Trump Administration Continues to Obscure the Role of Private Contractors in Protest Clampdown
Congress is now probing the use of contract security personnel in law enforcement operations led by DOJ and DHS
A rolling deployment of federal law enforcement forces underway in this country since June has been making headlines nationwide because of the “shock and awe” show of force it has unleashed on this nation’s streets. The federal officers, many clad in camouflage, riot gear and trained in special operations tactics, have been sent into American cities under orders from President Trump.
They are being directed by Attorney General William Barr in coordination with Chad Wolf, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These law enforcement chiefs claim the show of federal policing power that has been assembled in recent months in major urban areas like Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Kansas City, Missouri — and more recently Seattle, Albuquerque and Chicago — is part of a coordinated effort to stem a rising tide of street violence being perpetrated by common criminals and radical leftist protesters.
Trump asserts that the cities themselves have been unable or unwilling to address the unrest and criminal conduct. Future plans call for expanding the federal intervention to at least a half dozen or more U.S. cities in the months leading up to the presidential election on Nov. 3.
The cities facing the onslaught of Trump’s federal muscle argue that the show of force is unnecessary, unwelcomed and even threatens to accelerate civil unrest. Trump’s critics also are concerned that this federal intervention is little more than a “law and order” political stunt designed to generate negative media images in Democrat-led communities in order to aid the president’s re-election prospects.
Still others working behind the scenes in challenging the Trump administration’s voter-suppression tactics worry that the law enforcers now being dispatched to U.S. cities to supposedly quell protests — including deployments planned for St. Louis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia — are, in fact, being staged at federal buildings as part of a pending election-day surprise.