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All 100 senators should berate FBI for armed raid of pro-lifer’s family home

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 10/3/2022 Quin Hillyer
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Twelve U.S. senators have written a letter demanding answers about an armed raid on the child-filled home of a pro-life activist. That's great, but why haven’t the other 88 senators joined them?

This was a slam-dunk example of dangerous misuse of FBI personnel. Indeed, it was so inexcusable that heads at the FBI should (figuratively) roll. The FBI itself has confirmed that (at least) 20 armed agents were on scene, and photos show an agent with a long gun and a ballistic shield. All this, in a dawn raid at a home with seven children, to arrest a man involved in an extremely minor skirmish 49 weeks earlier, one whose lawyer repeatedly had informed the Justice Department that the man would gladly appear voluntarily for any booking procedures.

The raid manifestly violated the FBI’s official Investigations and Operations Guide and a May 20, 2022, memorandum from Attorney General Merrick Garland that insists on “de-escalation tactics and techniques.”

And the misuse of force doesn’t even consider the likelihood that no federal crime was committed during the brief original skirmish. The federal law at issue is called the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances. The FACE Act prohibits individuals from intimidating or interfering with anyone obtaining or providing “reproductive health services.” The pro-life activist in question, Mark Houck, had been peacefully protesting for months without interfering with access. There is no allegation that he interfered with access this time either. He apparently got into a scuffle with a volunteer clinic escort — not to stop the volunteer work, but only when the volunteer allegedly began harassing Houck’s then-11-year-old son.

Even if Houck were guilty of some momentary violation of the FACE Act, there is clearly nothing suggesting he would disregard a summons for his arrest, much less violently resist. His lawyer claims to have left multiple messages to the Justice Department that Houck would voluntarily comply with any summons.

Instead, at least 20 armed agents converged on Houck’s door at 7:05 a.m. and, in front of his frightened children, led him away in handcuffs.

No matter what your view on abortion, no matter where on the American political spectrum you stand, this ludicrous overuse of force is chilling. Today’s Democrats seem in a constant lather about law-enforcement agencies overusing force in other circumstances, even where the target is suspected of involvement in the dangerous drug trade or other potentially violent activities.

Twelve senators understand. Their letter to Garland and to FBI Director Christopher Wray says that the “extraordinary fact pattern requires additional information from the Justice Department and the FBI relating to why Mr. Houck was not allowed to self-report for his arrest and arraignment and whether political considerations were made to approve and execute the search warrant.”

For the record, the 12 senators justifiably demanding answers are Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Bravo to them. All 88 of their colleagues should join them.

There certainly are times when law enforcement personnel need to threaten force. This incident wasn’t one of them. It seems, instead, to have been used to send a political message against pro-life advocates. But armed FBI agents should not send political messages. The other 88 senators should act now to rein in the FBI, before the armed political messages target their own constituents or allies.


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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Christopher Wray, FBI, Pro Life

Original Author: Quin Hillyer

Original Location: All 100 senators should berate FBI for armed raid of pro-lifer’s family home


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