This is the fifth part of an on-going series on the militarization of the federal government.

Legislation pending in the U.S. Senate would authorize a study of the potential benefits of hiring former officers of the Royal Hong Kong Police by federal law enforcement agencies.

A similar proposal, passed in the Senate in 1994, was rejected in the House of Representatives after opponents questioned the wisdom of expanding the already swelling ranks of federal law enforcement agencies to include alien nationals. This time around, the proposal, introduced April 10 by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-MD, has not received as much scrutiny nor been subject to much debate.

Biden has been a long-time proponent of recruiting Royal Hong Kong Police into the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Customs Service, Secret Service and dozens of the dozens of other agencies that now employ armed investigators.

Should the bill be approved by Congress, the attorney general and the Treasury secretary will be authorized to hire up to 200 former Hong Kong cops — whether they become citizens or not. Foreign nationals are already eligible to be hired by state and local police under the crime bill passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1994.

Biden says the main reason for the legislation is his concern with the growing problems of Asian organized crime, heroin trafficking, alien smuggling, arms dealing and money laundering all centered around Hong Kong.

“Unfortunately, the capacity of U.S. law enforcement to respond to this threat is limited by the fact that we simply do not have enough agents with the language skills, intelligence background and contacts to infiltrate Asian organized crime,” Biden said. He sees the Chinese takeover of the territory as an “opportunity” for U.S. law enforcement to benefit from the expertise of this elite unit.

The Hong Kong Police, no longer called “Royal” since the Chinese takeover earlier this year, is a multinational law enforcement agency and part of Interpol — the International Police Organization. It has also served as a paramilitary force — the only soldiers Hong Kong had known before the People’s Liberation Army marched into the former British territory last June.

Close ties between the FBI and the Hong Kong Police already exist. Alan Ringgold, deputy assistant director of the FBI, says the relationship between the two agencies is among the best in the world.

But the idea of recruiting foreign police into federal law enforcement positions is sure to heighten the concerns of those already alarmed at the dramatically increasing numbers of armed officers employed by the United States in agencies as diverse as the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development.

WorldNetDaily recently reported that there are more than 80,000 federal cops and plans to train up to 25,000 more each year for the next three years. These figures do not include the 100,000 additional state and local police authorized under the 1994 crime bill — cops whose salaries will be subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

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