Dont delay connection to terrorism task force
The death of mass murderer Osama bin Laden is an event to commemorate, but Portlanders also should be aware that his demise actually may increase the risk of retaliatory terrorist attacks in the short run.
For that reason, as well as for the long-term interest of public safety, we believe the city of Portland and the FBI should move as quickly as possible to fully engage the Police Bureau with the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The City Council made the right decision last week when it voted to rejoin the task force, yet loaded that decision down with a bunch of Portland-specific conditions that will govern local police officers' participation.
Those conditions, intended to protect civil rights, were necessary to gain enough council votes to approve rejoining the task force. We understand and applaud the compromise. However, now is the time to expedite and expand investigations into potential terrorist activities - not get bogged down in bureaucratic process.
As reported in today's Tribune, it could be weeks or months before completion of the operating procedures and FBI clearances needed to rejoin the task force. In light of the heightened possibility of attacks - whether homegrown or imported - we believe the public would feel safer if it knew today that all local agencies were fully working together and sharing information regarding threats of terror.
One way to accomplish such cooperation is to move more rapidly toward reconnecting Portland to the larger Joint Terrorism Task Force.