March 30, 2013
The federal government and its “partners” on the state and local level are not utilizing the high-tech police state apparatus locked in place in the years following the 9/11 attacks to spy on al-Qaeda terrorists. It was built to keep tabs on Americans exercising their First Amendment rights, Americans the national security state considers an existential threat.
During an interview earlier this week, the director of the Arkansas State Fusion Center, Richard Davis, said the fusion center in Little Rock does not waste its time surveilling al-Qaeda and other supposed foreign terror threats.
“We focus a little more on that, domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government,” Davis told nwahomepage.com. “We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.”
“I do what I do because of what happened on 9/11,” Davis added. “There’s this urge and this feeling inside that you want to do something, and this is a perfect opportunity for me.”
In other words, a “perfect opportunity” to violate the constitutional rights of millions of Americans.
Naturally, this comes as no surprise. In 2009, we reported on a Missouri fusion center report that described supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as “militia” influenced terrorists.
The now infamous MIAC (Missouri Information Analysis Center) report instructed Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.
Last October, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said the Department of Homeland Security spent up to $1.4 billion funding fusion centers plagued by abuse and secrecy.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the panel, said the government has “opted not to inform Congress or the public of serious problems plaguing its fusion centers and broader intelligence efforts. When this subcommittee requested documents that would help it identify these issues, the department initially resisted turning them over, arguing that they were protected by privilege, too sensitive to share, were protected by confidentiality agreements, or did not exist at all. The American people deserve better. I hope this report will help generate the reforms that will help keep our country safe.”
Despite criticism in Congress, it doesn’t look like fusion centers are going away anytime soon. A Department of Homeland Security white paper on budget recommendations for 2013 placed a strong emphasis on maintaining and growing fusion centers.
“The Budget continues to build State and local analytic capabilities through the National Network of Fusion Centers, with a focus on strengthening cross-Department and cross-government interaction with fusion centers,” the DHS paper states.