The Border Patrol Was Responsible for an Arrest in Portland - 2020-07-17
For days, federal agents in unmarked cars have reportedly been snatching Portland protesters off the streets. On Thursday, video emerged of federal agents clad in camouflage fatigues and unspecified "police" patches apprehending one such demonstrator and placing him in an unmarked vehicle. Social media lit up with speculation about the intentions—and the identity—of these agents. A memo consisting of internal talking points for the federal agency responsible for the arrest, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and obtained exclusively by The Nation provides some answers—and raises even more questions. Ad Policy
Dated July 1, the memo is titled "Public Affairs Guidance: CBP Support to Protect Federal Facilities and Property" and marked "For Official Use Only." It describes a special task force created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to President Trump's Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence. That task force, the Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), has been tasked not only to assess civil unrest but also to "surge" resources to protect against it.
The Portland arrest of Mark Pettibone, first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, followed several similar arrests involving officers from a Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC)—CBP's equivalent of a SWAT team—as well as the US Marshals Special Operations Group. A CBP spokesman confirmed to The Nation that CBP agents were responsible for the arrest, pointing to authorities under the Protecting American Communities Task Force.