General Services Administration – with the Blessing of the Obama White House – Tells Law Enforcement to “Stand Down” and Not Enforce the Law Against Occupy Protestors According to Records Uncovered by Judicial Watch
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicating that the General Services Administration (GSA), with the blessing of the Obama White House, instructed law enforcement officers to “stand down” and not arrest “Occupy Portland” protestors who were in violation of the law.
The records, obtained pursuant to a November 11, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, include internal DHS correspondence. One November 6, 2011, e-mail exchange between DHS/National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich and GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck (who has since been fired) specifically related to Occupy Portland protests taking place on federal property in Portland:
I am sorry to be emailing you on a Sunday night, but wanted to let you know our Press Shop has received a couple of calls from Portland media outlets about a group of 11 protesters who again set up camp at Terry Shrunk Plaza in Portland last night. They have chained themselves to a large drum filled with concrete. GSA controls the permits and has asked FPS [Federal Protective Services] not to enforce the curfew at park and the prohibition on overnight encampments. Reporters have asked if we will be arresting the protestors as FPS did last week.
Our FPS Commander in Portland says they are standing down and following GSA’s request to only intervene if there is a threat to public safety.
Caitlin: yes, that is our position; it’s been vetted with our Administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH [White House], which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issues…The arrests last week were carried out despite our request that the protesters be allowed to remain and to camp overnight…
Occupy Portland is part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has been beset with accusations of “crimes and dangerous behavior” during its protests.