Portland Gestapo Misidentification: "ZT1" is likely not a mercenary but a US Border Patrol combatant

You may have seen an imaage with captions claiming to show private contractor mercenaries assaulting nonviolent protestors in Portland, Oregan. As best I can tell this is a misidentification and unfortunate coincidence.

While the aggressor does have an unholstered sidearm drawn, and other similar images show weapons pointed directly at the photographer, insignia and attribution differ from the meme.

Whilst there is a company called “ZTI” (zed-tee-eye), on close examination the left shoulder patch the patch reads “ZT1” (zed-tee-numeral-one), and by one source (Cato) is apparently a US Government insignia for Customs and Border Patrol:
In a Friday tweet, Customs and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan acknowledged that the agents were not wearing name badges. He said this was in order to protect them from retaliation. But he claimed that the officers did wear unique identifiers. In one photograph, “ZT1” is visible above an officer’s agency patch.

The company ZTI (letter “i”, not numeral one) provides information technology services, not paramilitary services, best I can tell.

Other officers pictured as in this Buzzfeed article have other identifiers, with “MN1” (emm-enn-one) visible in another photograph.

All appearances are that these are Federal agents. Not mercenaries. So far.

(That this is in the least comforting is a sign of just how sick the U.S. has become.)

#Portland #BLM #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #misinformation
And now Heavy has an article verifying the debunk:

ZT1 Patch on Portland Agent in Viral Photo Is an Identifier for Anonymity
[T]he patch is not a patch identifying the person as working for the personnel group ZTi or any other paramilitary or militia group. Instead, it’s a patch with a code that’s used to identify the federal agent wearing the uniform, since federal agents in Portland are not wearing patches with their names at this time.

In the video below, the Department of Homeland Security shares the meaning of the patches in a briefing at around the 23-minute mark.

Mark A. Morgan, senior official performing the duties of the U.S. Customs Commissioner, noted in the press conference:

They have a unique identifier. [The director] said he doesn’t have his officers wear name tags because they’re being doxxed. And that’s exactly right. … They’re not only jeopardizing the lives of the agents, but they’re also jeopardizing the lives of their families as they’re putting out their home information and they’re suggesting that individuals go to their homes. So yes, I as the acting commissioner have authorized and supported removing their names from their uniforms. Instead what we have though is a personal identifier. So we have that so we can identify. And we have each identifier associated with a specific name so we have all that information internally, and we’ll share that with the appropriate entities when it’s necessary.” ...
Those examples, if unique identifiers, reflect very poor design.

Even in the tiny sample shown there are characters that are ambiguous:

Z and 2 are readily conflated. 1 I i L l are all easy conflated.

etc. When I've built systems like this I mapped similar looking characters into equivalence sets so that "2AB" was the same as "ZAB"
@Karl Auerbach These very likely correspond to phonetic alphabet radio callsigns. Written "Z' "L' "I" and "1" may be ambiguous, "zulu", "lima", "indigo" and "one" not so much.