PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Poorly trained staff and improper procedures were among the multitude of issues plaguing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security team tasked with collecting intelligence and background reports during the 2020 protests in Portland, according to a federal report released on Friday.
The reports, coined “baseball cards” by officials, according to the review, were on people who were arrested by federal authorities in connection with the protests although many charges were unrelated to issues of national security, such as trespassing or failure to comply, the internal review revealed.
The review found Homeland Security’s Office Intelligence and Analysis had released “open source intelligence reports” on two journalists who had published unclassified documents from the office, and found the reports, or OSIRs, were the result of numerous causes, including “a lack of formal [Open Source Collection Operations] training program and disruptions to on-the-job training caused by the sudden increase in OSCO personnel and COVID-19 restrictions,” “the deployment of untrained, inexperienced collectors to Portland,” “improper collection tradecraft,” “the pressure put on the Certified Release Authorities to review and publish OSIRs,” among other things.
Furthermore, while the review stated investigators did not find politicization of the intelligence reports, the report had a redacted name who “did attempt to controvert the raw intelligence collection process by directing collectors and analysts use a problematic term in intelligence reports which could have adversely colored finished intelligence products over time.”
The term “Violent Antifa Anarchists Inspired” was used in the intelligence reports, according to the review, which went on to find that while officers believed the protests were being led by anarchists and Antifa, there was no intelligence to support the assertion.
The heavily-redacted report “is 76 pages of stunning incompetence, mismanagement, and abuse of power by the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security, in order to politicize and inflame conflict in Portland,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement.
Story continues after the unclassified report
More than 750 federal law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, including the Federal Protective Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Secret Service, were involved in protecting the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Downtown Portland, next to the Multnomah County Justice Center, which was the center of numerous nights of protests in Portland in connection with the 2020 racial justice demonstrations across the country.
In April 2021, a Homeland Security Inspector General report found federal officers deployed to Portland during the height of the protests lacked training and had inconsistent use of force policies.