Shame: Portland rejoins FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)

Shame on Mayor Hales and the Portland City Council for Rejoining the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)

The Progressive Party applauds Commissioners Fritz and Novick for voting against rejoining the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)

Progressive Party members Jason Kafoury and David Hess spoke against the City of Portland rejoining the JTTF agreement at the February 5, 2015, City Council meeting. Only Police Chief Larry O’Dea, U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall and a representative from the Portland Business Alliance supported rejoining the JTTF. Over 35 activists, including Brandon Mayfield, spoke against rejoining the agreement. Over a hundred citizens attended. Please watch the videos at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/article/518464.

In 2005, Mayor Potter courageously pulled the City of Portland out of the JTTF agreement. The reasons cited included the lack of security clearance provided the city officials who were responsible for police oversight, preventing those officials from protecting the public. The City of Portland was the only large city in the U.S. to take this position and say no. Later, in 2011, the City decided to participate in the JTTF again, but only on an as needed basis.

After a furious lobbying effort by the FBI, Mayor Hales agreed to hold a new vote on whether to fully participate in the JTTF again.
Three proponents, arguing in favor of full participation, utilized scare tactics, and suggested Portland would be the next Boston or Paris if we did not rejoin. The threat of ISIS coming to Portland was also used to set the tone of the discussion.

Mayor Hales agreed to hold a vote two weeks later. On the day of the vote, no further public testimony was allowed. The Mayor cast the deciding vote in favor with Commissioners Fish and Saltzman to fully rejoin the JTTF. The Progressive Party applauds Commissioners Fritz and Novick for voting against rejoining.

Portland tax payers now fund two full time Portland Police officers who will operate under Federal law which allows far broader and more invasive spying powers than Oregon law. The Mayor does not have FBI security clearance. The Chief of Police only has limited clearance. Therefore, the top two officials in the chain of command have little to no oversight power.

Oregon law (ORS 181.575) states, “No law enforcement agency, as defined in ORS 181.010, may collect or maintain information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct.”

Federal law does not contain these restraints. Under Federal law, spying on activist groups, and religious and minority groups, is legal unless the individual or groups protected status is the “sole reason” the individual or group is targeted.
The Progressive Party will continue to lobby against the JTTF agreement.

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