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Response to Sam Adams' JTTF Proposal

A clear analysis of major problems in Mayor Sam Adams' JTTF proposal.
The draft JTTF resolution does a very good job trying to balance the interests of FBI with local interests in the abstract given that proposal choses to entangle the PPB with the JTTF once again. It is a really tremendous first effort and shows its roots in the diversity, creativity and populism of Portland and the Mayor's office. Certainly, a proposal not to coordinate with the JTTF except to receive information would be the more wise choice for safety and privacy of our citizens (though politically dangerous). Notwithstanding the poor choice to engage with the JTTF at all, there are several fatal flaws in the proposal as it stands which will ultimately fail again to protect the civil rights and liberties of Portland and Oregon citizens. Unfortunately, the proposal in its current form amounts to a return to business as usual for the PPB and JTTF. This draft is just the a kinder, gentler Old Emperor in new clothes that are not so transparent.

First, while the proposal and S.O.P for the PPB have many reporting and notification requirements, neither the proposal or SOP has concrete methods for deterring police conduct. In short, the proposal and SOP have no teeth and will not be effective to limit the abuses it seeks to address. Rather than flimsy notification and reporting requirements, the resolution should put in place mechanisms that will shut down the PPB's entanglement with the JTTF given certain triggering events without the need for political intervention. That is, there must be concrete consequences for failures, not just reportage of the failures which can be addressed at the discretion of the Police Chief or Commissioner.

For example, a provision in the resolution which temporarily, and later permanently, halts all PPB involvement with the JTTF in the event of increasing bad conduct by the PPB or FBI, which the PPB knows or has reason to know, violates any Oregon statute, local, or common law. Under the current proposal, when there is a failure to conform to applicable law, it is, if one is so naive to belief, merely reported within the PPB hierarchy. Infinite numbers of such violations can occur, yet there is no mechanism that requires the operation to be shutdown. It should be noted that political will is generally not forthcoming when even fabricated threats to the safety of the voting public are involved. That is, leaving it to the mayor and city council to build consensus shut things down when the operation inevitably goes awry, will be to no avail. The fact that there is even this proposal now from the Mayor's office to step back into mouth of the whale after our previous experience shows just how much political pressure there is to go off fighting terrorist windmills or be perceived as not "tough on terrorism". The chances of the Mayor, Chief, or Commissioner shutting it down even with glowing violations (entrapment of a young minority boy, for example) is slim to nil.

Further, while *maybe* the current city administration would make the right call, this resolution continues into future administrations which may not be so open, inclusive, or concerned with privacy and civil rights. Without real enforcement of consequences for violations of the resolution which internally stop the operation, citizens can expect the same violations of their civil rights as before. Many options which will be effective at deterring and stopping violations could be added to the proposal; now it is toothless.

Second, even if one were to believe in effective notification, reporting, or the tooth fairy, the proposal lacks effective citizen/civilian oversight. A key provision missing from the proposal is the office of the Mayor having the clearance necessary to monitor the operation. Perhaps if the Mayor was the police commissioner, this would not be as big an issue. However, when the Mayor is not the Commissioner, the secret information can not likely be shared without an NDA.

Beyond this, there is no citizen oversight. Citizen oversight of the PPB has, at times, been effective (when it has teeth) to curb abuses. Likely, the only effective oversight of the process will require a citizen review board which will be composed of at least one member who also receives the secret clearances. Lastly, the Police Chief's non-classified summary report to the City Council is most likely to be pro-forma and contain no useful guidance to the public. To remedy this, the resolution should include, with particularity, what data will be required so that it is not left to the discretion of either the Chief or the city administration. For instance, this data should include, at least, the number of times PPB officers asked the City Attorney for clarifications or reported suspect or actual violations of applicable laws. it should also include the current number of ongoing investigations, race of the targets, and the operations rough locations. A citizen oversight commission should, at least, be empowered to approve or reject the Chief's report and ask for additional non-classified information. Without detailed and *enforceable* reporting requirements, the JTTF / PPB operation will again be a black box with little black fingers inside which stretch out into the personal, political and social lives of citizens. Especially those that have views or associations unpopular with current federal administration.

