Secrecy News

Fusion Centers Flayed in Senate Report

The state and local fusion centers supported by the Department of Homeland Security have produced little intelligence of value and have generated new concerns involving waste and abuse, according to an investigative report from the Senate Homeland Security Committee Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  (NYT, WP)

“It’s troubling that the very ‘fusion’ centers that were designed to share information in a post-9/11 world have become part of the problem. Instead of strengthening our counterterrorism efforts, they have too often wasted money and stepped on Americans’ civil liberties,” said Senator Tom Coburn, the ranking member of the Subcommittee who initiated the investigation.

While it may not be the last word on the subject, the new Subcommittee report is a rare example of congressional oversight in the classical mode.  It was performed by professional investigators over a two-year period.  It encountered and overcame agency resistance and non-cooperation.  And it uncovered — and published — significant new information that demands an executive branch response.  That’s the way the system is supposed to work.

5 thoughts on “Fusion Centers Flayed in Senate Report

  1. It is a shame to be honest.

    None of the Federal and State fusion centers are tasked properly, or on the same page with evolving domestic national security interest. All of which could be prevented and in turn resolved, with proper cooperative leadership.

    Fusion Centers require independence to operate, which translates to minimum oversight from administration without micromanagement. In fact what we have is the opposite, too much oversight smothered in micromanagement…no one can fix stupid, but we can fix what’s broke.

    As a veteran owned and operated, private sector fusion center, the FIRST West Michigan Detachment Fusion Center (CAGE/5V4Z7), is a groundbreaking pioneer of non-government organizations or NGOs. We have operated from startup, and for years, on an out of pocket budget. All while still working cooperatively, with other Federal and State agencies, in addition to maintaining local community safety and emergency response in the Tri-County areas.

    With only a fraction of the government spending, a private sector network of fusion centers could be expanded. Providing a public awareness service, and ensuring civil liberties are not crossed.

    From my expert and professional perspective, the problem is not the FCs in and of themselves, it’s a persistent administration lack of understanding, trying to be fixed by throwing money at it.

    Executive Director
    FIRST West Michigan Detachment Fusion Center
    & Operations Directorate

  2. “With only a fraction of the government spending, a private sector network of fusion centers could be expanded. Providing a public awareness service …”

    Let’s hope not as it’s a singularly bad ‘free market’ idea. The country doesn’t really need more networks of private sector ex-local and federal government security men looking for traces of non-existent terror plots in every hamlet. As for providing public awareness? Are you serious? You actually think there hasn’t been enough public awareness on terrorism over the last decade?

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