Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty
 

Fusion Centers Collecting Information About Possibly Problematic Americans

April 2, 2013 by  

Fusion Centers Collecting Information About Possibly Problematic Americans
PHOTOS.COM

The Federal government used the 9/11 terror attacks as a catalyst in its quest to create a nationwide surveillance network sophisticated and powerful enough to collect dossiers on virtually all American citizens, in most cases without warrant, in the name of homeland security. One of the most powerful tools at the state’s disposal in recent years has been so-called fusion centers, which allow for citizen data to be collected and stored in central locations for access by all levels of law enforcement.

Homeland Security estimates that it has spent somewhere between $289 million and $1.4 billion in public funds to support State and local fusion centers since 2003.

Civil liberty advocates have long maligned the data collection centers as unConstitutional because they can be used to collect data on Americans who simply make seditious statements or are wary of the government’s actions. This means Americans who practice Constitutionally guaranteed free speech in criticizing government in the public sphere through protest, print or Internet activity could be swept into the vast bureaucratic dragnet that fusion centers cast in the search for potential terrorists.

In fact, the results of a two-year bipartisan investigation by the U. S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations made public late last year underline the concerns of fusion center detractors with findings of wasteful spending by fusion centers engaged in feverish  terrorist witch hunts.

The Senate report found that the Nation’s more than 70 fusion centers actually do very little by way of providing the American populace practical protection from terror; instead, they damage civil liberty and waste taxpayer money.

From the report:

  • The investigation found that DHS intelligence officers assigned to state and local fusion centers produced intelligence of “uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.”
  • DHS officials did not provide evidence to the Subcommittee showing unique contributions that state and local fusion centers made to assist federal counter terrorism intelligence efforts that resulted in the disruption or prevention of a terrorism plot.
  • The investigation also found that DHS did not effectively monitor how federal funds provided to state and local fusion centers were used to strengthen federal counterterrorism efforts.  A review of the expenditures of five fusion centers found that federal funds were used to purchase dozens of flat screen TVs, two sport utility vehicles, cell phone tracking devices and other surveillance equipment unrelated to the analytical mission of an intelligence center.  Their mission is not to do active or covert collection of intelligence.  In addition, the fusion centers making these questionable expenditures lacked basic, “must-have” intelligence capabilities, according to DHS assessments.

While the warrantless government data collection and massive abuse of taxpayer money are cause for concern for the average American, there is something even more disheartening to keep in mind about fusion centers: The people in charge — as is almost always the case with failed government-run money pits — feel they are providing Americans with a valuable service. Worse yet, the criticism they have received over the past several months puts pressure on them to double down on spying efforts in order to justify the existence of the centers via some measure of perceived positive result.

That’s what makes comments like those made by Arkansas State Fusion Center Director Richard Davis over the weekend particularly unsettling. In an attempt to clear up misconceptions that fusion centers are purposefully designed to spy on U.S. citizens, Davis announced that they actually are designed to do just that; but, never fear, the centers take a look only at scary “anti-government” types.

“The misconceptions are that we are conducting spying operations on US citizens, which is of course not a fact. That is absolutely not what we do,” he told a FOX affiliate.

Davis continued, noting that his office focuses mainly on developing international plots as well as, “domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government. We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.”

And, here comes the scariest statement that could be made by a man working for a government-created spy apparatus that is fingered for wasteful spending and Constitutional abuse in recent headlines.

“I do what I do because of what happened on 9/11,” Davis said. “There’s this urge and this feeling inside that you want to do something, and this is a perfect opportunity for me.”

Luckily for Davis and his fusion center cohorts (who, remember, have not actually provided any “unique contributions that state and local fusion centers made to assist federal counter terrorism intelligence efforts that resulted in the disruption or prevention of a terrorism plot”), there is a growing trend of demonizing small-government activists and virtually anyone seeking contrarian alternatives to the current political zeitgeist.

