Friday, July 07, 2017

Dakota Access developer drops private security accused of working without license

The developer of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline said Wednesday that it no longer has private security personnel in North Dakota, including a firm that state regulators say operated illegally without a license. "We continue to have security measures in place in North Dakota, just no longer need boots on the ground," Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado said in an email to The Associated Press. North Dakota's Private Investigative and Security Board last week asked a state judge to block North Carolina-based TigerSwan's armed workers from continuing to monitor the pipeline system. The board said TigerSwan had no license during the height of the protests and continued operating after being denied one. Granado said in her email that TigerSwan stopped providing security services in the "last couple of weeks." TigerSwan said it ended work with Dallas-based ETP near the end of June. TigerSwan was founded by retired military special forces members. The regulatory board alleges in court documents that TigerSwan employees with semi-automatic rifles and handguns protected workers and equipment at construction sites, conducted intelligence on protesters including placing or trying to place undercover agents within the protest groups, and even monitored traffic on a state highway. The board also said TigerSwan continued to provide round-the-clock security along the pipeline in the state...more

 I certainly don't blame a firm for protecting their private property, and I realize these state licensing requirements can be no more than a paper-shuffling tax and attempt to limit competition. I also don't believe for a minute that all of these folks were just innocent "water protectors."  However, the reality of federally-trained former military personnel using their skills to surveil, infiltrate, and disrupt private citizens and groups; conducting these activities in five different states and coordinating and sharing information with the FBI, Homeland Security, DOJ, U.S.Marshals and BIA; and referring to the situation as a "battlefield" and to citizens as "insurgents"; that is just plain scary to me.

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