IRS to review facility security measures in the face of extremist threats


WASHINGTON — Responding to a growing number of threats stemming from conspiracy theories that officers will aggressively target middle-income taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday that it is conducting a comprehensive security review in its facilities.

Climate, health and tax legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden last week provided $80 billion in funding for tax collection efforts. Although Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen specifically ordered the agency not to focus its attention on taxpayers with middle-class incomes, misinformation quickly spread online that officers were going to crack down on tax payers. taxpayers of all income levels.

The baseless claims also indicated that the IRS would distribute firearms to employees authorized to use deadly force, prompting threats against IRS employees.

Now, agency leadership has launched a security review of the agency.

“We are conducting a comprehensive review of existing safety and security measures,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said of the agency’s 600 offices nationwide. “This includes conducting risk assessments,” he said, monitoring perimeter security, restricted area designations, exterior lighting, security around facility entrances and other measures.

“For me, it’s personal. I will continue to do everything possible to dispel any lingering misconceptions about our work,” Rettig said in a letter to employees Tuesday. “And I will continue to advocate for your safety in all places where I have an audience.”

Rettig, whose term at the IRS ends in November, is in charge of developing a plan on how to spend the new injection of funds included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Along with anonymous online forums, high-ranking Republican politicians spread lies about the IRS’ workforce and how newly allocated funds would be spent.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent an open letter on August 16 to Americans, calling on them not to take new positions in the IRS, reinforcing false information about vacancies in the agency and their access to firearms.

“The IRS makes it very clear that not only must you be prepared to audit and investigate your hard-working American colleagues, neighbors and friends, but you must be ready and, in the words of the IRS, willing to kill them.” he says in the letter.

Tony Reardon, president of the National Union of Treasury Employees, said members had expressed fears and concerns about their safety.

“IRS employees are certainly very hardworking and honest, they fund the government. They say they don’t deserve to be treated as enemies of the government,” he said.

He added that members who have reached retirement age have expressed a greater desire to retire due to the increased focus on their work. More than half of 80,000 IRS law enforcement personnel are eligible for retirement.

Reardon said several workers spoke of remembering the 2010 suicide bombing in Austin, Texas, where Andrew Joseph Stack III deliberately crashed his single-engine plane into the Echelon office building, killing himself and the director of the Internal Revenue Service, Vernon Hunter.

“The rhetoric we’re hearing now is dangerous,” Reardon said. “It puts these patriotic Americans in danger.”


Comments are closed.