My favorite conspiracy theorist, Monica Crowley, is at it again. Her latest far-fetched fantasy just happened to include a deliberate effort to provoke fear and loathing of the IRS by baselessly suggesting that taxpayers would face agents armed with semi-automatic assault rifles during audits. She was assisted with that fear mongering by none other than Martha MacCallum, a supposedly objective host with a penchant for GOP talking points.
As scary music played, MacCallum announced a “new controversy” via a Republican Congressman who discovered that IRS agents are training with a semi-automatic rifle. “Are Americans that much of a target that you need that kind of capability?” she quoted him saying.
As Media Matters explains, the rifles are not for IRS civilian employees but for the enforcement division:
IRS’ law enforcement officers are more than just “number crunchers.” In fact, according to Politico, IRS investigations have resulted in “convictions of crimes ranging from offshore bank accounts, to Medicare fraud, to money laundering and drug trafficking operations.” They also investigate crimes related to counter-terrorism. By virtue of working with the IRS, agents also receive a growing number of death threats, and have been targeted repeatedly by members of the violent “Tax Protest” movement, who have committed multiple attempted bombings, arsons, attempted kidnappings, and attempted murders.
But not only did neither MacCallum nor Crowley explain that, they seemed to go out of their way to stoke fears that the government is out to get ordinary citizens. Of course, this nicely dovetails with Fox’s relentless promotion of the IRS-targeting-conservatives scandal. Media Matters also reports that MacCallum erroneously claimed that no IRS “enforcer” has ever been killed in the line of duty.
Still, leave it to Crowley to take the wild-eyed speculation a step beyond.
I mean, just when you hear—think you’ve heard it all, Martha, something more outrageous comes at us here. I mean, why IRS agents, which are basically number crunchers and dealing with the public, dealing with the taxpayers, why they would need to have weapons is a really outstanding question. You mentioned that there’s a law enforcement arm to the IRS, and that’s true. But another outstanding question here is how widespread this is going to be in terms of is your local IRS agent going to be packing heat when you go in for your audit? We don’t know. And I think when you get this news on the heels of the severe abuse of power that we’ve been talking about with the IRS in addition to the Department of Homeland Security also amassing massive numbers of weapons and ammunition, you have to wonder what are these domestic agencies doing with this, these kinds weapons and ammo?
But Crowley didn’t leave it there. She also brought up the debunked conspiracy theory that the Department of Homeland Security is similarly amassing a large number of weapons and ammunition. Debunked by other people, that is. MacCallum didn’t challenge a word.
Video below via Media Matters.