By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Special agent Kieran Ramsey said the FBI is actively working to identify and stop the work of extremist groups in Oregon.
“You have anti-government, anti-authority extremists,” Ramsey said. “You can think of anarchists on one side or militias on the another. You also have racially or ethnically-motivated violent extremists. Those are at the top of the pile right now for us.”
Ramsey — who is the new head of the FBI’s Portland Field Office — said the agency doesn’t expect any imminent extremist group activity in Oregon, but is keeping an eye out for any possibility of violence.
“Our effort is always to make sure that we’re identifying these threats, we’re working with these state and local partners, so that not only do we identify them, but we’re preventing any potential attack,” Ramsey said.
As the FBI focuses on preventing the work of extremist groups, agents don’t zero in on one specific group or ideology in particular. Instead, they look for any group of people planning criminal activity, according to Ramsey.
“We do have any number of them right now ongoing in the state of hand being prioritized,” Ramsey said. “Especially given what we saw on the sixth of January, the incursion of the U.S. Capitol.”
The FBI often sends leads and information to local law enforcement like the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
“Typically they’re the ones that will gather the information and then share it with the local law enforcement agencies, because we would ultimately be the ones who would respond initially,” Sgt. Jayson Janes said.
Janes said it’s helpful to have the FBI as partners, as they provide more resources that keep the community safe.
“They’ve been giving us information for as long as I can remember about potential unrests or protests,” Janes said. “There’s nothing in particular we’re working on with them right now, but we’re being extra cautious just in case.”