A good example on an organization making it easier for fusion centers to prove their false worth is the Southern Poverty Law Center, which — presumably bored with, or perhaps bankrupt of race-baiting ideas — has squarely focused its accusations of hate on Americans who would prefer a version of America with a smaller government.

Hearkening back to its roots and blaming the Nation’s decision to elect and re-elect a black President for perceived growth in the number of “conspiracy-minded antigovernment ‘Patriot’ groups” in recent years, the SPLC breathlessly exclaimed with the release of its latest “Intelligence Report”:

Now, it seems likely that the radical right’s growth will continue. In 2012, before Obama’s re-election and the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the rate of Patriot growth had slackened somewhat, although it remained significant. Anger over the idea of four more years under a black, Democratic president — and, even more explosively, the same kinds of gun control efforts that fueled the militia movement of the 1990s — seems already to be fomenting another Patriot spurt.

Even before the election last year, self-described Patriots sounded ready for action. “Our Federal Government is just a tool of International Socialism now, operating under UN Agendas not our American agenda,” the United States Patriots Union wrote last year in a letter “sent to ALL conservative state legislators, all states.” This means that freedom and liberty must be defended by the states under their Constitutional Balance of Power, or we are headed to Civil War wherein the people will have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.

In its effort of essentializing that all small government advocates or persons who proudly refer to themselves as patriots are terroristic in nature, SPLC and those who accept its ideology eagerly create an entire class of unwitting homegrown terrorist.

As previously noted by Personal Liberty, SPLC counts the following among potential small government troublemakers, people who it lists alongside the likes of white supremacists and neo-Nazis:

  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
  • Representative Trey Radel (R-Fla.).
  • State lawmakers in Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee who proposed laws that sought to prevent Federal gun control from applying to their States.
  • Sheriff Richard Mack.
  • FOX News Radio host Todd Starnes.
  • ConservativeDaily.com’s Tony Adkins.
  • Chuck Baldwin, a Montana-based Patriot leader long associated with the Constitution Party.
  • The Oath Keepers.

This author would be willing to bet that he and many of you also fit the bill to be grouped alongside SPLC’s list of hysterical small-government advocates.

For people like those at the SPLC and the Nation’s fusion centers, it doesn’t matter that Americans have the Constitutionally protected right to speak out against what they perceive to be government’s shortcomings and abuses. The name of the game for them is remaining relevant. That is to say, if SPLC actually focused on fighting racism and fusion centers focused on tracking legitimate terror threats (which would likely get them in trouble with SPLC for profiling), both enterprises would have little with which to busy themselves.

It is far easier for the two to attack the millions of Americans cognizant of and angry about too big, too wasteful and woefully inept bureaucracy in America. The aforementioned Senate report on fusion centers notes that they have gone so far as to collect information on individuals who placed political stickers in public bathrooms or participated in protests against government actions. And while the information may sit and collect dust forever, precedents set throughout American history (Alien and Sedition acts, Japanese internment) make it frighteningly possible that it could be put to a more sinister use.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Fusion Centers Collecting Information About Possibly Problematic Americans”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at newstips@personalliberty.com

  • csaaphill

    maybe but as long as nothings done beyond 1st amendment rights they can’t do much.

    • http://www.facebook.com/george.mcadoo.92 George McAdoo

      Wrong. A government, which is belligerent towards it’s populace and wary of that populace’s enumerated rights and obligations, and abilities to protect those rights, can create great harm upon that population by using information that it can claim is harmful to “THE STATE”. Visa-vi: Soviet Union; Communist China;North Korea; Hitler’s Germany. I’m sure the list is quite lengthy, but this example should raise the hackles on the backs of the necks of any people who believe that our own government is not capable of the same behavior. Semper Fi!

  • Robert Smith

    Humanity has never really had “privacy” as a normal state. Small towns and communities had everyone knowing everyone and what was going on with everyone. An honest citizen was rewarded with trust and those not worthy generally weren’t able to move ahead.

