WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan today questioned Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), during an oversight hearing on the federal government’s response to protests in Portland, Oregon.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
“As DHS personnel work to protect federal buildings and their occupants, it is critical that they take all possible steps to try to de-escalate any confrontations – both to protect themselves and others,” said Senator Hassan. “Two of your predecessors at the Department – who both served under a Republican administration – have expressed concern that that wasn’t what happened in Portland. De-escalation wasn’t what happened.”
Senator Hassan cited comments from former DHS Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff that the actions of DHS forces exacerbated the situation.
Senator Hassan pressed for additional information from DHS about what de-escalation tactics were used: “I would appreciate a further conversation about what you’ve learned that worked and didn’t work. Because we’ve seen very disturbing video here today. There’s also very disturbing video where federal authorities are using batons on people who appear to be peaceful. Those are the types of things that can escalate, along with decisions – tactical decisions – that your forces may make. I’d appreciate following up with you.”