Adams, Leonard refine terrorism task force pact
Groups might protest city decision during Thursday council hearing
Mayor Sam Adams revised his proposal for the city to rejoin the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force late Tuesday, two days before a City Council hearing on the plan.
It drops the intent of entering into a legally binding memorandum of understanding between the city and the FBI, which Adams proposed last week. Instead, the new proposal is entirely a city resolution setting forth the conditions under which the Portland Police Bureau would participate in task force investigations.
The council will discuss the resolution during a hearing at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 28. It is unclear whether the council will vote on it at that time.
According to Adams, the new resolution had been worked out by Commissioner Randy Leonard, perhaps the most outspoken critic of the task force on the City Council.
'The city will be well served by this agreement,' Adams said. 'I want to thank Commissioner Leonard for taking on the challenge of refining the language in the draft resolution.'
The resolution released Tuesday specifies that 'PPB officers shall work with the JTTF only on investigations of suspected terrorism that have a criminal nexus; in situations where the statutory or common law of Oregon is more restrictive of law enforcement than comparable federal law, the investigative methods employed by PPB officers working on JTTF investigations shall conform to the requirements of such Oregon statutes or common law.'
The final draft resolution also includes a new clause that states, 'the city of Portland and FBI have decided not to enter into a memorandum of understanding for the JTTF, but the city will be cooperating with the JTTF according to the terms of this resolution.'
The council pulled the Portland Police Bureau out of the JTTF six years ago when former Mayor Tom Potter complained he could not supervise the officers assigned to it. Concerns were raised about whether the FBI would investigate people based on their religious and political beliefs, a violation of Oregon law governing state, county and city law enforcement officers.
The issue resurfaced in late November after the FBI arrested a young Muslim on charges of plotting to bomb the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square. His federal public defenders are suggesting the FBI entrapped their client.
Before Tuesday's afternoon announcement, activists opposed to the city rejoining the task force said they plan to protest against any possible agreement at City Hall in advance of the hearing.
The announcement by the Progressive Party called on "anti-war protesters, Palestinian rights activists, Muslims, environmental activists, animal rights activists, the house-less and ethnic minorities" to join the protest.