On Tuesday, determined to avoid the mayhem and destruction following, and caused by, federal forces sent to Portland, Oregon, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot declared “Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.”
However, in what deceptively appears to have been a change of heart, the mayor's office on Wednesday stated
Mayor Lightfoot maintains that all resources will be investigatory in nature and be coordinated through the U.S. Attorney’s office. The Mayor has made clear that if there is any deviation from what has been announced, we will pursue all available legal options to protect Chicagoans.
God is in the details, it is said. (Trump version: "The devil is in the details. I should know.") And here, the details are critical.
The federal police or troops or whatever they were were sent to Portland without approval, or even notification of, the mayor of the city or the governor of Oregon. They were employees of the Department of Human Services and of the US Marshall's Office, as we learned only through court filings. They were in unmarked uniforms placing dissidents in unmarked vehicles, taken in at least one instance to an unknown location. There is no indication that they had been trained for the task. In some countries this is known as a secret police force.
The forces sent to Chicago are decidedly police, rather than whatever they are in Portland, will not be dressed in camouflage, and reportedly will focus on '''gangs, guns, and drugs." Moreover, coordination with local government, assiduously avoided by DHS and the President in the Portland operation, appears central in Chicago as
The deployment of federal police in the city will be overseen by U.S. Attorney John Lausch, whom Lightfoot knows from her tenure as a former federal prosecutor.
“This is not patrol. This is not against civil unrest,” Lausch said. “This is working with the Chicago Police Department to do what we can to reduce the staggering violent crime we’re facing right now.”
The three federal agencies with police in Chicago are Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are a part of the Justice Department, which probably is better positioned, with officers more experienced, to perform their duty than the federal gangs sent to Portland.
Mayor Lightfoot still has reason to be concerned that the operation will be used for a) campaign propaganda by President Trump, as is likely; and the personnel for b) nefarious purposes (as in Oregon), which is far less likely. (If (b) occurs, reaction should be prompt and severe.) Attorney General Barr says that he will pursue Operation LeGend also in Albuquerque and has already done so in Kansas City, Missouri, where his estimation on Wednesday of the number of arrests was off by 20,000%.
The Administration is allegedly, and presumably, responding to a recent spike in violent crime in Chicago. But lawlessness has long been a major problem in the city and there would be little concern if this project were not being carried out, ultimately, under the leadership of the most ill-equipped person to be President of the USA. That begs a simple question: where was the last President when all this was happening?