-By Warner Todd Huston
Yesterday I wrote a short post on the story out of California that was initially reported as a local SWAT raid instigated by the Department of Education on a guy that hadn't paid his student loans. Naturally I was outraged that the Dept. of Education had the power to arrange stormtroopers to batter down doors of people guilty only of not paying a loan on time. Since then a few particulars have changed.
Whereas the initial story claimed that the reason for the SWAT raid on the man's home was unpaid student loans, the Dept. of Education released a statement that said this was not the case. "The Inspector General's Office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments," they said. The search warrant was over an "ongoing criminal investigation," and so they would not say more about the matter.
OK, so some of the story was wrong. The raid wasn't over unpaid loans and was part of a larger investigation.
It has also been discovered that it wasn't local police that executed the smash and grab operation. It was the Department of Education itself that did the door battering.
Even as some of the initial reports were wrong in some facts, none of these new particulars makes a bit of difference in what my main point that this is an overreach by our government and is proof of a growing police state. Since when does the Department of Education have SWAT teams, mounds of firearms, and iron boot-clad stormtroopers to batter down doors? What part of "education" gives the DoE the right to act like a paramilitary force?
But we had a warning that something like this was in the offing last year. With the help of Uncoverage.net I was directed to a Washington Post piece that reported that the Dept. of Ed had ordered an arsenal of firearms for its "agents" to use. (See Gov't notice of purchase.)
Again, what part of "education" gives the DoE the right to go wandering across the country armed to the teeth and battering down doors?
Even if this guy was involved in some sort of defrauding of money from the federal government (and the search warrant was looking for his ex-girlfriend, anyway, not him. Worse she no longer lived there.) why does the DoE have this right to military-like operations? It is an outrage that a department like the DoE has this legal right to wander around armed and battering down doors.
Sadly it isn't just the DoE that is armed like this and has outrageous police powers. Not long ago I wrote about how the folks at the National Archives also have "agents" that are armed and have police powers. That's right, folks, mere file clerks have guns, badges, and the power to break down your door!
It is of a piece with the absurd powers that governments at all levels are taking onto themselves. Educators do not need to have para-military "agents" assigned to them. File clerks don't need to have police powers.