PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland has a special place in the nation's struggle against terrorism, but some city officials wonder if the threat that has hung over the city has been exaggerated.
FBI (search) agents believe known jihadists who trained in Afghan terrorist camps are living in Oregon and have taken oaths to kill Americans. But Robert Jordan, the highest-ranking FBI official in the state, acknowledges there is no imminent threat.
"I think the reaction is one of concern, that we remain vulnerable to terrorism," said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
Portland has been high on the federal terror watch list since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when authorities learned that seven residents had tried to sneak into Afghanistan to fight against American troops.
There was also the investigation of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Mazri (search), who from his mosque in London allegedly tried to establish a terror training camp in southern Oregon.
Still, some Portland officials believe the terror threat there has been overblown. City Commissioner Randy Leonard is blasting the FBI for frightening people in order to keep Portland from pulling out of a joint terrorism task force.
“I think this is a campaign of spreading fear ... not unlike what was done before we invaded Iraq,” Leonard said.
The Portland City Council is expected to vote next month to withdraw from a post-Sept. 11 joint terrorism task force. The FBI opposes the move, saying it would weaken the agency’s anti-terrorism efforts.
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