Claremore Daily Progress

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October 3, 2012

Home-front effort at homeland security not paying off

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The problems and inadequacies uncovered were far ranging. The investigation found that much of the focus on terrorism has been lost, with reporting focused on drugs or other criminal activity unrelated to terrorism. Often, reports were not forwarded in a timely manner. In a few cases, identified fusion centers did not actually exist. 

In some instances, money channeled to state and local fusion agencies was used to purchase flat-screen TVs, sport utility vehicles, hidden cameras, cell phone tracking devices and “other surveillance equipment unrelated to the analytical mission of a fusion center.”  

 Based on its findings, the subcommittee made the following recommendations:

• Congress should clarify the purpose of providing federal monetary and other support for Homeland Security fusion center efforts. Congress should require Homeland Security to conform its efforts to match its counterterrorism statutory purpose or redefine the fusion center mission. 

• Homeland Security should reform its intelligence reporting efforts at state and local fusion centers to eliminate duplication.

• Homeland Security should improve its training of intelligence reporters.   

• Homeland Security should strictly align fusion center grant funding to meet federal needs. 

• Homeland Security should track how much money it gives to each fusion center.  FEMA should identify how much money it grants to states and urban areas for direct or indirect support of each individual fusion center and report those amounts annually to Congress. 

• The program manager for the information sharing environment in the office of the director of national intelligence should evaluate fusion center capabilities and performance.

• Homeland Security should link funding of each fusion center to its value and performance.  

• Homeland Security should timely disclose to Congress significant problems within its operations.

• Homeland Security should align its practices and guidelines to protect civil liberties so they adhere to the Constitution, federal law and its statutory mission. Homeland Security should strengthen its protections to prevent personnel from improperly collecting and retaining intelligence on Constitutionally protected activity. 

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