    I find it amazing how things are now turned upside down by those on the conservative side sowing fear and distrust and they are trying to use that to get ahead.

    Rob

    • Phillip_In_Texas

      Right idea, wrong group. It is not the “conservatives” who are sowing this crap. It is the “progressive & liberals,” in BOTH parties, who are.

      • needfulthings

        Phillip-ie Do you recall what year these ‘Fusion Centers started” ? …. 2003 , so who be large n in-charge back in 2003 hummm? Dat’s right phillip Darth Cheney and his right hand meat puppet dubya. … Go back and READ Mr. Rick Stanley ………. some people ya just can’t reach!

    • wizzardous

      What kind of BS is that? People in small towns tend to know everyone else in town, so the government should know that everyone is doing? Are you nuts or just really stupid? There are about 4 kinds of classical logical fallacies in that thought.

      • Robert Smith

        “People in small towns tend to know everyone else in town, so the government should know that everyone is doing?”

        And isn’t “the government” the people?

        Rob

  • ToughGuy1

    Sorry. I agree with Phillip In Texas!

    • chocopot

      I agree with Phillip as well.

      In addition, Robert is wrong about privacy. In small towns, everyone may know whatever your personal business may be that they can see, but your neighbors do not have access to, for example, your bank records and your medical records. Nowadays, the government has access to both. And things are only getting worse. Orwell was very prescient, and it is happening right here.

      • Chester

        Actually, in a small town, they didn’t have to see the records, as the information about who had what in the bank, and who had the clap, were both readily available simply by asking a couple of the local gossips. There really was NO privacy in a small town, as even what went on in your bedroom was often public knowledge before you got out of bed the next morning.

      • http://pixel8smm.com/libertycell/ TheLibertyCell

        But Chester, the difference was that there was no accessible data source, ony worrd of mouth, based on speculation, for the most part.

  • Doc Sarvis

    Information is power, always has been. Governments (big and small), corporations (big and small, organizations, families, individuals all gather and use information. It is that thing called learning that we value so much. Applying that information is our way of getting an advantage in situations. In our increasingly digital age there is so much more information available and it is easier to acquire and process. This is the price of progress and if you want to limit your information to others you better throw away your credit cards, your smart phone, your internet connection.

    • chocopot

      To an extent, I agree with you. But only government can pass a law FORCING banks and doctors to provide your most private and intimate information for public scrutiny; no corporation can do that.

    • wizzardous

      D.S.: Information is one thing, pejorative categorization is another. When you think it through, tagging me as a threat to national security because I’m a a member of Oath Keepers is another version of the small-minded bigotry that assumes black people can’t manage their own affairs. You want better national security? Keep the violent criminals in jail. Seal the Mexican border. Enforce the laws we already have. Stop giving money and high-tech weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood (boy is that stupidity ever going to bite us on the ass!). You gotta wonder why our leaders are not doing these common-sense things.

    • tony newbill

      Doc , Power in the Wrong Hands can be a Dangerous Time for the average People !!!!!

      The Culmination of Limiting Life in the USA , is this driven from a Ideology about Global Overpopulation Fears among the Elite that see the world from their Private Jet Window ???

      Is the Presidents Efforts to Map Human brains a path towards using Eugenics to Select what Human traits are desirable and which are NOT ???? And will this chart a course that takes Humanity away from the True Creator of Life and interrupt LIBERTY for all people if that Person is deemed not desirable due to a Human Determined Defect ?? Does this set Humanity in the USA and the world on a dangerous slippery Slope of Limiting Unalienable Rights ???

      ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

      Obama unveils White House brain-mapping project

      http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/02/17565983-obama-unveils-white-house-brain-mapping-project?chromedomain=usnews

      There needs to be Limits Placed on where this Kind of Practice Intersects with Political and Congressional Legislative Law and Order in Effecting decisions made on the Individual bases of LIFE because as you see in Washington State trying to Force Capital Investment in Limiting Life would set a dangerous Precedent on Just How and why Life would be allowed or not .
      Senator: Abortion insurance bill won’t move forward
      ht tp://www.komonews.com/news/local/25-state-senators-express-support-for-abortion-insurance-bill-200942271.html

      • Mike in MI

        tony n. -
        My, my, “brain mapping”, how interesting. Fancy that if you can. I would submit that the first mapping of skull contents should be Obama’s and a whole bunch of the liberal brainiac types who continually comment on PLD whose living is derived from government (however much or little). Starting out the cohorts should have some sort of attitudinal and ethical questionaire administered. Also included should be DNA profiles, PET scans, brain metabolism and, then, qualitative and quantitative peripheral neurological AND immune response testing.
        Similarly, the same should be done among a cohort of people who self identify as conservatives and earn between $45,000 to $80,000 per year.
        There would need to be separation of males and females results because of sexually determined traits. Also I think there will be huge difficulties in doing all this since medication usage changes everything and neuro-endocrine physiological effects can not be accounted for from person to person. (The first and biggest problem will be finding enough unmedicated “liberals”. Most of them are as depressed as old Sigmund Freud, for the same reason. – Read, “The Question of God”; Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.)

        However, even before they start we can be assured they can not get accurate information because of our fatally flawed scientific system. Our “sciences”, as commonly conceived, are set up on two basic principles of universal laws, pretty much since Newton. However, around 1900 Max Planck discovered another universal principle, Planck’s Constant, which substantially changes our understanding of how matter, energy and the mind work and are related. Various Quantam physicists have discussed the potentially tremendous enhancements incorporating the Quantam Mechanics Laws could bring. Problem is orthodox scientists and theoreticians refuse to incorporate the more accurate potential into their experiments, computations and conclusions. (I think their fear is that they may have to admit the existence of “spirit”.)
        Consequently, orthodox science has been entirely suffused with errors and inaccuracies at the most fundamental level. The problem becomes that their “stuff” is used to underwrite government policies, patents, laws, religions, mores, in short, everything that touches human consciousness and either the flowering or involution of society.
        Which way would you surmise we’re going???…Flowering or involution?

    • STEVE E.

      The government does collect information constitutionally by the census. The census general data is out for the public to see (such as general statistics) but personal information on someone cannot be available until 110 years after the census is taken for privacy reasons. They figure you are dead the. Go the the National Archives and you will find that you cannot get personal data from any census after 1900. I’ve been there and done that.

  • George Chatraw

    This term “terrorists” has reached the popularity use of the word “racists”. It appears that the only people who are not called terrorists are those who voted for Obama (just like everyone who didn’t vote for him is called a racist). Everyone else is suspect by the Obama government. From all I see, it’s the Obama government that is terrorizing our country with his agenda of destruction. I have more respect for muslim terrorists since they at least state their true agenda without lies.

  • FreedomFighter

    Good is bad, and bad is good, up is down, and down is up, left is right and right is left.

    Support the constitution, liberty and freedom you are trouble to the government, support facism, socialism and communism you are given positions in government…

    Laus Deo
    Semper FI

    • richard brooks

      we have 535 of them in congress at the moment.

  • restorefreedom

    This goes a long way to suppress free speech we must all be on a list by now! Wish we had a supreme court that was for the people instead of corporate and big government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabriel.m.robles.50 Gabriel Mark Robles

    We (Americans) have sooo many instances of violations by our government but the MEDIA has “no interest”. It’s just plain censorship and that is also a threat to National Security!

  • irish1025

    This going on in our Nation and now the UN wants us to ratify their treaty to regulate international gun trade? We have far too many globalist’s infiltrating our government.

  • Pingback: The Government Knows Everything You’ve Ever Done Digitally : Personal Liberty Digest™

Bottom
close[X]

Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to PersonalLiberty.com,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.