Members of the federal Rapid Deployment Force in Portland, courtesy of Doug Brown, ACLU of Oregon.

Private Contractor Assisting Feds in Quelling Portland Protests Is Revealed

The security company, working under contract with the Department Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, was outed in court pleadings

Bill Conroy
8 min readAug 21, 2020


The identity of the private contractor assisting federal agents deployed in Portland, Oregon, in stemming anti-racists protests in that city has surfaced in court pleadings filed by the ACLU of Oregon.

The contractor is Annapolis, Maryland-based MaxSent — which also does business as CDA Inc., according to a court transcript of a video deposition of Gabriel Russell, a Federal Protective Service (FPS) regional director. The company is licensed to do business in 44 states and also has FPS contracts to provide security personnel to federal properties in at least six states, including Oregon.

Russell, who confirms the company’s identity in his deposition, is in a position to know, given he is overseeing the federal deployment in Portland as commander of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Rapid Deployment Force.

The judge hearing the ACLU case, filed in federal court in Oregon, recently issued in a temporary restraining order that blocks “federal agents in Portland from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or targeting force against journalists or legal observers at protests,” according to the ACLU.

“We have PSOs [privately contracted security officers] that are in Portland as part of their normal duties,” Russell said under oath in a deposition in the legal case. “They continue to perform their normal duties. They did not have additional duties related to [the surge of federal agents into the city]. … The contract in Portland, Oregon, is by a company named MaxSent.”

The phrase “normal duties” in relation to FPS contractors like MaxSent and their security personnel, however, can cover a broad range of responsibilities, including crowd control and the requirement to surge in extra contractors as needed during civil disturbances, such as protests.

In addition, these contractors are far more than “mall cops,” with some required to have “top secret” security clearances and many others authorized to use…



Bill Conroy

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