Free Markets, Free People

Department Of Interior SWAT Teams Dispatched To The Gulf?

A massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted a large coordinated response from the owner of the rig, BP, and the U.S. government. President Obama addressed the issue in a short speech yesterday where he said:

Earlier today, DHS Secretary Napolitano announced that this incident is of national significance and the Department of Interior has announced that they will be sending SWAT teams to the Gulf to inspect all platforms and rigs. And I have ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Homeland Security as well as Administrator Lisa Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency to visit the site on Friday to ensure that BP and the entire U.S. government is doing everything possible, not just to respond to this incident, but also to determine its cause.

I was immediately puzzled when I first heard this yesterday. Why on Earth would the DOI have SWAT (“S”pecial “W”eapons “A”nd “T”actics) Teams? What exactly would they need them for, and why would they be dispatched to “inspect” oil rigs in the middle of the Gulf? I was not alone in my puzzlement:

In an odd turn, Obama announced he’d be sending SWAT teams out to all oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf to inspect them, as pointed out by RealClearPolitics. We’re not sure what a Special Weapons And Tactics team is going to do on an oil rig but we’re pretty sure it’ll make good fodder for Tom Clancy’s next book.

I have to believe that Obama was being colorful in his language instead of literal. I checked the DOI website and could find no announcement about “SWAT teams” or any mention of such teams whatsoever. So, it must be the case that the man whose speeches cause tingles to run down the legs of newscasters, oceans to recede, and Nobel Prizes to fall from the sky simply misspoke.

One interesting thing to note is that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s declaration of the oil spill as an incident of “national significance” brings the whole mess within her Department’s purview. That of course allows all sorts of resources not otherwise available (i.e. money) to be employed in the cleanup, but it also raises the question as to what exactly the limits of the DHS are. Apparently they are quite willing to spend gobs of money and effort (and possible deploy SWAT teams!) to tackle an invasion of viscous minerals upon our southern shores, but are completely uninterested in doing anything about an invasion of vicious criminals upon our southern border, other than to challenge the right of individual States to defend themselves. Perhaps Arizona should spill a bunch of oil along the border and see what happens.

15 Responses to Department Of Interior SWAT Teams Dispatched To The Gulf?

  • As an Arizona resident, I am really getting tired of being portrayed as a racist because I am in favor of SB1070. I hope this legislation leads to reform on the current immigration laws. It’s a travesty that more illegals aren’t even given an option to enter the country legally. However this law isn’t going to “legalize profiling.” The law is going to require officers to obtain proof of citizenship only in situations where a crime has taken place.

  • There is a story making the rounds that a North Korean ship out of Cuba and heading to Venezuela dispatched a crew on board an underwater “human torpedo” which blew up the oil rig.  We know the North Koreans train such suicide human torpedoists, and that they may have recently blown up a South Korean naval vessel.
    The South Korean ties of the oil rig in question are probably what is driving this particular story.

  • I guess I don’t understand why there would be a kerfuffle about el Presidente sending Soil and Water Assessment Teams to the site of a catastrophic oil spill? Doesn’t that actually make sense?

    • It would sense except that, using your acronym, it doesn’t make any sense to say “SWAT teams” as that would be redundant.  It’s also a well-known acronym that stands for something specific.  Moreover, I couldn’t find anything referring to “SWAT” on the DOI website.  So, I’m sticking with the conclusion that Obama screwed up.

  • Why on Earth would the DOI have SWAT (“S”pecial “W”eapons “A”nd “T”actics) Teams?

    Before you say something like this, do like five seconds of research.  DOI contains all tribal law enforcement.  They also oversee the national parks which have lately become a hotbed for clandestine drug operations.  Either of these jobs would be reason to train at least one  SWAT team.

    • Heed your own advice in addition to reading the post.  I did check the DOI website and could find nothing about “SWAT” teams.  Even given your assertions, that still isn’t a reason for the DOI to have them.  There are already a perfectly capable and ready-to-serve FBI and Federal Marshalls, both of who would have jurisdiction over federal lands.  The DOI does not need SWAT teams.

      • I didn’t say that having their own team is more efficient than relying on the FBI to loan them SWAT trained personnel.  My point is that the DOI has a significant law enforcement mission on Tribal Lands and the National Parks.  These days you can bet that most places with a significant law enforcement mission, especially one involving drug interdiction, will have SWAT type personnel.  There was a big story several months back about the Department of Education (!) buying 27 short-barreled shotguns.  They turned out to be for the DoEd’s fraud investigation division.  Why, in this day and age of police militarization, does this surprise you?
        BTW SWAT is a just a name.  Arguably the most famous FBI SWAT team isn’t a “SWAT” team at all.  It’s the Hostage Rescue Team (the HRT).  Likewise most cities probably don’t call their SWAT teams by that specific acronym.

  • Surface Water Assessment Teams, or SWAT, going to an oil spill freaks you out?  Get a life!

    • So when someone says SWAT, the first thing you think of is “Surface Water Assessment Teams”?- Yeah, go peddle that one somewhere where they might believe you.

  • You must not question Obama or he will send SWAT Teams to you and force you to submit!?!  WE MUST LEARN TO OBEY OUR NEW MASTER OR POP, POP!!

  • Obama meant “SWOT,” for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” teams.   You’ll find it on the DOI website if you search Google for “DOI SWOT”.      SWOT teams are usually dispatched to disasters, no big deal.  White House even updated their blog with this information, but I see it reverted back to SWAT teams, so go figure.  FUBAR.

    DHS Secretary Napolitano announced that this incident is of national significance, the Department of Interior has announced that they will be sending SWOT* teams to the Gulf to inspect all platforms and rigs and the EPA is conducting air monitoring activities to gather information on the impact of the controlled burn on air quality.
    * Ed. Note: Typo corrected, “SWOT” refers to Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats teams.