New documents reveal CBP's reach into Americans cities goes far beyond Portland

New documents reveal CBP's reach into Americans cities goes far beyond Portland

This month, President Donald Trump has drawn a great deal of criticism from Oregon officials over the presence of federal law enforcement officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and other agencies in Portland. These federal officials have arrested and detained protesters over the objections from local leaders, stirring national outrage.


However, journalist Ken Klippenstein reports that according to a CBP document obtained by The Nation, its “support to local law enforcement” has “extended far beyond its controversial Portland deployment.”

The CBP document, Klippenstein reports in The Nation, is a “draft of the agency’s answers to questions posed to them by Sen. Kamala Harris on June 5, 2020” and “details the assets CBP deployed in response to requests for assistance from local law enforcement agencies across the country.” According to Klippenstein, CBP’s support to local law enforcement “includes not just thousands of personnel, but also, drones and dozens of other aircraft.”

“So many local law enforcement agencies requested support that, according to the document, CBP was not aware of any state or local entities that explicitly declined assistance,” Klippenstein explains. “The assistance includes a broad array of services like aerial surveillance, crowd control, unmarked vehicles and plain-clothes surveillance. Several requests involve specialized tactical units like CBP’s amphibious Riverine Force.”

The document, according to Klippenstein, shows requests from police departments in major U.S. cities that include New York, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.

“It is unclear when CBP intends to provide the information to Sen. Harris,” Klippenstein notes. “According to the document, between May 20 and June 10, these requests resulted in 326.4 hours of aviation assets deployments as well as 2174 personnel.”

The CBP document states, “The policies require the use of identifiable agency uniforms with badging and name tapes on the outermost garment: e.g., jacket, body armor.” And according to Klippenstein, CBP “appears hesitant to answer Sen. Harris’ questions” in parts of the document.

The Nation has published a copy of the document with Klippenstein’s article. One of Harris’ questions is: “Have your agencies deployed personnel or equipment to any jurisdictions that did not request assistance?” — to which CBP responds, “No. CBP has only deployed assets and resources as requested.”

Another question is: “Have any state or local entities requested that you not deploy personnel or equipment in response to the demonstrations?” And CBP responds, “Not that we are aware of, no.”

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