Is the FBI spying on Portland City Council?

Mayor Tom Potter released a letter today detailing an attempt by an FBI agent to recruit an informant inside the offices of City Hall. Federal authorities have since told the Mayor that they know of no public corruption in Portland and that they are not currently conducting any investigation of the City.

Has the FBI opened a secret investigation of City of Portland employees? If so, why?

  • Jonathan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Maybe the new name for Portland under this administration is not "little Beirut" but "little Afghanistan/Iraq," and, uh, they're trying to root out domestic terrorism???

  • Phil Jones (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaatt?

    "Spying" and "Secret Investigation"?????

    If it were spying and secret, why would the agent have walked in, shown his badge and introduced himself?

    Geeez, is Potter paranoid or what? What's he hiding from the FBI?

  • sasha (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Given that one of the Portland Seven worked in the Mayor's office, I think maybe the FBI should definitely have an undercover agent in place there:)

    Seriously, though, Potter is overreacting to this in a huge way. As phil points out, walking in and showing a badge is a curious way to spy on someone.

    Potter is a dumbass.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The local FBI office couldn't find their own @ss with a map, a compass and a shovel, as they proved with the illegal arrest and detainment of Beaverton lawyer Brandon Mayfield who's gonna collect millions for his troubles.

    Oh, the FBI's bureau chief, Jumpy Jordan, did tell a judge Mayfield had "suspicious foreign language documents" on his kitchen table... his kid's second grade Spanish homework!

  • (Show?)

    Actually Sid, his daughter's was in the 7th Grade at the time. (I happen to know because my wife and I are personal friends of the Mayfields before that whole absurdity happened.) I really can't make any other comment because of personal considerations and the ongoing lawsuit.

  • Kija (unverified)
    (Show?)

    We know about this because the employee the agent approached came forward and told the mayor what happened. What's interesting is that you even question whether it's true or not when the FBI already confirmed that they have every right and intention of spying on city government for KATU.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As a former resident of Chicago, I don't have a problem with the FBI keeping an eye on our city government. Corruption can happen anywhere there is public money to adminster and public contracts to hand out. The fact that we are all happy progressive Democrats in Portland does not eliminate the possibility that somebody is a crook. However, this sounds more like Potter's paraniod ramblings than an actual undercover investigation.

    Speaking of crooks, has anybody found the video of the William J. Jefferson (Louisiana) sting? I was hunting for it but it may not be on the Internet yet. Sounds like he may be the Democratic party's version of Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Pretty stupid to accept bags of cash in a setting where you can be video taped. Don't these guys watch TV? Its bad to be a crook. It REALLY bad to be a stupid crook.

  • Chris (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I don't think the FBI should be recruiting informants. Adults know where the phonebook is if there is something to report.

    And I think that Mayor Potter is justified in challenging the FBI as any citizen should have the right to do.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Portland office, said such practices are common across the nation. ...

    Steele said that in the last two years, FBI investigators have seen a 40 percent increase in the number of indictments of government employees allegedly involved in corruption. "

    Not surprising really, if they are actively recruiting people in government as spies, who would you expect them to spy on?

    "As a former resident of Chicago, I don't have a problem with the FBI keeping an eye on our city government."

    As someone who remembers J. Edgar Hoover, I wonder who is keeping an eye on the FBI. The idea that they are targeting government employees or specific parts jurisdictions is troubling. The idea that they are targeting elected officials without some reason for suspicion in very troubling. Under Hoove the FBI was a feafdom unto itself. That probably is not as bad as turning into a secret police acting at the direction of political leaders in Washington targeting their enemies.

    Lets hope that is parnoia.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I share your concern regarding FBI oversight and accountabilty, and who does not like to fondly remember the good old cross-dressing days of J. Edgar Hoover.

    However, local government corruption is a serious problem in the US and as I noted in my original post, I think it is naive to assume it could not happen here. I am told that the FBI investigates about 850 cases of local government corruption each year, and last year they got around 500 convictions or guilty pleas. When local governments do hugh projects (tram, light rail expansion, etc.) it is good to have somebody keeping an eye on things.

  • cab (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Isn't investigating corruption the local media's job?

  • Steve (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Absurd Theory - Potter is using this as a smokescreen. Since we saw how fast he made a U-turn on Foxworth once the Police Union reminded him he may have a few, ahem, "untoward" incidents in his own past, he now has an out by claiming FBI dirty tricks.

