FBI has deployed surveillance teams inside Portland protests

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has scrutinized the federal response in Portland, said in an interview that while federal agents have th...


Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has scrutinized the federal response in Portland, said in an interview that while federal agents have the right and responsibility to protect federal property, the bar should be raised when it s act as agencies monitoring political gatherings.

“The Department of Justice needs to explain to me why they have deployed these teams and provide a real record of their activities,” Wyden said. “Why were they there? Were they there primarily to cool peaceful protesters, or were they there to protect federal property? “

At the inauguration day protest in January, around 200 people gathered. “We are ungovernable,” said one of their placards.

Local and federal law enforcement records show that around half a dozen federal agents were there that day, at least some of them doing what has been described as surveillance they planned to do. to follow protesters who engaged in property crimes or violence – even though the protest that day began on the east side of town, away from federal property downtown. Officers spotted and followed several people who had broken windows, following the individuals for several blocks until local law enforcement officers arrested them.

Four officers testified before a local grand jury reviewing indictments against protesters who had been arrested. A person familiar with the procedure said one of the officers said federal officers were dressed in black clothing, which suggests officers were trying to disguise themselves as protesters. FBI officials declined to discuss the specific tactics or clothing used in their operations.

Prosecutors have secured charges for six people on riot and criminal mischief charges.

Mike German, a former FBI special agent specializing in domestic terrorism and covert ops and now a member of the Brennan Center for Justice, said such surveillance operations inherently risk violating First Amendment rights. They should only be used when there is evidence that a serious crime may occur, he said, and they should be adapted to focus on obtaining the evidence needed to prosecute that crime.

“The FBI should focus its resources on groups engaged in deadly violence, not vandals,” he said.

Mr Cannon, the former FBI supervisor in Portland, said the office was indeed concerned about acts of violence directed against police, the potential for protests to escalate and the toll of the protests on the police office in Portland, whose officers were tired. after months of almost nocturnal clashes in the streets.

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Newsrust - US Top News: FBI has deployed surveillance teams inside Portland protests
FBI has deployed surveillance teams inside Portland protests
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