Tuesday June 18, 2013
Joint Terrorism Task Force Report at CouncilMichael Munk Salem-News.com
The report is actually nearly a verbatim copy of the Chief's report from last year with few exceptions.
(PORTLAND, OR) - Our new mayor is stonewalling the public about how his police bureau's resurrected (2011) cooperation with the FBI in the "Joint Terrorism Task Force" has been going.
The report is actually nearly a verbatim copy of the Chief's report from last year with few exceptions:
1-- after stating how revealing how many cases the Bureau has helped the JTTF investigate may compromise their investigations (which still makes no
2-- The description of the two officers in the Criminal Intelligence Unit
3-- Whereas last year, the Chief stated the officers did not work outside of Portland, this year he says "I assigned officers to work on a JTTF investigation outside the City of Portland, after consultation with the Commissioner-in-charge." Now, does "this year" mean 2012, or 2013? Was the Commissioner Adams or Hales? Did they work within Oregon or leave the state? Who knows.
4-- Explaining why the officers received "Secret" clearance instead of "Top Secret" clearance, the report explains the difference would be if they needed to "access FBI facilities unescorted or obtain access to informant source information." It occurs to me that the Chief reports he "will not need clearance above the 'Secret' level to manage [the officers'] work with the JTTF," but doesn't say whether he might seek to obtain that level of clearance anyway. That his clearance level might be higher than the Mayor/Commissioner's was the main reason Mayor Potter pulled out of the JTTF in 2005.
--5 Instead of saying he'd met with the FBI Special Agent in Charge "numerous" times and "certainly at a rate of more than twice a year," the Chief now says he conferred on "several occasions" and receives briefings "a few times a year."
--6 There is no longer a link to the Standard Operating Procedure for the JTTF, and when I pasted in the old link it led me to a generic page for the PPB.
If you're wondering about the man recently arrested on charges of supporting terrorism, a Q&A on the Mayor's website < http://www.portlandoregon.gov/
The agreement with federal authorities and the city of Portland was not invoked in this case. No Portland Police officers were involved in the FBI investigation. One patrol car was in the area of the search warrant for traffic control only."
Last year, we wrote (with the support of the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Lawyers Guild, the League of Women Voters, the Arab Muslim Police Advisory Council, CWA Local 7901, and Portland School Board member Martin Gonzalez) a letter to Council outlining the deficiencies in the report(s). We asked for more detailed information, particularly how many hours officers were working given the tight city budget, and exactly how many cases were involved. The new report does not adequately address any of the concerns raised in that letter. The most concerning one is that the term "criminal nexus" is still not defined, and we believe the FBI will invoke need for Portland Police at a lower threshold than would be appropriate under Oregon law (ORS 181.575, requiring reasonable suspicion of criminal activity).
I also noticed that the resolution guiding the report requires the City Attorney to check in with the Oregon Attorney General each year to be sure that Oregon law. Since no report is required from the City Attorney, we don't know whether that has happened.
The only item regarding the Commissioner in Charge that is noted in this report is that Mayor Hales met with the FBI on February 14.
There are still no names named (even the Assistant Chief of Investigations, who was Eric Hendricks until January, and is now Donna Henderson, nor City Attorney David Woboril, who is again referred to as a "Senior Deputy City Attorney who has provided legal advice to the Police Bureau for over fifteen years").
The report still refers to "acts of war" in its section defining "terrorism" even though there is no mention of "acts of war" anywhere else in the document.
Given the very few differences between this report and last year's, it's astounding that the Chief needed an extra two months to put it together.
We certainly deserve better and more information.
I am reminded that the Human Rights Commission issued an analysis of the JTTF in early 2011 when the debate opened up whether Portland should re-join (after the 2010 "Holiday Tree bombing" sting).
I hope to round up many of our same community partners, and of course the ACLU who had been working more directly with the City on the resolution last year, to testify on Wednesday. I hope others who are interested in transparency will join us.
Michael Munk tries to glean important but overlooked items from the world media on the issues of the day and posts them on an irregular schedule. Although items can overlap, he also maintains separate lists for activists in Portland, Oregon and the Northwest, and special lists for: Labor, Latin America, Israel, Torture Taxis, Korea, and the Czech Republic.
Michael is a highly praised writer from an important generation whose book, the Portland Red Guide, has received high praise.
"City Commissioner Nick Fish gave me a copy. Sat down on my sofa and couldn't put it down until I finished. Fascinating!"
"Whoop! Whoop! I'm impressed by how many names from Portland's past have not made it into our official histories and public memorials. Some were good friends of mine. Local history is too often overlooked. Good work, Mike."
Visit the new photo gallery on Michael's website: www.michaelmunk.com
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