    I really wish he would focus on potholes and homeless people keeping customers from downtown instead of lining the windows with tinfoil at Ciyt Hall.

  • Lars K. Larson (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [Comment falsely impersonating Lars Larson deleted. -editor.]

  • Ben Dover (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So the FBI agent (male) confidentially tells a city employee (female) that he would appreciate it if she observes anything funny going on that she let him know.

    Why did she blab and start a big fuss?

    Just goes to show you, if you want to broacast something to the public, the three best ways to do it is:

    Telephone

    Telegraph

    Tell-a-woman!

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Potter's response seemed like an overreaction to me.

    Maybe he knows the FBI is on to something? Alternately, maybe he's been on the information gathering side of the business for so long that he's uncomfortable being a potential target.

    Better a hound than a fox.

  • (Show?)

    How many corruption scandals have been uncovered because some FBI agent randomly recruited municipal employees?

    Their number is in the phonebook. Whistleblowers can find them if they need them.

    How many times has the FBI been proven to have collected files on people for purely political reasons?

    No paranoia is required.

    Good for Mayor Potter for calling them on it.

  • (Show?)

    Potter was right to turn on the light on this one. Three years from now, if we found out about this incident, we'd be complaining that he hadn't told us.

    FBI already confirmed that they have every right and intention of spying on city government for KATU

    The FBI is spying for KATU? Now I've heard everything. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

  • Harry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    And after the whistleblower calls the fbi, what do they do? Investigate? And maybe get a helpful insider? Hmmmm, how would one go about doing that? Go trolling in the mayor's office? Naw... never mind.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am told that the FBI investigates about 850 cases of local government corruption each year, and last year they got around 500 convictions or guilty pleas.

    Therefore, any city is corrupt unless proven otherwise?

    We have a former police chief who has not always agreed with the FBI and apparently the FBI told that police chief who is now Mayor there are no ongoing investigations of anyone at City Hall. But they were justified because federal law enforcement is above reproach by order of the Bush Administration?

    This could have been an overzealous employee who could have had the same conversation at the gym he and the city employee frequent, with no one the wiser. But to have the conversation in city hall??

    Or this is the overzealous FBI trying to stir up trouble for someone who has questioned their wisdom?

    Are these the same people who searched Brandon Mayfield's home and took his computer and then said "never mind" when it turned out the fingerprint really didn't match? And we are supposed to take their word on whether it is raining outside (much less anything more serious) after that episode?

  • Abel J. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    With all this talk of spying and wiretapping to see if we are following the law, one has to wonder if anyone is spying on them [NSA/FBI] to make sure they are following the law. Heaven knows, there are just as many tech savy cats not working for them that could do the job. The question is always asked but never answered, "who is watching the watchers?" Does anyone know. I am sure there are many that are, probably right in their own offices.

  • Tom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I find it upsetting, although not surprising, that the FBI is investigating 'potential' corruption in local government when the federal government is involved in widespread corruption and crimes. And for those of you that always bring up the "if you have nothing to worry about" argument supporting domestic spying without checks, without accountability, you have no clue as to the history of this country and abuses of power.

  • captain dandy (unverified)
    (Show?)

    One needs to look no further than this Republican Lite website to see corruption, abuse of power, and lack of accountability. Right Kari?

  • Eric (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It looks like the FBI is trying to 'punish' the city of Portland for not buying into the task force that the Mayor said no to. I applaud the Mayor for not faltering under the weight of the bullies of the government.

  • community (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Potter is crying foul for the FBI doing exactly what he advocated and has claimed to author. It's called community policing. He advocated that the police get out of their cruisers and walk. Talk to the citizens of their community and solicit their help in preventing and reporting crime in their area. Meet the citizens, become friends with them. They will then become part of the solutions.

    It's part of what the FBI is charged to do. Prevent, investigate and prosecute corruption in government. Potter needs to get over his personal vendetta with the FBI. It goes way back and they still aren't going to offer him a job.

  • (Show?)

    It's part of what the FBI is charged to do. Prevent, investigate and prosecute corruption in government.

    Ah yes, preemptive wars and preventive law enforcement. Any claims to American Exceptionalism that might have had some shred of legitimacy are now circling the drain.

