Whoa, hold up. IRS agents get issued service weapons?! I mean...I knew there were some badasses working for Treasury (Secret Service, anybody?), but the IRS? Apparently so. [EDIT: I suppose I should have guessed it, but the Secret Service is apparently no longer part of the Treasury Department, but has been reassigned to, wait for it, the Department of Homeland Security. Doy.] I poked around a little, and apparently the IRS has a branch called Criminal Investigation whose mission is to investigate "potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law." From the CI overview on the IRS website:
IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) is comprised of approximately 4,400 employees worldwide, approximately 2,800 of which are special agents whose investigative jurisdiction includes tax, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws. While other federal agencies also have investigative jurisdiction for money laundering and some bank secrecy act violations, IRS is the only federal agency that can investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code.
As financial investigators, CI special agents fill a unique niche in the federal law enforcement community. Today’s sophisticated schemes to defraud the government demand the analytical ability of financial investigators to wade through complex paper and computerized financial records. Due to the increased use of automation for financial records, CI special agents are trained to recover computer evidence. Along with their financial investigative skills, special agents use specialized forensic technology to recover financial data that may have been encrypted, password protected, or hidden by other electronic means.
None of which really sheds any light on to why CI special agents get issued firearms, but apparently 'tis so. Here's the Firearms Training and Qualification section of their handbook. (My favorite part is the qualifications requirement that has to be met "every other fiscal year quarter." Calendar year quarters just aren't going to cut it. Not in the IRS, buddy!) I keep thinking about that Agent Wallace character from that Untouchables movie. And Sean Connery deciding to bring him along on a speakeasy raid: "You carry a badge? Then carry a gun." Also when he went all berzerker-rage on that Canadian border operation after Stone got shot. You go, Accountant With Gun!
At any rate, I seriously feel we're missing a chance at a boffo movie or TV show about gun-wielding IRS agents. I feel we've already touched on a great number of other armed federal agents from a variety of organizations, but the IRS has been sadly lacking in representation. I want to see some white-collar corporate corner office door getting kicked down and the SWAT team pouring in, shotguns drawn, while two-tone-button-down-shirt-and-power-tie-w
Then again, maybe I'm just starved for entertainment.
As a bonus, today marks the anniversary of the great Boston Molasses Disaster. Sweet!