Fusion Centers In The NYT: Didn`t Someone Report This A Year Ago?

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has released a report detailing the total failure of the Department of Homeland Security`s Fusion Centers.  The report describes the product of the Centers as useless, misleading, and too late to be useful if it by accident is accurate.

The New York Times October 2, 2012 by James Risen

Inquiry Cites Flaws in Counter-terrorism Offices

WASHINGTON — One of the nation’s biggest domestic counter-terrorism programs has failed to provide virtually any useful intelligence, according to Congressional investigators.

Their scathing report, to be released Wednesday, looked at problems in regional intelligence-gathering offices known as “fusion centers” that are financed by the Department of Homeland Security and created jointly with state and local law enforcement agencies.

The report found that the centers “forwarded intelligence of uneven quality — 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.”

More importantly, like much of DHS, it has focused on a mission already a function of other federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations:

Their scathing report, to be released Wednesday, looked at problems in regional intelligence-gathering offices known as “fusion centers” that are financed by the Department of Homeland Security and created jointly with state and local law enforcement agencies.

The report found that the centers “forwarded intelligence of uneven quality — 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…”

However, state and local law enforcement agencies already were working with the F.B.I. in regional counterterror units called Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which were responsible for handling terrorism-related criminal cases. The fusion centers quickly became a black hole for taxpayer money, the Senate investigators found. The fusion centers were run by state and local officials, but were funded through grants to states from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with little oversight. That made it easy for state and local officials to divert the federal money earmarked for the centers to other things, including sport utility vehicles and dozens of flat-screen televisions for use by state and local agencies.

And as this blog reported, it was openly politically motivated, with a working mission of attacking whites, gun owners, libertarians, and veterans.

The Fusion Centers are not alone in their FBI Envy.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Victims Unit (ICE SVU), otherwise known as Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), has FBI Envy.  ICE SVU has decided that it will no longer enforce immigration law and has abandoned immigration law enforcement for child porn investigations.  It also has ambitions to replace not only the FBI, but also the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Just as the Fusion Centers have no real mission that is not duplicative of FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), so ICE SVU is nothing more than a poorly dressed version of the FBI (yes, ICE SVU Special Agents are notorious for appearing at United States Attorney`s Offices in jeans rather than in professional business attire.).  And like the Fusion Centers, ICE SVU has no mission other than avoiding arresting aliens at any cost.  While at the same time the FBI is forced to do the work that ICE SVU fails at, such as arresting alien terrorists who commit immigration fraud.

Remember, you read it here first.