It is painfully ironic that that the federal agency created to keep the United States safe after the Sept. 11 attacks now targets Americans. In 2002, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security with a mandate to prevent more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Homeland Security quickly rose to rival other massive Washington bureaucracies, absorbing such disparate agencies as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection.

Unlike the limits on the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pentagon, however, Homeland Security was designed to have domestic police powers from the start. It is its forces that have made up the bulk of federal agents sent by the White House to Portland, Ore., to tamp down protests. Homeland Security has essentially become President Trump’s personal shock troops, stripping their uniforms of identifying insignias, shooting at protesters, scooping citizens off streets, and bundling them away in unmarked vans amid billows of tear gas. Federal marshals from the Justice Department as well have been sent into Portland to confront protesters. This is all over the objections of the city and state’s top elected officials. The president has also threatened to send federal agents to other U.S. cities [more]