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Why did Portland Leave the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force?

February 14, 2019

terrorism task force

PORTLAND, OR – Despite the city’s police chief and mayor’s objections, this week, Portland’s city council voted to stop cooperating with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). They claim that the partnership between federal authorities and local officials has ultimately been ineffective.

San Francisco recently made a similar decision back in 2017. However, law enforcement officials say that the decision endangered the public. Additionally, the New York City Police Department’s membership in the JTTF has actually helped stop numerous terrorists. This includes Faisal Shahzad, who would have been the Times Square bomber.

Portland’s Back-and-Forth

However, Portland, a mostly left-wing city, has not had the best relationship with the JTTF. They’ve joined and left multiple times. This most recent split was after a narrow vote, causing tension on both sides. In fact, it appears that Mayor Ted Wheeler can’t wait to leave his job. Portland’s police chief, Danielle Outlaw, claims that the partnership benefited both the FBI and the city.

She stated: “As law enforcement officers and as a community, we need to be vigilant about these issues, but also need to be vigilant about real threats and the fact that there are people intent on harming our community.”

On the other hand, a commissioner who voted to keep the JTTF agreement, Nick Fish, believes that the withdrawal is counterproductive. He stated: “The FBI will continue doing this work without our involvement. I’d rather have our values at the table. Why would we walk away and forfeit our opportunity for oversight of their work?”

Interestingly, the top FBI agent in Oregon gave a statement about the decision. He said: “The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. With the withdrawal of the city of Portland from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, that mission doesn’t change.”

There is clearly a divide between people in the city. It is unclear how the decision will change within Portland as a whole.

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