Lastly, it is arguable that the restriction that "PPB officers assigned to the JTTF must at all times comply with all Oregon laws, including but not limited to ORS 181.575 and 181.850, and City policies and SOPs." is no restriction at all. The PPB, and state officials generally, are not in the business of enforcing federal law, but work with JTTF entangles them with federal law. While ORS 181.575 and applicable case law may be more restrictive when applied to the types of crimes as defined by Oregon and local statutes, these restrictions may do little or nothing to curb civil rights violations when applied to enforcing federal laws like the incredibly vague anti-terrorism laws like 18 USC 2331 and its ilk.

The very law cited by the proposal, 18 USC 2331, sounds remarkably like the Espionage and Sedition acts, not only in their vagueness, but in their spirt. ORS 181.575 prevents law enforcement from "collect[ing]t or maintain information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct." But, this restriction applies to criminal activities and conduct as defined by Oregon *state* law most of the time. So, it is one thing to keep PPB from collecting information about the social/political views of citizens when it is related to everyday murder, rape, or theft, but what limit is there really when the investigation relates to criminal activity that "appear[s] to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion ..."? (18 USC 2331). The PPB acting under the direction of the JTTF to do "full investigations" involving federal crimes will have to figure out how to decide whether it is violation of Oregon law to collect information on someone that, for instance, might *appear* to be *intending* to *intimidate* a civilian population. It is a good thing that the City Attorney *might* be asked clarifications, because a Oregon Supreme Court Justice would probably lose a night's rest trying to figure out how privacy law developed in the context of state criminal conduct applies to vague federal statutes.

In short, there is not enough guidance for PPB officers working with JTTF as to how to apply Oregon's privacy laws and this can not likely be overcome in the context of the current proposal. For example, a real limit would be to authorize the PPB to participate in "full investigations" with the FBI only with respect to conduct with is crime under Oregon or local state law. PPB resources and officers could go after targets doing criminal conduct as defined under state law, and the G-Men could handle the more alchemic stuff. In this way, citizens would be guaranteed that PPB would be operating within the sphere of state law and the officers would be in familiar policing territory, rather than having to turn in their badges for the black robes of a high court judge.

With respect to ORS 181.850, the proposal does little to ensure the rights of the diverse immigrant population in Portland. Sure, the PPB won't be able to help pursue immigration violations, but in the JTTF context they would never be asked to do that. The proposal's cite to 181.850 as a protection is a red herring. Regardless of whether the allegation is true that the JTFF entrapped the Somalian boy in Pioneer square this last year, the JTTF was not interested in deporting him, they were interested in stopping him from (or encouraging him to) set off a bomb. If they singled him out because of his nationality or skin color, it was not to put him on boat back to Somalia, but to pick the right type of character to tell the story. To protect the diverse citizens of Portland, the proposal needs to itself impose a strict anti-discrimination protocol with explicit reporting guidelines and enforcement mechanisms which deter abuse.

homepage: homepage: http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=346016


In The Loop - emails going around 21.Apr.2011 19:11

JTTF

Hi

The hearing was announced on the Tribune's website and from someone in the Mayor's office as being set for 2 PM on Thursday the 28th-- not the evening time that was earlier announced.

Also, it is in fact Oregon's Attorney General who will be consulted about the legality of continuing to participate, according to the ACLU.
--dan h

--Portland Copwatch



Begin forwarded message:


From: Portland Copwatch < copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org>
Date: April 20, 2011 9:53:24 AM PDT
To: Anti-PJTTF/Portland Copwatch < copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org>
Subject: INFO/ACTION? Mayor's plan for Portland JTTF; hearing Thurs 4/28?


Hi--
Below is the announcement from Mayor Adams that he has drafted an agreement with the FBI that he hopes to pass at City Council next Thursday, April 28 at 6 PM. I've read the draft documents and I don't see anywhere in there a reference to getting three to five Police Brueau Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) officers clearance so they can attend daily briefings of the PJTTF. I am baffled that the Mayor's statement would indicate something which, essentially, undercuts the rest of what is a mostly supportable document by saying the PPB will be at the FBI headquarters daily but really isn't part of the PJTTF-- wink, wink.


Otherwise, here's the summary as I see it:

--PPB can't participate in gathering info or "preliminary investigations" before there is any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (yay)

--The Chief will get top secret clearance (yay) but his elected supervisor, the Poilce Commissioner, only gets Secret clearance (boo! this was one reason the Council withdrew in 2005)

--The City Attorney will be consulted about possible violations of Oregon law (yay) with special clearance from the FBI (yay) but only when the officers have a question about whether their work violates the state law (boo).

