by Peter Grady –
Despite repeated claims to the contrary, newly released documents reveal that the administration told the General Services Administration (GSA) to go easy on Occupy Wall Street protesters in Portland last year.
The documents include an e-mail exchange between DHS/National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich and GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck.
Durkovich’s e-mail asked about policy related to handling the Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been camping out on GSA property for several days.
“I am sorry to be emailing you on a Sunday night, but wanted to let you know our Press Shop has received a couple of calls from Portland media outlets about a group of 11 protesters who again set up camp at Terry Shrunk Plaza in Portland last night. They have chained themselves to a large drum filled with concrete. GSA controls the permits and has asked FPS [Federal Protective Services] not to enforce the curfew at park and the prohibition on overnight encampments. Reporters have asked if we will be arresting the protestors as FPS did last week.
Our FPS Commander in Portland says they are standing down and following GSA’s request to only intervene if there is a threat to public safety.”
“Caitlin: yes, that is our position; it’s been vetted with our Administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH [White House], which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issues…The arrests last week were carried out despite our request that the protesters be allowed to remain and to camp overnight…”
Last year, the week before the e-mail exchange, the Oregonian reported that “Twenty-five Occupy Portland demonstrators were arrested…after refusing to leave Jamison Square. The arrests capped an intense hours-long standoff between police and dozens of protesters who refused to leave the Pearl District park after it was declared closed at midnight. Officers, some in riot gear and others on horses, faced off with protesters who remained in the square, despite being ordered to leave.” The protestors were reportedly arrested on accusations of “trespassing, interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct for the noise complaints from neighbors.”
Last year during the Occupy Wall Street protests around the country, the administration vehemently denied it provided any type of support to the protestors. Unlike tea party events which were orderly and peaceful, the Occupy events were rife with reports of drug use, casual sex and even incidents of members defecating on an American flag.
Peck was forced to resign following a scandal involving lavish spending at a conference in Las Vegas. The organization spent $823,000 of the taxpayers money at the Las Vegas meeting including spending $7,000 for Sushi, $5,600 for in-room parties and $3,200 for a session with a mind reader.
“We now have a new GSA scandal – one that involves the Obama White House,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents clearly show that federal agencies colluded with the Obama White House to allow the Occupy Wall Street protestors to violate the law with impunity. These documents tell us that the GSA and DHS can’t be relied upon to protect federal workers or property.”
Tags: conduct, DHS, e mail, FPS, General Services Administration, GSA, Las Vegas, mail, night, Obama, Obama White House, Occupy Wall Street, park, Portland, property, Street, Wall Street, week, White House, year