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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can Portland's mayor pass an FBI background check?

Today's Trib suggests that perhaps he can't:

For the city to rejoin the [Joint Terrorism Task Force], Adams – the police commissioner – would have to pass an FBI background check that would undoubtedly rehash the Beau Breedlove scandal and delve into his history of personal financial troubles.

Failing the check would be embarrassing.

But nothing new.

Comments (21)

Why would the FBI want a dishonest, incompetent and untrustworthy creep in the JTTF?

Is there any doubt the FBI laughs (with Portland cops) at Portland leadership behind the scenes and are glad Portland's the only city in the country who is opted out of the JTTF.

Or, Sam could claim victory on the police issue, hand the bureau back to Dan, and then leak all kinds of things suggesting that Dan's going to have trouble with the background check.

Jeez, Did you even need to ask? This was exactly the point the last time around on this. Even everybody's original do-gooder grandpa mayor, who was a former Police Chief FCOL, wasn't given one, so couldn't be briefed on what the armed and dangerous whose paychecks he signed were up to. It completely defeats civilian control, let alone plain, old-fashioned chain of command. And, if you think that isn't the exact intent, you are smoking something pretty good.

I personally have had secret level security clearances on various occasions while being a contractor for the feds. I can say for certainty that Adams because of his financial problems and his sexual activities with an underage person will not be able to get the clearance.

To set the record straight:

When Tom Potter was Mayor, he met with the Oregon U.S. Attorney and the Oregon Office of the FBI on a regular basis to ensure the safety of Portlanders.
• After the City Council withdrew the Portland Police officers from the JTTF Tom continued to meet on a regular basis with the Oregon office of U.S. Attorney and the Oregon office of the FBI to ensure effective exchanges of information and coordination continued.
• The FBI assured him they would contact the Police Bureau and Mayor’s Office immediately if there was a credible threat to the City of Portland.

In addition, all parties agreed that if there were a real threat of a potential terrorist attack, the mayor would re-engage the Portland Police Bureau with the JTTF on a case-by-case basis.

Regarding security clearance:
• As Mayor and Police Commissioner, the FBI did not allow Tom to participate in the JTTF oversight committee because the committee had only law enforcement officials on it. The Portland Police Chief was a member of the JTTF oversight committee and had access to information not available to the Police Commissioner.
• The FBI told Tom he could not have Top Secret security clearance because he would not be involved in JTTF investigations.
• However, the FBI did grant him Secret Clearance, which allowed him a very general briefing on security issues in Portland and Oregon.

Until Tom retired from office the first of January, 2009, the City of Portland and the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s office and FBI continued our meetings and exchanges of information.

During his time as Mayor, neither the FBI nor the U.S. Attorney ever raised a SINGLE issue where our discontinuance in the JTTF jeopardized the well-being of Portlanders or impaired any investigatory process.

There are a few questions about the failed bombing attack at Pioneer Courthouse Square that should be considered:

• What is the current exchange of information between the FBI, Oregon US Attorney’s Office and the Mayor and/or Police Commissioner?
• Why was the Mayor unaware of the failed attack until hours after it was over?
• How would being a member of the JTTF have changed the outcome of the failed attack?

Why was the Mayor unaware of the failed attack until hours after it was over?

Perhaps because the "failed attack" consisted of a guy across town calling a fake number on a phone that was not actually connected to six barrels of fake explosive in a van? I mean, it wasn't a "failed attack" in the sense of a guy with guns who tries to kill people and gets tackled by bystanders or whatever. There was never any actual threat in this case.

It was like him firing a machine gun into a crowd, but finding out the gun had only blanks in it. It's a failed attack.

Karin, your second question of why was Sam unaware of the failed attack probably has some relationship to Sam's recently not greeting Obama at the airport.

From good sources he was to be in the greeting party with other Oregon politicians. He was nowhere to be found. He wasn't even at the airport overseeing the Portland police detail as he claimed, and as the media reported and with no investigation by media to it's truth. It's like his no-show in Europe to speak at a conference.

