Originally published December 1 2014
Police state run amok as 40 federal agencies now deploying undercover agents as doctors, ministers, protesters and more
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) More and more agencies of the federal government are turning to the use of undercover operatives in expanded operations in recent years, with some 40 agencies now using officers who pose as welfare recipients, businessmen and women, doctors, political protesters and even ministers, in attempts to expose criminal activity.
Undercover agents pose as student protestors, drug dealersThe New York Times reports that, according to a review of records as well as interviews, undercover officers and agents are used for a wide (and growing) variety of purposes:
-- Small teams of undercover operatives dress as students at large demonstrations outside the U.S. Supreme Court, joining in protests in order to ferret out what they see as suspicious activity, officials familiar with the practice told the Times;
-- More than 100 undercover agents with the Department of Agriculture have posed as food stamp recipients at thousands of stores in various neighborhoods in a bid to look for suspicious vendors and food stamp fraud;
-- Dozens of undercover agents from the Internal Revenue Service have chased those who have allegedly evaded their taxes by posing as drug dealers, accountants, yacht buyers, tax preparers and others, according to records.
' Done right, undercover work can be a very effective law enforcement method'The Times further reported:
Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the FBI and a few other law enforcement agencies at the federal level. But outside public view, changes in policies and tactics over the last decade have resulted in undercover teams run by agencies in virtually every corner of the federal government, according to officials, former agents and documents.
Government agencies are defending the practice - as you might expect - as a powerful new tool that they can use to collect evidence without having to rely on standard law enforcement techniques. They say such methods tend to lead to more cases and more prosecutions.
However, some say the additional undercover work is merely ensuring that taxpayer dollars are properly protected and that government operations function as planned and prescribed. But others - especially civil libertarians - worry about abuses of constitutional rights they say almost always accompany heavier federal agency police practices.
Also, there have been additional hidden issues and problems, the Times noted, such as money going missing, compromised investigations and agents often going months acting on their own, without much supervision.
"Done right, undercover work can be a very effective law enforcement method, but it carries serious risks and should only be undertaken with proper training, supervision and oversight," Michael German, a former FBI undercover agent who is a fellow at New York University's law school, told the paper. "Ultimately it is government deceitfulness and participation in criminal activity, which is only justifiable when it is used to resolve the most serious crimes."
Sometimes government deceitfulness can get out of hand, however. As Natural News has reported, that has especially been the case with the FBI, which has used entrapment to conjure up phony terrorism cases, among others [http://www.naturalnews.com/034325_fbi_entrapment_terror_plots.html].
Yeah, about that corruption potential...And, as the Times reported, "terrorism" is still being used to justify federal agency overreach:
Some of the expanded undercover operations have resulted from heightened concern about domestic terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
That said, the paper reports that most of the undercover ops are not related to terrorism; rather, they are increasingly being utilized to supplant traditional police and federal agency law enforcement investigations into alleged criminal activities including online solicitation, identity theft, and human trafficking. Congress has also been pushing for this more aggressive, nontraditional approach.
"We're getting the information directly from the bad guys - what more could you want?" Thomas Hunker, a former police chief in Bal Harbour, Fla., told the Times. His department has worked with federal customs and drug agents on scores of undercover money-laundering investigations over the past few years.
"We don't have to go back and interview witnesses and do search warrants and surveillance and all that," he added.
But that attitude doesn't account for the creation of an environment of corruption - one that swept up Hunker himself, as the Times reported:
The undercover work also led federal auditors to criticize his department for loose record-keeping and financial lapses, and Mr. Hunker was fired last year amid concerns about the operations.
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