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Published:August 3rd, 2011 20:33 EST
The FBI's Expert Burglary Squad

The FBI's Expert Burglary Squad

By Donna Cavanagh

You go away on vacation; you lock all the doors and windows; you set the alarm; your neighbor takes the mail; and you think you are safe.  Well, maybe from illegal burglars you are, but not from the legal ones who are waiting to break down your door.

""What?" you ask. "Who are the legal burglars? I have never heard of them." 

Well, to be honest, if you are pretty much a law abiding citizen, you probably never have nor ever will have a run in with them. The legal burglars are a special squad of the FBI known as Tactical Operations or Tact Ops.  So, what do these specialized individuals do?

They case your house and learn your schedule weeks before they break in. Yes, they break into your house. Of course, they have a judge`s warrant behind them, but they still break in. They not only know your schedule, but the neighbors` schedules as well. They know if you have pets. If you have a dog or dogs they know their names, weights and breeds.  Why? Because before they make themselves at home in your house, they call a veterinarian on their payroll and get a doggie downer that will knock out your pooch and keep it out of their hair so they can plant their bugs and search for incriminating evidence undisturbed.

"How?" you ask, "How can this be legal?"

Please if we learned anything from 9/11, it was that fear makes the slimiest of things legal because the potential for bad is far more important to law enforcement and private citizens alike than a little thing like civil rights.  Okay, I know you are shocked but wait, there is more. 

The FBI Tact Ops squad includes about 70 agents who train for each mission for up to 10 weeks. They take care of the minutest of details. They carry with them everything they will need to return your house to the condition it was in when you left before they broke in. Their goal is to make sure you have no idea that anyone was in the house while you were gone. They bring with them the exact paint color that is on your walls so in case they have to cut through, they can repair and re-paint them.

The Tact Ops also take into account poor housekeeping skills. If they come in and see dust where they have to plant bugs, they will wipe the area clean, but just in case you like your dust, they carry their own supply with them and re-dust the area so that nothing looks askew. 

I have to wonder: Who looks at their dust?  I would never, and I mean never,  go around my house and say, "Hey, was there a clean freak burglar here because I notice some of my dust missing?"

If you are still worried about the anesthetized dog--don`t.  Just before the FBI leaves your home after planting the bugs, they give your drugged dog a puppy upper so that he is awake and cheery for you when you come waltzing in your front door. 

After reading this story, I had to wonder what types of people attract this kind of attention from the FBI.  I guess big time mobsters and smugglers and not nice people like that, so I don`t think the FBI would need to break into my home. I do have a neighbor or two I think could be targets, but that is just my opinion.  Even if I were a target, I don`t think the FBI could pull such a clandestine operation for a number of reasons. First, my dogs tell me everything. We have no secrets and even if they tried to drug my dogs, they would have to catch both of them and that would be the challenge of all challenges. Also, I don`t know how much dust the FBI packs, but for my house, they would need a truckload. That is one chore I rarely get around to doing. I also have to think that a truck loaded with dust might raise some kind of suspicion in the neighborhood not to mention the guys in SWAT team uniforms. They might garner a second glance or two. 

You know, it used to be people worried about ghosts hanging around watching and listening to every private moment in their homes.  Now, we have to worry about the FBI. Gee, I`m not sure if I want to do anything in my house anymore. 

If I had to think on a more positive note about this whole legal burglar thing, I almost wish I was a target of the Tact Ops squad.  I would let them plant their bugs if they promised to clean my house from attic to basement and re-paint my walls.  I could even leave a few color swatches around the rooms and they could decide which hue would work best. If they are doing it for free, I wouldn`t object to their color scheme.  I guess to be extra nice, I could talk criminal talk into the microphones so they don`t think they did all that breaking in work for nothing.  Yes, this could be a fun adventure now that I think about it.  FBI, call me--we`ll talk.

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