(Headline USA) Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday she had received confirmation that U.S. agents had left the area after being sent to Seattle last week to protect federal buildings amid ongoing race riots.
Durkan, Gov. Jay Inslee and other local leaders said in a joint news release that the Department of Homeland Security’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit had ‘demobilized.’
In testimony before the US House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr took issue with the misleading use of military terminology and rhetoric to describe the dispatching of federal offices, noting that the reality was only a handful of peacekeeping officials had been sent.
Durkan, Inslee and others on the Left had used the deployment of federal forces without consent from local officials as a political bludgeon in their ongoing attacks on President Donald Trump and his administration.
However, the Seattle police chief had spoken out recently against local officials for refusing to support law enforcement, including a mandate that would ban the use of crowd dispersal techniques like teargas, leaving police with nothing but their batons and side-arms amid the violent chaos of Antifa-led groups.
Seattle law enforcement warned that businesses would be on their own if police were prevented from doing their jobs.
The anarchist rioters already spent several weeks occupying six blocks downtown in what they called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, leading to the deaths of two young “CHAZ” residents after first responders were unable to reach shooting victims.
Officials did not say why the federal agents decided to leave.
However, federal officials have wavered on whether involving themselves in the unrest and allowing themselves to be scapegoated for the local problem is worth fomenting what some see as a constitutional crisis impacting matters of state and local autonomy.
They also risk losing the optical battle as rioters deliberately try to provoke violence in their effort to influence political outcomes, a frequently used tactic among pro-Marxist radical groups.
“This demobilization means Washingtonians no longer have to worry about the White House’s aim to provoke confrontation and undermine peaceful protests,” Inslee claimed.
Durkan called the president’s actions “to target and ‘dominate’ Democratic cities through the use of federal forces” chilling.
“It has increased violence in Portland, Seattle and other cities across the country, which was what the president intended,” the mayor said, ignoring the prior occupation of her city by the radical protesters.
“We will continue to heed this moment in history and to work with the community to make systemic and generational changes to make Seattle more just,” she claimed.
Indications were also that the federal authorities had left or planned to leave Portland, the largest city in neighboring Oregon.
Protesters there have tried to tear down a fence erected to protect the building, set fires and hurled fireworks and other objects at the building and at agents.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty on Monday asked Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf for a meeting to discuss a cease-fire and their desire for the removal of the extra federal agents.
Wolf had earlier pledged to remain until the violence was over and had planned to dispatch the federal peace-keepers to several other left-leaning cities, including Chicago, that have refused outright to address crime and violence.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press