The Rise of the Fusion-Intelligence Complex

A critique of political surveillance after 9/11

Anthony B. Newkirk

The private sector – the Nation’s principal provider of goods and services and owner of 85 percent of our infrastructure – is a key homeland security partner…
(Office of Homeland Security 2002, viii)
I believe that Fusion Centers will be the centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence sharing for the future and that the Department of Homeland Security will be working and aiming its programs to underlie Fusion Centers… [T]he private sector… can…also provide vital support for the sustainability of Fusion Centers… (Janet Napolitano 2009)

A report by Privacy International (2007) ranked the United States of America and Great Britain as “endemic surveillance societies” along with China, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. These findings are not surprising. But a significant, albeit unheralded, fact is that political surveillance is undergoing significant organizational changes in the context of neoliberal globalization. In the United States, for instance, this relationship is defined less by customary state forces and, increasingly, by interlocking public-private partnerships. Largely overlooked in these developments is the creation of entities known as “fusion centers.”

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