The Risks Homeland Security Fusion Centers Pose to Americans’ Civil Liberties
The Subcommittee’s Findings
The subcommittee, led by Senator Carl Levin and Senator Tom Coburn, reviewed thirteen months of reporting from April 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010, and could find no “reporting which uncovered a terrorist plot. It could find no evidence that a single fusion center had disrupted an active terrorist plot.
“Nearly a third of all reports—188 out of 610—were never published for use within DHS and by other members of the intelligence community,” the report highlighted. This was “often because they lacked any useful information, or potentially violated department guidelines to protect Americans’ civil liberties or Privacy Act protections.”
The investigation found state and local agencies had used federal grant money to purchase “hidden ‘shirt button’ cameras, cell phone tracking devices, and other surveillance equipment unrelated to the analytical mission of a fusion center.”
The Office of General Counsel reminded Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) employees in April 2008 that DHS personnel “are prohibited from collecting or maintaining information on US persons solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the US Constitution, such as the First Amendment protected freedoms of religion, speech, press, and peaceful assembly and protest.”
Stick that in your stupid “I want to talk to you about protesting” grin and suck on it, Special Agent Mikey.
And furthermore, I hope your horse kicks you full force in the butt.
Here’s the HDS Subcommitte report:
While there were times when he was proud of the quality of reporting coming out of
DHS’s Reporting Branch, former branch chief Harold “Skip” Vandover told the Subcommittee,
“there were times when it was, ‘what a bunch of crap is coming through.’”
The DHS officials who filed useless, problematic or even potentially illegal reports
generally faced no sanction for their actions, according to documents and interviews.