    Every tinpot dictatorship in history has preceded us down this road.

    <hr/>

    There is one humorous tie in, with the FBI raid on the US House of Representatives. Even though the target was a Dem, the Repubs are all atwitter, alleging some antiquated and silly separation of powers argument.

    To Denny Hastert et. al. I say don't worry if you have nothing to hide..........

    <hr/>

    As for the idea that minions of this administration might use a gummint agency to exact revenge on other gummint officials who cross them in any way.........Well that's just crazy talk.

  • (Show?)

    And after the whistleblower calls the fbi, what do they do? Investigate? And maybe get a helpful insider?

    Quite right, Harry. When you have good reason to believe there is a problem, e.g. evidence provided by a whistleblower, then you investigate.

    The FBI has said there are no investigations active with respect to Portland city government.

    When you have no reason to believe there is a problem, then it's called spying. Spying is perfectly appropriate in some contexts, quite a bit less so in others.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It's interesting that there are so many apologists for the FBI posting on this topic.

    Right now, the federal government is out of control. We are assured, via an FBI Press Release, that "the FBI’s Portland Division has and will continue to abide by the Constitution." But we also know that the Attorney General and the White House have asserted broad authority to waive the constitution as they see fit. We also know that political opposition is, to this White House, tantamount to a breach of national security, and therefore the President and his subordinates believe thay have the authority to suspend virtually any law.

    This isn't paranoia... these are real policies that are being implemented right now.

    Good for Mayor Potter for raising a voice in opposition.

    John Mulvey

  • (Show?)

    Wait till it's revealed that they're wiretapping political opponents. One only has to watch the oil slick of corruption that's been spreading for five years to realize this isn't tinfoil hat theorizing.

    It sure sounds more like Pottergate, to me.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    John:

    I am constantly surprised that right-wingers seem to want a police state. I can't tell if it's a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" -- they hate the Portland City Council, so they'll condone anything done against them -- or if they genuinely want to give up on freedom and privacy. Either way, it's disturbing.

  • Suzii (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Please remember that the correct aphorism isn't: "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide."

    It is: "If you haven't done anything that Dick Cheney (Don Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff) would dislike, you have nothing to hide."

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am writing in from Maine wanting to show my support for your Mayor in standing up against the taxpayer funded FBI agents who are trying to take him down. Here is some selected reading material to help you understand how your tax dollars are used to fund a Death Squad.

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • Joebe-Won (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tin hat not working...

    Thought control machine is hacking my brain...Must not sleep.

    Post more proof of FBI corruption or I will lose my mind.

    FEEL THE FORCE, Joeb! The FBI is your FATHER!

  • todd brunning (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Throw the agents into the Columbia. Somebody please explain just one thing positive the FBI has done in the last 10 years, 20 years? maybe spying on, and using divide and conquer techniques against the Black Panthers? Come on folks, the federal government is not your friend anymore, and never was. I'm fearful of our current government.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [copyrighted material deleted - editor.]

  • Jennifer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mainstream Americans can read Blue Oregon to see the contempt and enmity the New Left has for the Federal Government.

    Whether it's the FBI, the EPA, or the CDC, we learn that the tin-foil hat crowd HAS PROOF that the Federal Government is out to get them.

    Do you have any idea how paranoid these comments make you look?

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    good to see the previous poster from the FBI has a chance to express himself .

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • Bob (unverified)
    (Show?)

    An FBI agent hit on a city employee. Potter made a fool of himself...again.

  • Mike (unverified)
    (Show?)

    To the editor, the Oregonian

    RE: Your editorial effort to frame the Portland FBI's thankfully failed attempt to subvert a member of the City Attorney's staff as a clumsy joke "Pink Panther episode at City Hall triggers bit of overreaction" (May 26).

    When Mayor Potter appealed to the citizens of Portland to discuss the case, he specifically described it in the context of the current national debate over President Bush's claim that he alone can decide if his secret spying programs are permitted by the Constitution. When FBI special agent Jeffrey Pritchett asked the city employee to secretly pass him "information" about members of the City Council and other "people who work for city government," he was asking her to spy for the federal government, regardless of the spin the FBI and your editorial put on it.

