Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | August 16, 2012

Social Security Administration expects to need a lot more ammo in … New Hampshire?

The Blaze has a story today on the Social Security Administration (SSA) soliciting bids on 174,000 rounds of .357 125 grain bonded jacket hollow point (JHP) bullets.

The Blaze cites Gun Blast on the “stopping power” of the .357 125-grain JHP round, and provides links to earlier ammo purchases by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which had also caught the eye of “Federal Business Opportunities” (FBO) watchers.

(According to the Washington Post, the 46,000-round solicitation for NOAA’s National Weather Service was the result of a “clerical error.”  The ammo is intended for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, not for the Weather Service.  This makes sense, although fisheries violators had better watch out, since the ammo in question is the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber 180-grain JHP round.)

For the SSA solicitation, deliveries will be to the resident agents in charge of the SSA Inspector General’s regional (and some subregional) Offices of Investigations.  The Blaze has the link to the list of recipients for the SSA ammo solicitation.  It’s an Excel spreadsheet; please use the Blaze link to pull it up if you want to check it out.  (It can also be found at the FBO site at the solicitation page.  Look at the bottom of the RFQ block for “Delivery locations.”)

I wondered first of all why Manchester, New Hampshire needed more rounds than any other office listed in the document.  Manchester is shown as receiving 15,000 rounds of the .357 125-grain JHP.   Los Angeles, Iselin, NJ, and Richmond, VA each get 10,000 rounds, although no borough of New York City is apparently to receive any rounds from this purchase.  Chicago gets 6,000 rounds, as do Cleveland and Houston.  Oklahoma City gets 8,000.  Fairfield, CA – a small Napa Valley burg with a population of 105,000, in rural Solano County, pop. 413,000 – gets 5,000 rounds, the same as Philadelphia.  What exactly is going on here?

The address for the ammo delivery in New Hampshire is for the Inspector General’s Office of Investigations in Manchester, and the point of contact for the ammo delivery, Mr. Stueart Markley, is the resident agent in charge.  Looking at the recipient addresses in the Excel spreadsheet, all of them show the recipient as “SSA/OIG/OI,” or Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations.

SSA’s OIG does criminal investigations (into Social Security fraud), and presumably, as implied in its recruiting material, its investigators are armed federal officers.  What kind of firefights it may be preparing for is an interesting question.  Is New Hampshire expected to be the center of a Social Security-related shooting crisis?  Will things be worse in Napa Valley and central Oklahoma than in Houston or Chicago?  Was there already plenty of ammo in the major cities that aren’t getting much, like Charleston, WV (1,000) and Pittsburgh (2,000)?

It doesn’t look like the ammo is going to the field offices of the Social Security Administration, which in many cases are located miles away from the federal buildings in which the Office of Investigations hangs out.  Some offices may be co-located, but it looks on the face of it like this arm-up is related to criminal investigations, and not to crowd control at the customer-service counter.  It makes one wonder why the danger of these investigations is apparently expected to, as it were, shoot upward.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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  1. SSA-OIG is a relatively small federal law enforcement agency. In such small agencies (I served in both the FBI and in a federal agency of only 135 special agents) an agent with the extra duty of firearms instructor may be responsible for running regular training/qualification sessions for agents from several offices. It is possible that the guy in New Hampshire is responsible for training agents in numerous offices and needs a large quantity of ammo to take to multiple training events. We also used the SIG 229 w/.357 … an excellent pistol.

    It is absolutely appropriate for SSA-OIG SAs to be armed. Two reasons come to mind immediately.

    First, SSA may take part in large organized crime/identity theft cases. I recall one major identify theft case where a primary subject was also a regional narcotics trafficker and money launderer. He transitioned to identity theft because he perceived it to attract less enforcement but still offer lots of profit.

    Second, even a pure white-collar criminal, when confronted with the law and the prospect of a long sentence can be dangerous.

    • Thank you, MarcH for a calm euthanization of yet another breathlesssly expounded imaginary scandal.

      As my Mum used say “fools rush in…………

  2. Thanks, MarcH. I agree this may well be something ordinary or routine. That said, it’s no longer good enough to assume that it is. We don’t have the data before us to know for sure.

    This may or may not happen, but SSA/OIG should come out and explain why it bought this ammo. If Republicans in the House are satisfied, I will be too, at least for now. The government should be better-armed than criminals, but it shouldn’t be doing so many things — especially handing out so much money — that it’s constantly having to investigate fraud with armed officers. Eventually, the sheer number of them, and the number of things they have to do, become an issue for our liberties and the tone of our public interactions.

  3. It is puzzling.

    I can think of no plausible explanation for the amounts, which greatly exceed normal purchases. But fears that the government is preparing for violent, mass resistance is ludicrous. Neither congress nor the military would support any administration seizing power or engaging in actions which so outraged the public as to result in mass insurrection.

    In the event of a fiscal collapse, I simply can’t picture bureaucrats firing hollow point bullets into hordes of senior citizens storming Social Security offices.

    It is equally improbable that the gov. just decided to take advantage of a really good sale on hollow points.

    It’s a head scratcher.

    • It’s only a “head-scratcher” if you haven’t read MarcH’s contribution.

      • Not to denigrate MarcH’s experience but the Department of Homeland Security has now purchased over 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition in the last three years. It’s fair to state that somethings going on, as purchases this large have to be approved by the highest levels of governance.

        The Social Security Administration doesn’t need 174,000 rounds of JACKETED HOLLOW POINT bullets for target practice and occasional organized crime operations.

        Hollow point bullets are designed to expand upon entry and cause maximum organ damage, which as hollow point bullets have been illegal in international warfare since 1899 deepens the controversial nature of these purchases.

        The DHS has recently classified future ammo purchases.

        Which means the DHS doesn’t want Americans to wonder what’s going on. BTW, what happened to the most transparent administration in history? (rhetorical question)

        The fiscal condition of the US and the west is in far grimmer shape than people realize. As Virtually every Western democratic government is insolvent. Sovereign bankruptcy would at least temporarily stop ALL entitlement checks. Under that scenario, there would be massive civil unrest but there’s no denying that there’s a world of difference between water cannons and hollow point bullets.

        Reuters; “It’s not outlandish to suggest that the Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest. Social security welfare is estimated to keep around 40 per cent of senior citizens out of poverty. Should the tap run dry in the aftermath of an economic collapse which the Federal Reserve has already told top banks to prepare for, domestic disorder could ensue if people are refused their benefits.”

        • If the rounds were for a semi-automatic pistol, it makes sense to practice with the same rounds you carry, or your pistol may not feed as expected when you need it. But it appears these are revolver rounds, and revolvers don’t know the difference between FMJ and hollow point. You could even have the officers train with 38 Special, but the recoil would be significantly reduced.

          • I found a subsequent article that identified the rounds as Sig .357. Since these are for a semi-auto, we need to have officers using the same rounds for training and duty. Hollow points actually make sense for law enforcement and personal protection. I just didn’t know we had that much need for ammo in these agencies.

  4. Don’t worry about Paulite, GB. (I knew you wouldn’t.) MarcH has discussed one aspect of this, but it is a legitimate question why every time you look under a federal agency in this country you find someone carrying a gun.

    How many armed federal agents, doing what, do we need in this country? It is not OK that we have too many armed agents. It doesn’t matter how routine it is for them to visit the firing range. What matters is that the federal government shouldn’t be doing things that makes them seem necessary.

    Proliferating government activities of any kind demonstrably generates more agents of the government pointing guns at us. Assuming that that’s no big deal is a grave danger to liberty.

    • No more than I lose much sleep about idle speculation generally. But I am as concerned as anyone about the burgeoning powers of the ‘security state’, and the ever gathering militarization of our once civil culture. You need only speak with young people from Western Europe and Australia to realize how the ordinances and culture of heavy-handed policing, security paranoia, and glorification of military values, have changed America.

      • We can agree as to the concern about the “burgeoning powers of the security state”. As to “heavy-handed policing, security paranoia, and glorification of military values”…translated that means the Patriot Law and Guantanamo, the vulnerability of the US to terrorist attack and anything beyond the tepid support of lip service for the military.

        Despite previous dishonest political rhetoric, the Obama administration has maintained support for the Patriot Law because its provisions are prudent and Obama has kept Guantanamo open because there’s no alternative. The FBI is on record as stating to Congress that a future WMD terrorist attack against one of our cities is virtually certain and the only reason you sleep peaceably in your bed at night is because those “rough and ready men”, whose ‘military values’ you disparage, are risking their lives to keep your ungrateful, worthless a** safe.

  5. Although I have used firearms in my work, I’m no great expert and have no idea whether these rounds are only appropriate for revolvers. The SIG 229 which I was issued fired .357 hollow-point rounds. In my experience all contemporary federal LW agencies issue semi-autos with hollow-point ammo to their special agents.

    I used to know a Hover-era warhorse in the FBI who was “grandfathered” to carry a revolver (usually the classic FBI issue S&W Model 13 w/3-inch barrel in .357 Mag) as a primary weapon. Snub nose five shot revolvers were also often approved to be carried as back-ups. To the best of my knowledge, revolvers are no longer authorized in the FBI and I expect the new breed of young, computer savy, casual-dress- on-Friday special agents would look on them as horse and buggy stuff. If I may, I recall one war story from the 1970s about preparations for a big multi-agency/multi-office take down of a politically oriented organized crime group on an Indian reservation. The bad guys were known to have all sorts of high powered weapons while agents had very limited armament (this was pre “Miami shootout –”). In the pre-raid operations memo it was a very big deal that the Bureau hierarchy had included the line “speed loaders are authorized”.

    This has become quite the discussion. I think it is agreed that a large ammo purchase in NH is not indicative of nefarious activity, and the real question should be, “is the federal government so bloated that there are also too many federal law enforcement officers”?

    Obviously that’s a political question and for my part I’m all for a significant decrease in the size of the federal government.

    I do take exception to the reference to “agents of the government pointing guns at us” and other similar stuff, as it suggests that federal agents are thugs or fascists. I spent a fair number of years as a federal agent and then had three tours as an embedded advisor to U.S. Army commanders and staff in Iraq and Afghanistan. My impression is that both sets have an impressively large number of dedicated public servants who frequently go “In Harm’s Way” to protect the general public and carry their oaths to “protect and defend the Constitution” with the greatest seriousness.

  6. MarcH — it is of concern to an honest, law-abiding citizen when anyone working for the government is carrying a gun. We can all agree that there are reasons for it, and I am second to none in my admiration of the police, highway patrol, FBI, and other federal agents who, as you say, frequently go “In Harm’s Way” to protect the general public and carry their oaths to “protect and defend the Constitution” with the greatest seriousness.

    But we no longer live in an America in which we should shrug and not worry that there are federal agents carrying guns working for the Social Security Administration. This isn’t about the character of the agents, it’s about what the government is doing: its policies and its view of the citizens.

    Social Security was a flawed idea and it went bad almost immediately. It was never a “saving for retirement” program, but always a money transfer program. SSA spits out hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits every year, which makes it a prime target for fraud. But it’s not like a bank or a grocery store, which naturally, voluntarily arise among the people because they meet daily needs. SSA is an artificial creation of the government. If government hadn’t created it, no one else would have, because it can’t pay for itself and no one would think it was a good idea if only his own money were at issue.

    America is not better for the existence of this program, which attracts so many thieves (and illegals, for that matter). And the nation is not better for the additional armed agents considered necessary solely because of the policy of having the Social Security program.

    How many other federal civil programs require armed administration (e.g., the NOAA fisheries enforcement arm)? And why does each department need its own agents armed with .357 JHP or .40 S&W JHP?

    Again, I stress that this isn’t about the agents themselves. I’ve known a number of them myself, and always thought highly of them. It’s about government doing so many things — having so many coercive regulations and policies — that its leadership sees more and more reasons for arming agents against the people.

    If government did less — the federal government in particular — it wouldn’t see a need for so much armament. Even agents who are armed would not burst into a man’s house and hold him at gunpoint on behalf of the Department of Education (!):

    I’m sure the members of that team were fine men of good character, but government — and the federal goverrnment in particular — has no business relating to the people in this manner. It is, without caveat or qualification, a very bad thing that our federal government has and executes such policies.

    • J.E. – Thank you for taking the time to make your usual thoughtful response. I’m sorry that I only have the time to respond briefly, but here are a few points.

      I think you, me and the other readers agree the federal government should shrink significantly, with respect to both its budget and the extent of its regulatory reach.

