Speaking to NPR’s All Things Considered on Friday, Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli acknowledged that federal agents had used unmarked vehicles to pick up people in Portland but said it was done to keep officers safe and away from crowds and to move detainees to a “safe location for questioning.”

“The one instance I’m familiar with, they were, believed they had identified someone who had assaulted officers or … the federal building there, the courthouse. Upon questioning, they determined they did not have the right person and that person was released,” Cuccinelli said.

“I fully expect that as long as people continue to be violent and to destroy property that we will attempt to identify those folks,” he added. “We will pick them up in front of the courthouse. If we spot them elsewhere, we will pick them up elsewhere. And if we have a question about somebody’s identity, like the first example I noted to you, after questioning determine it isn’t someone of interest, then they get released. And that’s standard law enforcement procedure, and it’s going to continue as long as the violence continues.”