Originally published June 22 2013
Is the IRS the next NSA? Tax agency buying up covert cameras to be hidden in plants and clcok radios
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The federal leviathan has become obsessed with keeping an eye on us, as evidenced by recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been conducting blanket warrantless surveillance on all our electronic communications for years.
Though inexplicable on its face, the NSA at least had a marketable reason - national security. But why is the Internal Revenue Service buying up so much new, covert surveillance gear? Taxpayers - and their representatives in Congress - ought to be asking.
The IRS, currently in the midst of scandals involving the targeting of conservative groups and lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, is ordering surveillance equipment that includes hidden cameras in coffee trays, plants and clock radios.
What's more, the report said, the IRS wants its gear in a hurry. According to the Federal Business Opportunities website, where government agencies put out bids for requested items, the IRS made its solicitation June 6 - with June 10 a cut-off date for accepting bids.
Spy ashtrays, coffee trays, plantsThe items the IRS is seeking to purchase include four "Covert Coffee tray(s) with Camera concealment," as well as four "Remote surveillance system(s)" that come with "Built-in DVD Burner and 2 Internal HDDs, cameras," according to the bid request.
In addition, the tax agency is purchasing cameras to hide in plants: "(QTY 4) Plant Concealment Color 700 Lines Color IP Camera Concealment with Single Channel Network Server, supports dual video stream, Poe [Power over Ethernet], software included, case included, router included."
Completing the order are four "Color IP Camera Concealment with single channel network server, supports dual video stream, poe, webviewer and cms software included, audio," and a pair of "Concealed" clock radios, CNSNews.com reported.
"Responses to this notice must be received by this office within 3 business days of the date of this synopsis by 2:00 P.M. EST, June 10, 2013," said the bid, adding that any firm interested in bidding was to contact Contract Specialist Ricardo Carter, of the IRS.
"If no compelling responses are received, award will be made to the original solicited corporation," said the bid.
As most Americans know, the Obama Administration has been under siege for weeks for a host of scandals, including charges that the White House may have had a hand in the IRS' targeting of conservative and Tea Party-oriented tax exempt organizations - targeting that some analysts believe may have had an influence on the outcome of the 2012 elections.
But in addition to the improper targeting for political reasons, the IRS has also been singled out for the inappropriate spending of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. One recent report by the Treasury Department's inspector general "detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, in which employees stayed at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, paid a keynote speaker $17,000 to paint a picture of U2 singer Bono, and spent $50,000 on parody videos of 'Star Trek,'" CNSNews.com reported.
Also, in yet another slap in the face to taxpayers, the agency says it is prepared to pay out $70 million in bonuses to members of its union, even as sequestration affects hundreds of thousands of Defense Department employees and is in violation of an administration directive to federal agencies telling them not to issue such awards.
IRS union boss at center of scandal wants you to payOfficials with the National Treasury Employees Union say the IRS has no choice, that it is contractually obligated to pay them.
"It is NTEU's position that the awards are legally required as part of the collective bargaining agreement between NTEU and the IRS," said the union's president, Colleen Kelley - the official some believe is at the center of the IRS' targeting of conservative groups (http://www.naturalnews.com). "NTEU is currently in discussions with the IRS on this matter and other matters resulting from budget cutbacks."
That Kelley and other union officials support this insult to American taxpayers is understandable given their record of abusing the public trust. Whether Obama puts his foot down and forces the IRS to adhere to the directive his budget office issued and sides with taxpayers remains to be seen.
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