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    Posted April 14, 2014 by

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    Sebelious Out – Militarized Health and Human Services Left Behind

    Kathleen Sebelious, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) since 2009 announced that she would be leaving the agency last week. Sebelious became famous as the face of Obama Care, but a bigger legacy might be the para-military capability she helped the agency develop during her tenure as Secretary.

    Recently released law enforcement sensitive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by this reporter show that during the years Sebelious ran DHHS the agency purchased and fielded advanced assault weapons used by Special Operations forces like Delta Force and SEAL Team Six. Documents show that since 2009 DHHS has spent nearly $1 million to purchase advanced assault weapons from Glock, Colt Fire Arms, and Goldbelt Wolf.

    In addition to the weapons purchases, DHHS also contracted with the mercenary outfits Triple Canopy (Started by former Delta Force operators) and Black Water (Started by former Navy SEALS, now named Xe after developing a reputation for indiscriminately killing civilians in Iraq) for advanced room and building clearing techniques. Triple Canopy alone was awarded over $1.8 million to provide advanced weapons and tactics training with the LWRC family of weapons through 2016. Other DHHS contracts worth hundreds of thousands were made with Gunsite Academy, Black Water (Xe), and Norse Security Group. Many of the contract documents had been redacted by DHHS to hide the contractor name, number of agents trained, and type of training. The redactions make it impossible to determine the exact amount spent by the agency in para-military training or the extent of the training.

    A whistle blower, who worked for one of the contractors named in the documents and agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity for fear of prosecution under the Obama administration, confirms the purchase and receipt by DHHS of the advanced LWRC family of assault weapons. The contractor, who served for over a decade in Special Operations before becoming a law enforcement officer commented, “These weapons have one purpose – combat.” The contractor confirmed that DHHA agents received dynamic building entry and In-Extremis combat training similar to training that Special Operations receives.

    “I have done Special Operation combat training, and law enforcement training; what DHHS got was advanced combat training – not law enforcement techniques,” said the contractor. Documents support the contractors claim, the Gunsite Academy contract declares agents will get instruction in the, “Combat Mindset,” and the, “Combat Triad,” while Xe promises, “Advanced Techniques,” will be taught to the agents, including executive protection training. Triple Canopy promises intensive realistic scenarios, and warns that agents need to arrive in good physical condition due to the intense stress and that the training is inherently dangerous.

    The contractor voiced concern over the militarization of what should be a peaceful agency, saying that this type of training was considered illegal to give to civilian law enforcement when he was in Special Operations before 9/11 because it blurred the line between federal military combat operations and law enforcement activities that were underscored in the Posse Comitatus Act.

    The DHHS refused interviews concerning the documents or training. Spokesman Donald White of the DHHS said that the request received Director level attention, but DHHS would not provide anyone for interview or comment on the released documents. A request for documents showing the need for advanced military combat training because of officer related incidents or hazardous duty resulted in no documents found. Michael Bell, Acting Director of the DHHS FOIA office, replied in response to a records request showing any agent related shooting from 2001 to 2014, “The Department conducted a search and is unable to locate any records responsive to your request.” White would not respond to questions about why DHHS agents needed para-military combat training when there had not been an agent related shooting in over 13 years.

    The only justification found for the DHHS combat training comes from a 2011 memo justifying the need for contract resources to hire Triple Canopy. The memo states,

    “Additionally, OI (DHHS Office of Inspector General) provides protective services to the Secretary and participates in the Department's continuity of operations program as well as full range of public safety and security incident management activities.

    The July Strike Force Operations are the culmination of several ongoing investigations and necessarily involve the participation of other local, state and federal entities that have no "long gun capability," such as the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).

    The tactical training proposed by this contract will enhance the enforcement capabilities of OI's special agents.”

    A Norse Security Group contract further details training DHHS agents receive,

    “Upon completion of the course the student will have mastered the knowledge to efficiently work as an effective rifle deployment team in various tactical settings.

    Norse is prepared to provide the Department of Health and Human Services National Training Equipment Operations Branch tactical readiness training for Special Agents assigned to the OIG office. Norse Tactical Instructors are Special Liaison Instructor certified by the DHHS-OIG NTEOB Office and/or have served in the capacity as a U.S. military Special Operations Forces member with recent field experience that can translate to TTP's required to apply similar TTP's.”

    A Triple Canopy contract describes the need for a shoot house and,

    “Consumable products such as, but not limited to: Windows, Breachable Doors, Door knobs, Diversionary devices (Flash-Bangs), and junk cars.”
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