On Tuesday, the Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs attacked federal projects, like the Pentagon's 1033 program, which arm local police with military-grade weapons and equipment. Particularly vehement were comments from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who spoke at length in opposition to the militarization of police. The Obama administration representatives being grilled did not share Paul's fervor:
RAND PAUL: Mr. Estevez, in the NPR investigation of 1033 program they list that 12,000 bayonets have been given out. What purpose are bayonets being given out for?
HON. ALAN ESTEVEZ: Senator, bayonets are available under the program. I can't answer what a local police force would need a bayonet for.
PAUL: I can give you an answer: None. So, what's President Obama's administration's position on handing out bayonets to the police force? It's on your list. You guys create the list. Are you going to take it off the list or are we going to keep doing it?
ESTEVEZ: We're going to look at what we're providing under the administration's review of all these programs.
PAUL: So it's unclear at this point whether President Obama approves of 12,000 bayonets being given out? I would think you could make that decision last week.
Later in the exchange, Estevez acknowledged that, in addition to combating terrorism, the military equipment given to local police is to be used for enforcement of drug war policies. Watch the full video below --Bonnie Kristian