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Court documents reveal secretive federal unit deployed for 'Operation Diligent Valor' in Oregon

Published: July 23, 2020
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Source: Reuters

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deployed more than 100 federal agents to Portland, Oregon, on a mission named “Operation Diligent Valor” to patrol government buildings as anti-racism protests flared this month, court documents show.

The documents, filed on Tuesday, helped shed light on what had been a secretive operation that involved days of violent clashes between unidentified federal law enforcement officers and anti-racist protesters outside a federal courthouse.

The operation has involved the Department of Homeland Security’s Rapid Deployment Force. It stepped up its response to “increasingly violent attacks” in the Oregon city on July 4, the day after a group of people broke into the courthouse, according to the affidavit by the Federal Protective Services (FPS) regional director, Gabriel Russell.

The affidavit was filed by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service as part of a broader lawsuit brought by journalists against the city of Portland and those agencies. The plantiffs claim that police had attempted to “intimidate the press” by attacking journalists.

“On the morning of July 4th, the DHS Rapid Deployment Force implemented tactics intended to positively identify and arrest serious offenders for crimes such as assault, while protecting the rights of individuals engaged in protected free speech activity,” Russell wrote of the operation.

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