[pjw] INFO: Auditor's office won't look for improper PPB info sharing with feds

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon Aug 30 19:17:48 EDT 2021

Peace and Justice Works and Portland Copwatch supporters:

Back in April, the Auditor's office contacted us for input into a planned
audit they are doing on the Police Bureau's Criminal Intelligence Unit--
the unit that houses officers deputized to take part in the Joint
Terrorism Task Force. Also, I would add, the unit that improperly spied
on our organization twice in the 1990s (1992 at our first meeting and
1998 during a protest against a bombing of Iraq).

We sent them a lengthy email including our history with the CIU and why
it's important that someone audit their files to be sure they're both in
compliance with the state law prohibiting collecting or maintaining
information on people's social, political or religious affiliations with
no suspicion of criminal conduct. We noted that as part of the
resolution of the case Squirrel v. City of Portland (aka Squirrel v.
Moose, after the PPB Chief at the time), the City was required to review
CIU files every 2 months and 2 years. The Independent Police Review was
assigned that task in 2001 when it was created, but apparently stopped
in 2006 because court orders only last 10 years. So in other words,
nobody outside the PPB has checked to be sure they're following state
law for 15 year.

On Friday, we sent the below email to the Auditor's office, asking them
to reconsider their decision not to look into whether Portland Police
improperly shared information on Black Lives Matter protestors last year
with the FBI (and its Joint Terrorism Task Force). We received a
response by the end of the day, which I have included below, in which
the Auditor's office says they chose not to investigate that question
because it would require compelling information from the FBI.

I have replied just now with this message:

  Ms Pape
  Understandably, if the PPB shared any documents with the FBI and then
  properly disposed of those documents, your audit will not turn up that
  information without receiving information from the FBI. However, we
  strongly urge that if your audit finds improper information having been
  collected or maintained by the PPB's Criminal Intelligence Unit AND
  those documents indicate that they were shared with the FBI (or other
  federal agencies), such information should be part of the final report.
  dan handelman
  peace and justice works/portland copwatch

I've included Ms. Pape's email address in case other people feel like
following up on this.

dan handelman
peace and justice works/portland copwatch
(Sorry for duplication with the Copwatch list)

-----Original Message-----
From: Portland Copwatch <copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2021 9:38 AM
To: Pape, Elizabeth <Elizabeth.Pape at portlandoregon.gov>
Cc: Hull Caballero, Mary <Mary.HullCaballero at portlandoregon.gov>;
  Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
Subject: Re: Portland Police Audit

Ms Pape and the Audit Team:

Thank you for sharing your update on the audit of the Criminal
Intelligence Unit. While we believe there are important aspects to the
scope you have laid out, particularly whether there was inappropriate
targeting/labeling of people of color, we are very concerned that you
have left of cooperation with federal authorities from this audit.
Federal law enforcement agencies were deeply involved in policing the
protests last summer and the likelihood of "intelligence" being shared
improperly is quite high.

Here are our concerns:

1) If the Criminal Intelligence Unit shared information with the federal
government about people who are not actually suspected of criminal
conduct, those files could stay on record permanently even if the PPB
purges their files.

2) Even though there are policies in place around Bureau's involvement
in the Joint Terrorism Task Force and interacting with immigration
officials, there is no third party reviewing the PPB's actions to ensure
they are following those rules.

3) Since it is unlikely such an audit will be performed again in the
near future, this audit should be as broad in scope as possible, rather
than too narrow.

We urge you to include the question of the CIU sharing information with
the federal government in this audit.

Thank you

dan handelman
peace and justice works/portland copwatch

-----------------forwarded message-------------------

From: "Pape, Elizabeth" <Elizabeth.Pape at portlandoregon.gov>
To: Portland Copwatch <copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
CC: "Hull Caballero, Mary" <Mary.HullCaballero at portlandoregon.gov>,
   Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
Subject: RE: Portland Police Audit
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2021 23:45:39 +0000


Thanks for following up with your comments on the Police Intelligence
Gathering audit scope. We heard similar concerns from a couple of people
so we prepared a response.

I'm sorry we won't be addressing the potential audit objective about
police cooperation with the federal government and instead chose to
focus on how the police used intelligence during the 2020 social justice
protests. Choosing what to audit is usually the most difficult and
impactful choice we have to make in any audit. We heard so many serious
concerns from community members and had to choose an objective where we
thought we could be most effective at making actionable recommendations.
We can be more effective with a narrowly scoped topic than we can
getting bogged down in a big audit that touches lightly on many topics,
but doesn't really get to the core of any.

A limitation on the topic you wrote about in your message, which we
didn't mention in our memo, is that the federal government is not likely
to share information with us. We have deep access to records created by
Portland officials and can compel employees to speak with us, but we
don't have any jurisdiction for federal documents or employees. For
example, as part of our audit, we have asked for documents the Criminal
Intelligence Unit receives from other jurisdictions. Most local law
enforcement partners allowed us to see the documents they shared with
Portland Police, but the federal government refused to share anything.
We have no recourse except to note the refusal in our methodology.

We know there are more questions about the Portland Police Bureau than
we could ever answer. We're glad that there are people like you who are
engaged and willing to hold public officials accountable. I know it's a
long shot, but the GAO has a "find an expert" page with contact
information for the Director of their Homeland Security and Justice
Team. She may be able to tell you more about federal oversight of
intelligence gathering for ICE and the JTTF. See:

Your concerns are important, but we believe we can be more impactful
with the audit objective we chose. I hope you continue to be interested
in the audit and that we are able to answer some of your questions and
address some of your concerns.


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