Portland's Red History: Oregon TITAN Fusion Center, the dumbest people in criminal investigation, who are actively betraying Oregon Law and NOT protecting you from terrorists
Part 4 of a series
Writers note, this was originally published here and I’m migrating it to this platform. Part 3 has not (yet) been published anywhere, in part due to the complexity of the issues, how exhausting the research is, general lack of interest on the part of readers….but some day I’ll get around to it.
This is an excerpt from my series on Portland's Red History. Definitely read my two prior pieces:
- "Portland's Red History: The Red Squad, Bloody Shirt, Longshoremen. Early Portland to the 1930's”
- "Portland's Red History: WW2, the Counter Intelligence Program known as COINTELPRO, and Portland's Red Squad 2.0."
I intended to publish another section on the 1990's and the shift to "eco-terrorism" then nuTerrorism of post-9/11 and how Red Squad continues to operate. I'm publishing this because it seems pretty timely given the FBI's recent statements about "no known threats" in an effort to illustrate that the FBI and DHS don't know dick about terrorist threats.
Honestly, I'm surprised that FBI didn't just blurt out, "Black People and vegans" are the biggest terrorist threat, because based upon their DHS colleagues reporting, that's the biggest issues.
I could write a whole book documenting the incompetent morons who work at DHS Fusion Centers. They're provide counter-terrorism intelligence worse than the TSA provides airport security.
As an example, DHS claims they have 70 operating Fusion Centers across the country, yet in a 2012 bipartisan report found DHS couldn't even produce a list of the addresses of all 70 centers they think they're funding. A report from Oregon has a map of Fusion Centers around the US, the map has about 30. DHS can't account for Fusion Center spending, believing they spent in the range of $289 million to $1.4 billion, meaning DHS couldn't account for over $1 billion of their budget. That report also found that not a single report from a DHS Fusion Center was useful in counter-terrorism.
When you read deeply into the actual report, you'll find that Fusion Centers across the country are stacked with right wings nutjobs who get their counter-terrorism tips from Fox News and Breitbart - and that in some cases these idiots actually submitted TV news reports as terrorist "intelligence". Racism and Islamophobia are huge drivers of Fusion Center activity. This report showed that the entire organization (from investigators at the bottom to leadership at the top) was a shit show that Fusion Centers produced nothing of actual use since 2003.
All of this same shenanigans and incompetency is echoed at the Oregon Fusion Center, nicknamed TITAN.
In all of TITAN's history they've only pointed to a single successful investigation that I've been able to identify: John Michael Townsend.
Mr. Townsend was an arsonist and Parks employee who was first on the scene at more than one arson. According to TITAN's document, they found a discrepancy in where he claimed he was at versus where his cell phone was. Kudos to them for producing evidence that the guy who showed up first to more than one arson was the guy responsible for the arsons - real detective work to piece all that together.
This Fusion Center is primarily staffed by Oregon DOJ's Criminal Justice Division, which consists of one attorney, two Special Agents, one Special Agent In Charge, an Assistant Special Agent In Charge, five Research Analysts, and an IS Specialist. They claim TITAN started in 2007, but this is only half true. The ODOJ's Criminal Intelligence Center has been around since 1977 and simply rebranded TITAN in 2007.
Here's why this group is such an embarrassment:
TITAN Research Analysts came to believe that the executive head of Oregon Department of Justice’s Director of the Civil Rights Unit, Erious Johnson, was a threat to police because he used #BlackLivesMatter and used a photo of the rap group Public Enemy on his Twitter profile in 2015. Shitty reporting by Willamette Week and The Oregonian whitewashed the fiasco and claimed that only Special Agent James R. Williams was responsible. Yet source documents of the investigation make it clear that it wasn't just one investigator, but all 5 Research Analysts at the Fusion Center where involved in this investigation and "no one expressed concern." Moreover it took 20 days for the Fusion Center to realize they fucked up when accusing the leader at the Oregon DOJ's Civil Rights Unit of threatening the police.
The official story was:
Around September 10, 2015, the Fusion Center issued a report in its weekly bulletin advising that members of #blacklivesmatter and #fy911 social media users were calling for the murder of police officers on a site called Blog Talk Radio."
