PORTLAND -- Following the arrest of suspected terrorist Mohamed Mohamud, Portland city leaders are considering a return to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, while the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the idea.
Oregon ACLU Executive Director Dave Fidanque said his organization has always opposed Portland's participation in the JTTF. Fidanque said some of the methods of the task force violate Oregon state laws, including spying on people for religious or political activities. The ACLU is also concerned that a lack of oversight for local officers in the JTTFcould lead to illegal activity.
Officers without supervision may be breaking the law, and the City of Portland would be responsible, Fidanque said.
The ACLU plans to meet with Mayor Sam Adams next Monday, and Fidanque said the organization has also met with several city commissioners.
Adams said that he will reconsider Portland's involvement in the JTTF, after city leaders -- including Adams himself -- voted the city out of the task force in 2005.
Portlanders want us to move expeditiously but they also want us to be thorough so I intend to take that kind of approach in looking at the issue of membership in the JTTF, Mayor Adams said Wednesday. I want to be really clear, again, I'm coming at this issue with an open mind.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman -- who was the only commissioner to vote against leaving the JTTFin 2005 -- is still interested in getting Portland back into the task force.
We need to move forward, Saltzman said in a press release. We must not delay when the safety of our residents is at stake.
Saltzman has proposed that city leaders vote to rejoin the JTTF at their Dec. 8 city council meeting. Fidanque said the ACLUwill be at that meeting to comment on the issue.
I do believe that we owe it to our citizens to make an affirmative decision well. To make a decision one way or the other and not to let it just sort of drift into the ether and that's my concern, Saltzman said Wednesday.