“This is confidential information,” a DHS official told a Miami Herald reporter — on condition of anonymity, of course.
If you’re a target of the federal government, it’s even tougher to get a straight answer.
Ask the tea party and conservative groups the Internal Revenue Service improperly targeted when they applied to for tax-exempt nonprofit status.
“Many organizations waited much longer than 13 months for a decision,” an inspector general’s report last month said, “while others have yet to receive a decision from the IRS.”
The IRS also makes victims of tax ID fraud wait. The IRS tells them little, delays refunds and makes it all but impossible to get anyone on the telephone.
Congress, too, has been stymied by the IRS, and the Justice and State departments. But it’s tough to have a sympathetic view of the opaque lawmaking body that passes laws riddled with secret amendments from authors unknown.
It should be said there are hard-working and responsive federal employees, including the Marshals Service.
The day after I clashed with the two marshals, spokesman Barry Golden answered his cellphone — on a Sunday. He was civil. But we had to agree to disagree.
What was the name of the officer who swore at me? Golden wouldn’t say.
How about the badge-heavy officer, who wouldn’t give his identity either as he shined a light in my video camera while telling me to leave? Golden wouldn’t say.
But Golden did say he believed I was too close to the potential crime scene. And he took a measure of umbrage from my comment that the agency and officer, funded by taxpayers, isn’t responsive to taxpayers.
“We pay taxes, too,” Golden said.
As for the nature of the crime the marshals were investigating, Golden referred me to Miami Beach police, who controlled all the disparate law enforcement agencies called in to help out with the weekend.
Turns out, the four black youths forced to the ground in the middle of the street were completely innocent on that Saturday night. They just happened to walk by the wrong suspicious car at the wrong time.
But anywhere can be the wrong place if the government deems it so. The feds will still say you have rights — like the right to remain silent, the right to little information and the right to “get the [expletive] outta here.”