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November 13, 2023
Another SWAT raid screw-up?
The determinations of how to make arrests under arrest warrants are made based by the tactical operators in the district. They made the decision on the ground as to what was safest and easiest. - Merrick Garland
SWAT raids have misfired often enough for the Department of Justice management to insist on increased supervision.
The New York Times reported that SWAT raids resulted in at least 81 civilians and 13 officers killed between 2010 and 2016. Unnecessary deaths, inappropriately equipped raids, and general incompetence have reflected badly on the organization. Because management has not intervened it appears that they are satisfied with current policies.
On November 8, the FBI launched a SWAT raid at the home of Gregory Yetman, a January 6 suspect.
Around 7 a.m., Yetman left his home to go to work. He found himself surrounded by armed FBI agents. His brother Todd Yetman claimed, “Greg walked out, froze in the face of guns drawn, and ran.”
According to journalist Julie Kelly about 30 armed agents were involved in the raid, yet Yetman was able to escape.
During the Roger Stone raid, two amphibious watercraft were covering the canal in the rear of Stone’s house in case the 67 year-old tried to make a swim for it.
During this raid, however, there were no efforts to close escape routes. Is it possible that Yetman was allowed to escape?
Journalist Julie Kelly claims this is all about optics and juicing DOJ's "domestic terror" data. Yetman’s arrest would have been a non-event for the national media if he had simply surrendered. His escape resulted in a “massive manhunt.” The FBI and local law enforcement used helicopters, drones, and search dogs to try to track him down. A $10,000 dollar reward was offered for information leading to his arrest. Local residents were advised to “shelter in place.” In short, this was great theater, designed to be covered by he national media for however long it took to arrest him.
Law enforcement officers have been responsible for numerous deaths. Craig Robertson, Theodore Deschler, Ashli Babbitt and Vicki Weaver, who was shot in the head while holding an infant in her arms. These deaths have all been thoroughly investigated by their law enforcement agencies. Remarkably the law enforcement officers have all received a clean bill of health. Lon Horiuchi, Vicki Weaver’s killer, retired from the FBI in 2006 with a full pension. Michael Byrd, the Capitol police officer who killed January 6 protestor Babbitt, apparently did not follow the use of force doctrine to not fire into a crowd, but nevertheless has been promoted. Media coverage of these killings does not compare with the George Floyd hysteria. Still DOJ officials contend there are no two standards of justice.
Some SWAT raids are conducted in response to threats against the president.
Craig Robertson, a 75-year-old, with limited mobility died in August during an FBI raid. Theodore Deschler a 100 percent disabled veteran also died in August during an FBI raid. Although his family was informed by the FBI that “It’s none of your business,” it is likely the raid was in response to threats. Matt Harrigan, a former CEO, faced another form of interrogation. He posted on Facebook, "Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the whitehouse (sic) that suits you motherf---r. I'll find you.” This resulted in a visit to his house by two agents. Harrigan told The Washington Post, ”I invited them into my home and I sat down and said, 'You're free to look around and go through anything you want. They asked all the questions you would expect them to ask. I answered those in complete honesty.” Harrigan does not mention if he offered them a cup of tea and has not been arrested or charged with a crime. Of course, his threats were made against Donald Trump.
These raids are conducted by career law enforcement officers and something must be said in their defense. These officers have families to provide for. They are concerned about receiving their pensions. Their peers behave in a certain manner. They do not want to appear different and risk becoming outcasts. This is a similar situation members of Nazi Germany’s Reserve Police Battalion 101 found themselves in. The group dynamics at play within this force turned otherwise ordinary, working-class German men into cold-blooded killers, according to Holocaust historian Christopher Browning.
John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing). He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University. He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember:" Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.