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Tag: Portland

FBI Agents Blended into Portland’s Racial Justice Protests to Conduct Surveillance

A fire at a protest in Portland. Photo: Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

FBI agents embedded themselves in Portland’s racial justice protests, wearing plainclothes and marching alongside activists to record their activities and notify local police of potential arrests, The New York Times reports

The covert surveillance of antifascists, communists, racial justice advocates and anarchists continued after protest crowds grew smaller but also rowdier, smashing windows and setting fires. 

When protests turned violent, agents increased their surveillance and reported back to local law enforcement. 

Inside the bureau, some agents worried that the protests went too far, raising First Amendment issues. 

Kieran L. Ramsey, special agent in charge of the Portland Field Office, defended the surveillance, saying agents were pursuing “violent instigators who exploit legitimate, peaceful protests and engage in violations of federal law.”

“At all times, our focus was on those planning and committing significant criminal activity or acts of violence,” Ramsey said. 

The surveillance continued into 2021. 

Selfless TSA Agent Helps Family After They Flew to the Wrong Portland

TSA Office Martin Rio. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

A confused family found themselves in the wrong Portland after a travel agent booked them a flight to the wrong city.  

Instead of flying to Portland, Maine, the family of three landed 3,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon. 

That’s when TSA Officer Martin Rio came to the rescue. Asked to interpret for the Spanish-speaking travelers at a checkpoint, Rios figured out what had happened. 

“Martin is always quick to help out his team members,” Supervisory TSA officer Kaitlyn Arnold said in a news release. “He has a very positive attitude and is always smiling. I know I can always count on Martin to be dedicated to the mission.”

The confused and disheartened family spent the night in a terminal. Rios walked the family to the ticket counter and helped them buy the correct tickets. 

But the family was low on finances, so Rios dug into his pocket and covered the travel expenses. 

“[Rios] is a go getter and the fact that he chose to support these passengers in their time of need was no surprise to both his team and our leadership,” Senior TSA Manager Jeremy Alanis said. “Martin is, and has been since day one, a shining example of what it means to be a team player. [He’s] the kind of officer and person any airport in the country would be proud to have as a member of their team.”

Rios was awarded the PDX’s Make the Connection Quarterly Award for his actions. 

Demonstrators Attacked ICE Building in Oregon, Leading to Arrests

ICE building damaged in Portland, Or. Twitter/@LauraJedeed

By Steve Neavling

At least eight people have been charged in demonstrations that left an ICE building vandalized in Portland, police said. 

Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, police said a group of roughly 150 people converged on the ICE building on the 4300 block of S. Macadam, tagging it with graffiti that included messages such as “Reunite families now” and “Kill cops!!!”

Some demonstrators were wearing gas masks and helmets and carrying batons, fireworks, shields, umbrellas, rocks and pepper ball guns, police said

Federal officers converged on the building at about 9:45 and pushed protesters back. In the meantime, Portland made arrests. 

Earlier in the day, protesters also attacked the Democratic Party of Oregon’s headquarters, smashing windows and spraying graffiti. 

Federal Task Force Fatally Shoots Man Accused of Killing Trump Supporter in Portland

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man accused of fatally shooting a President Trump supporter in Portland was killed Thursday as a federal task force tried to arrest him.

Federal investigators were moving in to arrest Michael Reinoehl, 48, when officials say he pulled a gun on the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, The Associated Press reports.

Law enforcement then shot Reinoehl, who was the suspect in the fatal shooting of 39-year-0ld Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of the right wing group Patriot Prayer.

Reinoehl was shot at roughly the same time that Trump expressed impatience that the suspect was still at large.

On Thursday night, Trump expressed impatience with law enforcement.

“Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!” Trump tweeted.

In a social media post, Reinoehl described himself as “100% ANTIFA.”

Watch 13-Minute Axios Interview Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s interview with Axios.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf discussed Portland protests, systemic racism, domestic terrorism and other issues in this 13-minute interview with Axios.

Wolf pushed back against “this idea that we have systemic racism.”

