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Acting DHS Head Defends Deploying Federal Agents To Portland, Slams Ex-DHS Leaders: ‘Dead Wrong’

Acting DHS Head Defends Deploying Federal Agents To Portland, Slams Ex-DHS Leaders: ‘Dead Wrong’
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. The hearing is examining Department of Homeland Security personnel deployments to recent protests including Portland, Oregon.

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf slammed former DHS leaders during his Senate testimony this week about the violent riots in Portland, saying that their assessments of the situation were “dead wrong.”
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Wolf testified that federal agents were deployed to Portland to protect a federal building that had been under attack for weeks and noted that the agents did not interfere with the peaceful protests, which usually happened earlier in the day
“DHS law enforcement officers received almost no assistance from state and local law enforcement in Portland,” Wolf said in prepared remarks. “They were left to defend the courthouse besieged by attempts of arson and constant destruction. This circumstance should never have happened.”
Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) started off by bringing up a quote from former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, who served under President Bush, and who claimed that DHS’s actions put public trust at risk and there was no coordination with local authorities.
“Was former Secretary Chertoff wrong?” Peters asked.
“So I certainly respect the former Secretary Chertoff’s service to the department and to the country,” Wolf responded. “But absolutely, on this point he is dead wrong.”
“Again, I’m happy to walk you through exactly the coordination that we had tried to do with Portland Police,” Wolf said. “I reached out to Mayor [Ted Wheeler] on several, on an occasion to offer our support, to offer that coordination, to understand what’s occurring on the ground, the events that are occurring, again, between midnight and 5:00 AM every morning.”
“I don’t believe that Secretary Chertoff, as well as others that have commented on DHS actions, is really understanding what is going on in Portland,” Wolf added. “I think they confuse peaceful protesting that we see usually takes place between 6:00 and 7:00 PM until about 10:30 at night. Again, no concerns there. It happens right across the street from the Courthouse. There are no incidents. What we see at midnight to 5:00 AM is violent, violent activity where we get no support, no support from state and local officials.”
In his written testimony, Wolf highlighted the violence that was directed at the federal law enforcement officials that were deployed to Portland. From July 4 to July 31, federal officers suffered a combined 277 injuries, including:
  • 113 officers and agents have reported eye-injuries; many due to being targeted with commercial grade laser devices causing “momentary-blindness, blurred-vision, dark spots in their vision and headaches.”
  • An FPS Special Agent received an injury to his foot by coming in contact with nails that were purposely placed immediately adjacent to the front entrance of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse.
  • An FPS Special Agent received several burns to his torso and extremities from an undetermined liquid that was thrown at him by a violent rioter.
  • A Deputy U.S. Marshal was bludgeoned in the head with a sledgehammer.
  • An FPS Inspector was injured by a commercial grade firework receiving several lacerations and 3rd degree burns – the fireworks burned through his uniforms and PPE.
  • 142 additional DHS Officers have reported receiving minor burns, lacerations, being hit over the head with a sledgehammer, or hearing issues resulting from the fireworks.
Wolf also slammed Democratic officials, whom he did not directly name, for making false and demonizing remarks about the federal officers.“Some elected officials and those in the media have tried to smear our law enforcement officers, who are performing their jobs valiantly and consistent with the law and use of tactics and procedures,” said Wolf. “They have called our law enforcement professionals ‘stormtroopers,’ the ‘Gestapo‘ and ‘thugs.’ These are offensive and irresponsible terms.”

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