Portland City Council splits on hotly debated JTTF report

Portland City Council splits on hotly debated JTTF report
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish voted to accept the JTTF report. Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick (not pictured) voted to reject it.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland's tense relationship with the Federal Joint Terrorism Task Force got a little hotter Wednesday.

The City Council was split on whether to accept the annual report on the JTTF and some on the council say the report isn't worth much.

Some City Council members say the report has few details about how Portland police officers are used in the task force.

Portland split from the federal antiterrorism group in 2005 after the FBI wrongly accused Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield of playing a role in a terrorist bombing.

Since then, Portland's police chief has been the only one granted secret clearance by the feds when it comes to local investigations that might include using Portland police officers.

While the chief says Portland police rarely take part in those investigations, critics say the city still needs to know exactly how those officers are being used.

"All of you should know, because you're our representatives. And we want a report to understand how much the FBI is controlling our police department," said Joe Walsh, who addressed the Council.

City Commissioners Steve Novick and Amanda Fritz voted to reject the report.

"I think that the report itself is problematic and as currently constituted, will simply be a source of ongoing frustration for everybody," Novick said.

But the two other commissioners and Mayor Charlie Hales voted to accept it. Still those three also said the system for deciding the city's future with the JTTF has to change and some suggested holding forums to air public concerns.

Additionally, Hales is seeking secret clearance from the FBI so he too can be told about the JTTF activities. The two mayors before him were denied that clearance.