Fusion Centers Don’t Spy On Americans Except When They Do

I’m not sure why they thought the traditional Western Christian time of “Holy Week” (between Palm Sunday and Easter) was an especially appropriate time, but the week was used by Arkansas law enforcement groups to meet in Springdale for “anti-terrorism training.” You can read about it here, but it really doesn’t give you the full effect that you get from the news video. Hearing the words of the report while seeing direct footage of the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 presents a much more compelling message.

But is it a more accurate message?

“‘There were bits and pieces of intelligence information within the United States and worldwide that indicated, had the intelligence information been shared and looked at properly, what happened on 9/11, there’s a likelihood it could have been prevented or disrupted,’ says ASFC director Richard Davis.”

True, there were amazing, head-throbbing, Keystone-Kops quality breakdowns that allowed 9/11 to occur. When those people failed, not one suffered any kind of penalty, but instead they were invested with new powers and given new agencies to assist them, including those fusion centers.

But in fact the government itself has admitted the Fusion Centers have been a failure to collect useful information.

“After reviewing 13 months’ worth of the fusion centers’ output, Senate investigators concluded that the centers’ reports were ‘oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.’”

In fact, this may explain the Springdale meeting—it was an attempt to get the Fusion Centers to transmit less noise up to counter-terrorism authorities so they might be less distracted from gathering real intelligence.

“Davis says the training is part of a new effort to teach local agencies how to discern valuable intelligence from meaningless tips. ‘They become additional eyes and ears out there that have been trained with specific things to look for, specific information that we would like reported to us,’ he says. ‘We can put that information package together and push it up to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.’”

So what have they been pushing up to the FBI up to now?

So how is this really going to prevent another 9/11?

But it gets worse: they actually admit that they aren’t looking for Al Qaeda threats anymore.

“Davis says Arkansas hasn’t collected much information about international plots, but they do focus on groups closer to home. ‘We focus a little more on that, domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government,’ he says. ‘We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.’”

In this same story they assure us they don’t spy on Americans. But who else could be involved in “domestic terrorism”? And how widely do the fusion centers define that term? Are “certain groups that are anti-government” people who actually constitute a violent threat to overthrow the government? Or are they simply people who support the second amendment and want the Federal Reserve audited?

The Department of Homeland Security has already told us how they define domestic terrorism:

“And what should law enforcement agencies be looking for when it comes to domestic terrorism? Americans suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty and protecting their personal freedoms are categorized as extreme right-wing terrorists. The [DHS] study claims that “right-wing extremists” are “groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent.”

I guess if you are a pro-government American you can rest assured that the Fusion Centers are not spying on you.