    While you broadly acknowledge the "long, ugly history" of the Portland police's "Red Squad," you don't recognize that it did to local political, labor, civil rights and environmental groups what the FBI wanted to do to elected officials. Using informers to report on legal and innocent activities without any but ideological suspicion remains a tactic to create fear and suppress disssent. The one positive aspect of the story is that the targeted informant, who Prichett evidently followed around all day, rejected his entreaty and reported it to her boss.

    You also recall your attack on the Mayor and City Council when they ended the integration of Red Squad officers with the FBI in the "Joint Terrorist Task Force." By trying to define the current FBI initiative as an inept act of a goofy FBI agent (Robert Jordan, the FBI special agent in charge, even tried to suggest that Pritchett may have only been "hitting" on the woman employee), you demonstrate your lack of respect for the civil liberties of Portlanders.

    Michael Munk

  • Mike (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Just curious--how many posters on the FBI/Potter issue are his constituents--that is, live in the city? And do their positions differ from those who live in the 'burbs?

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I live in the City of Portland, I even voted for Potter, and I think he's making a mountain out of a molehill. A "mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore phone call" to Agent Jordan (or his superiors) would have been more effective, unless this was the kick-off event to the Mayor's reelection campaign.

    A retired cop should know that discretion is the better part of valor.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Joeb:

    Does the FBI ever do anything good? You know...like solving a bank robbery, catching a kidnapper, videotaping a Congressmen taking cash bribes?

    Based on your postings, I would assume all FBI agents are heinous, murdering, lying, philandering crooks with a badge? If that accurately describes your world view, how can we assume you are just a vindictive bad guy who was incarcerated thanks to the FBI?

  • Robert Jones (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Personally, from reading some of the comments in this section by certain individuals, I would hope that the FBI would investigate some of you for your anti-American opinions.

    We are at war. Both inside and out, and need to remain strong and devoted to the federal government to do the right thing. Our president has clearly shown us how to take action against people who seek to undermine and destroy America; the FBI is merely trying (although not too successfully, it would seem) to extend this to trying to take down the corrupt city government in Portland.

    Hopefully, the entire government of Portland will be indicted, thrown in jail and sent to Guantanamo for promoting anti-American policies. Hopefully they can then replace it with an appointed board of trustees that has some management experience in actually running an organization.

  • Miles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Well, I had my say over here http://www.documentedlife.com/log/?p=191 , but I think that any Mayor who is suspicous of the FBI deserves our support. The FBI is the historic arm of the strong national state, and under the Bush administration that concept is not some benign neutral idea but has essentially been converted into what reasonable people worry may be a new form of American fascism. Under the circumstances Potter is right to be extremely suspicious of the FBI. The FBI has a long history of being used to violate people's rights, and, hey! look who is running the country now! The same people (Cheney, Rumsfeld) who were a little further down in the hierarchy under Richard Nixon, people who believe that Richard Nixon's version of how the federal government should work never really got a fair chance.

    Fighting against organized crime, whether from gangs, or corporations or city government, is always a noble goal, but in an era where criminality extends to the White House, the FBI is always an organization to worry about. Thank you Mayor Potter.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [copied and pasted copyrighted material deleted. - editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    a liberal is someone who walks out of the room when an argument turns into a fight. a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

    FBI agents blew up the car of black FBI agent Tyrone Powers while he was in it. This is his story.

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari:

    At what point will you decide that JOEB has hijacked the B/O commons with his Reader's Digest reviews of anti-FBI propaganda?

    I can paste my bibliography of Sasquatch Sightings or UFO abductions: just because it's been alleged in a book doesn't make it true.

    JOEB: you hate the FBI and clearly believe they are more likely to committ a crime than to solve one. We get that: no further "evidence" required.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    a species that hires bodyguards to protect them looses the ability to protect itself and is doomed to extinction

    Dear LMAQ: You are right. I am turning the forum back over to the Oregon community. I am from Maine and have no right posting about issues relevant to your state. I also want to confess I have made up everything I posted here. More importantly I apologize to you. sincerely, joeb

    I bet you know fellow FBI agents tried to have Dr Frederick Whitehurst committed to a psychiatric hospital when he blew the whistle on the FBI lab. Read his summary of what FBI agents did to him at the: http://www.forensicjustice.org/oigrebuttal.htm

    then read the review of the book written about him and the FBI Crime Lab at

    http://www.forensicjustice.org/Taint.htm

    wanna guess how many innocent people were convicted under FBI Voodoo science?

