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WA U.S Attorney: Villainizing of federal law enforcement is shameful

Agents from different components of the Department of Homeland Security have been deployed to protect a federal courthouse in Portland. (Doug Brown via AP)

Numerous cities across the the county have experienced their share of rioting, including Seattle where the President previously sent a small group of federal law enforcement agents to assist in keeping the peace, should they be needed.

Brian Moran is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, and joined KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show to discuss.

As Jason noted, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan seemed to suggest recently that this move by the administration was to occupy the city. What’s his reaction to that?

“Nothing could be further from the truth and the mayor knows that. I think what we see in Portland and what we see — unfortunately, now here in Seattle — is a sort of political rhetoric that’s getting in the way of the true message. A handful of federal protection officers on similar law enforcement agencies, agents came to Seattle to protect federal buildings, federal functions, federal judges, federal personnel,” he said.

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“They remained in those buildings and they did what businesses around this city have done, which is to protect their property and their functions. So the notion that they’re roaming the city of Seattle is fantasy, and that it’s being perpetuated is, in my opinion, a little bit dangerous.”

There were rumors around the riots and protesting of federal agents going undercover and through the crowd. Did any of that actually happen?

“It seems to me that social media equates anybody wearing camouflage or a helmet is somehow a federal actor,” Moran said. “I think the news here is maybe that there are other law enforcement agencies — other mutual aid assistance came from Bellevue and other departments. My guess is maybe they had camouflage. I can tell you there were no agents or true officers that came to Seattle that were on the line. End of story, period.”

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Moran says local city leaders are charged with quelling public unrest, and yet with countless weeks of vandalism and rioting in Portland, city leaders seemed more interested in criticizing federal agents than handling the ongoing violence.

“You know what we saw in Portland? A city that’s out of control. Local city leaders are charged with quelling public unrest, that’s not a federal function. And if it gets out of hand, governors and presumably the state attorney general would weigh in. Public unrest is primarily a function of local law enforcement,” he said.

“Frankly, in Portland they needed the boogie man and what they decided down there after 50 days of unrest, they had two choices: They could pick federal law enforcement men and women, or they could side with the people that want to tear down institutions where the rule of law is dispensed. Regrettably, they chose to villainize federal law enforcement, which I think is shameful.”

What’s his reaction when Mayor Durkan says we don’t want federal officials here?

“That’s truly ironic, particularly in this city where the mayor is the former U.S. Attorney. Let me give you some examples with federal law enforcement, what we’re doing here. So aside from guarding federal buildings, federal personnel on federal functions, we have things such as the largest unemployment fraud scam in the history of the country, $650 million. So that’s a federal law enforcement activity,” he said.

“So we’re not being asked to be stand down by the governor, or the mayor, or the attorney general. Apparently, they seem to be quite happy that the federal government is taking over that role to claw back and prosecute those that stole the money from the state. Capital One — largest data breach in the history of the United States, 100 million people impacted by that. That’s a federal investigation. Nobody seemed to be complaining about that. … What apparently draws the ire of the locals is that we want to add a few people to protect federal courthouses.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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