October 11, 2012
Soon after the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report stating that fusion centers not only violate the constitutional rights of Americans, but are also a colossal waste of tax payer money, the committee issued a statement trashing the report.
“The ACLU warned back in 2007 that fusion centers posed grave threats to Americans’ privacy and civil liberties, and that they needed clear guidelines and independent oversight,” said Michael German, ACLU senior policy counsel. “This report is a good first step, and we call upon Congress to hold public hearings to investigate fusion centers and their ongoing abuses.”
“I strongly disagree with the report’s core assertion that ‘fusion centers have been unable to meaningfully contribute to federal counterterrorism efforts,’” said senator Joe Lieberman. “This statement is not supported by the examples presented in the report and is contrary to the public record, which shows fusion centers have played a significant role in many recent terrorism cases and have helped generate hundreds of tips and leads that have led to current FBI investigations.”
In addition to Lieberman, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., who has made a cottage industry out of shrill warnings about the supposed Muslim threat, said the House will soon produce its own report.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs Association, Major Cities (Police) Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs Association, National Governors Association Homeland Security Advisors Council, National Narcotics Officers Coalitions Association, National Fusion Center Association, and Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies also condemned the report.
The Senate report, however, misses the point – for the government, fusion centers are not a boondoggle wasting tax payer money, they are the tip of the spear in intelligence gathering on enemies of the state. Scores of fusion centers around the country are not tracking al-Qaeda, they are tracking and monitoring Ron Paul supporters and dangerous constitutionalists.