Something isn't right with Sam and the FBI and others know it.

It might depend on how many inches of mercury he can pull.

there's a comma after "Sam" in the last sentence. Makes a big difference.

• Why was the Mayor unaware of the failed attack until hours after it was over?

He's unaware of most things.

Governor Ted was briefed in, some three days prior to the event. Of course, his Oregon State Police are part of JTTF, unlike Sam's Portland Police.

It was like him firing a machine gun into a crowd, but finding out the gun had only blanks in it. It's a failed attack.

Except in your example, everyone sees him with the gun, people hear the noise of the blanks, people get terrified, etc. In this instance...what, people saw some suspicious guy pull out a cell phone and call someone? Or people downtown saw a normal looking van that did not explode, as is the case with most normal looking vans? There was no fear or panic caused by this fake attack, because it was fake, and didn't happen.

Karin, you mention that Tom Potter got a secret clearance. I wonder if that was all that different than the security clearance ROTC students receive to gain a minimum understanding of military tactics and strategies, and if so, it's not that hard to receive. I would agree with those who say our current mayor is not likely to clear a background check with the FBI to be included in top level discussions. He may be left as need to know, like he was here.

A "secret" federal security clearance is the middle tier of standard federal clearances: Classified, Secret, Top Secret.

I don't know what ROTC students receive, but I suspect it's something significantly less. I had a secret clearance up until 2002, and it took 10 months and was a very involved FBI background check. In addition to the standard criminal, credit, and other database checks, they contacted family, friends, college professors, neighbors, etc., and then asked those people for a larger list of others to contact. They even contacted the landlord of the apartment that I lived in when studying abroad years earlier. From what I can tell, there were three standard interviews: 1) past or current drug use assessment; 2) general character assessment; 3) whether you harbor any ambitions to overthrow the U.S. government.

For all that, I saw one classified (not even secret) document in five years.

I think our mayor would have a problem when he is asked to put down "character" references as Miles notes above. I am sure he knows a bunch of characters, but not the type that could vouch for him in a background investigation. It used to be Confidential, Secret and TS.

How can an attack fail if (a)it has no chance of succeeding, and therefore (b)is not an actual attack? Or am I to believe that as long as you *think* you're breaking the law, you are?

So--does this mean if I give somebody a real $100 bill, but tell them it's counterfeit and they believe me and spend it anyway, that they broke the law? They believed they were breaking the law--so I guess they were.

What a surprise? 2 consecutive mayors cannot pass a top secret clearance for info on the jttp. Both have sexual skeletons in their closets and have the balls (!) to blame the FBI on this. Where is the local press on this issue? You cannot have girlfriends while you are married (1st mayor) or boyfriends and 2 foreclosure proceedings (2nd mayor). I have been through this process and all you have to do is keep your record clean. No wonder Oregon and Portland are a joke nationally.

as long as you *think* you're breaking the law, you are?

If you pull the trigger thinking there are live bullets in it, it's still attempted murder even if all there is in the gun are blanks. You need to read up on the crimes of "attempt."

There's a reason why his lawyers are going with entrapment as a defense. If that fails, he's going down for attempted mass murder.

The clearance for ROTC cadets isn't for tactics. It's part of the precommissioning process. All officers are required to hold a secret clearance, or higher for certain positions.

"There was no fear or panic caused by this fake attack, because it was fake, and didn't happen."

There was no fear or panic caused when the underwear bomber failed, or the Times Square bomber failed, either. Were those "fake" as opposed to "failed" attacks? It's all about intent - if there had been a real bomb, there would have been a real explosion and real people - maybe your friends and loved ones - killed by this moron.

He wanted to kill as many as possible and went through the motions necessary to kill them. The fact he was set up to fail by the FBI is a good thing, not a bad one.

I see no moral ambiguity on this point.

The legal question is a separate question, and well above my pay grade, but I bet several DOJ lawyers consulted on this project, and at least one of them would have some working knowledge of entrapment defense.


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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 3
At this date last year: 0
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