Homeland Security, law enforcement officials speak up for 'fusion centres'
The US Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement authorities and some lawmakers has defended information-sharing offices known as "fusion centres" after a sharply critical Senate report said the offices were wasteful and inept.
A national network of fusion centres was begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to serve as clearing houses of intelligence for local, state and federal authorities. The aim was to discover and share information about potential terrorist threats.
The critical report, the result of a two-year review by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations, concluded that the 77 centres nationwide had not produced useful intelligence to support counter- terrorism efforts. The report also said the tactics sometimes violated civil liberties.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the full committee, acknowledged in a statement that the centres have some problems. But he said the subcommittee's report focused too narrowly on intelligence going to federal officials in Washington and ignored broader benefits, including better information sharing with state law enforcement agencies.
"I strongly disagree with the report's core assertion that fusion centres have been unable to meaningfully contribute to federal counterterrorism efforts," said Lieberman, a driving force behind the creation of the fusion centres.
Several law enforcement groups, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association and the National Fusion centre Association, said the report did not address the significant benefits that the centres provide to state, local and tribal law enforcement. "Additionally, the report incorrectly asserts that a majority of the information or intelligence released by fusion centres is untimely, inaccurate and of little use," their joint statement said.
DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said that the report was "inaccurate and misleading" and that Senate investigators "refused to review relevant data," including classified material.
A subcommittee official said that investigators reviewed redacted versions of classified intelligence reports as part of their examination but that they did not refuse to look at any relevant documents.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, accused DHS of hindering the investigation and trying to avoid accountability for the fusion centre problems.
"The Department opted not to inform Congress or the public of serious problems plaguing its fusion centres and broader intelligence efforts," he said. "I hope this report will help generate the reforms that will help keep our country safe."
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Migrants crossing the Mediterranean: Pope Francis joins calls for EU action on boat refugees
Yemen crisis: Meet the child soldiers who have forsaken books for Kalashnikovs
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Isis in Afghanistan: Group claims responsibility for Jalalabad suicide bombing that killed 35
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...