SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

Homeland Security officers remaining in Portland, acting secretary says

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf defended the department's response to unrest in Portland, Oregon, saying that violence in the city directed at f...

Posted: Aug 6, 2020 10:40 AM

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf defended the department's response to unrest in Portland, Oregon, saying that violence in the city directed at federal property and personnel eventually required him to deploy supplemental law enforcement officers.

Testifying Thursday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Wolf sought to draw a distinction between the peaceful protests in Portland and the violence directed at the federal courthouse and police officers.

"The department is aware of the national dialogue taking place around racism and law enforcement practices, and we continue to support and defend every American's right to exercise their First Amendment rights," Wolf said.

Wolf blamed local and state officials for providing "little to no" support for DHS officers protecting the federal courthouse.

DHS and Department of Justice officers were "abandoned" due to the dangerous policies by local officials, Wolf said.

The acting secretary testified that DHS personnel remain in Portland as a precaution.

"As of today, the full-augmented DHS law enforcement posture remains in Portland. They will continue to remain until we are assured that the Hatfield federal courthouse, as well as other federal facilities in Portland will no longer be violently attacked," he said.

Making the case to keep officers in the city, Wolf said, over the past seven days Portland police have declared a riot on four occasions, adding that lasers have been directed at officers and "numerous arrests" have been made.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, began the hearing cataloging violence across the US in recent weeks, tying it to anti-police rhetoric and protests that spread across the country.

Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, accused the Trump administration of escalating conflicts. He said the "heavy handed" tactics used by the department caused additional chaos. Peters also raised concerns that the "singular focus on protecting federal property is distracting the department from addressing the threat posed by domestic terrorism."

"The decisions this administration has made in recent months has put DHS personnel at unnecessary risk and because you chose to escalate conflicts, you not only risked our officers' safety, you risked the safety of American civilians," he said.

Peters said he hoped to hear testimony from Portland officials to get their side of the story.

DHS has also faced criticism for recent actions taken by the department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis related to the protests. A week ago, The Washington Post reported that DHS' intelligence office had sent Open Source Intelligence Reports to federal law enforcement agencies summarizing tweets sent by two journalists who had published leaked unclassified government documents while covering the unrest.

Wolf told the lawmakers he was informed of three instances of information being distributed as part of the DHS "Open Source Reporting Program" that also identified members of the press.

Wolf said he stopped the practice and removed the head of the office, Brian Murphy, after being informed of the incidents.

The department's watchdog -- the Office of the Inspector General -- is now managing the investigation into the incident, Wolf said.

Current and former DHS officials have criticized the department's role in Portland, arguing that the administration's actions are eroding the public's trust in DHS, a department formed in the wake of 9/11 to combat terrorism and enhance coordination among agencies.

Former secretary of Homeland Security under President George Bush, Michael Chertoff, recently said the department's actions are putting "public trust at risk" and that its response in Portland shows no respect for or coordination with local authorities, Peters said, questioning Wolf.

"On this point, he is dead wrong," Wolf said, arguing that he had tried to coordinate with local officials.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 392197

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60432839
Washington42082398
Marion39986507
Clackamas32861382
Lane30179358
Jackson24956361
Deschutes23639185
Umatilla15135182
Linn14704179
Douglas13438292
Josephine10201246
Yamhill9787143
Klamath9072147
Polk8248102
Benton611138
Malheur592790
Coos5693107
Columbia433356
Jefferson420866
Lincoln363852
Union339255
Crook336356
Wasco317046
Clatsop262735
Baker220833
Tillamook217045
Hood River214537
Morrow197825
Curry192439
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105616
Wallowa76013
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5087907

Reported Deaths: 74561
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152858627184
San Diego4074794340
Riverside3880835358
San Bernardino3748555967
Orange3346265736
Sacramento1684922447
Kern1578751804
Fresno1568972259
Santa Clara1522681929
Alameda1252361507
San Joaquin1076041834
Ventura1040841191
Contra Costa1038691046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare861371099
San Francisco56931672
San Mateo56354629
Monterey52521626
Solano47693358
Santa Barbara47345553
Merced45086668
Sonoma43207412
Placer42204470
Imperial38516773
Kings35221362
San Luis Obispo31511360
Madera26233311
Shasta26113458
Butte25476318
Santa Cruz22268224
Yolo21590260
Marin18495249
El Dorado18325166
Sutter14577186
Napa13424105
Yuba1076389
Tehama10282130
Humboldt10183119
Nevada10029105
Mendocino857799
Lassen797656
San Benito782979
Tuolumne774691
Lake7046110
Amador578366
Siskiyou475855
Glenn457436
Calaveras442288
Del Norte376942
Colusa325921
Inyo256746
Plumas19397
Mono18924
Mariposa160718
Trinity99817
Modoc7725
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
Unassigned810
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Brookings
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 42°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 42°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 26°
More developing valley fog tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events