      With respect to which government employees should be armed, what is the difference between a FBI Special Agent and a (for example) FDA Special Agent entering a suspect’s home with a search warrant based on judicially affirmed probable cause and being ready to use deadly force if there is probable cause to believe it is appropriate? I would say there is no difference as long as the SA behaves in a lawful and professional manner. The only difference is whether it is more effective to have FBI or FDA investigate the matter.

      I happen to believe that the FBI is the greatest general criminal investigations agency in the world, but there is also a place for small “niche” investigative agencies, even in the context of a smaller and less intrusive government. For example, FDA maintains a small force of special agents to investigate cases of pharmaceutical tampering, counterfeit pharmaceutical manufacturing and trafficking and off label marketing of pharmaceuticals (along with a few other violations). In such investigations special expertise and liaison relationships with FDA scientists and attorneys are very helpful. Of course FBI Health Care Fraud squads could also try to maintain those relationships but it’s my assessment (and experience indicates, that it is sometimes helpful to have that experience w/in the agency. I think this argument is not dissimilar from the argument for a USMC separate from the Army.

      • MarcH — I must apologize for not replying sooner. Have been having some serious problems with a home mite infestation here, which have preempted all other activities since Thursday. Not sure when it will be cleared up.

        At any rate, I consider there to be an important difference between the FBI and an FDA special agent, and it’s not in the agent’s job. The difference is in the policies of the federal government. I can see having an “FBI” to take care of the generic law-enforcement function for the federal government — but why do we need a federal Food and Drug Administration? Just as important, why does it need its own law-enforcement arm?

        Why can’t the states handle food and drug safety? Why does there have to be a set of national policies, administered by federal agencies, on these matters? Demonstrably, having the FDA has not prevented all problems with the safety of food or drugs. We don’t have a ready sample for comparison — i.e., some kind of credible sample of food-safety incidents from an unregulated period, versus the years since the FDA was created — but I frankly consider it doubtful that the record of food and drug safety in America would be materially worse over the last century if there had been no FDA.

        The same argument might be applied to a state-level FDA, but the tiebreaker is the US Constitution, which delegates this authority to the states and the people.

        Why does there have to be a national policy on food and drug safety? The issue here is not regulating imports, which national governments always do, but regulating the activities of people inside the US. Why MUST there be a national policy on this matter? What view of the function of the central government makes us think there should be one?

        The founding idea of the US is that the national government should have strong but very limited powers. The Founders would have said states should regulate things like food and drug safety, if they were to be regulated at all. They did not act from the pervasive 20th century view that national governments exist to regulate the people into a “better condition,” and that there must be a national position, posture, or conclusion on every topic under the sun, from whether drugs are “safe” to whether homosexuality is innate or conditioned.

        The use of the Commerce clause to justify the federal government regulating everything is a matter of utility, and usually quite a cynical utilitarian approach. The Commerce clause does not oblige the federal government to regulate every aspect of any industry that, in some of its cases and activities, puts a toe across state lines. The Commerce clause has been roundly abused for decades now to bolster the unrelated case that the federal government should regulate PARTICULAR things that it has decided it wants to regulate, whether the regulated activity is actually an element of interstate commerce or not. Nothing about the Commerce clause obliges the federal government, and no other, to regulate food and drug safety.

        The creation of the FDA reflected one opinion on this question, but certainly not the only opinion that can be held. There were many opponents of the creation of the FDA, who correctly viewed it as a hammer blow to federalism and the constitutional privileges of states. Which governments are to decide what is safe for the people to ingest? Can there really be a valid national policy on such a matter? If there can’t even at the state level, at least state governments are closer to the people, and there is more likelihood of the people’s voices being heard — as we have seen with states in the last decade passing laws affiirming principles and directions different from the long-term trend of the federal government.

        The reason I have gone through all this is that my issue is the proliferation of federal agencies admininstering regulations on literally thousands and thousands of things. The inappropriateness of this as a central government activity is compounded by the perceived need to arm law-enforcement agents in each agency, to enforce an ever-expanding set of regulations so intricate and picauyne that a CITY government 50 years ago would have considered them excessive.

        If there are to be such policies, such agencies, and such armed agents, they should be constituted at the state level. In most cases, I don’t believe we need them at all — and therefore we don’t need the armed agents at any level for these functions.

