Report: Portland terrorist threat under investigation, others closed
Although the Portland Police Bureau received 10 reports from the FBI of possible terrorist threats in 2019, it is only still investigating one.
Others were resolved after police contacted the suspects and determined the threats were not serious, according to a report to be presented to the City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
Portland continues to receive information from the FBI on possible threats, even though it has withdrawn from the Portland FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. The council is still requiring an annual report about such contacts, however, and the new report documents those in 2019.
Even though all but the current investigation ended with no arrests, the report stresses that terrorist attacks are still a potential threat.
"Sadly, 2019 saw a number of attacks throughout the world that led to significant losses of life. In some of these incidents, the suspects exhibited a clear ideology and motivation for the killings, in others the motivating factors were less clear. Certainly, racially motivated violent extremism, specifically white supremacy and anti-Semitism, were factors in several attacks, including two of the most significant attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas," according to the report, citing two of the most prominent attacks around the world.
In all but the one Portland case, officers determined there were no threats after contacting the suspects. Most of them said they were not serious and some apologized. One described suspected social media posts as part of an artist's project.
The report also says, in 2019, Portland police referred 12 cases to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for review. The nature of these cases includes bomb threats to critical infrastructure, public buildings, private entities and houses of worship; threats of mass violence; reports of racially motivated violent extremist and sovereign citizen activity; and threats to public officials. Portland Police officers took initial reports and conducted preliminary investigation. The report does not indicate that any arrests were made.
The council voted to withdraw from the task force on May 8, 2019. The resolution still requires an annual report by the end of January that contains the following information:
• The frequency with which the FBI's Special Agent in Charge requested the assignment of Portland officers for an investigation.
• The number of cases that were referred to the PPB by the FBI.
• The number of cases that were referred to the FBI by the PPB.
• The nature of closed cases referred to the PPB by the FBI, including the demographics of
persons investigated, and the disposition of those cases.
No details were released about the ongoing investigation.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.