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Readin', 'Ritin', and Ramboin'

Earlier this week, there was a news story that had a lot of people going "WTF?" Apparently, the Department of Education had sent a SWAT team into a California home over an unpaid student loan. Then, as is often the case, more details emerged, and the story got a bit less sensationalistic. It turns out that there is a woman who is accused of major financial crimes involving fraudulent student loans, and the home in question -- her estranged husband's -- was her last known address. They were looking for evidence of those crimes. And the "SWAT Team" was actually part of the Department of Education's Inspector General's office.

But while the particulars sort themselves out, there's one aspect of this whole story that hasn't -- and won't -- change that is, to me, the most troubling aspect of the whole thing.

What the hell is the Department of Education doing with a SWAT team, no matter what they actually call it?

This is the Department of EDUCATION, also known as "The official branch of the NEA in the federal government." They are supposed to... well, here's their mission statement:

The mission of the Department of Education is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. It engages in four major types of activities:

  1.     Establishes policies related to federal education funding, administers distribution of funds and monitors their use.
  2.     Collects data and oversees research on America's schools.
  3.     Identifies major issues in education and focuses national attention on them.
  4.     Enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive federal funds

In the last point, the bring up "enforcement," but of discrimination laws. Those usually involve lawsuits, not tactical suits. One would think that if they had reason to believe they were confronting potentially violent criminals, they'd get the FBI or the US Marshals or some other agency with experience in such matters to help out. You wouldn't think that the Department of Education would actually have its own Brute Squad.

It's long been a staple of conservative stump speeches to "abolish the Department of Education." If this doesn't show that it's an idea whose time has come, I don't know what will.


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Comments (17)

As for this particular stor... (Below threshold)

As for this particular story, there are times for that type of actions but clearly this was not one of them. More should have been done then to simply say “we made a mistake”. When great power is given to someone\group then they inherit a great responsibility.

As for the Department of education having a SWAT team, yeah this is something wrong with that. However I see it a symptom of an overall problem which is the government gaining way too much power. Like the old saying goes power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The government is encroaching on our freedoms and trying to dictate every aspect of our lives. They use the schools to indoctrinate our kids with liberal mentality. The use social services to force parents to raise their kids according to how they think they should be raised. They have gone a long way in limiting the expression of religion to the point that you can’t say a prayer for the safety of kids that are about to play a game. They want to dictate what you eat and force you to buy their products like government healthcare. They are using the EPA in all sorts of way that it wasn’t intended for.

Well that is my anti big governments rant for the day.

Hey, I'll bet the FDA has o... (Below threshold)

Hey, I'll bet the FDA has one too!

Imagine...you start to bite into your fatty-hamburger when the door bursts open and the FDA SWAT team takes you down...for your own good, of course.

Silly? Hey, a week ago I would have claimed the Dept. of Education doing that for late payment on a student loan was silly too.

Remember, the ONLY way the Leftist agenda "works" is if EVERYBODY complies...and the ONLY way everybody complies is thru the use of overwhelming force.

Our government is emulating North Korea more and more.

"Remember, the ONLY way ... (Below threshold)

"Remember, the ONLY way the Leftist agenda "works" is if EVERYBODY complies...and the ONLY way everybody complies is thru the use of overwhelming force."

Ain't that soooo true.

Government is the antithesis of Freedom.

Hey, I'll bet t... (Below threshold)
Hey, I'll bet the FDA has one too!
As far as I know the National Weather Service doesn't. Yet.

Then again, NWS is part of NOAA, which has NOAA Corps...

Someone should have their a... (Below threshold)

Someone should have their ass handed to them for this bone-headed stunt. But seeing as it's "the government", someone will probably be promoted.

Not to worry, I read a related story that DOE is in the process of buying more Remington 870 shotguns (w/14 inch barrels - aka "sawed-off" shotguns). Now that they've taken over student loans, I guess those weapons will be going to their in-house 'collection agency'.

Hope you wrote this one qui... (Below threshold)

Hope you wrote this one quite a while ago, JT, and just now it's showing up because you're this is behind the curve.

OIG is a semi-independent branch of the education department that executes warrants for criminal offenses such as student aid fraud, embezzlement of federal aid and bribery, according to Hamilton. The agency serves 30 to 35 search warrants a year.

