Speakers disavow any ‘mandate’ for Tennessee security group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The speakers of the state House and Senate refute any “mandate” claimed by a private group calling itself the Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security.

The group in fundraising literature describes itself as a “non-profit publicly funded and operated body with a mandate endorsed by Members of the Tennessee State Legislature to protect the citizens of Tennessee from the existential threat posed by various acts of terrorism.”

But Kara Owen, a spokeswoman for Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, says the group “does not function in any official capacity.” And Adam Kleinheider, a spokesman for Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, said it would be “erroneous” to claim the group had been endorsed by the General Assembly.

Leaders of the Tennessee Task Force didn’t return messages seeking comment.