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    JOEB:

    Here's one you didn't read about in a book. An FBI Agent assasinated a murdering narco-traficante from Mexico. The government of Mexico repeatedly refused to extradite him, so the FBI Agent took matters into his own hands (likely without approval from higher ups).

    After the assasination, the deceased business associates recognized they weren't as "untouchable" as they once thought, not if they were within 500 yards of the U.S. Border. You will likely condemn this act of frontier justice; I applaud it.

    In short, he took the law into his own hands. Those who were murdered by the narco-traficantes hit ment never got "their day in court" and neither did he. Case closed.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/WFP020403.html

    Mr/Ms LMAQ: Thank you for your insightful response to my post. I appreciate the time and thought you put into researching the material .

    [off-topic comment deleted. -editor.]

  • (Show?)

    In times when the executive branch, which includes the Newer, Greater FBI, exibit a total contempt for the legislative and judicial branches of Gummint; we need to be especially vigilant.

    The rank and file in the FBI will take their cues from the top, just as Abu Grhaib and Gitmo servicepeople take their cue from Rummy.

    <hr/>

    The founders didn't buy into the If you have nothing to hide argument. They assumed that there would be bad actors of various stripes, hence the idea of checks and balances. When the checks are rendered ineffective and the balance tips toward repression legal or otherwise, these little runs at the Quakers, Catholic clergy, US House, and Portland City Hall are signs of a system stressed in really unhealthy ways for the future of the republic.

    <hr/>

    I hear that Singapore's really nice this time of year.

    Clean streets. Happy little consumers. No chewing gum on the park benches.

    Only those who question the system and social deviants have anything to fear.

    Forget 1984. Think Brave New World.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    a species that hires bodyguards to protect it looses the ability to protect itself and is doomed to extinction

    Mayor Potter: I would add that I suspect this whole affair is much ado about nothing and just part of a FBI psych ops program to begin your destabilization and eventual removal from office. They are just preparing the groundwork for the next election when they will take you out by voter fraud.

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Joeb:

    What did the FBI do to piss you off?

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dear L: Let me try and explain how I view the Universe of which these posts about FBI agents behaving like a Death Squad is such a tiny part. My universe is like a onion. Many,many layers. One layer I call the FBI.

    [off-topic material deleted. -editor.]

  • LMAO (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Joeb:

    You didn't answer my question. I asked what did the FBI do to you(not JFK, MLK, Daved Koresh, or free and fair elections). Have you ever been targeted directly by the FBI?

    At the risk of sounding dismissive, I believe you would benefit from seeing a psychiatrist on a recurring schedule. This level of paranoid obsession WILL interfere with your daily life and cause you much unhappiness. If you don't talk to a professional in the field of psychology/psychiatry, it will only get worse.

    Whatever happened to the "[email protected]*king Bureau of Incompetence" explanation? The notion they "couldn't find their ass with a compass" seems to fly in the face of your "FBI as puppet master" theory.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dear very Specia Agent L: What did joeb ever do to piss you off. Come on , you can talk to me.Nobody is listening.They don't even read the posts.

    [copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • SAC (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Its good to know Mayor Potter is targeted by people who's top cop was just sent to prison for 12 years after sodomizing a 6 year old girl. The former head of the FBI Child Abuse program was sued by his two daughters for having sex with them since they were 2 years old. He never showed up in court for the trial and the jury awarded the daughters over a million dollars apiece. Remember to cover your rear.

    Former Scout leader-FBI agent indicted on child sex charges

    [off-topic copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • ALICE (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Joeb's cataloging of alleged misdeeds of FBI agents (past and present) HAS ZERO CORRELATION with an FBI Agent in Portland who identified himself and tried to (insert allegation of spying here) "gain information" from a City Employee.

    Why do the moderators of B/O let Joeb continue with his webdetta against the FBI?

    I made a joke about Charlie's bow-tie, and I've been banned from B/O ever since!

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted comment deleted. -editor]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    a species that hires bodyguards to protect them looses the ability to protect itself and is doomed to extinction

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [off-topic and copyrighted material deleted. -editor.]

in the news 2006

connect with blueoregon