May 23, 2012

Whatcha Find Wednesday

On Lenny's way home from Kentucky he spotted a military vehicle heading towards the Fusion Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For those of you who unaware of what fusion centers are here is a brief description:

"A fusion center is an information sharing center, many of which were created under a joint project between the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs between 2003 and 2007.
They are designed to promote information sharing at the federal level between agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice, US Military, and state and local level government. As of July 2009, the Department of Homeland Security recognized at least seventy-two fusion centersTemplate:PBS Frontline Report: Are We Safer?, season 29 mentions that the DHS created 72 fusion centers. Fusion centers may also be affiliated with an Emergency Operations Center that responds in the event of a disaster."

"There are a number of documented criticisms of fusion centers, including relative ineffectiveness at counterterrorism activities, the potential to be used for secondary purposes unrelated to counterterrorism, and their links to violations of civil liberties of American citizens and others.[5] One such fusion center has been involved with spying on anti-war and peace activists as well as anarchists in Washington State."

"The center's graphic example of the "dangerous" scenario of altered traffic safety signs was culled from a Wired magazine report on an incident in Austin, Texas, where a hacker changed a sign to warn of a coming zombie infestation.

The report also discusses numerous potential areas of fraud which could allow a terrorist to integrate with society, including document fraud, student visa fraud, marriage fraud and employer fraud.

"If we are to believe this exaggerated threat assessment, Virginia's learning and religious institutions must be hotbeds of terrorist activity,' said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, in an advisory. "This document and its authors have displayed a fundamental disregard for our constitutional rights of free expression and association. Unfortunately, it's not the first time we've seen such an indifference to these basic rights from local fusion centers. Congress must take the necessary steps to institute real and thorough oversight mechanisms at fusion centers before we reach a point where we are all considered potential suspects."

"There is an appalling lack of oversight at these fusion centers and they are becoming � as the ACLU has repeatedly warned � a breeding ground for overzealous police intelligence activities," said Michael German, ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI Agent, in a release. "The Virginia threat assessment isn�t just disturbing for encouraging police to treat education and religious practices with suspicion, it's bad law enforcement. Lawmakers from all levels of government need to enact legislation to protect against these spying activities that threaten our democracy while doing nothing to improve security."

Recently, a Department of Homeland Security-funded fusion center in Missouri was accused of blatant disregard for the United States Constitution after one of its memos encouraged the surveillance of third party activists, Christians and supporters of Congressman Ron Paul, for their alleged potential status as illegal militia.

The center retracted its memo and publicly apologized when Congressman Paul, along with former presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin and former Congressman Bob Barr, sent a letter to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (PDF link), demanding an about-face."

For any questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment or e-mail us at Also don't forget to send us your pictures and a brief description so you may be included in next weeks Whatcha Find Wednesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment