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Has PJTTF gone from 9 - 40 officers? They were secretly there all along!

Say What!? There was never any mention in all the public hearings last year, of these other 31 "local investigators". So much for the idea of open dialog and accountability. It is only because of a casual comment in the Oregonian that citizens now know that these other 31 investigators in the PJTTF exist!
Two thirds of the way through an Oregonian article on the new FBI, the article quietly said: "The Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which before Sept. 11 included nine police officers from Portland and Beaverton working with six FBI agents, now has 40 full-time local police investigators teamed with 12 FBI agents."

Though the Oregonian had no interest to inquire into what would be massive changes in the JTTF, Portland's activist community is vigilent and a local citizen wrote a letter to Mayor Katz and the City Council asking for clarification.

The Mayor replied: "Portland's committment to the Joint Terrorism Task Force has not changed. The phrase "local full-time police investigators" does not refer to the Portland Police Bureau alone. I spoke with FBI spokeperson Beth Ann Steele to get some insight into the number quoted in the newpaper. According to Ms. Steele, the number includes local representatives of such agencies as the INS, IRS, US Postal Service, Secret Service and USDA."

Say What!? There was never any mention in all the public hearings last year, of these other 31 "local investigators". So much for the idea of open dialog and accountability. It is only because of a casual comment in the Oregonian that citizens now know that these other 31 investigators in the PJTTF exist!

Mayor Katz avoided addressing the statement in the Oregonian that the number of FBI agents has gone from 6 up to 12

additional info 12.Jun.2002 17:56

sparkle

* One local activist has used the revamped "Citizen Communication" process to get himself on the City Council agenda next week to give them an earful about civil rights. There may still time to sign YOURSELF up as well. (The process has been revamped, but it used to be that you had till 5pm Thursday to sign up for next Wednesday's meeting.) Call the City Clerk at 503-823-4086 for details.

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Dear CW supporters:

In September and October, 2001, Portland stood up for its civil rights and called for the Portland Joint Terrorism to be either dismantled or, at minimum, to have truly independent civilian oversight. After the Council had to pass the ordinance renewing the Task Force a second time, they mentioned that the PJTTF gives semi-annual reports on its activity.

In that light, the ACLU and several other groups (including Copwatch) sent the Mayor and Council a letter on April 17 asking for answers to lingering questions, suggesting the six-month period (which presumably ended in mid-April) was a good time for community review.

While we received no response from the Mayor, local activist Kathleen Juergens, reacting to the Oregonian's article (6/2) that mentioned the PJTTF allegedly has 52 members now, 12 FBI and 40 "local law enforcement."

Mayor Katz only responded to one of Kathleen's many questions, stating what we surmised by talking with the article's author and given the budget crunch at the Bureau: That the 40 members does not represent an expansion of Portland Police personnel (previously 8 full-time) but means other local law enforcement agents are part of it. What makes this more confusing is that Mayor Katz identified local _Federal_ agencies (like the INS) who are participating; Mark Larabee at the Oregonian suggested these were members of _other_ local jurisdictions (Beaverton, Eugene, etc). We're still not sure if the FBI was talking about the PJTTF or the ATTF, the Anti-Terrorism Task force mandated in each judicial district (at least 80 in all) by Ashcroft after 9/11.

In any case, since the Mayor still hasn't replied to the ACLU, nor has she suggested a mid-year report on the PJTTF (which would probably prevent the heated atmosphere she found herself in last year in September!), now may be the time to gently remind her ( mayorkatz@ci.portland.or.us/ or 503-823-4120) to answer the questions.

The ACLU letter (which we signed) is attached below.

Thanks, Portland Copwatch

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Mayor Vera Katz and Commissioners:

As all of you will recall, the below signed organizations appeared before the Council last October to testify in opposition to renewing the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF) as currently constituted. Despite our concerns, no changes were made to the agreement that was renewed in October 2001.

At the conclusion of the hearing, a number of issues and concerns were raised and not fully addressed. However, we were pleased that there was also a commitment by Council to follow up on these issues. Both Commissioner Francesconi and Sten expressed concerns about the need for civilian oversight. While they wondered about limitations on such review, City Attorney Jeff Rogers testified that there was nothing in the law that prohibited instituting civilian oversight. Commissioner Sten expressed concern about the auditing of the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) records and what steps can be employed to address the concerns about compliance with the review and purge obligation under ORS 181.575. At the conclusion, Mayor Katz stated her willingness to continuing to review and address these issues.

Now that we are approaching the six-month anniversary of the renewal of the PJTTF, we ask Council to provide a written report addressing the various issues set forth below so that as a community we can have a better understanding of the scope of work by the Portland police officers who are operating as the PJTTF, be assured that the safeguards that we all think so important are in place, and be assured that there is compliance with both the spirit and letter of Oregon laws.

We believe the timing of this request is appropriate in light of the required semi-annual written summary on the PJTTF. In the Memorandum from Elise Marshall to City Council, October 2001, Answer to Question 5, Ms. Marshall states "The Portland JTTF will provide regular operational briefings regarding its investigations to Chief Mark A. Kroeker. The Portland JTTF will also provide semi-annual written summaries of its operations to all participating agency heads, including the Portland Police Bureau."



We ask that the following information be contained in that promised report:

*A listing of actual operations conducted by the PJTTF in the past 12 months. In Chief Kroeker's presentation before Council in October 2001, he reported on "The Results" of the JTTF. The only Portland result was a "Portland Bank Robbery Stopped" in 1996 (page 7, slide 13). Not only does bank robbery not constitute an act of terrorism under the definition, the JTTF was not in existence in Portland in 1996 as Ms. Marshall points out in her Memorandum (Marshall Memorandum, Answer to Question 3).

*A description of the duties of the CIU officers and the duties of the PJTTF officers. There is a good deal of confusion on this issue that would benefit from far more detailed explanation to and understanding by the community.

*An explanation as to why all or some of the CIU officers were transferred into the PJTTF.

*An explanation as to when and why Portland officers operate as both CIU and JTTF officers at the same time.

*An explanation as to who decides when the officers are acting as deputized federal officers or acting solely as Portland police officers.

*An explanation as to how, if at all, distinctions are made between the roles of CIU and PJTTF officers vis-a-vis the collection and maintenance of files on on-going criminal investigations and on closed criminal investigations.

*As Chief Kroeker reported in his presentation, Portland JTTF officers are housed at the FBI offices. If CIU and Portland JTTF officers are one in the same, please clarify when files created by CIU would ever be reviewed and purged in accordance with Oregon law.

*A clarification of what specific law prohibits the existence of any form of civilian or city oversight of joint terrorism task forces. Ms. Marshall states that is simply "inconsistent with the Federal Privacy Act, the U.S. Department of Justice regulations and FBI policy referred" (Marshall Memorandum, Answer to Question 7). Please provide the specific citations. Further, clarify whether or not the FBI is subject to civilian oversight from Congress.

Finally, in response to the concern raised by Commissioner Sten, please provide

*A description of the method, frequency, responsible office and person, and oversight mechanism for reviewing and purging files maintained by the CIU as well as the Portland Police Bureau in general, in compliance with ORS 181.575.

picture 13.Jun.2002 00:12

photoshopping rebel boy

"If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - George Orwell's "1984"
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