    • Firearms and ammunition don’t kill people, other people do. Federal agencies with purely domestic concerns stockpiling mountains of guns and ammo that can only be meant for use on Americans isn’t just suspicious, it’s wrong. It indicates that the chasm between government and its apparatchiks and the general population is becoming unbridgeable.

      • If you want to hyper-ventilate about the red herring of law enforcement ammunition purchases to go after the Tea Party rather than join the political effort to shrink government, feel free.

        I often enjoy Glen Beck’s radio program, but he’s in business and there is a segment of his listenership that will become emotionally engaged and “tune in after the break” (or give him internet traffic) if they hear a poorly analyzed report of normal government activity conveyed in a breathless way and spiced with analysis by Alex Jones (the talk radio personality who has enriched himself as a 9-11 “truther”,

        BTW, what do you think of Beck-Blaze’s technique of making the report seem especially sinister by dwelling on the lethal nature of the .357 rounds in question? If a gun control group tried to make a story about lawful firearms ammunition possession seem more sinister because it involved .357 ammo ( “This type of ammunition is arguably one of the more powerful available. R.K. Campbell at Gun Blast describes his experience with the .357 ammo: ‘I observed the effect of the .357 Magnum 125 grain JHP once over the top of my own sights. The effect was gruesome. A solid hit that produced a severe blood flow AND dramatic effect from the rear, including lung tissue thrown perhaps three feet.’“) I assume you’d call BS on it. What do you expect federal special agents to carry when they go out to interview, conduct surveillance on, or execute arrest and search warrants involving potentially dangerous suspected felons?

        Since Glen Beck seems to be so concerned with “sinister” .357 ammunition, I’d be amused to know whether he has a PSD and, if so, what they carry.

        • MarcH:

          The point that is being made is that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for any of these mentioned agencies to have police powers at any level, period. They are bureaucracies that should be bound by the original governmental concept of separation of powers.

          Police power (arrest, use of force, -legal intimidation-, deadly force) is understood to be a very limited and heavily local function. If the Social Security Administration needs to have someone arrested, that is what Sheriffs’ Departments, State Police forces, or certain very limited Law Enforcement Special Agencies (Treasury, Justice/FBI) are for. Those agencies are obliged to assist a legally served warrant, and there is no reason for any individual bureaucrat to be present or involved in the direct action.

          If the agency has an armed guard detachment, for guarding the premises, those Federal Agencies can avail themselves of the GSA to provide a security detail, complete with armed guards and various levels of security. Most of the guards are contract security personnel, though some are directly employed by the agency and have very strictly limited police powers within the confines of that particular facility.

          No IRS agent needs a gun. No Social Security Bureacrat needs a gun. No NOAA employee needs a gun (if they are operating in dangerous waters the US Navy, US Coast Guard, and/or Marines have perfectly capable personnel to handle that particular mission.

          What we are talking about is a government that is operating in an organizational paranoia far beyond rational need.

          A prime example is the WACO incident. An out of control federal agency looking to score big PR points by taking down an evil “right wing religious fanatic”, stormed the cult’s compound, shot up many of its own agents, and tripped off one of the most oppressive acts of government power in the prior 50 years.

          As it later came to light, IF the Treasury Department had followed the law as originally intended, and gone to the Sheriff with the evidence and warrant for the arrest of David Koresh and a few of his followers, the Sheriff could have apprehended Koresh in town, at any given hour with a minium of fuss, and probably no loss of life.

          This is a case of people not needing to be involved, demanding the ego trip of being in the front row.

          So if someone is defrauding the Social Security Administration of its funny money, and needs to be arrested, well, they just go to the judge, get a warrant for the man’s arrest, and bring that warrant to the county Sheriff, or the Local FBI office (if the man has crossed state lines).

          That’s the way I see it, anyway.

          FWIW – TMF


          The caliber of the ammunition in question is .357SIG, it is a 10mm case, necked down to .40 S$W length, with a 9mm bullet. Its bottle necked shape gives one the distinct impression of the old 7.63 Mauser round. Its 125grain bullet loading specs out to be very close to a ,357mag with a 125 grain bullet, if not a bit more… For an auto, it’s a pretty stiff round that I wouldn’t issue to desk jockeys.