Check out the rightwingnews article by William Teach. Note that this doesn't get to the heart of why they thought this type of search was warranted, although the warrant (see how I did that, there?) points to some pretty serious crimes. Oh, and they're reportedly not a "SWAT team", just federal agents that probably like to get all ginned up and break out the heavy artillery from time to time when they get the chance.

Falze What are those... (Below threshold)

What are those pretty serious crimes?

From what I have read the authorities are not saying why they broke down this guys door except for it had to do with more than student loans. Sounds like CYA to me.

I'm not familiar with this ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

I'm not familiar with this news story but the article Jay linked to says it was not a SWAT team, is also says the federal agents were not part of the Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton confirmed for News10 Wednesday morning federal agents with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), not local S.W.A.T., served the search warrant.
My bad, I didn't read far e... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

My bad, I didn't read far enough.

OIG is a semi-independent branch of the education department that executes warrants for criminal offenses such as student aid fraud, embezzlement of federal aid and bribery, according to Hamilton.
I am sure if they are from ... (Below threshold)

I am sure if they are from the department of education there is nothing to worry about. Their weapons are probably not loaded, dirty and are pointing them the wrong way. ww

Carter created the Departme... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Carter created the Department of Education as a payback to the teachers' unions which helped him win the nomination and election. It's been great so far - for the teachers' unions and bureaucrats.

As far as "education" is concerned, despite the hundreds of billions thrown at it from the federal level (a good portion of which has never been accounted for), the level of primary and secondary education in this country has continued to decline.

Do your own work, Wayne. O... (Below threshold)

Do your own work, Wayne. One freebie:

conspiracy, theft of government funds, wire fraud

all going on for years

there's really no story here is what I'm saying and you all, with JT, are late for lunch and look bad for still riding this wagon

It is pretty sad that all p... (Below threshold)
DOE Employee:

It is pretty sad that all people have to do it set around and make comments on things they have no idea about. I work for the default dept. for the DOE and there is a lot more to this story then is being posted. The DOE does not go around knocking on door to collect the hundreds of thousands of dollars owed in student loans. It is amazing that the DOE is still loaning money with our country in the condition it is. I listen to people everyday complain about having to pay there loans back. It is not any different than any other loan. If you don't pay your car payment, the repo man comes and he dosen't even give you the curtosy of knocking on your door. He pulls up in the night and takes it.
People need to learn not to believe everything they read, because those people writing the crap are only out to make a dollar. Maybe if they used those dollars to pay back their debt, they would not feel the need to trash those they owe in the media.
Grow up and pay up, the bills are never going away.

"I'm not familiar with t... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

"I'm not familiar with this news story but the article Jay linked to says it was not a SWAT team, is also says the federal agents were not part of the Department of Education."

I guess that the DoE does not ITSELF have a SWAT team is at least mildly comforting here. As to wether they were "local SWAT" or OIG, I think that's a bit semantic. SWAT is sort of a generalization, but we all know a SWAT team when we see one. The question is, did they "SWAT" this guys house, as opposed to a couple of plainclothes guys knocking on the door and saying, "Hey, this is the deal...."

I am really REALLY surprised at how little I am hearing about this in COngress, on talk radio, et al. I am FAR from a "jackbooted thugs" kind of guy (I actually supported the Waco operation, incompetent though it was, and no, I do NOT intend to discuss that further here), but if this story is even close to what is being reported, it is absurd, obscene, despicable, and any sane person upon planet earth is justified in calling "police state" on it.

Why on earth I am not hearing word one about this story outside the blogosphere is a damned mystery to me.

Since I am not in a digging... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Since I am not in a digging around mood or mode, I will sort of side with DOE employee, in that this story does seem so crazy on it's face, that I might still withold judgment on it. Maybe that is why it does not seem to be taking root.

I guess we would not be so inclined to believe it had we not seen a series of militarized police activity against targets that are either dead wrong and innocent, or way out of proportion to the alleged crime.

DoE Employee, do NOT get me... (Below threshold)

DoE Employee, do NOT get me started on the loans -- I am appalled that the federal government has essentially nationalized the student loan business, taking it out of the private sector.

But I am more appalled that the DoE has an armed "police force" that conducts raids on suspected criminals.


actual employees of the US ... (Below threshold)

actual employees of the US Dept. of Education refer to it as ED, not DOE.
domain is ed.gov

DOE is the US Dept of Energy and actual employees refer to it as DOE.
domain is energy.gov (was once doe.gov)

non-employees often use DOE when ED would be correct






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