This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 24, 2020:
During his last day in office, Attorney General William Barr touted the success of “Operation Legend” — a federal program of questionable constitutionality — in bringing down violent crime in nine crime-riddled cities following riots by BLM and Antifa revolutionaries.
Said Barr on Wednesday:
Operation Legend removed violent criminals, domestic abusers, carjackers, and drug traffickers from nine cities which were experiencing stubbornly high crime and took illegal firearms, illegal narcotics, and illicit monies off the streets.
By most standards, many would consider these results as a resounding success — amid a global pandemic, the results are extraordinary.
When we launched Operation Legend, our goal was to disrupt and reduce violent crime, hold violent offenders accountable, and give these communities the safety they deserve in memory of LeGend Taliferro, whose young life was claimed by violent crime.
Undoubtedly, we achieved it.
Barr left unanswered a myriad of questions about the federal program that expanded from Kansas City to Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Memphis, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.
When Kansas Governor Mike Parson learned that Barr was offering help in reining in out-of-control crime and violence by those revolutionaries, he was quick to request it. Barr sent approximately 100 agents from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the DEA, and the ATF to “assist” local law enforcement. He also ordered U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison to provide additional “resources” to help with the expected uptick in prosecutions. Garrison said at the time that it was his “commitment to provide the legal horsepower to prosecute as many of these criminal cases as possible in federal court.”
Are all crimes to be treated as federal crimes? Barr answered that one: Of the more than 6,000 arrests since launching the program, about 1,500 of those arrested were charged with federal crimes.
But, according to Barr, local and state law enforcement brought homicide charges against 467 individuals and seized some 2,600 firearms, more than 32 kilos of heroin, more than 17 kilos of fentanyl, 300-plus kilos of meth, 135 kilos of cocaine, and more than $11 million in drug and other illicit proceeds.
That seemed to justify the means, as Barr seemed pleased with the results so far as he is leaving office. But many questions remain unanswered:
- Under what authority does Operation Legend exist?
- Who will be in charge?
- How long with the operation in each city last?
- Does OL set a dangerous precedent for more federal law-enforcement “assistance” during times of future “crises?”
- Does federal intervention, no matter how well-intended and no matter how “successful” it might be in reining in violent crime, violate the Ninth and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which specifically limit federal powers and instead leaves law enforcement responsibilities up to the states?
- Is OL a harbinger for federal control of local and state law enforcement?
With hundreds of federal agents from the FBI, the DEA, and the ATF now roaming these nine cities, where will the program end? Will its so-called success ensure that it will not only be continued but expanded?