Several right-wing blogs have baselessly fearmongered over an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) purchase request for 60 shotguns for its Criminal Investigation Division (CI), stating that "we should have seen this coming" and that that it indicated that President Obama "thinks they're gonna have to start shooting at us to squeeze what we have left out of us." But IRS CI employs 2,700 special agents who are required to "carry and use a firearm," and as the purchase request itself indicates, the IRS has previously purchased shotguns, as the type was selected "based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory."
Right-wing bloggers pounced on IRS request for weapons
IRS requested a quote on 60 shotguns "for the Criminal Investigation Division." On February 2, the Federal Business Opportunities website posted an IRS request for a quote on the price of 60 shotguns "for the Criminal Investigation Division":
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division. The Remington parkerized shotguns, with fourteen inch barrel, modified choke, Wilson Combat Ghost Ring rear sight and XS4 Contour Bead front sight, Knoxx Reduced Recoil Adjustable Stock, and Speedfeed ribbed black forend, are designated as the only shotguns authorized for IRS duty based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory, certified armorer and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.
American Thinker: "the IRS under the Obama administration is getting serious about improving its ability to collect taxes and enforce the tax codes." In a post on American Thinker, blogger Ralph Alter said of the purchase request: "It looks like the IRS under the Obama administration is getting serious about improving its ability to collect taxes and enforce the tax codes."
Tammy Bruce: "Give us your money or we'll shoot!" On February 3, Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce posted the IRS request for a quote on weapons on her blog and commented: "Nothing warms me up in the morning like the idea that the IRS is preparing a swat team equipped with pump action shotguns. I guess Urkel thinks they're gonna have to start shooting at us to squeeze what we have left out of us?" She concluded: "Give us your money or we'll shoot!"
Gateway Pundit: "It Has Begun... The Obama IRS Prepares for Tax Season - Purchases Guns." In a February 4 post entitled "It has begun...the Obama IRS prepares for tax season-purchases guns," Jim Hoft warned: "we should have seen this coming," before reposting the IRS quote request.
Drudge Report: "The IRS is buying shotguns!" On February 3, the Drudge Report linked to the Federal Business Opportunities page using the headline "The IRS is buying shotguns!"
IRS requires CI special agents to "carry and use a firearm"
IRS CI includes roughly 2,700 special agents. According to the IRS website, "IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) is comprised of approximately 4,100 employees worldwide, approximately 2,700 of whom are special agents whose investigative jurisdiction includes tax, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws."
CI special agents are required to "carry and use a firearm." According to the basic requirements to qualify for a position as a CI special agent, "applicants must carry and use a firearm."
New CI weapons inventory system created in 2003 under the Bush Administration. In September 2003, the IRS manual was updated to establish an "Integrated Financial System" to "track IRS property" and "investigative equipment," including "firearms, body armor...use of force padded training suits, and firearms training systems" for the CI division.
This is not the IRS' first purchase of shotguns. As the quote request itself indicates, the specific type of shotgun listed are sought because they are "designated as the only shotguns authorized for IRS duty based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory, certified armorer and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts."
IRS CI agents investigate narcotics crimes and "combat terrorism"
IRS CI division has been investigating dangerous organizations such as drug traffickers since the 1920s. Established in 1919 as the "Intelligence Unit" and changing its name in 1978, CI's agents have historically investigated potentially dangerous individuals and organizations, beginning with its first investigation of an "opium trafficker in Hawaii in the early 1920s." CI's Narcotics division has stated its "goal is to utilize the financial investigative expertise of its special agents to disrupt, dismantle, through investigation, prosecution and asset forfeiture, the country's major drug and money laundering organizations."
During Bush Administration, CI special agents participated in Anti-Terrorism Task Forces, World Trade Center searches, investigations of Saddam Hussein's regime, and other such "special assignments in the Middle East." According to the IRS website, "Since September 11, 2001, IRS special agents have responded to all requests for assistance - in whatever capacity - as needed by the Government. For example, IRS special agents conducted grid searches at the crash sites at the World Trade Center and in Pennsylvania, sifted through rubble searching for evidence at the New York landfill and provided extra security at several locations." The IRS also states that CI has engaged in efforts to "combat terrorism" which include:
- "Special Assignments in the Middle East." IRS CI special agents are a "part of an interagency effort to trace and recover Iraqi assets, including both official assets of the former regime and illicit assets looted and held by or on behalf of Saddam Hussein, his associates, their families, front companies, etc."
- "Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)." Before the September 11, 2001 attacks, "each federal agency had one member on the JTTF....Support by IRS Criminal Investigation has increased since the September 11, 2001 attack."
- "Anti-Terrorism Task Forces," established under the Bush Administration. On September 17, 2001, under the Bush Administration:
The Attorney General issued instructions to each United States Attorney to establish an Anti-Terrorism Task Force within each judicial district. The task forces will be part of a national network that will coordinate the dissemination of information and the development of investigative and prosecutive strategy through the country. The task forces will be a conduit of information about suspected terrorists between the federal and local agencies. Intelligence about terrorist networks obtained by federal agencies will be disseminated through these task forces to the local police officials who can help monitor those networks in their localities. The task forces will also serve as a coordinating body for implementing the operational plan for the prevention of terrorism. And, the task forces will serve as a standing organizational structure for a coordinated response to a terrorist incident in that district.