Tag Archives: DHS

DHS ‘fusion centers’ “pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions”

Kaye Beach

Oct. 3, 2012

Maybe the civil liberty violations alone weren’t enough to get the kind of attention on these hometown spy centers deserve but add to that the shocking lavish spending, waste and ineptitude. .  .well finally!

Thanks to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Oklahoma’s own Senator Tom Coburn for their great work on this eye opening report on DHS’ Fusion Centers. (Read the report)

Close them down!

The Washington Post’s Robert O’Harrow reports;

Oct. 2, 2012An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators.The nationwide network of offices known as “fusion centers” was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats.But after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.

Read More

Dept. of Homeland Security Releases 2012 Privacy Report

Kaye Beach

September 28, 2012

Th report touts small improvements but bigger problems are revealed.

EPIC the Electronic Privacy Information Center reports;

The Department of Homeland Security has released its 2012 Privacy
Office Annual Report to Congress. The report details the expansion of
the National Counterterrorism Center’s five-year retention policy for
records on US Persons, the agency’s social media-monitoring initiatives,
and privacy training for fusion centers personnel; however, it does not
discuss several new DHS-funded initiatives, including the Future
Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, a “Minority-Report”-like
proposal for “pre-crime” detection. Also, according to the report the
Transportation Security Administration has still failed to adopt
privacy safeguards for airport body scanners.

Two DHS Privacy Office investigations led to the finding of agency non-
compliance. One of those investigations involved DHS’s use of social
media monitoring. EPIC filed a FOIA request on DHS’ social media
monitoring program in April 2011, then filed suit against DHS in
December 2011 in order to force the disclosure of documents related
to the monitoring program, which searched for both suspicious
“keywords” and dissent against government programs. Earlier in 2012,
Congress held an oversight hearing on the DHS social media monitoring
program, and cited the documents obtained by EPIC.

While the report acknowledges agency shortcomings, it also touts DHS
privacy and transparency training as well public engagement through
speaker series, a redesigned FOIA site, and quarterly privacy advocacy
meetings. Significantly, the report fails to address the lack of timely
notice-and-comment rulemakings, particularly the TSA’s lack of
rulemaking on body scanners, ordered by a court in 2011 in response to
a suit brought by EPIC.

The report discusses DHS’ increased use of Privacy Compliance Reviews
(PCRs), which cover programs including cybersecurity, information
sharing, and the use of social media. The DHS Privacy Office used these
reviews to fail eight of its own agency programs for their lack of
privacy compliance documentation. None of the eight programs are
identified in the report, nor are any details of their lack of privacy
compliance.

The DHS Chief Privacy Office must present annual reports to Congress
and is also required by law to ensure that new agency programs do not
diminish privacy in the US.

DHS Privacy Office:  2012  Annual Report to Congress (Sept. 2012)
http://epic.org/redirect/092812-dhs-2012-privacy-report.html

EPIC:  DHS Privacy Office
http://epic.org/privacy/dhs-cpo.html

EPIC:  Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST)
http://epic.org/privacy/fastproject/

EPIC:  Fusion Centers
http://epic.org/privacy/fusion/

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Social Media Monitoring)
http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program)
http://epic.org/redirect/092812-epicvdhs-scannersuspend.html

 

Volume 19.18                                       September 28, 2012
———————————————————————–

Published by the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, D.C.

http://www.epic.org/alert/epic_alert_19.18.html

“Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.”
http://epic.org/donate

Naked Body Scanners-TSA Thinks We Should Be Seen But NOT heard!

Kaye Beach

July 28, 2012

I rarely ask people to sign petitions but I am making an exception for this one-please sign it!

An online petition posted in “We the People” demands that the White House “Require the Transportation Security Administration to Follow the Law!”

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-transportation-security-administration-follow-law/tffCTwDd

Remember the naked body scanners that were forced upon us by the Department of Homeland Security through the TSA a couple years ago?

The Naked Truth about TSA’s Naked Body Scanners

I remember it well because when I attempted to provide some “public input” about the devices, this is the reaction I got from a TSA agent-

TSA: “I thought maybe you might be representing a terrorist organization”

Well, EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has been fighting DHS and the TSA tooth and nail on this issue ever since.  They have made an impact.

On July 15, 2011, in EPIC v. DHS, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that the Transportation Security Administration violated federal law when it refused to conduct a public rulemaking over the use of whole body imaging scanners to screen airport passengers.

