117 Members Demand Answers About Deployment of Unidentified Federal Law Enforcement Personnel and Ongoing Actions in Portland
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) and 116 of her House colleagues demanded information from Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in a letter about unidentified federal law enforcement personnel deployed in Portland, Oregon over the objections of state and local officials. Last month, Lofgren and more than 120 Members requested information from Barr about unidentified and unaccountable law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. and they still have not received a response.
In the letter, led by Reps. Jamie Raskin, Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer, the Members wrote: “It is now apparent that no U.S. city or town will be safe from these dubious tactics and that the Washington, D.C. deployment may have been a dry run for deployment to other cities. Reports indicate that at least four federal law enforcement agencies have now deployed forces – including undercover officers - to Portland, Oregon to monitor and quell protests without coordination or communication with local officials or law enforcement. These newly deployed officers are in camouflage uniforms with no badge or insignia denoting their agency or identity. As when they were deployed in Washington, D.C. last month, the federal officers in Portland are unidentifiable and therefore remain unaccountable for any violations of citizens’ constitutional rights. Portland is apparently not the last place citizens and public officials will encounter such deployments as suggested in a recently leaked Customs and Border Patrol memorandum dated July 1, 2020, which states that “resources [have been] deployed in several states.”
The Members continued: “This is not legitimate law enforcement under our Constitution but a shocking slide into authoritarianism and police state tactics. Every agent and every police-citizen encounter must be governed by the Constitution. But these new tactics are an outrageous assault on the liberties of the people and the police powers and political sovereignty of the states. The deployment of roving units of secret police under the control of the President is an absolute affront to the Bill of Rights, which vests inviolable civil rights and liberties in the people and core police powers in the states—not a tyrannical and overweening federal government.”
In addition to Raskin, Bonamici, Blumenauer and Lofgren, the letter is signed by Carolyn B. Maloney; Peter A. DeFazio; Cedric L. Richmond; Donald S. Beyer Jr.; David N. Cicilline; Karen Bass; Marcy Kaptur; Terri A. Sewell; Juan Vargas; Jimmy Gomez; Jared Huffman; Frederica S Wilson; Joaquin Castro; Brian Higgins; Wm. Lacy Clay; Chellie Pingree; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Steve Cohen; Mike Thompson; Suzan K. DelBene; Eleanor Holmes Norton; James P. McGovern; Kathleen M. Rice; Madeleine Dean; Bonnie Watson Coleman; Ro Khanna; Anthony G. Brown; Bobby L. Rush; Brendan F. Boyle; Jesús G. "Chuy" García; Jerry McNerney; Rashida Tlaib; Dina Titus; Ilhan Omar; Sylvia R. Garcia; Dwight Evans; Jan Schakowsky; David E. Price; Kathy Castor; Ted Deutch; Veronica Escobar; Donald M. Payne, Jr.; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell; Jim Cooper; Gerald E. Connolly; Bill Foster; Katherine Clark; Jim Himes; Pramila Jayapal; Anna G. Eshoo; Donna E. Shalala; Joe Courtney; Lizzie Fletcher; Mike Doyle; Raja Krishnamoorthi; Jimmy Panetta; Joe Neguse; Gregory W. Meeks; Alan Lowenthal; Mark Takano; Mike Quigley; Scott H. Peters; Adriano Espaillat; Joseph P. Kennedy, III; Tom Malinowski; Stephen F. Lynch; David Trone; Mary Gay Scanlon; Salud O. Carbajal; Frank Pallone, Jr.; Mark Pocan; Judy Chu; Grace Meng; Brenda L. Lawrence; John Yarmuth; Peter Welch; Bradley S. Schneider; Mike Levin; Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.; Doris Matsui; Nita M. Lowey; A. Donald McEachin; Angie Craig; Julia Brownley; Harley Rouda; Peter A. DeFazio; Alcee L. Hastings; Seth Moulton; G. K. Butterfield; C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger; Jackie Speier; Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Richard E. Neal; Ed Perlmutter; Ted W. Lieu; John B. Larson; Adam Smith; Bill Pascrell, Jr.; Maxine Waters; Darren Soto; Jahana Hayes; Marcia L. Fudge; Abigail D. Spanberger; Andy Kim; Al Lawson; Mikie Sherrill; Ann Kirkpatrick; Linda T. Sánchez; Daniel T. Kildee; Antonio Delgado; Ayanna Pressley; and Raul M. Grijalva.
A copy of the letter is available here.