          • “If the Social Security Administration needs to have someone arrested, that is what Sheriffs’ Departments, State Police forces, or certain very limited Law Enforcement Special Agencies (Treasury, Justice/FBI) are for” – that you believe that complex investigations of federal felonies focus on having “someone arrested” by a sheriff, as if the matter were analogous to arresting someone for joyriding in a jalopy, indicates that you are unfamiliar with the subject matter.

            It also displays an ignorance of the subject matter to characterize special agents from small agencies as bureaucrats with guns. Federal special agents, whether FBI or SSA-OIG, have similar training and authority. In fact, agents at smaller agencies are often veterans of larger agencies (FBI, Secret Service, Postal Inspectors, etc.).

            I am for significant cuts in the size and regulatory efforts of the federal government, but I also want effective investigations of fraud and federal criminal violations such as trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals. As I discuss above, small agencies with expertise in the particular violation are often the best way to achieve that goal. It’s an option to abolish all these small agencies and increase the size of the FBI by perhaps 20% to cover those missions, just as it’s an option to abolish the Marines and have the Army do their missions. In that debate I happen to believe that small, specialized outfits often bring unique skills to the mission so I prefer them.

            “No IRS agent needs a gun. No Social Security Bureacrat needs a gun. No NOAA employee needs a gun (if they are operating in dangerous waters the US Navy, US Coast Guard, and/or Marines have perfectly capable personnel to handle that particular mission” … really? How familiar are you with the various interview, search warrant execution, surveillance, etc. missions undertaken by NOAA special agents (I’ve never worked with them but have partnered with FWS, an agency with a similar mission)? Have you touched base with the USMC to see if they are willing to support these missions?

            I happen to agree with you that the planning of the Waco operation by ATF was amateurish and driven in part by the desire to conduct a high-profile raid. As an outsider, it seems to me that the same factors were present in the development of ATF’s “Fast and Furious” investigation. On the other hand, I seem to recall there were other issues involved in the decision. For example, for their investigation ATF needed to execute search warrants at the compound and there was a concern that other arrest options would have allowed the evidence to be destroyed. Finally, it would be obscene to ignore the responsibility of Koresh and some of his followers for murdering federal agents.

            “For an auto, it’s a pretty stiff round that I wouldn’t issue to desk jockeys”… what round would you issue to federal special agents conducting interviews, surveillances, informant meetings, and arrest and search warrant executions of potentially dangerous suspected felons? There is a reason why the FBI moved from the 9 mm after extensive street experience. It is a hard call and the subject of endless debates and articles in gun magazines. As a federal LEO I carried the SIG 228 in 9mm, SIG220 in .45 (personally owned but approved for carry), SIG229 in .357, Glock 23 in .40 and (in the military) M9 in 9 mm. IMHO, the SIG 229 in .357 is the is the perfect compromise between the competing demands of capacity, size, ease of maintenance and stopping power.

            • When Julius Caesar brought his 13th legion across the Rubicon from Gaul into Roman territory in 49 BC, in one moment his violation of Roman law plunged the country into civil war. The US government has for now avoided that outcome by doing much the same in an incremental fashion. Domestic drones, armed federal agents from unlikely organizations like the Dept. of Education, and the increasing militarization of local police forces indicate that government at all levels views its role as one of coercion rather than persuasion. If they feel that thousands of rounds of ammunition and the most advanced firearms available are necessary to control what must be a large number of Americans then we have much greater problems in our own country than we do in any foreign land.

            • “How familiar are you with the various interview, search warrant execution, surveillance, etc. missions undertaken by NOAA special agents (I’ve never worked with them but have partnered with FWS, an agency with a similar mission)? Have you touched base with the USMC to see if they are willing to support these missions? ”

              1. With respect, please… NOAA is an agency that is supposed to monitor and report on Ocean and Atmospheric events, currents, storms, etc. It also deals with shipwrecks and other “Jacques Cousteau” kinds of things. If it’s doing Special Operations, it is a star example of what I am talking about. It has no business having a special Operations division doing any sort of “Special OPS activities… none… Maybe its forming a “Global Warming Skeptic Assault Division”?

              2. The US Coast Guard is purposefully kept out of the Defense Department during peace time, specifically because it does have broad police powers. It is well equipped bureaucratically to perform those missions. I does them all the time. If it needs to be a larger force, then it needs to be appropriately funded, and the personnel added.