(Read more about EPIC’s battle against the naked body scanners http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/ )

In brief, the TSA has been found in federal court to be in violation of federal law because they did not include any opportunity for public input in the rulemaking process  regarding the use of these devices.

The court noted that “few if any regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so many members of the public,” and then ordered the Department of Homeland Security to fix the problem.

Here we are over a year later and DHS has done nothing!  They have yet to publish their rules and they have not begun to accept public comments nor made any announcement to indicate that they intend to do so.

Please sign the public petition to help push the TSA to do what it was ordered to do and what it should have done in the first place.  The public deserves to have their voice heard. 

We are down to the wire on this petition and lack only 9,000 signatures. Yes, you have to register to sign this and that is a pain but please take the time to register so that you can sign.  We have just 2 weeks left to get the remaining signatures needed!

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-transportation-security-administration-follow-law/tffCTwDd

Please share this information with your friends on Facebook, twitter and through email.

Thanks!

Oklahoma is an official DHS test site for drone technology

Kaye Beach

July 10, 2012

From Government Security News

Tue, 2012-07-10 10:11 AM

The state of Oklahoma was selected in late June to be the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s test site for the department’s Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) Program.

The program will research and test Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), focusing on possible applications for first responders, including search and rescue scenarios, response to radiological and chemical incidents and fire response and mapping.

Research facilities and air space around Ft. Sill, near Lawton, will be key to the program said Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on June 29.

Read more

Want to know a lot more about the drone industry in Oklahoma?

Click the pic-about 40 pages of  hair raising economic development in the great state of Oklahoma.

Department Of Homeland Security Announces “If You See Something, Say Something™” Partnership With The City Of Charlotte

Kaye Beach,

The Department of Homeland Security continues to expand it “See Something, Say Something” campaign into every imaginable sector of society.  “See Something, Say Something” is a DHS program designed to encourage ordinary people to report anything they believe to be unusual to the authorities.

Those reports then become a SAR-Suspicious Activity Report, many of which are forwarded on to the FBI to be held in their eGaurdian database for a number of years collecting additional bits of information on the individual.

Think something like this might have a chilling effect on free speech or political participation? Certianly.  That is exactly what such a program is designed for; to keep you fearful and in your place.

“I started to read these files about all the victims in just one region of Germany that the Gestapo had processed,” Gellately says. “It would have taken a large force of secret police to collect information on so many people. I needed to know just how many secret police there really were. So I asked an elderly gentleman who would’ve lived through those times, and he replied, ‘They were everywhere!'”

That was the prevailing myth.

“But I had evidence right there in my hands that supported a different story,” Gellately explains. “There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors.” -Robert Gellately, Earl Ray Beck Professor, Department of History

05/21/2012 07:00 AM EDT

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the expansion of the “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign to the city of Charlotte, N.C. Earlier today, DHS Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs Betsy Markey joined Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and officials from the Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to announce the partnership between DHS and the city of Charlotte.

“If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign materials will be visible throughout Charlotte – in the Charlotte Area Transit System, in public buildings, on the city website and at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In addition, a 30-second “If You See Something, Say Something™” Public Service Announcement will be broadcast on the local Charlotte government access television station.

DHS also separately announced the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign partnership with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, an international federation of more than 100 local associations and affiliated organizations. The partnership will begin in eight different metropolitan areas including Baltimore, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis, Orlando, St. Paul, Southwest Florida, and Washington, D.C. with plans to expand to other cities in the future.

The “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign – originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS for a nationwide campaign – is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

The Department launched the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative – an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism and terrorism-related crime; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and ensure the sharing of those reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces for further investigation.

Recent expansions of the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign include partnerships with numerous sports teams and leagues, transportation agencies, private sector partners, states, municipalities, and colleges and universities. DHS also has Public Service Announcements which have been distributed to television and radio stations across the country.

DHS will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign nationally to ensure America’s businesses, communities, and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.

