Posted by: atowhee | February 12, 2016

MALHEUR–NOW THE AFTERMATH

Here is statement from yesterday from FBI (sorry, I was out chasing owls at Winter Wings):

Statement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Bretzing on the Situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
FBI – Oregon – 02/11/16 2:02 PM

This morning the FBI took into custody the four remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge without incident and without shots fired. Rev. Franklin Graham and Michele Fiore were at the checkpoint to meet the occupiers as they left their encampment.

As we have said since day one, our goal has been to end this illegal occupation peacefully, and we are grateful that we were able to do so today. I want to make it very clear that we will continue to enforce the law with respect to the refuge and other federal properties. Anyone who chooses to travel to Oregon with the intent of engaging in illegal activity will be arrested. Saying that, I want to reassure those Harney County residents who simply visited the refuge or provided food to the occupiers — we are not looking into those events. We are concerned about those who have criminal, violent intent.

While the occupation is over, there is still quite a bit of work that needs to happen before the refuge can re-open to the public. I want to run through some of that with you now.

Next Steps

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge remains closed, and it will remain closed for some number of weeks. During this time, law enforcement will continue to man checkpoints at the edge of the refuge to maintain the security of this crime scene.

Most immediately, FBI agents are inspecting and securing the buildings and any other areas of concern on the refuge to ensure that no one else is hiding. This process will take some number of hours.

Following that tactical clearing of the refuge, a team of FBI Special Agent Bomb Technicians, detectives with the Oregon State Police Arson/Explosives Unit, and bomb technicians from the Portland Police Bureau and Oregon Air National Guard will methodically work their way through the property to locate and mitigate any explosive-related hazards. This process could take several days.

Once the refuge is cleared of any hazards, the FBI’s Evidence Response Teams (ERT) will enter to document and collect evidence related to potential crimes committed during the occupation. In addition, FBI forensic examiners from the Northwest Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory will work to recover and process computers and electronic devices. It will likely be several weeks before the evidence teams complete their work on the refuge, and it will likely be a number of months before the forensic examiners complete their analysis.

At the same time, the FBI is deploying experts with its Art Crime Team to work on the refuge. These agents are specially-trained in cultural property investigations. They will be responsible for working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Burns Paiute Tribe to identify and document damage to the tribe’s artifacts and sacred burial grounds.

They will start with an archeological field assessment to determine any potential violations of the Native American Graves and Repatriation Protection Act (NAGPRA) and the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA). This work will likely take a number of weeks to complete.

As the FBI works through each of these investigative processes, we will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as to how and when we will be able to return control of the refuge to that agency.”

It is still not known how widely the investigation will have to range and whether much of the refuge’s open space will accessible for birders soon or…not soon.


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