Time for a Big Change? The Justice Department: An Examination

Written by Andrew Linn on October 14, 2013

My article on May 13, 2013 advocated eliminating the Department of Homeland Security and placing most of its agencies under the Department of Justice. Some of you may be thinking if the Justice Department itself needs some restructuring. I feel the same way, and thus I have come up with some suggestions.

First, there is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (a.k.a. BATF, a.k.a. ATF). Although the ATF might have a meaningful purpose, it has had a history of corruption and blunders, including the botched Waco Raid and Operation Fast and Furious. In addition, is it necessary to have a police-type agency to regulate alcohol and tobacco products? The best thing to do with the ATF is to divide up into two divisions: the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco (which would be transferred to the Department of Agriculture, as well as not being a police force) and the Firearms Division (which would become part of the FBI).

Next, there is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Despite having a well-intended purpose, it too has had its share of corruption. Plus, is it necessary to have an agency for the sole purpose of combating the drug trade? Some people might advocate its elimination (and possibly turning its duties over to the FBI), although it might be better to put it under the FBI. As for any regulation of legal drugs, that duty already falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Should the Justice Department ever acquire Homeland Security, there are a few agencies that would undergo changes. One of them is the Secret Service. In addition to protecting the President and other individuals (e.g. First Family, Vice President and Family, former Presidents), the Secret Service also investigates financial crimes (counterfeiting and fraud). My suggestion would be to turn its financial crimes duty over to the FBI, or perhaps transfer its financial crimes division to the FBI. Either way, its sole purpose would be to provide protection for the President and other designated individuals.

Then there are Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. As I mentioned in my May 13 article, the Immigration and Naturalization Service should be brought back to the Justice Department, thus replacing its successors: Citizenship & Immigration Services and the United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement. In addition, the duty of enforcing customs would lie solely with United States Customs & Border Protection.

The Justice Department could also obtain the following Independent Agencies, Boards, etc.: Commission on Civil Rights, Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Federal Election Commission, National Indian Gaming Commission, and the State Justice Institute.

In addition to these changes, I feel that, with the exception of having security guards in their facilities, the only government agencies that should have any armed personnel would be the State Department (e.g. Diplomatic Security Service), Justice Department, Defense Department, Department of the Interior (e.g. Park Rangers), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Image: The US Department of Justice (DoJ), Washington DC; author: Bjoertvedt; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to examiner.com and Right Impulse Media.