###

DHS Disregards Public Comments, OKs ‘Global Entry’ Program

Kaye Beach

Feb 16, 2012

From EPIC the Electronic Privacy Information Center;

http://www.epic.org/alert/epic_alert_19.03.html

The US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a law enforcement
agency of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued a final rule
approving Global Entry, a traveler-screening program, despite the
substantial privacy and security risks brought to the agency’s
attention. Under the Global Entry program, the CBP would collect
detailed personal information about airline passengers, including Social
Security numbers and biometric information such as iris scans, which
normally would be subject to Privacy Act safeguards.
Global Entry allows travelers to expedite their entry into the United
States at US partner airports. To participate in the program, travelers
must meet specific requirements and undergo pre-screening by the CBP,
which will use biometrics “to validate identity.” The CBP claims to have
legal authority to share travelers’ personal information with US law
enforcement agencies.
In public comments submitted to the agency in 2010, EPIC stressed that
the Global Entry program should “(1) provide individuals judicially
enforceable rights of access and correction; (2) create suitable
retention and disposal standards; (3) limit the distribution of
information to only those necessary for the screening process; (4) and
respect individuals’ rights to their information that is collected and
maintained by the agency.”  EPIC also noted that implementing the
Global Entry program without first conducting a Privacy Impact
Assessment would violate federal law. Finally, EPIC underscored the
importance of a Privacy Impact Assessment, “particularly in light of
the fiasco encountered under Clear, a similar registered traveler
program.”
The CPB’s final rulemaking, however, rejected EPIC’s recommendation
that the agency comply with the Privacy Act by limiting the
distribution of passenger information to those who need it for
screening purposes.
Fed. Digital System:  Final Rule on Global Entry Program (Feb. 6, 2012)
US Customs and Border Protection:  Global Entry
EPIC:  Comments on Establishment of Global Entry (Jan. 19, 2010)
EPIC:  Global Entry

Homeland Security: You’re All ‘Militia Extremists’ Now

Kaye Beach

Fe. 6, 2012

From PJ Media originally posted Feb 5, 2012

Love the Constitution? Hate government regulations? New DHS “lexicon” brands you a “militia extremist.”

by Patrick Pool

A recently published “lexicon” distributed to thousands of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) targets citizens concerned about their Second Amendment rights and the steady encroachment of the federal government, categorizing such as “militia extremists.”

The “lexicon,” marked Unclassified/For Official Use Only (FOUO), is dated November 10, 2011, and was sent out by email to law enforcement and homeland security agencies on November 14 by LaJuan E. Washington of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

We have exclusively posted the DHS “lexicon” here.

Its definition of “militia extremists” states:

(U//FOUO) Groups or individuals who facilitate or engage in acts of violence directed at federal, state, or local government officials or infrastructure in response to their belief that the government deliberately is stripping Americans of their freedoms and is attempting to establish a totalitarian regime. These individuals consequently oppose many federal and state authorities’ laws and regulations, (particularly those related to firearms ownership), and often belong to armed paramilitary groups. They often conduct paramilitary training designed to violently resist perceived government oppression or to violently overthrow the US Government. (Page 2 of 3, emphasis added)

Read More

DHS Hires General Dyanamics to Track Criticism and Dissent Online

Kaye Beach

Jan. 19, 2012

From an EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center) Alert issued on Jan. 18, 2012;

EPIC: FOIA Docs Reveal DHS Monitoring of Online Political Dissent

As the result of EPIC v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained nearly 300 pages of documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security social media surveillance program. The documents include contracts and statements of work with General Dynamics for 24/7/365 media and social network monitoring and periodic reports to DHS. As part of this contract, General Dynamics was tasked with monitoring media and social networking sites and providing immediate, daily, and weekly summaries to Homeland Security.

The FOIA documents reveal that Homeland Security is tracking criticism and dissent, stating that the contractor should monitor and summarize media stories that “reflect adversely” on DHS or the US government.  (Emphasis mine) DHS also says that the agency is attempting to “capture public reaction to major government proposals.”

No one is surprised. The information gathered here will be combined with all of the other data points on us that the government has access to in order to flesh out the threat assessment being performed, on some level, of all of us.

If you are saying nasty or unflattering things about government agencies or their policies, DHS wants to know so that they will be able to offer effective pressure or counter-propaganda to ideas that they find at odds with their aims.

EPIC continues;

The agency instructs the contractor to generate “reports on DHS, Components, and other Federal Agencies:  positive and negative reports on FEMA, CIA, CBP, ICE, etc. as well as organizations outside the DHS.”

One tracking report held up by the DHS as a example of what a report should include – “Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish, MI” – summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters on popular social networking sites and news media comment boards.

Jan 13, 2012, the New York Times Reports;

Ginger McCall, director of the group’s [EPIC] Open Government Program, said it was appropriate for the department to use the Internet to search for emerging threats to public safety. But, she said, monitoring what people are saying about government policies went too far and could chill free speech.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.

Read more

From a Reuters exclusive ‘Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media’ Jan 11, 2012;

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.

. . .News and gossip sites on the monitoring list include popular destinations such as the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and “NY Times Lede Blog”, as well as more focused techie fare such as the Wired blogs “Threat Level” and “Danger Room.” Numerous blogs related to terrorism and security are also on the list.

Some of the sites on the list are potentially controversial. WikiLeaks is listed for monitoring, even though officials in some other government agencies were warned against using their official computers to access WikiLeaks material because much of it is still legally classified under U.S. government rules.

Another blog on the list, Cryptome, also periodically posts leaked documents and was one of the first websites to post information related to the Homeland Security monitoring program.

Also on the list are JihadWatch and Informed Comment, blogs that cover issues related to Islam through sharp political prisms, which have sometimes led critics to accuse the sites of political bias

Read more

Sources from EPIC;

EPIC:  Freedom of Information Act Request to DHS (April 12, 2011)

http://epic.org/redirect/011812-epicvdhs-social-foia.html

EPIC:  FOIA Documents Received from DHS (Jan. 12, 2012)

http://epic.org/redirect/011812-epicvdhs-social-foia-docs.html

NY Times:  ‘Federal Security Program Monitored Public Opinion’

(Jan. 13, 2012)

ComputerWorld: ‘DHS Media Monitoring Could Chill Public Dissent, EPIC 

Warns’ (Jan. 16, 2012)

EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Media Monitoring)

http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/

Secretary Napolitano Meets with State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement on Countering Violent Extremism

Kaye Beach

Jan 18, 2011

Get ready for more top down imposition and pressure on our police forces in order to “prevent violent extremism”

As near as I can tell, an “extremist,” in the eyes of this government,  is anyone that takes issue with its policies, actions or aims which means that there is a whole lot of those extremists and more of them are being minted daily.

The best way to prevent “violent extremism” is to ensure that the ordinary, common garden variety  “extremists” are thoroughly monitored and intimidated. In this way they can be completely disabused of their unacceptable ideas, thoughts or philosophies.   This, my friends,  means nothing good for our rights.  Freedom of speech and association, the right to petition our government for redress of grievances, the right to freely travel and more will keep taking the hits under the guise of keeping us safe.

Congress has a 9% approval rating. 

Only Fidel Castro is more unpopular (at least by this chart) than Congress.  Don’t you think it is odd that in the face of this dismal fact they keep on plowing ahead with travesties like the NDAA?  Isn’t it weird that they keep forcing upon us laws that the majority of us are appalled at?  It’s not so weird really.  They can’t possibly hope to win us over with what they are doing.  I think they are banking on controlling us instead.  Mark my words.  Before long it will be a rare American that will be able to avoid the ugly side of Big Momma Gov. hell bent on rooting out thought criminals.

Happy Hunting Homeland Security and good luck in Oklahoma!  Even our cops will look like extremists to you.

 

Secretary Napolitano Meets with State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement on Countering Violent Extremism

Release Date: January 18, 2012

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today joined Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan at the White House to meet with senior state, local and tribal law enforcement officials to discuss the Obama administration’s Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States—released in December—and engage them on the critical task of preventing violent extremism in their communities. Attendees included sheriffs and chiefs of police from across the country, including representatives from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Native American Law Enforcement Association, Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council, and Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council.

“Engaging local communities is critical to our nation’s effort to counter violent extremism and violent crime, and this meeting brings together many of our partners,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The Department of Homeland Security will continue to collaborate with our state and local law enforcement partners and engage the public in our efforts to combat violent extremism, while protecting civil rights and civil liberties.”

During the meeting, Secretary Napolitano underscored DHS’ efforts to support local communities by enhancing existing partnerships to focus on information-driven community-based solutions, building government and law enforcement expertise, supporting community oriented policing practices and expanding grant prioritization to counter violent extremism and violent crime regardless of ideology. In addition, DHS is continuing to implement recommendations from the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, such as developing a curriculum for state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement focused on a community-oriented policing approach to countering violent extremism and violent crime. DHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties also works to educate communities and state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement on cultural awareness across the nation.

Secretary Napolitano also reiterated President Obama’s call for Congress to take action to prevent layoffs of law enforcement and first responders, and keep our communities safe by passing legislation such as the American Jobs Act. The legislation would provide $5 billion in assistance to states and local communities to create or save thousands of law enforcement and first responder jobs across the country.

Over the past year, DHS has worked with the Department of Justice on the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI)—an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism, crime and other threats; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and ensure the sharing of those reports with the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces for further investigation.

