What resulted was an unbelievable show of force, including over 200 agents, among whom were snipers whose weapons were trained on the protesters. Cliven Bundy’s civil disagreement with the BLM erupted into a government assault which violated the property and personal rights of numerous individuals. Citizens were confronted by BLM agents, tazed, brutalized, arrested and threatened with deadly weapons.
Commentary by Free Range Report
Daniel P. Love is hated in the West, and for good reason. Not only is his record of reprehensible behavior towards law-abiding Americans shocking to the conscience, but he embodies everything that is wrong with the Bureau of Land Management; arrogance, hostility, and contempt for property and human rights. His name is connected to several federal operations in which the lives of innocent citizens were lost or changed forever, and not only has he escaped the consequences of his thuggish, militaristic tactics, Daniel P. Love was promoted to become director of the BLM’s most militarized division, the Division of Security, Protection and Intelligence.
In recent decades, especially since the Clinton Era, the BLM has become less about land management than it is about controlling human activities, and punishing those citizens who threaten the agency’s power and agenda. With that in mind, Dan Love is perfect for his new job, but Americans who fear deadly government bullies are chilled by both the actual and symbolic messages his promotion transmits to all in the West under the thumb of the BLM.
Most infamous is Love’s role in a federal sting which ended in the suicide deaths of 3, one of whom was a beloved small town physician from San Juan County, Utah.
In the beginning months of the Obama Administration, Love became involved in BLM’s investigation of illegal artifacts trading in the Four Corners area, known as Operation Cerberus Action. In June 2009, Love took the lead in the operation. Enlisting the help of undercover informants and the FBI, Love orchestrated a series of raids which involved dozens of purported suspects. Four individuals impacted by the case died as a result, including James Redd, 60, a respected doctor from Blanding who was so distraught over the possible implication of his wife and daughter, that he took his own life in an attempt to shield them from punishment.
Subsequently, Redd’s family sued Dan Love in Utah’s U.S. District Court, alleging he violated Redd’s Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force to “make an example” of him. The presiding judge later dismissed the case, saying that Love’s conduct was ‘reasonable.’
Senior Senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah, confronted Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, about the case, asking why such an aggressive operation was necessary when the ‘suspects’ posed absolutely no threat to the agents.
Following the disastrous personal fallout of Operation Cerberus, Love was named BLM’s “agent of the year” and promoted to the job of agent in charge for Utah and Nevada.
But the raid, in which 150 agents wearing bulletproof vests searched houses and terrorized ‘suspects, their families and neighbors, bred a justified feeling of contempt for Dan Love and the BLM that smolders to this day.
The most visible of Love’s debacles was the Bundy Ranch ‘standoff’ in the spring of 2014, during which BLM and FBI agents in full military body armor and armed with automatic weapons, confronted ranchers and locals near the Cliven Bundy Ranch in Nevada who had gathered to protest the BLM’s confiscation of cattle.
Having gained a reputation for ego, aggression and narcissism, Love’s position of Special Agent in Charge of the Bundy Ranch controversy, undoubtedly took it from a land dispute into a full-blown military-style assault. Critics say Love’s dislike of then Clarke County Sheriff, Doug Gillespie, drove him to arrogantly go-it-alone, and ignore the authority of local law enforcement.
What resulted was an unbelievable show of force, including over federal 200 agents, among whom were snipers whose weapons were trained on the protesters. Cliven Bundy’s civil disagreement with the BLM erupted into a government assault which violated the property and personal rights of numerous individuals. Citizens were confronted by BLM agents, tazed, brutalized, arrested and threatened with deadly weapons.
BLM’s assault on the Bundy Ranch, along with numerous other instances of overwrought militarism by federal regulatory agents, lead Utah Congressmen to introduce legislation which would eliminate the various armed ‘law enforcement’ divisions within the federal agencies, and force them to recognize the authority of local law enforcement in disputes. Utah sheriffs joined their representatives in supporting the law that would de-militarize increasingly hostile federal bureaucracies.
Although Love was not directly involved in federal actions at the Malheur Refuge in Oregon last year, those operations were overseen by Greg Bretzing, with whom Love worked in coordinating and executing Operation Cerberus. Love is not alone in his extreme, militaristic approach to civil matters. What many conclude was an illegal road block and ambush, resulted in the killing by government agents of rancher, spokesman and father-figure to the Malheur Refuge protesters, LaVoy Finicum. Although FBI agents joined Oregon State Police in the ambush and killing of Finicum, federal operations at the Malheur Refuge, like those at the Bundy Ranch, were under the direction of the BLM.
Love and Bretzing are not accidental hires by a hapless bureaucracy. They hold powerful positions in the most controversial and disreputable federal agency west of the Continental Divide because they are willing to do what most civil servants find appalling; assaulting, arresting, and killing citizens who pose no threat to them, but whom the BLM find problematic in its insatiable drive to control lands, resources and lives in Western states.
Daniel P. Love should be immediately fired by whomever takes the helm in the Bureau of Land Management under the Trump Administration. If the BLM is to ever reestablish trust with rural Westerners, Love, Bretzing, and hundreds, possibly thousands of others in the BLM who have forgotten that The People are the masters of government, and not vise versa, should be fired with extreme prejudice.