By Candice Bernd,
Why does the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) need submachine guns?
The agency's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is seeking .40 Caliber semiautomatic submachine guns. But while many may wonder why USDA agents need semiautomatic weapons, the OIG's request is not unusual for other similar and seemingly unlikely federal agencies that are rapidly becoming armed and equipped with police units of their very own.
USDA OIG spokespeople explained its procurement request to Truthout by citing a 1978 law that authorizes OIG Special Agents to make arrests, execute warrants and carry firearms. From 2012 to March of this year, USDA OIG investigations have obtained more than 2,000 indictments and 1,350 convictions.
The agency also noted in a statement that "OIG Special agents regularly conduct undercover operations and surveillance. The types of investigations conducted by OIG Special Agents include criminal activities such as fraud in farm programs; significant thefts of Government property or funds; bribery and extortion; smuggling; and assaults and threats of violence against USDA employees engaged in their official duties." MORE