--The Chief has to consult with the Police Commissioner before assigning officers to the JTTF (yay).

--The City will receive a report each January about the PPB's work with the PJTTF (yay) and the City Attorney will consult with the Attorney General about whether it's appropriate to keep working on the PJTTF (yay... though it is unclear whether they mean Oregon's Attorney General or the United States Attorney for Oregon)

--Any substantive changes to the protocol have to be cleared in a public hearing at Council (yay) and any time a Chief, FBI head, US Attorney of Police Commissioner changes over, the Police Commissioner has to inform all parties about the agreement (yay-- FBI Agent Balizan said he didn't know anything about the agreement before the Holiday Tree sting operation).

The link to the resolution and SOP are in the Mayor's letter.
I'll try to get you more information as it comes up.
--dan handelman
--Portland Copwatch

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 07:19:21
From: Mayor Sam Adams < MayorSam@portlandoregon.gov>
Subject: Today, I'm releasing my draft JTTF proposal. I'd like your input.

April 20, 2011

Dear Portlanders,

The federal government standard agreement governing local governments that work with a terrorism task force is overly complex. So complex, in fact, that its being retooled by the FBI. Here in Portland, elements of our 2005 JTTF resolution are out of date: Portland needs to update our policy direction on this matter.

Today, I'm releasing a draft Resolution and Portland Police Standard Operating Procedures document (  http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=346016 ) (link to PDF) that offers the federal government a new approach and a stronger partnership to prevent terrorism, protect civil rights and liberties, and enhance Portlands value of an open and inclusive community.

Before I finalize this proposal, I invite your questions and comments about it. Please email me at  mayorsam@portlandoregon.gov . I have requested a public hearing to discuss it on Thursday, April 28, at 6 pm in Portland City Council Chambers.

In recent years, except for logistical assistance, the Portland Police Bureau has not assisted with federal terrorism investigations. At present, no Portland Police officer on the Criminal Investigations Unit has the security clearance needed to assist with terrorism investigations. Until last year, the Police Chief did not attend JTTF Executive Committee meetings--instead, sending a representative.

Neither our safety nor our civil rights are best served by current practices. We can do better.

My proposed new policies offer vastly more resources than the status quo to the federal government to prevent terrorism. It requires three to five Portland Police officers to seek the necessary security clearance to attend regular terrorism task force briefings. It says the Police Chief may assign officers to assist with investigations where a criminal predicate exists. Immediate and unfettered City assistance is available to the federal government if a critical incident or imminent threat exists. The federal government will be able to accept our offer of new resources in part or as a whole.

My draft approach also significantly strengthens the oversight functions to protect civil rights and liberties and Portlands openness. The federal government directs the work of police officers assigned to a terrorism investigation. However, to ensure accountability to Oregon and local laws, officers remain in the Portland Police Bureau chain of command. Police officers are required to report questions or violations of Oregon and local law. The Police Chief, with the City Attorney, must make an annual report to council on the Portland Police Bureaus work with the JTTF. High security clearances must be sought by police chief and police commissioner.

I appreciate the thoughtful input we have received so far on this issue. Now, take a look at the draft documents (  link to www.portlandonline.com --you can also find extensive background on this issue at that site.

Sincerely,

Sam Adams
Mayor

Whats all this (P)JTTF stuff? 21.Apr.2011 19:14

link passer

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/406297.shtml
JTTF Rally
author: Fidelity_Axiom

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/406363.shtml
JTTF Rally

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/01/405453.shtml
VIDEO: FBI Terrorism Task Force JTTF joining Portland Police - A Town Hall Forum 1.13.11


 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/405928.shtml
Video: Portland Human Rights Commission meeting 2.3.11 Should Police Join with FBI JTTF?

 http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=FBI's_Joint_Terrorism_Task_Force
FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force


 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/01/405163.shtml
Video: FBI speaks at Portland Human Rights Commission Meeting 1/5/10 in Portland

 http://www.blueoregon.com/2005/04/portland_and_th/
Portland and the JTTF Decision 2005 (blueoregon)


 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Terrorism_Task_Force

Joint Terrorism Task Force
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia