THE PEOPLE'S REPORT ON THE PORTLAND JOINT TERRORISM TASK FORCE
In 2020, a number of community groups anticipating the Portland Police Bureau (PPB)'s Annual
Report ("Report") on its case-by-case collaboration with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force
(JTTF), published their own "People's Report" raising issues
from the media and the PPB related to the JTTF. Because of the circumstances of 2020-- the
pandemic, the uprising for social justice and the government's response to that movement-- much of
this year's report takes the form of questions this report's authors hope to see answered with the
Bureau's 2020 Report.
January 4, 2021
For years community members have questioned the cooperation between Portland Police and the
FBI's Task Force, in particular because of Oregon's unique anti-spying law, ORS 181A.250, which
prohibits the collection or maintenance of information about people's social, political or religious
affiliations in the absence of suspicion of criminal conduct. That law was reaffirmed by a judge
ruling that the PPB could not livestream images of protests without violating the statute.
It is anticipated that the PPB's Report will be published sometime around January 22 for
presentation to Council on January 27 or 28.
The authors of this report are hoping that the City Council will reject a Report from the Bureau that
does not answer the questions raised below.
For background on Portland's history organizing against participation in the Task Force since 2000,
pulling out in 2005, rejoining in 2011, and pulling out again in 2019, see
QUESTIONS FOR THE PORTLAND POLICE REGARDING COOPERATION WITH
FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
__A. Investigations of political affiliations
1) In late May, the uprisings for racial justice and police accountability began in the wake of the
murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police. US Attorney General Bill Barr pledged to use the
nation's JTTFs to investigate "organizers and instigators" (USDOJ News release, May 31, 2020,
---Did the Portland Police investigate protest "organizers
2) The Nation magazine reported that federal agents were tapping into protestors' cell phones to
gather intelligence ("Federal Agencies Tapped Protesters' Phones in Portland," September 21, 2020
and instigators" as AG Barr directed the JTTF to do?
---Was the JTTF (including PPB) involved in cell phone
3) In Tennessee, activists were visited by JTTF agents based on social media posts, particularly
about organizing for the Black Lives Matter movement ("After Barr Ordered FBI to 'Identify
Criminal Organizers,' Activists Were Intimidated at Home and at Work," the Intercept June 12
surveillance of Portland protesters?
---Has the PPB been involved in JTTF investigations over
__B. Cooperation with federal law enforcement
Portland activist social media posts?
1) This summer, Portland protests were patrolled in part by the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement's Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) division, US Marshals, the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies linked to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. City
Council eventually passed two resolutions limiting interaction by the Portland Police with these
agencies (July 22:
https://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/Record/13915294 ; October 28:
---Did PPB cooperation with federal policing including
2) Beginning on September 26, over 50 Portland Police officers were deputized as federal
Marshals, initially to respond to a right-wing demonstration, but with the deputizations extended
until December 31.
ICE's CBP, DHS, mean defacto work with the JTTF?
---How did deputizing officers as federal agents impact
3) On October 11, an undercover FBI agent helped the PPB arrest a protestor suspected of
breaking windows at the Oregon Historical Society. The suspect was named Malik Muhamad,
raising questions about why the FBI was focused on this one individual. A DHS agent also helped
arrange the arrest of another protestor suspected of helping topple a statue ("Man firing gun in SE
Portland drew officers from Sunday night's downtown protest," Oregonlive, October 12, 2020
the PPB's limited relationship to the JTTF?
---Were the FBI's arrest of Malik Muhamad and the
4) In early November, the FBI announced that the JTTF arrested a Troutdale man for "material
support" of terrorism due to his posts on the internet ("Portland-Area Resident Indicted for
Providing Material Support to ISIS," FBI memo November 5, 2020,
DHS-aided arrest of another protestor on 10/11 connected
to the JTTF, and if so did this fit the rules the PPB has to
follow under the 2019 Council Resolution?
---Were Portland Police involved in the arrest of the Portland
area man indicted for providing "material support to ISIS"?
While the FBI has done some investigations, including undercover stings, about right-wing violent
extremists in the US, these few cases do not erase the FBI's long history of targeting immigrants,
Muslims, leftists and civil rights leaders. Last year's report on the PPB's involvement with the FBI
bore out that most of the suspects investigated-- whether the cases were initiated by the PPB or the
FBI-- were white men, but none resulted in any criminal prosecution. This is in part because, as
with most of the questions raised in this document, the activities investigated did not rise to the level
of criminal activity. As has been pointed out many times, the FBI's guidelines allow investigations
to be started on no more than a hunch, which is a much lower threshold than reasonable suspicion.
With Oregon's powerful anti-spying law in place, it is crucial for the public and City Council to be
sure Portland officers are not being used by the FBI to violate state statutes and civil liberties. One
of the only ways to do this is to ensure transparency in the activities of the Portland Police when
they cooperate with the JTTF.
This report compiled and/or supported by
Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch
League of Women Voters of Portland
Portland Democratic Socialists of America
ACLU of Oregon
Jewish Voice for Peace
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