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Tag: Chad Wolf

Memo: Federal Agents in Portland Not Adequately Trained in Riot Control Or Mass Demonstrations

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents who were sent to Portland to quell protests were not adequately trained in riot control or mass demonstrations, Homeland Security warned in an internal memo.

The memo, dated Thursday, was written for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who criticized local officials’ handling of protests that resulted in property damage at federal buildings, The New York Times reports.

The presence of federal officers has drawn widespread criticism and lawsuits after videos circulated on social media showing the officers in camouflage grabbing protesters from the streets and loading them into unmarked minivans.

“Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies,” the memo warns.

Among those sent to Portland were tactical agents from a group known as BORTAC, a SWAT-type team that typically investigates drug smuggling organizations, not protests.

Homeland Security spokesman Alexei Woltornist said the federal agents received “additional training for their deployment in the city” to help the Federal Protective Service.

The sight of federal officers shooting tear gas and non-lethal projectiles at protesters appears to have escalated “fear and violence” in the city, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosemblum argued in a lawsuit filed Friday against Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, and CBP.

Federal Officers in Unmarked Vans Are Seizing Protesters in Portland without Explanation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal officers in camouflage and unmarked minivans are detaining protesters in Portland without the approval of local and state officials.

Videos posted on social media show federal officers grabbing protesters off the street without explanation and driving off with them in unmarked vehicles.

Since early July, officers with U.S. Marshals, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations have been in Portland, ostensibly to protect federal buildings.

But federal officers “are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren’t near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

Civil rights attorneys question the tactics, saying the federal officers appear to be violating protesters’ rights to due process.

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” attorney Juan Chavez, director of the civil rights project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says, calling the arrests “terrifying.”

“You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he says. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was not happy with the presence of federal law enforcement.

“We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t,” Wheeler tweeted Thursday evening. “We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline.”

On Saturday night, a protester was seriously injured when a federal agent fired a crowd-control weapon at him outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was in Portland on Thursday and criticized the mayor and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

“Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city,” Wolf said in a news release. “Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”

Wolf released a list of property crimes involving federal buildings.

“This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law. DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them. Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists,” Wolf said.

Wheeler said the federal officers are escalating tensions by using “life-threatening tactics,” accusing President Trump and Wheeler of “weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence.”

Homeland Security Department Struggles Under Trump, Inspector General Warns

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security under President Trump is struggling to execute its mission to keep the nation safe because it lacks a permanent leader, a cohesive plan and sufficient staffing, the agency’s inspector general warned in a new report.

Last week, Chad Wolf became the fifth leader of the federal government’s third-largest agency. It’s not a permanent job because he’s been named as acting secretary.

In fact, nearly one-third of the senior leadership positions are filled by “acting” officials, according to the report, which was released Monday.

“Unfortunately, many of these senior leadership positions continue to suffer from a lack of permanent, presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed officials,” Inspector General Joseph Cuffari wrote.

The agency also has a work environment “marked by high attrition, changing mandates and difficulties implementing permanent plans, procedures and programs,” the report states.

The agency’s failure to hire an adequate amount of employees has been “exacerbated” since Trump became president.

“Since its inception, DHS has had difficulties ensuring it can expeditiously hire and retain highly qualified workers,” the report states. “This situation is exacerbated by changes and vacancies in senior leadership, which are often beyond DHS’ control.”

Trump has struggled to retain rank-and-file employees and leadership because of his intense focus on immigration. Homeland Security was created, in large part, to combat terrorism after 9/11.

Chad Wolf Becomes 5th Homeland Security Leader under President Trump

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security has its fifth leader under President Trump with the appointment of Chad Wolf as acting secretary.

After Wolf was sworn in Thursday, he named immigration hard-liner and acting head of ICE Ken Cuccinelli as his deputy.

Wolf replaces acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who resigned earlier this month after leading the agency for about six months.

Wolf served as chief of staff under former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

Chad Wolf Moves Closer to Becoming Trump’s Fifth Homeland Security Secretary

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Chad Wolf is closer to becoming President Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary.

The Senate voted primarily along party lines to move forward on Wolf’s nomination as Homeland Security policy undersecretary.

Today, the Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation.

Once he is confirmed, Trump can appoint Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary. For Wolf to become the leader of the agency, he must hold a Senate-confirmed role under federal law.

Wolf will replace Kevin McAleenan, who resigned in October.

Still, Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the lack of an acting director for the nation’s third largest department. Homeland Security hasn’t had a permanent secretary since Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April.

Wolf was Nielsen’s chief of staff.

Senate May Vote on Chad Wolf’s Nomination to Lead Homeland Security by Tuesday

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Senate may vote as early as Tuesday on President Trump’s pick of Chad Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary.

If approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, Wolf would be Trump’s fifth leader of Homeland Security, a department that has been shaken up by its focus on immigration.

A closure vote today would open the door for a full floor vote next week, CBS News reports.

Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan would resign if Wolf’s nomination is approved.

It’s unclear whether Trump plans to tap Wolf for the permanent secretary position.

Trump’s Search for Fifth Homeland Security Secretary Hits Snag

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s search for a fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years just hit a major snag.

Two of his purported top picks are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession, White House officials told Trump, according to reports in Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

Trump was gunning for Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Immigration hawks have endorsed Cuccinelli.

White House officials gave Trump a list of other potential candidates who could take over as DHS head after acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan leaves at the end of the month. Among the names are DHS Assistant Secretary Chad Wolf, a former chief of staff of ousted DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske.

Trump has been considering Wolf to be acting secretary, Politico reports. But Wolf’s position on immigration has been considered weak.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.