Experts warn San Francisco’s decision to cut working ties with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), a cooperation between the agencies that began following the 9/11 attacks, could be a dangerous action, Fox News reports.
The JTTF stopped 93 Islamist terrorist attacks and plots against the U.S. since 2001, including 12 this year, according to the Heritage Foundation. Around 1,000 investigations related to suspected terror activity are still ongoing nationwide.
According Fox News, San Francisco police have undercover agents and informants in immigrant communities that aid to federal law enforcement investigations. Additionally, a pair of San Francisco law enforcement officers were deputized by the feds for the JTTF and could access classified information.
“There is less chance of uncovering networks, plots, missing pieces of a puzzle, without cities participating in the JTTF,” former ICE investigator Claude Arnold told Fox News.
However, the suspension of the program happened at the insistence of local activist organizations that claim Arabs and Muslims are unfairly scrutinized by the FBI, and will be targeted more under the Trump administration.
The suspension of the initiative comes almost a year after a pro-ISIS propaganda video called for attacks on the Bay Area as well as Las Vegas, KPIX 5 San Francisco reported at the time.
The video praised the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen for shooting up a gay nightclub and showed a number of San Francisco landmarks.
“Information must flow both ways in these cases,” said Mark Rossini, a retired FBI special agent. “By San Francisco pulling out, you’re losing that vital link of data that the FBI and the other federal agencies and the Department of Justice will need in order to complete its cases and investigate them thoroughly.”
A recent poll conducted by KPIX 5 showed that more than half of those surveyed want local law enforcement to always contact federal authorities about illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes.