The city of San Francisco has made the risky decision to end cooperation with the FBI’s anti-terror initiative begun after the 9/11 attacks.
San Francisco announced that it will drop out of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
Innocent lives could be at stake considering that the JTTF has prevented 93 Islamist terrorist attacks and plots against the U.S. since 2001, including 12 this year, according to the Heritage Foundation.
There are another 1,000 suspected terror investigations in progress across the nation.
The city made the decision after receiving pressure from local activist groups claiming that the FBI wrongly targets Arabs and Muslims and that they will be victims of further scrutiny under the Trump administration.
“In my opinion, the decision by the mayor and the police chief to withdraw the San Francisco Police Department from the JTTF is really narrow-minded,” said Mark Rossini, a retired FBI special agent, and founding executive of the National Counterterrorism Center, who served as a representative to the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center.
“Politics aside, and the mayor and leaders of San Francisco have their right to their opinion, political opinion, and beliefs. But when you’re working in law enforcement, law enforcement should know no politics.”
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There are 104 Joint Terrorism Task Force units led by the FBI in the United States, but local sources provide the majority of intelligence about crime and terror, asserts Claude Arnold, a former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations, who worked in California.
“There is less chance of uncovering networks, plots, missing pieces of a puzzle, without cities participating in the JTTF,” Arnold said.
Retired agent Rossini emphasized, “Information must flow both ways in these cases. By San Francisco pulling out, you’re losing that vital link of data that the FBI and the other federal agencies and the Department of Justice will need in order to complete its cases and investigate them thoroughly.”
It is unclear whether the San Francisco Police Department will renegotiate the JTTF memorandum of understanding, or simply refuse to participate.
Should the city’s withdrawal from the JTTF become permanent, their decision could impact the safety of all Americans, according to Lauren Anderson, a former FBI agent who led the international terrorism program of the FBI’s New York JTTF, and now runs LCAnderson International Consulting.
“In virtually every terrorist prevention or incident, local law enforcement was the first point of interaction,” Anderson said.
Rossini and other former federal law enforcement are concerned San Francisco’s decision might prevent vital leads from surfacing.
“Last time I checked, we’re all part of the 50 states…. So, let us continue to work together when it comes to the law, when it comes to law enforcement,” Rossini said. “You want to do politics another day.”
H/T: Fox News
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