A Very Telling Vote 

It's Time for Council to Stand Up Against Task Force

FBI Special Agent Robert Jordan wants you to know you should be very, very afraid.

For the past few weeks, with a vote pending on whether to reauthorize the controversial Joint Terrorism Task Force, Jordan has gone on a media blitz, telling both the Portland Tribune and OPB that there may be Islamic fundamentalists living amongst us who "took vows to kills Americans." But, of course, he is unable to provide specifics.

Since 1997, city council is asked every year to re-approve the agreement between local police officers and federal law enforcement agents. This vote usually arrives in September or October. But this time around, as the Task Force has come under increasing scrutiny, city council has balked.

Sure, it will be a tough vote and could send ripples throughout the country. (Portland would be the first city to disband its Task Force.) But that's why leaders are elected: To do something, and to stand up against the tyranny of a federal government. Instead, mayor Tom Potter has yet to even schedule a vote.

A year ago, Randy Leonard began raising doubts about the Task Force and its lack of oversight. Concerned, Leonard begrudgingly approved the Task Force in October 2003, but only if both the mayor and police chief received security clearances.

But the granted clearance is not enough. The mayor and chief only receive limited information about the Task Force's operations. In response, Leonard has, this time, vowed to vote against reauthorization.

The Task Force was scheduled for a vote four months ago, but out-going mayor Vera Katz tossed the political hot potato to Potter.

Not only has Potter's hesitancy allowed the FBI to spread its terror propaganda, but it sheds particularly troubling light on both Potter (for not acting) and council member Erik Sten who, in the past, has voiced his opposition, but done nothing more than throw up his hands in despair.

But now, with Leonard and Sam Adams voting against the Task Force, it looks as if Sten could be the necessary swing vote. After years as the lone self-proclaimed progressive, Sten must now prove himself to be the tough-willed politician he's always claimed to be, putting his vote where his mouth is.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Comments are closed.

From the Archives

More by Phil Busse

Staff Pick Events

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy