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City Council to consider Joint Terrorism Task Force renewal, Wed. 11/3, 9:40 am

This is a re-post of action alerts from Mike Munk and Portland Copwatch, as well as an article from the Portland Tribune. The Trib article says the meeting time will be 2pm, but I think the 9:40 am time is accurate, because this is what the City's website (www.portlandonline.com) says. Please double-check before going, and SEE YOU THERE!
The Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force, which incorporates the Police
Bureau's Red Squad is the major local institution established by
Ashcroft's
Justice Department. Mayor Katz and Commissioners Francesconi and
Salzman
are its main
sponsors on the City Council, while Sten and Leonard have objections.

From copwatch amd Peace & Justice Works. Note that this vote comes the
morning after the election!


Leonard, Sten sour on city's pact with FBI
Two commissioners are concerned with oversight of anti-terrorism task
force
By JENNIFER ANDERSON Issue date: Fri, Oct 22, 2004
The Tribune

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two city commissioners are leaning against voting to renew the
controversial Portland FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force when it comes
up for
debate in two weeks.
Commissioners Randy Leonard and Erik Sten said they have growing
concerns
about the task force, the partnership between the Portland Police
Bureau and
FBI to investigate and prosecute criminal acts of terrorism.
"While the concept behind the task force is a good one," Leonard
said
recently on the Web log blueoregon.com, "I have mounting concerns that
its
original mission has been compromised by the policies of President Bush
and
Attorney General John Ashcroft."
The hearing is scheduled for2 p.m. Nov. 3.
Leonard said he's asking Portland police officials why the task
force is
necessary. He also has requested information on cases they've
investigated.
He said he's not confident there is proper oversight to ensure that
Portland
officers who are deputized as federal agents are complying with Oregon
law.
He invoked the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Beaverton attorney whom
the
FBI jailed for two weeks in May in the mistaken belief he was
responsible
for the March 11 rail bombings in Madrid, Spain.
"It doesn't smell good," Leonard said. "It doesn't feel good. . It's
going to be a steep hill for me to climb to reauthorize the JTTF."
Sten echoed those thoughts, while Mayor Vera Katz, Commissioner Jim
Francesconi and Commissioner Dan Saltzman said they continue to support
the
task force and are comfortable with the level of oversight.
"The point remains: Society's changed since 9/11," Saltzman said.
"There
have been too many intelligence failures. We need more cooperation, not
less."
Portland joined the federal Department of Justice's terrorism task
force
program in 2000, becoming one of 56 cities to participate. The
agreement
this year, which would run through next September, would deputize two
Portland officers full-time andallow for the other five officers in the
bureau's criminal intelligence unit to be deployed as needed.
As the police commissioner, Katz has been granted a special "secret"
level clearance in the past year to oversee the task force to ensure
its
activities don't conflict with city and state law.
In a response to Andrea Meyer, legislative director of the American
Civil
Liberties Union, Katz said she monitors the work of city personnel both
directly and indirectly, but could not comment on the specificity of
the
files and investigations she has access to.
Meyer said she doesn't feel it is the mayor's job to determine what
is
legal and illegal activity by police. She said that's the job of the
city
attorney, who decided not to seek the same special clearance.
City Attorney Linda Meng said that decision was made before her
arrival
and declined further comment.
Said Meyer: "Portland will never get the level of oversight it needs
as
such and should not be participating in the JTTF."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The ordinance renewing Portland's participation in the Portland Joint
> Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF) is scheduled for a vote at City Council
on
> Wednesday, November 3, 9:40 AM. Yes, that's right, the morning after
the
> election. Make up your own mind as to why they would do that.
>
> We are once again working with the ACLU of Oregon to sign up
> representatives of faith, labor, civil rights, peace, women's rights,
and
> environmental groups to testify, although as always there will be a
> sign-up sheet for anyone who wishes to testify to sign up.
>
> As most of you are aware, the main concern is that Portland police
> officers who are deputized (as "Special Federal Officers," by the
way, not
> as FBI agents, according to the Mayor) will violate ORS 181.575, the
state
> law which prohibits the collection or maintenance of information on
anyone
> without reasonable suspicion that they are involved in criminal
activity.
>
> This year's memorandum has a few changes, the most significant of
which is
> that Portland now only has two full-time officers assigned to the
PJTTF
> (rather than 1 Lieutenant, 1 Sergeant, 5 officers, and one non-sworn
staff
> as in the past).
>
> Although the Mayor and the Police Chief are now deputized, it is very
> unclear whether they have access to review the actual files being
> generated by Portland Police working with the PJTTF.
>
> In an August letter to the Mayor, we (along with the ACLU, the League
of
> Women Voters and the Japanese American Citizens League) asked a
number of
> specific questions.
>
> In her September reply, she stated "It is not appropriate for me to
be any
> more specific with regard to the types of files and investigations to
> which I will have access," and "It is not appropriate for me to
discuss
> any aspects of specific investigations, on-going or otherwise."
>
> The October 15th draft of this year's memorandum, the letter to Katz,
and
> her reply are posted on our overflow webpage at
>  http://www.aracnet.com/~copwatch.

> As you may know, Peace and Justice Works has been spied on at least
twice
> by the Criminal Intelligence Unit, the division of the Police Bureau
which
> has been incorporated into the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force.

> For other background, including .pdf versions of some of these
documents,
> you should go to the ACLU's website at
>  http://www.aclu-or.org/issues/terrorism/pjttf/PJTTFMainPage.htm
>
> If you wish to write to the Mayor and City Council in advance of the
> November 3 hearing to let them know how you feel about deputizing
Portland
> officers for the task force, their contact information is:
.

> Mayor Vera Katz
> Rm 340 Ph 503-823-4120
> fax 503-823-3588
> ( mayorkatz@ci.portland.or.us)
>
> Commissioner Jim Francesconi
> Rm 220 Ph 503-823-3008
> fax 503-823-3017
> ( jfrancesconi@ci.portland.or.us)
>
> Commissioner Randy Leonard
> Rm 210 Ph 503-823-4682
> fax 503-823-4019
> ( rleonard@ci.portland.or.us)
>
> Commissioner Dan Saltzman
> Rm 230 Ph 503-823-4151
> fax 503-823-3036
> ( dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us)
>
> Commissioner Erik Sten
> Rm 240 Ph 503-823-3589
> fax 503-823-3596
> ( Esten@ci.portland.or.us)