I presume they're referring to the obscure BLMshow which never gained any popularity. I can't find the specific episode in which they think this was reported. But as we will see this officially story falls apart. Consider though, have you heard of "blog talk radio"? Has anyone? How many hours of tax payer time was spent listening to this obscure podcast listening for threats? Let that sink in: this was the best use of their time.
What we know about this incident:
The Special Agent James R. Williams said the investigation into #blacklivesmatter was spurred by the Bonneville Power Administration who was concerned that the 2015 film *Straight Outta Compton* about the history of the rap group NWA. The BPA believed this film would result in violence by Black Lives Matter protesters. At least that's what he said in the papers. Again: Someone at BPA thought a documentary film about a rap group was going to result in violence that's what the Fusion Center investigated. During the DOJ investigation he claimed otherwise, that his investigation was started because of flyers from other agencies - the report specifically noted another separate incident which "undermined [Special Agent James Williams] credibility."
Someone at Bonneville Power Administration is dumb enough to believe that a movie posed a threat, and for that dumbass to have caught the attention of investigators at TITAN means they must be a member of InfraGuard. A way of infusing private business into the Red Squad activities. I'm pretty sure I actually met this guy, as he's about 6'2 overweight bald guy and we sat together briefly at a city meeting on the JTTF. He completely spilled the beans as soon as I said hello to him about his role at BPA and being a liaison to InfraGuard. He's the type of guy who just missed the Vietnam war and it's always bothered him so he's got a big hard-on for American Flag Law but would authoritatively yet incorrectly declare the wrong statute in US Code. His biggest concern was the vulnerabilities of the power grid as if Antifa/Blackbloc or eco-terrorists or the Animal Liberation Front commonly use a tactic of blowing up transformers - which, umm... *spoilers* has never happened. It's men like this, an out of touch federal bureaucrat, who feed the FBI/DHS tips through InfraGuard.
Special Agent Williams believed "any kind of social disobedience" represents a threat to law enforcement and the public. Put bluntly: any protest is a threat to the cops, therefore all protests should be watched. He "does not believe any search terms are off limits" and was unaware and not trained on ORS 181.575 even though he had a 20-year law enforcement career in Oregon including as a detective.
ORS 181.575 was a big focus on my second article it was a law enacted by Legislature in 1981 *explicitly* to prevent Red Squad type activities by limiting what data they can collect - it's routinely violated by police).
This entire investigation was also done outside of the TITAN center's written policies, which specifically declared that investigators were not to *seek* information unless it related to a criminal case. For an investigation to be related to a criminal case, TITAN investigators need a criminal case number. Special Agent Williams never sought a case number.
As another embarrassing anecdote, Special Agent Williams also mistook artwork from the Portland music venue The Know as a threat against police. Grasping at straws, he claimed to believe this artwork was the cover of an NWA album - which probably in his mind solidified a lot of this investigation.
The source documents also included a quote from Darin Tweedt, the DOJ lawyer who oversees operations at TITAN, which makes it clear that in the past TITAN has continued violating Oregon Law:
One of Darin Tweedt’s concerns regarding the Fusion Center was that it was operating in an outdated manner with few written policies that were poorly communicated and were insufficient to address relevant issues. There was also a concern as to what information the Fusion Center should be disseminating as bulletins—for example, in the past, the Fusion Center was prepared to report on groups that were assembling in protest even when there was no report of criminal nexus or public safety concern.
Day-to-Day Operations at the Oregon Titan Fusion Center
Here's what Oregon TITAN Fusion Center employees actually do on the day-to-day in 2015 based upon the DOJ audit. Keep in mind these people are the lead on finding terrorism threats in Oregon.
One Research Analyst, employed since the year 2000, specializes in Social Media and actively monitors web traffic for threats made online. (Hello! Nice to see you again)
Another Research Analyst, employed since 2006, was assigned to "monitor drug trafficking". She also reviewed the report written by Special Agent Williams before it was forwarded to management. She also believed DOJ's Civil Rights Division's leader "should not be tweeting such messages" because #BlackLivesMatter is taboo.
Another Research Analyst, employed since 1999, seems to primarily target ecoterrorism. When given access to the social media analysis tool, their first inquiry was "Animal Liberation Front" in the Seattle area to see if protesters were trying to target UW. One must wonder why an Oregon tax-paid Research Analyst does cross-state researching - and if other researchers outside of Oregon research Oregonians. This researcher also published an alert to other agencies on #BlackLivesMatter.
