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Doctors, accountants, ministers, lawyers, demonstrators - they're all government agents as America descends into total police state

Government agents

(NaturalNews) The United States government has long employed undercover agents to conduct investigative work, but in the past these practices were generally limited to law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It has been revealed recently, however, that more than 40 federal agencies are now conducting their own undercover operations, and it may come as a surprise to many people just how widespread the practice has become.

For example, the Agriculture Department has more than 100 undercover agents who pose as food stamp recipients in an effort to catch those involved in fraud. The Supreme Court employs undercover agents to pose as protesters during demonstrations, and the IRS sends agents into the field to catch tax evaders.

In fact, these various agencies are currently employing undercover agents who pose as -- according to The New York Times -- "business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers."

Observers are concerned that the increased number of undercover operations will lead to civil liberties abuses and entrapment issues, as well as many other problems.

As The New York Times article reports, these operations have already "resulted in hidden problems, with money gone missing, investigations compromised and agents sometimes left largely on their own for months."

The increase in undercover operations is partly due to heightened security concerns since the 911 attacks, but many of them are not related to domestic terrorism.

From The New York Times:

Instead, they reflect a more aggressive approach to growing criminal activities like identity theft, online solicitation and human trafficking, or a push from Congress to crack down on more traditional crimes.

Although undercover work can be a very effective means of gathering evidence against criminals, do we really need undercover agents working for agencies such as NASA, the Small Business Administration or the Education Department? Is it wise or even necessary to have minors posing as decoys in convenience stores to catch vendors who might sell cigarettes or alcohol to them?

There have been a number of recent scandals involving investigations that, for many observers, have crossed the line between the legitimate use of undercover agents and operations that are invasive, unethical or even illegal.

One such case involved an FBI agent who posed as an Associated Press reporter to reveal the identity of a person who made a bomb threat to a high school in Lacey, Washington. In defending the operation after news media advocates criticized the practice, FBI Director James B. Comey wrote: "every undercover operation involves 'deception,' which has long been a critical tool in fighting crime."

But how far that kind of deception should be allowed to go is a legitimate concern for those who wish to protect our privacy, freedom and civil liberties.

Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the notorious East German security ministry known as the Stasi employed similar tactics in spying on and controlling the populace. At one point, it was estimated that up to 20 percent of the citizens living in East Berlin were coerced into spying on their colleagues, friends, families and neighbors.

These practices are becoming so widespread in the U.S. that it makes one wonder if we are headed in the same direction. The very foundation of the liberty that Americans have fought so hard to obtain is in direct contradiction with this pervasive snooping that our government is now engaged in.

We can no longer consider ourselves to be living in a free society if these types of operations are allowed to expand without some form of meaningful restrictions.

Surely the Founding Fathers did not wish to create a nation in which citizens are forced to spy on each other to maintain order and the rule of law.

Sources for this article include:



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