Senate: Counterterrorism ‘Fusion’ Centers Invade Innocent Americans’ Privacy and Don’t Stop Terrorism

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
By Paul Martin

Mark M. Jaycox and Trevor Timm
EFF
ActivistPost.com
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security’s 70 counterterrrorism “fusion” centers produce “predominantly useless information,” “a bunch of crap,” while “running afoul of departmental guidelines meant to guard against civil liberties” and are “possibly in violation of the Privacy Act.”

This may sound like the words of EFF, but in fact, these conclusions come from a new report issued by a US Senate committee. At the cost of up to $1.4 billion, these fusion centers are supposed to facilitate local law enforcement sharing of valuable counterterrorism information to DHS, but according to the report, they do almost everything but.

DHS described its fusion centers as “one of the centerpieces of [its] counterterrorism strategy” and its database was supposed to be a central repository of known or “appropriately suspected” terrorists. In theory, local law enforcement officers, in conjunction with DHS officials, conduct surveillance and write up a report—known as a Homeland Intelligence Report (HIR)—for DHS to review. If credible, DHS would then spread the information to the larger intelligence community.

Yet, the Senate report found the fusion centers failed to uncover a single terrorist threat.

Instead, like so many post 9-/11 surveillance laws passed under the vague guise of “national security,” the system was overwhelmingly used for ordinary criminal investigations, while at the same time, facilitating an egregious amount of violations of innocent Americans’ rights.

The Rest…HERE

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