Another Research Analyst, employed since 2002, handled terrorism matters like the 2015 Umpqua Community College shooting. (whoopsies!) This investigator also tested out ecoterrorism phrases on social media based upon protest activity in Seattle.
One Special Agent is assigned to Internet Crimes Against Children. He claims his investigations are always related to a criminal investigation of sex crimes. He does not recall ever being trained on ORS 181.575. When the Umpqua Community College shooting happened this Special Agent investigated the Black Lives Matter movement based upon internet rumors that the shooter was associated with the movement. This Special Agent believed the Fusion Center kept an ongoing investigation of #BlackLivesMatter and other groups that might use phrases that express hostility toward the police.
Then there is a second Special Agent (this was Agent Williams) who described his scope of work as conduct searches as requested by his supervisors or law enforcement agencies on specific matters such as threats at schools. Other times, he would do searches without being requested if the search was based on cases/investigations he had going on or based on “what’s hot in the news.”
- A Special Agent in Charge who is a police officer that reports to Chief Counsel. As a manager they assigned tasks to investigators and analysts - assignments include monitoring sovereign citizens, [outlaw motorcycle gangs], individuals making threats on the Attorney General and actual criminal cases. Importantly, assignments did not include monitoring or gathering information on threats to police…
- DOJ Chief Counsel, the Lawyer, employed since 2007. This person oversees everything.
- A Senior Research Analyst, employed for at least 10 years, claimed their role is to support law enforcement with its cases, "specifically drug cases." However, this person also had strong opinions on #blacklivesmatter had a criminal nexus that should be investigated, and cited examples she believed of investigations in other parts of the country.
With just these employees we can see that there's massive confusion about TITAN's scope of investigations, lack of training, and ample personal bias injected into investigations. TITAN doesn't know if it's part of their job or not to investigate threats against the police on their own. This isn't a scenario where "Diversity training" is going to fix anything, this is a fundamental misunderstanding about every employee's role within a small team - not a single employee was on the same page about what their group does, or what laws and policies govern their activities.
Here's another great example:
While these videographers may be goons, just look at the reaction of this woman who tries to intimidated these guys. Seems like that woman is a hardcore authoritarian with a self-importance complex. As soon as this woman has a camera pointed at her face, she admits what the building is and that the Oregon TITAN Fusion Center. Which, by the way is location at 610 Hawthorne Ave., Suite 210 Salem, OR 97301. It's on Google FFS - this video is the first result when you Google Oregon Titan. What did she think she was protecting by engaging some Sovereign Citizens and sheepishly walking away 60 seconds later? That's a leader in our counter-terrorism division.
Or, my favorite example of incompetence: their official URL https://ortitan.org has lapsed, their public facing website and all of their reports are down - lots of government agencies link to this URL. How goddamn incompetent do you have to be?
We have to shut TITAN down. It's corrupt. It's worthless. It's contributing the long horrid legacy of being an active part of the Red Squad.
If DOJ and the Government of Oregon thinks there's merit to continuing this type of Criminal Investigation Center then it should be possibly reopened with a more diverse workforce. Like people under the age of 35 who might understand that black liberals are not terrorists. There not only needs to be clear policies about what is rule of law in Oregon, but also rotating staff so that no one Analyst becomes embedded with too much power. As the military has shown, it's not necessary to be a 10+ year veteran of law enforcement to be a good intelligence analyst, we train 18 year olds to carry out this task.
Today in 2019 I'm sure the priority of the OTFC has shifted from "Black Lives Matter" to researching the "Antifa" and "Patriot Prayer" and the "Proud Boys" - how many months have they had to identify criminal activity? How many youtube videos need to be published by either side showing wrong doing? If "Black Lives Matter" and Seattle based vegans represented worthwhile efforts for the Fusion Center, you can be sure that anything you're posting online about Antifa and the Proud Boys is being monitored. I'm conflicted about if this is a good or bad thing that they're too incompetent to do anything about it.
Not Just Oregon's Problem
That 2012 bipartisan federal report on Fusion Centers across the country found that all of them are worthless. None are contributing meaningfully to counter-terrorism and none can even justify their own existence - worse, some have disrupted actual counter-terrorism actions. Every "alert" put out by a Fusion Center has been without merit and often wastes resources. But most importantly of all: in example after example the personal bias of intelligence analysis has been used as a justification for law enforcement actions.