Update: 10/3/12:19:21: DHS in general has significant operational issues according to the bipartisan Senate committee report released today. The bombshell report reveals systemic failures and cover ups in the entire DHS operation.
via Canada Free Press:
The report details a governmental agency led by upper management who are out of touch and out of control. Some explosive findings include:
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-assigned “detailees” or agents to fusion centers often issued shoddy and untimely reports that sometimes endangered citizens civil liberties and protections under the Privacy Act;
DHS intelligence reporters overstepped legal boundaries, including reporting on First Amendment-protected activities lacking a nexus to violence or criminality, and reporting on or improperly characterizing political, religious or ideological speech that is not explicitly violent or criminal.Of the 386 unclassified reports reviewed during this investigation, only 94 were found to relate “in some way” to potential terrorist activity, or the activities of a known or suspected terrorist. Of those 94 reports, the usefulness of those reports were deemed as “questionable.”
The subcommittee investigation noted three specific reports that were based on inaccurate, false or misleading information, including the 2011 alleged Russian cyber-attack against an Illinois water plant, which never happened in the manner portrayed by the DHS.
Additionally, the subcommittee found false and misleading information about the alleged “anti-government, anti-Semitic and pro-Constitutional connections” of Jared Loughner in the shooting of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others.
Original Story: 10/3/12:12:03: A multibillion dollar program by DHS which was intended to improve the sharing of terrorism information among state, local and federal officials did little beyond improperly collecting information about innocent Americans according to a bipartisan senate committee report.
The report was the result of two years of work and a review of 80,000 documents under the leadership of Tom Coburn, Subcommittee Chair and under the auspices of Chairman Carl Levin.
Fusion centers (currently there are 77 of them) are the core of the DHS counterterrorism communication program. They were set up by DHS but have “actually hampered counterterrorism efforts” according to the report.
After 9/11, as part of major “reform efforts, both the executive and legislative branches have championed state and local fusion centers as critical tools for the federal government to share terrorism-related information with states and localities.
Editor’s Note: The left is blaming George Bush for the program’s problems in an inexplicable attempt to hide the deficiencies under the leadership of Janet Napolitano. I am not saying it was done well prior to 2006 because I don’t know. I am concerned about the present situation.
The unifying plan for the centers was set up by General Allen in 2006. In 2007, Congress designated DHS as the lead federal partner for fusion centers. Further direction was provided by George Bush in 2008.
Since 2009, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, has changed the direction of the program from its original intent and has not provided adequate oversight.
Part of the problem is the lack of transparency and honesty on the part of DHS under the leadership Janet Napolitano though that is not stated in this report. I don’t know how you come to any other conclusion.
When the investigation began for this report, it was discovered that deficiencies in the program found by DHS internal audits were not shared with Congress.
The findings that were shared by DHS, while admitting to some deficiencies, cited the centers as “one of the centerpieces of our counterterrorism strategy,” and “a major force multiplier in the counterterrorism enterprise.”
The report found that the centers “produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever.”
The report stated that “In interviews, current and former DHS officials involved in the fusion center reporting process stated they were aware that “a lot of [the reporting] was predominantly useless information,” as one DHS official put it. A former reporting branch chief said that while he was sometimes proud of the intelligence his unit produced, “There were times when it was, ‘what a bunch of crap is coming through.’”
In some cases, the federal money went to purchase:
• dozens of flat-screen TVs;
• Sport Utility Vehicles they then gave away to other local agencies; and
• hidden “shirt button” cameras, cell phone tracking devices, and other surveillance equipment unrelated to the analytical mission of a fusion center.
A good deal of the money went to local crime-fighting. The purpose of the centers was to contribute to federal counterterrorism efforts. DHS made that commitment to connect the dots via the fusion centers in 2006 under General Allen and solidified by the Bush Administration.
Editor’s Note: The reality of Big Government is encapsulated in this one project – the government program grew and grew but did almost nothing it was intended to do. Obamacare should work equally well.
Of course DHS disagrees with the report but offers little in the way of self-defense beyond verbiage, stating that it’s old news (it’s from 2011).
“The investigation found that top DHS officials consistently made positive public comments about the value and importance of fusion centers’ contributions to federal counterterrorism efforts, even as internal reviews and non-public assessments highlighted problems at the centers and dysfunction in DHS’ own operations.”
[Lies and coverups!]
The grant process was so complex and so flawed that they didn’t even know how much they were spending. The “fusion” centers where all this information-sharing was supposed to occur cost from $289 mn to $1.4 bn in federal money, not counting the state and local contributions which were 70% of the investment.
Better yet, IT WILL NOT BE ENDED! People on the state and local levels really like those funds for political purposes.
Democrat Carl Levin and Republican Tom Coburn, the panel’s chairmen, reviewed over 600 unclassified reports over a one-year period only to discover they had nothing to do with terrorism.
“The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot,” the report said.
Fusion centers circulated information about Ron Paul supporters, the ACLU, abortion activists, war protesters and gun rights advocates, infringing on their civil liberties. While none of the activities were criminal and determined not suitable for dissemination, the federal government stored the information, in violation of the victims’ civil liberties.
Training for the report officers consisted of five days of instruction followed up by no tests and no grades.
It also set up a system whereby state, local and federal agencies were competing for a limited pool of counterintelligence experts.
The centers were allowed to study criminal or terrorist activities, muddying up the waters even more until terrorism went on to the back burner.
In 2009, Janet Napolitano, DHS secretary, decided fusion centers should look beyond terrorism and that the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces should continue to lead on terrorism. Fusion centers now take in everything else.
Despite the almost complete failure of its mission, Janet Napolitano’s administration’s May 2012 report stated that fusion centers “play a vital role in improving the Nation’s ability to safeguard the Homeland.”
Congress continues to support the centers and has encouraged expansion. The Senate committee recommends strong direct actions to change the centers and the way they operate to bring them in line with the original goals and bring fiscal oversight into the equation.
So, what do you think? Will it happen?