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Washington Congressional Delegation Demands Answers From DHS

Nine Members of Washington Congressional Delegation Urge DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf to Immediately Withdraw Federal Agents Following Deployment to Seattle Area

SEATTLE — Nine members of the Washington Congressional delegation demanded answers from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf today following the deployment of DHS federal agents to the Seattle, Wash. area without the consent or request of state or local officials. The two United States Senators and seven United States Representatives also urged the DHS Acting Secretary to immediately withdraw the deployment.

“We believe that these deployments of federal agents and their tactics will only serve to escalate and prolong protests and result in more violence,” the nine members of the delegation said in their letter. “We urge you to immediately withdraw the deployment, center de-escalation tactics and ensure that deployments of DHS resources do not occur without the request, consent and knowledge of state and local officials.”

The full letter is available here

In light of the deployment of federal officials to Seattle, the nine Federal lawmakers asked that Acting Secretary Wolf immediately set up a briefing to provide answers to the following questions: 

  1. What prompted DHS to deploy federal agents to Washington state and who was involved in this decision? 
  2. How many DHS officials were deployed to Seattle that are not there on a permanent basis? 
  3. For any official deployed, specify the agency, agent-type, where the official was deployed from, and the purpose of such deployment. 
  4. What direction, both written and oral, have the federal agents received about their deployment to Seattle? Specify any guidance as to where they will be deployed within the area, any guidance as to the wearing of official insignia, or actions they will take within the area. 
  5. Was there any communication between the White House and DHS about the deployment of federal officials to Washington? 

The letter was led by United States Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and United States Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.). It was also signed by United States Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and United States Representatives Adam Smith (WA-09), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Denny Heck (WA-10) and Kim Schrier M.D. (WA-08).

The lawmakers’ letter came after King County and the Port of Seattle reported the arrival of a DHS aircraft on Thursday. DHS agents exited the aircraft and then drove away in an unmarked vehicle. This follows DHS officials responding to peaceful protests in Portland, Ore. with unnecessary and dangerous escalation. Federal officials deployed tear gas during a pandemic, picked up protesters using unmarked vehicles without arresting them or stating a basis for arrest and shot clearly-identified journalists, protesters and legal observers with impact munitions. DHS’ actions have already been challenged on constitutional grounds in multiple lawsuits.

The full letter is available here.