PORTLAND -- The Portland City Council held a town hall meeting to debate whether to re-join the Joint Terror Task Force Thursday night and quite a few citizens spoke out in opposition of the potential change.

I would like to discuss the FBI's involvement and I mean involvement in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1991, said one man.

In Southern California, they took this guy fresh from prison and had him going to mosques trying to persuade people to join Jihad, added Portland attorney Greg Kafoury.

Portland pulled out of the FBI terrorism task force back in 2005. Then-Mayor Tom Potter said he wanted to ensure officers did not investigate people because of their religious or political views. The issue has since returned to the forefront due the alleged bomb plot in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square and the arrest.

Background: Portland terror bomb plot in Pioneer Square

Nearly six years later, those fears were still present in the minds of many who spoke.

What do we gain by staying out of the JTTF? We don't have our police officers our statutes and our constitution, said Brandon Mayfield. Mayfield, falsely accused of participating in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, is opposed to returning to the JTTF.

The FBI has recently raided the homes of anti-war activist in Minneapolis and Chicago. I would like to think we don't need to invite more of that to Portland, said a member of the audience.

The city plans to vote on the issue February 24th. In the meantime, United States Attorney Dwight Holton will work to make the case that their participation is vital and will not violate laws or rights.

We look at people based on credible information that they are involved in criminal activity or taking part in some criminal activity and not on the basis of religion background or first amendment beliefs. We simply do not do it, said Holton.

Holton argued that much has changed since the Bush administration. He said illegal wire taps, torture and profiling is no longer tolerated.

They're all gone. We don't do that anymore, said Holton.

Holton said any Portland officers joining the JTTF would operate within the letter of the law and would serve as valuable members in the fight against terror.

Read or Share this story: