Law enforcement officials say that the city of San Francisco is weakening counter-terrorism efforts by withdrawing from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
"After 9/11, Congress required U.S. law enforcement to increase the flow of intel between federal agencies and local police," reported Shannon Bream of Fox News. "But in the wake of President Trump's election, the San Francisco police department says it's pulling out of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, and it's cutting ties."
"San Francisco says it doesn't want it's police gathering intelligence or surveilling Muslims or anyone else involved with political protests," reported Will La Jeunesse, "or to keep records, and they fear that will happen illegally under President Trump. The critics say pulling out of the JTTF is short-sighted, and dangerous."
"We're prepared for a lot of different kinds of scenarios, but I just think that the one thing that we didn't prepare for is, y'know, the Trump administration." says San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed, a Democrat.
"We are waiting and seeing every single say what the next move is coming out of our federal government," said Mark Farrell, city supervisor, "and we need to do everything we can to stand up for our residents."
Fox News reported that the change was made because of local activist groups that wanted to protect Muslims and Arabs from targeting by 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.”
"What you lose when you take away the local police department is you lose that on-the-ground knowledge," Mark told Fox News. "Information must flow both ways on these cases. That is vital. And that should transcend any political beliefs held by the mayor and or the administration of San Francisco."
CAIR, the Muslim advocacy group, applauded the decision by San Francisco officials.
“After seven years of advocacy we welcome the suspension of SFPD participation in the JTTF,” said Brittney Rezaei, CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Attorney. “As our concerns with the conduct of the federal government increase, we are happy to see our police department take this important step to ensure its commitment to protecting our community.”
“Joint Terrorism Task Forces have had a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of Arab and Muslim communities throughout the country,” according to Nina Farnia, President of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. “The Task Forces have led raids of activists’ homes and offices for merely engaging in the right to dissent. In the face of ever-increasing repression by the federal government, we applaud local agencies’ decision to suspend participation in the JTTF.”
San Francisco is the only city to have pulled out of the JTTF so far, according to Fox News. The city is also fighting the Trump administration over their "sanctuary city" policies that protect illegal aliens from deportation.