DHS has also collaborated with federal, state, local, and private sector partners, and the general public, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign. Originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS for a nationwide campaign, the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign is a simple and effective program to engage the public to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

DHS will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign nationally to ensure America’s businesses, communities, and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov/cve.

Who Owns the Fusion Centers?

Kaye Beach

Jan 15, 2012

Part II

This is Part II of my ongoing dissertation on Fusion Centers and the work they do.  You can read Part I, Intelligence Led Policing and Fusion Centers: How the IACP Helped the USA to Cross the Rubicon, which dealt with the flawed and dangerous philosophy of preemptive or Intelligence Led Policing that makes the whole domestic terrorism apparatus, including fusion centers such a threat to the liberties of everyone.

In Part II I am going to explain what the centers really do and who is in control of them and how.

Fusion Centers-State of Federal?

It is all about collecting the data and getting it to the federal government.  The most important function of Fusions Centers is also the most invisible portion of their work; the computer networks and information sharing that takes place through those networks.

Despite claims that the Fusion Centers were created by the states, the truth is that the modern day fusion centers were born of policy established at the federal level and they are largely funded, staffed and  trained by representatives of federal agencies.  The federal government likes to claim that the states are partners with the federal government in this and other programs like it.

Question: If I set the rules and I pay the bills and I own the house that you are currently residing in, are you really my partner?

Answer: only to the degree that I am willing to pretend that you are.

When it comes to state fusion centers, the federal government has been paying the bills, they set the rules and they own the house.

Paying the Bills-Federal Funding

Since 2003 the Department of Homeland Security has given $31 billion dollars to the state and local governments.

3.8 billion was given to the states in 2010 alone.  The programs funded by the DHS, largely focus on countering terrorism but also on natural and man-made disasters are required to be tuned to DHS dictates.  According to the Government Accountability Office, Fusion centers have been received $426 million in general grant funding from fiscal 2004 through fiscal 2009.  Stating the obvious about money and control, “You take the king’s shilling, you become the king’s man”—Tom Cole

This  news article published Nov 27, 2011, Oklahoma’s fusion center has a broad role these daysmakes who is paying the bills pretty clear.

Oklahoma’s federally funded information fusion center has a broader role today than it did when it began operations four years ago.

. . .Oklahoma’s fusion center is housed inside the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation‘s headquarters, 6600 N Harvey Place, and includes a secured room where secret information from the federal government is received.
. . .A central office includes a small room filled with monitors and TV screens, relaying data to an analyst. Its operations are funded, for the most part, by grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Stenhouse said the federal agency provided Oklahoma’s fusion center with about $400,000, which he said was used to pay the salaries of four analysts and training purposes. (All emphasis mine) Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahomas-fusion-center-has-a-broad-role-these-days./article/3626735#ixzz1i4z2ZOBQ

Oklahoma has received hundreds of millions of dollars in Homeland Security funds since 911 and the state understands who is in charge even if the officials choose to dance around the truth with the public.

The following is from the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center’s “Privacy Policy.”  It is clearly stated that the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security oversees the initiatives and mandates of the federal Department of Homeland Security-including our state’s fusion center.

OKOHS (Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security) is directed to continue their efforts in combating terrorism, and shall continue to oversee the implementation of any and all initiatives or efforts mandated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, including the development of a state information fusion center. (Emphasis mine)Read more

 

Federal Personnel Staff state fusion centers-.  According to the Government Accountability Office Report, as of July 2010, the DHS has deployed 58 personnel to fusion centers, and the FBI has deployed 74 personnel to fusion centers.

Setting the Rules

In 2008 we learned that the federal government has no qualms about yanking those strings attached hard and that includes subverting state law intended to protect the citizens of that state in the process.  The Fusion Centers have a job to do and that job requires some changes to be made to pesky state laws meant to provide residents with openness to,  and oversight of,  their government.

EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg said, “the FBI memorandum indicates that the federal government is attempting to shroud the Virginia Fusion Center in secrecy and prevent meaningful public oversight. Virginia citizens deserve an open and transparent state government that is not constrained by federal secrecy policies.”

http://epic.org/press/041108.html

Through the litigation, EPIC uncovered a secret contract between the State Police and the FBI that limits the rights of Virginia citizens to learn what information the State Police collect about them.

http://epic.org/privacy/virginia_fusion/


Fusion centers may be physically located in the states but their guts belong to Homeland Security! 

