Schiff behind closed doors.

“It’s all about shaping the narrative,” the Republican source said. “There’s a whole leaking apparatus in place.”

The source characterized that apparatus as the same as during the FBI’s collusion investigation — selective leaks to reporters that are then blown out of context with no countervailing narrative. 

More than two dozen House Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) stormed the SCIF on Wednesday morning, demanding access to an impeachment inquiry that could reverse the 2016 election.

“So far, Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry has been marked by secret interviews, selective leaks, weird theatrical performances of transcripts that never happened, and lies about contacts with the whistleblower,” Gaetz said at a press conference before the storming.
“We’re going to try to go in there and we’re going to try to figure out what’s going on, on behalf of the millions of Americans that we represent that want to see this Congress working for them, and not obsessed with attacking a president who we believe has not done anything wrong,” he said.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) added, “Adam Schiff is trying to impeach a president of the United States behind closed doors, literally trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election a year before Americans get to go to the polls and decide who’s going to be the president.”
“The American people deserve better, we will demand better,” Scalise said.
“This is being held behind closed doors for a reason — because they don’t want you to see what the witnesses are like,” said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), citing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s faltering testimony.
“This is a Soviet-style impeachment process, this is closed doors, it is unfair in every way,” Biggs added. “We’re going to go in there and demand we get our rights as members of Congress.”

House Democrats have suggested that they would open the hearings up to the public, but have not stated exactly when.

“That’s obviously a step after this. But right now we’re concentrating on getting as many people as we can,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) said, according to the Hill.

The pace is already beginning to take a toll on staffers and even reporters, sources said.

“This is a marathon. And we’re on mile nine and we’re severely out of shape. Even the reporters who are there, they’re tired, everyone’s kind of gassed,”the congressional source said.

“This is the long slog with not a lot of certainty on when it’s going to end. We’ve been flying through people. They supposedly want to get it done between Christmas and Thanksgiving. There are staffers who have worked for 20 days. They have not taken a single day off and work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” the source said.

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