“That means that we have designed a system that every law enforcement officer that goes through a law enforcement academy, a training facility, is somehow installed with racist views,” Wolf says.

He adds, “Again, I’m not saying that there’s not racist tendencies in some law enforcement officers. I think I wanna be clear about that. But again, what people mean by systemic racism is that we have designed an institution, a law enforcement institution, to be racist from the get-go. And I just — I don’t subscribe to that. I don’t believe in that.”

Other members of Trump’s administration who have denied systemic racism are White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Attorney General Bill Barr.

The Government Accountability Office said last week that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, were not appointed through a valid process and therefore aren’t legally qualified to hold their positions. The Trump administration rejected the findings, saying the were “erroneous.”

Watch the full interview here:

House Committee Launches Investigation into Homeland Security’s Actions in Portland

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee is investigating Homeland Security’s involvement in protests in Portland and other cities.

The investigation, launched Monday, also will review the dissemination of intelligence reporters on journalists and protesters.

“Let me be clear: the reporting regarding the monitoring of peaceful protesters, creating and disseminating intelligence reports about journalists and protesters, and potential exploitation of electronic devices is deeply troubling, Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to top DHS officials.

“The revelations thus far require a full accounting, and, if substantiated, must never be allowed to occur again,” Schiff added. “The Committee is therefore initiating, pursuant to its unique oversight and legislative authority, an investigation of I&A’s activities in Portland and in support of the Department’s response to protests nationwide.”

Homeland Security has drawn intense criticism for clashing with protesters and compiling intelligence reports on journalists covering protests in Portland.

The panel is calling at least nine DHS officials to testify in August.

Schiff ended his letter, saying the committee will consider “all options necessary to obtain compliance—including compulsory process.”

On Monday, Janet Napolitano, the former head of Homeland Security, criticized the department’s role in policing protests in Oregon, calling it “an abuse of authority” in a Washington Post op-ed.

Napolitano: DHS Must Return to Its Mission of Protecting Americans, Not Attacking Them

Janet Napolitano, former head of Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Janet Napolitano, the former head of Homeland Security, criticized the department’s role in policing protests in Oregon, calling it “an abuse of authority.”

“This is not why DHS was created, it is not what it is supposed to do, and I’m confident that most DHS officers who have been directed to run patrols against U.S. citizens are troubled by this operation,” Napolitano says in a Washington Post op-ed. “DHS has a broad and important public safety mission, but nowhere in its foundational documents, in law or in policy, is the department authorized to target the American people who have assembled to protest the actions of their government.”

Napolitano says the “egregious misuse” of DHS has prompted renewed calls to dismantle the department, which she says would be a mistake because its task is “to protect our nation against any number of hazards and threats.”

“It defends against terrorism, cyberattacks, threats to U.S. borders, waterways, public infrastructure and aviation systems, and helps the country prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters while providing support, capacity, capability and intelligence to state and local officials,” Napolitano writes. “Since 9/11, zero planes have been weaponized as instruments of terrorism.”

DHS is now in the news “not because of the harm it is preventing but because of the harm it is doing,” citing border policies of placing “children in cages.”

Napolitano says DHS must return to its original mission.

“We were there solely for the purpose of protecting the American people. Not to attack them.”

AG Barr Defends Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland at Testy Hearing

Attorney General William Barr testifying Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr defended the use of force by federal law enforcement in Portland during a combative hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

After nearly two weeks of clashes between protesters and camouflage-clad federal officers outside a courthouse in Portland, Barr said the demonstrations devolved into riots that were “an assault on the government of the United States.”

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said in a prepared statement. “Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law.”

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., accused Barr of using federal officers as an election ploy for President Trump.

“Real leadership would entail de-escalation, collaboration and looking for ways to peacefully resolve our differences,” Nadler said.

Barr countered “we cannot just stand aside and watch the federal court be destroyed.”

Last week, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials, saying DHS was not “designed for that purpose.”

Barr also insisted systemic racism doesn’t exist within law enforcement, drawing criticism from Democrats.

“I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country,” Barr said.