Minneapolis city government and police collaborated on violating Posse Comitatus

Records Show Pentagon Sought Secrecy During Domestic Training Exercise

Police records reveal the close relationship between the Minneapolis police department and the U.S. military.

Public Record Media, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that uses freedom of information laws to obtain and publish government records, has released documents showing how the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minneapolis city government worked hand-in-hand with the Pentagon to conduct counter-terrorism training operations in the city without informing the public.

The August 2014 exercise included ground operations and low-flying black helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Training specifics included “low visibility movement, low-altitude precision helicopter operations, surveillance, and counter-surveillance.”

The U.S. Navy sought to keep a low profile. “This is a highly respected and security sensitive effort,” Minneapolis Police Department Deputy Chief Edie Frizell wrote in an email.  “The training was conducted in 2012 in Minneapolis with little or no fanfare – that is the way they want it.”

Frizell notes strict security protocols in dealing with the Pentagon and writes that the initial letter by the Navy was hand delivered. Face-to-face planning conversations were required “because of the sensitivity of the training.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges requested advance notice of the military training exercise be limited. “Due to the sensitivities of this training,” the letter states, “we respectfully request that any information pertaining to this training be excluded from automatic public release.”

An email from MPD’s Jonathan Kingsbury to SWAT Commander Robert Skoro notes that a memo sent on the exercise was sent to precinct commanders, but did not contain “much info.”

Solicitation Letter Reveals Integration of Military and Police

Records on the exercise demonstrate the Pentagon is working to integrate the U.S. military and state and local police departments, an effort that strikes at the heart of Posse Comitatus.

“Documents obtained by PRM in 2012 suggested that the Navy’s training operation was – at the time – undertaken for the purpose of preparing special operations forces for foreign deployment.  However, records relating to the 2014 exercise include hints that some aspects of that training may have had a domestic focus,” PRM writes.

More striking, correspondence reveals the Pentagon is directly engaged in violating Posse Comitatus. The Navy’s 2014 letter states that its exercises will help its personnel in “preserving evidence for criminal prosecution” and that the relationships established with local law enforcement professionals would be critical to the Navy’s “future success.”

Infowars.com has reported numerous instances of the federal government violating Posse Comitatus and working with state and local governments and police agencies to remove barriers designed to prevent the sort of integration documented by PRM.

The founders of the republic warned continually of the danger represented by a standing army.

“The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home,” James Madison wrote. “Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”

“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty,” he warned in an address to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878 to end military occupation of the defeated Southern states during the Reconstruction period and until recently the law served as a template for the idea that there should a total separation of military from civil law enforcement.