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Jordan demands info on Biden admin’s efforts to protect property, feds in Portland

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GettyImages 997227550 Jim Jordan

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Monday sent letters to two Cabinet members, asking for answers regarding the Biden administration’s efforts to protect federal property and personnel in Portland, Oregon from violent left-wing rioters.

In the letters to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, Jordan pointed out, “Anarchists and violent left-wing extremists continue to vandalize and destroy federal property in Portland, Oregon.”

“The vandalism and destruction of federal and private property that began last summer in Portland,” the Ohio Republican also said, “has not stopped.”

The Daily Caller was the first to report on the pair of letters.

Following the death of George Floyd in May of last year, the city faced one hundred consecutive nights of violence. The letters noted that, earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had to re-install fencing around the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse days after left-wing rioters attacked and tried to set fire to the building. Jordan also mentioned other instances of violence at and vandalism to federal property.

The letters also cited journalist Andy Ngô’s February 24 testimony before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, at which he said that “antifa and left-wing anarchists” in Portland have “developed a riot apparatus that included streams of funding for accommodation, travel, riot gear, and weapons, which resulted in a murder, hundreds of arson attacks, mass injuries, and mass property destruction.”

Jordan also noted Ngô’s warning that Congress should not be “downplaying antifa’s violent extremism.”

“The Biden administration has a duty to ensure federal law is enforced and that both federal property and federal personnel are protected and kept safe from violent extremists in Portland,” the Ohio lawmaker wrote in the letters.

Jordan’s letter to Mayorkas requested an explanation on what the DHS or the Federal Protective Service (FPS) is doing “to protect federal personnel and federal property” in the city, as well as explanations on what is being done to prevent further destruction to federal property and whether the DHS “still believes that it has the authority, the mission, and the intent to enforce federal law and protect federal property in Portland.”

In the letter to Garland, Jordan requested an explanation about the Department of Justice‘s (DOJ) efforts to identify and prosecute individuals attacking federal property and law enforcement. The lawmaker also asked for the DOJ’s plans to prevent further attacks, information on whether the DOJ still faults the city for letting the unrest happen, and inquired if the department still believes its previous description of “peaceful protesters.”

Jordan asked that Mayorkas and Garland provided the requested information, in writing, no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 12. Once that has happened, the lawmaker asked for them to provide a staff-level briefing.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Military was prepared to deploy to Gaza to rescue U.S. hostages

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The Washington Post released an in-depth report on the intelligence support the United States has provided Israel during its war with Hamas. The assistance has not only helped to find and rescue hostages, but the Post writes it has “also raised concerns about the use of sensitive information.”

The United States provided some of the intelligence used to locate and eventually rescue four Israeli hostages last week, The Post has reported. The information, which included overhead imagery, appears to have been secondary to what Israel collected on its own ahead of the operation, which resulted in the deaths of more than 270 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, making it one of the deadliest single events in the eight-month-old war.

Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, stressed that U.S. forces did not participate in the mission to rescue the four hostages. “There were no U.S. forces, no U.S. boots on the ground involved in this operation. We did not participate militarily in this operation,” Sullivan told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. He noted that “we have generally provided support to the [Israel Defense Forces] so that we can try to get all of the hostages home, including the American hostages who are still being held.”

One critical piece of information from The Post involves a “canceled” U.S. mission to rescue eight Americans:

In October, JSOC forces in the region were prepared to deploy in Gaza to rescue U.S. citizens that Hamas was holding, said current and former U.S. officials familiar with planning for what would have been an exceptionally dangerous mission.

“If we managed to unilaterally get information that we could act on, and we thought we could actually get U.S. people out alive, we could act, but there was genuinely very little information specifically about U.S. hostages,” one official said.

However, the intelligence-sharing relationship between the United States and Israel is not without scrutiny and concern. The Post reports:

In interviews, Israeli officials said they were grateful for the U.S. assistance, which in some cases has given the Israelis unique capabilities they lacked before Hamas’s surprise cross-border attacks. But they also were defensive about their own spying prowess, insisting that the United States was, for the most part, not giving them anything they couldn’t obtain themselves. That position can be hard to square with the obvious failures of the Israeli intelligence apparatus to detect and respond to the warning signs of Hamas’s planning.

The U.S.-Israel partnership is, at times, tense. Some U.S. officials have been frustrated by Israel’s demand for more intelligence, which they said is insatiable and occasionally relies on flawed assumptions that the United States might be holding back some information.

In a briefing with reporters at the White House last month, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington “has provided an intense range of assets and capabilities and expertise.” Responding to a May 11 Washington Post report, Sullivan said that the intelligence is “not tied or conditioned on anything else. It is not limited. We are not holding anything back. We are providing every asset, every tool, every capability,” Sullivan said.

Other officials, including lawmakers on Capitol Hill, worry that intelligence the United States provides could be making its way into the repositories of data that Israeli military forces use to conduct airstrikes or other military operations, and that Washington has no effective means of monitoring how Israel uses the U.S. information.

The Biden administration has forbidden Israel from using any U.S.-supplied intelligence to target regular Hamas fighters in military operations. The intelligence is only to be used for locating the hostages, eight of whom have U.S. citizenship, as well as the top leadership of Hamas — including Yehiya Sinwar, the alleged architect of the Oct. 7 attacks, and Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing. The State Department in 2015 designated both men as terrorists. Three of the eight U.S. hostages have been confirmed dead, and their bodies are still being held in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

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