              3. Lemme see… the last time that I checked the United States Marines were the oldest organized US Naval service. They take a great deal of pride in performing their duty (some folks say a little too much pride, but that’s another discussion topic). They also specialize in guarding things, it’s one of their primary functions, they guard the President, Embassy’s, trade missions, various locations aboard ship, and on Naval Bases. I am very certain, that IF NOAA was having, say pirate problems, with a research vessel’s location, and the orders where presented for them to provide an armed escort detail to that particular vessel, the Marines would be there, ready to go.

              Again, please understand that there is no need for widespread agency police powers to be existent at all. It is a misuse of Federal power, and as Chuck points out, passes a dangerous constitutional line in the sand that was drawn specifically to prevent such Federal coercive authority from being aggregated.

              As to the question about what to arm such agents with? I’d say spit-wads… but then some idiot judge would call that a dangerous weapon, too.

              I would prefer that the military be armed with 6.8mm RemSPC, .45ACP for main battle rifle and sidearm. The 7.62NATO round is almost perfect for everything else, except specialty sniping and heavy machine gun.

              As far as the police are concerned, they never needed more that a .357mag revolver with good quality 158grain jacketed soft points in a .38special +P configuration for normal carry. For an auto, .40S+W has proven to be an effective round in a medium to large auto, there are even a few compact autos for concealed use that are good.

              The paramilitarization of the police forces should be of grave concern to everyone who loves liberty. Paranoia feeds on itself and it destroys a society faster than any outside enemy could.

              DHS needs to be reduced to a division of the Justice Department, the Coast Guard needs to go back to the Treasury Department where it first started and always belonged… and people need to go back to the fact that not everything needs police power.


          • 357 Sig is not a bad handgun round, but it is also relatively uncommon and expensive. Figure the Feds to go with the high-cost option when other proven rounds are more readily available.

  7. From RT:

    The US Social Security Administration wants Americans to know that they are concerned with the safety of their workers. That is why, they now say, they’ve ordered 174,000 rounds of lethal hollow-point bullets.
    Responding to reports centered on the SSA’s recent request for tens of thousands of rounds of high-power, heavy duty ammunition, the agency tasked with assisting the elderly and disabled with federally funded benefit packages has attempted to explain their invitation for ammo makers to make them a deal.
    “Our special agents need to be armed and trained appropriately,” a blog post from the SSA office explains. “They not only investigate allegations of Social Security fraud, but they also are called to respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees and customers.
    Days after the SSA published a solicitation online for a lot of .357 Duty Carry Sig 125 grain bonded JHP hollow point bullets, the agency says there is nothing especially unusual about their request.
    “[O]ur office has criminal investigators, or special agents, who are responsible for investigating violations of the laws that govern SSA’s programs,” the agency explains in the post, published on Thursday. “Currently, about 295 special agents and supervisory special agents work in 66 offices across the United States.These investigators have full law enforcement authority, including executing search warrants and making arrests.”
    Responding to the large request of 174,00 rounds, an administrator on the SSA blog writes, “this is a routine procurement that we typically make every fiscal year.”
    “We have about 295 criminal investigators who must qualify with a firearm four times per year.If each investigator uses 150 rounds per qualification, then we would need 177,000 rounds per year.This number can vary based on the total number of agents, and any type of specialized training we might undertake. “
    In a November 2004 bulletin circulated out of the United States Attorneys’ Office, the government states, “even the slightest error or fraud in the overall process can result in millions of dollars in overpayments or underpayments of Social Security benefits.”
    The SSA, contained in a network of over 1,400 offices, is tasked with aiding the elderly, retired, disabled and others, and says on their website, “For the public, we are the ‘face of the government.’”

    When they say “customers”, who do they mean? Does that mean SS recipients? And, if it does, does that mean that SSA agents will respond to a threat to ANY SS recipient? If some geezer is hassled on his way down to the pool room, will heavily armed SSA agents show up to straighten things out? Is there a phone number, like 911, that an octogenarian can punch into his cell phone for protection? Or, if the protection is limited to the SSA facility itself, will agents put themselves between whatever the threat might be and potential victims? Will my SSA agent take a bullet for me?

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