If you think of Fusion Centers as a place you will miss what the centers are really about.  Fusion Centers are part of a domestic intelligence system and the guts of the fusion centers are the data networks.

The federal government (guided all the way by the International Association of Chiefs of Police) defined the fusion centers and their processed from the start. They drew up the map.

“The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, developed by Global in partnership with the IACP, is the first of its kind in this country — and promises to bring us closer to achieving the goal, expressed at your 2002 Summit, of “intelligence-led policing.” . . . it serves as a “roadmap” for our national criminal intelligence sharing initiatives.” –THE HONORABLE DEBORAH J. DANIELS

The question of whether or not these institutions are state or federal entities is a moot point.  Though they physically reside in the states, the federal government aside from defining, funding and staffing the centers, also controls the data networks and they set the standards for how data is collected and shared.

Federal standards equal federal control

Standards are important if you want to:

  • SHARE DATA (speak the same language)

Standards Provide

  • On-demand real time data access

 Navigating the Standards Landscape

A Nationwide Network

You know what is worse for you privacy ant autonomy that a central database?  A distributed network of databases that are constantly updated that the central government can reach into at will.

The DHS intelligence analysis center or the DCI’s counterterrorist center do not need to accumulate and hold all relevant databases to which they may gain access. In other words, there is no need to build one big data warehouse. Instead, the centers should interface with such databases as needed.

—Markle Foundation Task Force Report 2002

Owning the House

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and Global jointly published a supplement to the Fusion Center Guidelines called Baseline Capabilities Baseline Capabilities defines the capabilities needed to create a nationwide network of fusion centers and sets forth the minimum standards for a fusion center to be able to perform basic functions. 

The Department of Homeland Security set out an objective to create a network of fusions centers as a unique law enforcement and threat information resource that works across jurisdictions and is supported by multidisciplinary teams dispersed throughout a national network of information hives. Source EPIC

“. . .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.” –DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano March 13, 2009

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/speeches/sp_1236975404263.shtm


Jurisdiction

The Fusion Center Guidelines states that, “nontraditional collectors of intelligence, such as public safety entities and private sector organizations” will be “fused’ with law enforcement data”   The goal is to break down traditional barriers to information sharing. 

These barriers are commonly referred to as “siloes” or “stovepipes”

Those “silos” or barriers can also be thought of as jurisdictions.

From the Legal Information Institute;

Jurisdiction-The term jurisdiction is really synonymous with the word “power” Jurisdiction is the territory within which a court or government agency may properly exercise its power

It is not difficult to understand that when the the lines of authority are blended power will default to the higher level.

Agency protectiveness over jurisdiction and it is the authority an entity has over that jurisdiction that is the real barrier.  Simply stated, the problem with integrating data systems is not a physical or technical one; it’s political. Until recently, the barrier was both political and technological.  Now that the technological barrier has been removed, some think that the political barrier should follow suit.  But just because something is possible does it mean we should do it?

“National employment databases, national medical databases, national criminal databases, and others have already been created.

The dream is to blend all these separate resources into a single centralized one…the only real impediments to creating the database that now remain are political and cultural: the stubborn assumption of so many Americans that they have rights.”

The State’s Quest for Total Information Awareness by David M. Brown

In the past, the technological or physical barrier acted as sort of a firewall to siloes of data.  Data was shared on a legal right and need to know basis and  the entity wanting it had to ask.  While technology makes it possible to share lots of information in an instant with anyone in the world, there are still plenty of good reasons to protect sensitive  information.

If you really, really want to settle this whole argument about whether or not fusion centers are state of federal, just read about Homeland Security’s Federal Fusion Center initiative.

In 2010 The Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to;

“collect, plan, coordinate, report, analyze, and fuse infrastructure information related to all-threats and all-hazards, law enforcement activities, intelligence activities, man-made disasters and acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other information collected or received from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and organizations; foreign governments and international organizations; domestic security and emergency management officials; and private sector entities or individuals into the Department.”

The DHS is creating a federal fusion center by ‘fusing’ information from the   centers.  DHS is laying claim to all of that data to use as they see fit.

The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly stated that Fusion Centers were  owned by the states, the creation of this new system of records action totally negates that dubious claim.   They didn’t ask anyone’s permission.  Why?  Because they paid the bills, they set the rules and they own the house.  The states are a  “partner” up until the federal government decided they weren’t.

Fusion Centers, for all practical intents and purposes, belongs to none other than Big Momma Gov. and if anyone tells you different,  grab a pitcher because their pants are on fire!