Ron Paul
2001 Ron Paul Chapter 104

Too Many Federal Cops

6 December 2001

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2001 Ron Paul 104:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I am inserting in the RECORD a copy of an article by former cabinet member Joseph Califano that appeared in today’s Washington Post. I call this article entitled “Too Many Federal Cops,” to the attention of Members. It presents a balanced and even-handed assessment of how successive administrations over the decades have expanded Federal police powers at considerable cost to our endangered civil liberties.

2001 Ron Paul 104:2
I wholeheartedly agree with the points raised by Mr. Califano, having spoken in this House concerning the same topic on many occasions. I wish to commend Mr. Califano for his timely and important piece, and recommend it to Members and others concerned with preserving civil liberties.

2001 Ron Paul 104:3
(By Joseph A. Califano Jr.)

As defense lawyers and civil libertarians huff and puff about Attorney General John Ashcroft’s procedural moves to bug conversations between attorneys and their imprisoned clients, hold secret criminal military trials and detain individuals suspected of having information about terrorists, they are missing an even more troubling danger: the extraordinary increase in federal police personnel and power.

2001 Ron Paul 104:4
In the past, interim procedural steps, such as the military tribunals Franklin Roosevelt established during World War II to try saboteurs, have been promptly terminated when the conflict ended. Because of its likely permanence, the expansion and institutionalization of national police power poses a greater threat to individual liberties. Congress should count to 10 before creating any additional police forces or a Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security.

2001 Ron Paul 104:5
Pre-Sept. 11, the FBI stood at about 27,000 in personnel; Drug Enforcement Administration at 10,000; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at 4,000; Secret Service at 6,000; Border Patrol at 10,000; Customs Service at 12,000; and Immigration and Naturalization Service at 34,000. At the request of the White House, Congress is moving to beef up these forces and expand the number of armed air marshals from a handful to more than a thousand. Despite the president’s objection, Congress recently created another security force of 28,000 baggage screeners under the guidance of the attorney general.

2001 Ron Paul 104:6
In 1878 Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act to prohibit the military from performing civilian police functions. Over Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s opposition, President Ronald Reagan declared drug trafficking a threat to national security as the rationale for committing the military to the war on drugs. (Weinberger argued that “reliance on military forces to accomplish civilian tasks is detrimental to . . . the democratic process.”) Reagan’s action gives George Bush a precedent for committing the military and National Guard to civilian police duty at airports and borders.

2001 Ron Paul 104:7
Given the president’s candor about the likelihood that the war on terrorism will last many years, the administration and a compliant Congress are in clear and present danger of establishing a national police force and — under either the attorney general, director of homeland security or an agency combining the CIA and State and Defense intelligence (or some combination of the above) — a de facto ministry of the interior.

2001 Ron Paul 104:8
The fact that George Bush has no intention of misusing such institutions is irrelevant. You don’t have to be a bad guy to abuse police power. Robert Kennedy, a darling of liberals, brushed aside civil liberties concerns when he went after organized crime and trampled on the rights of Jimmy Hoffa in his failed attempt to convict the Teamsters boss of something. He bugged and trailed Martin Luther King Jr., even collecting information on the civil rights leader’s private love life, until Lyndon Johnson put a stop to it.

2001 Ron Paul 104:9
Bureaucratic momentum alone can cross over the line. After President John F. Kennedy privately berated the Army for being unprepared to quell the riots when James Meredith enrolled at the University of Mississippi, we (I was Army general counsel at the time) responded by collecting intelligence information on individuals such as civil rights leaders, as well as local government officials in places where we thought there might be future trouble. We were motivated not by any mischievous desire to violate privacy or liberties of Americans but by the bureaucratic reflex not to be caught short again.

2001 Ron Paul 104:10
In the paranoia of Watergate, the CIA followed a Washington Post report for weeks, even photographing him through the picture window of his home, because he had infuriated the president and the agency with a story containing classified information. Faced with our discovery (I was The Post’s lawyer at the time), CIA Director William Colby readily admitted that “someone had gone too far.”

2001 Ron Paul 104:11
All 100 members of the Senate voted to create the newest federal police force under the rubric of airport security. In its rush to judgment, the Senate acted as though a federal force was the only alternative to using the airlines or private contractors. Quite the contrary, policing by the individual public airport authorities, guided by federal standards, would be more in line with our tradition of keeping police power local.

2001 Ron Paul 104:12
It’s time for the executive and Congress to take a hard look at the police personnel amassing at the federal level and the extent to which we are concentrating them under any one individual short of the president. Congress should turn its most skeptical laser on the concept of an Office of Homeland Security and on any requests to institutionalize its director beyond the status of a special assistant to the president. We have survived for more than 200 years without a ministry of the interior or national police force, and we can effectively battle terrorism without creating one now.

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