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Intel Centers Losing Anti-Terror Focus

November 28th, 2007 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON (AP) – Local intelligence-sharing centers set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have had their anti-terrorism mission diluted by a focus on run-of-the-mill street crime and hazards such as hurricanes, a government report concludes.

Of the 43 “fusion centers” already established, only two focus exclusively on preventing terrorism, the Government Accountability Office found in a national survey obtained by The Associated Press. Center directors complain that they were hampered by lack of guidance from Washington and they were flooded by often redundant information from multiple computer systems.

The original concept behind fusion centers was to coordinate resources, expertise and information of intelligence agencies so the country could detect and prevent terrorist acts. The concept has been widely embraced, particularly by the Sept. 11 commission, and the federal government has provided $130 million to help get them off the ground. But until recently, there were no guidelines for setting up the centers and as a result, the information shared and how it is used varies.

Centers in Kansas and Rhode Island are the only two focused solely on counterterrorism. Other centers focus on all crimes, including drugs and gangs, said the GAO, Congress’ investigative and auditing arm. Washington state’s fusion center, for instance, has an all-hazards mission so it can focus on natural disasters and public health epidemics in addition to terrorism.

Full Story Here:
Intel Centers Losing Anti-Terror Focus

As anyone that has ever worked in or around the Intel business can tell you, information sharing between agencies is not something that happens to any great capacity, in fact, in many cases, Intel is deliberately withheld for various reasons, not the least of which is the desire to be the one that roosts on and then hatches the BIG egg…

Inter department and inter agency rivalry is rampant, do any of you remember Mad Magazine?? How about the Spy vs Spy cartoon?? That is a lot closer to the truth than any agency wants people to know…

“Although many of the centers initially had purely counterterrorism goals, for numerous reasons they have increasingly gravitated toward an all-crimes and even broader all-hazards approach,” according to a June Congressional Research Service report.

And that’s not an altogether bad concept, information sharing remains the top priority in MY opinion, cloak and dagger is OK if you’re dealing with a foreign agency and don’t feel that you can completely trust them but inter-agency mistrust can get a lot of people killed if everyone isn’t on the same page…

The centers can potentially tap into five separate federal databases containing case files on investigations, reports on suspicious incidents and research material on terrorist weapons and tactics. But not all of the facilities are in buildings that have adequate security to access those databases, GAO found.

And once again, cooperation is the key, as you can see in the original post, “The centers can potentially tap into five separate federal databases”, the key word is potentially, some agencies don’t want to share their databases and some just flat won’t share, inter-agency cooperation, that is what it’s going to take to keep this nation safe, that and never losing sight of the fact that terrorism is job 1, other crimes do fall into the equation and sharing that data is critical but terrorism and those that commit terroristic acts are the ones that must be stopped by any means necessary…

At the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, watch commander Lori Norris said more federal money and guidelines could solve many of the center’s frustrations. Arizona’s fusion center has representatives from the state’s public safety, motor vehicles and liquor control departments, as well as its National Guard and city and county fire departments and federal agencies.

The Arizona center cannot access some of the federal information systems because its building does not meet security requirements. “We would be able to, but again, we don’t have the funding for that,” Norris said.

And something like this would be a great place to throw some federal money, get the building up to security standards, put in the proper blast doors, secure the walls and ceiling and be sure to put Norton or McAfee on the computer system too because I have seen some systems that were so wide open to attack that that the geek from the high school computer club could hack into the system in a very few minutes, and I am not being sarcastic, the DoD and State Department have been victims recently, the documentation is HERE , HERE, HERE and HERE

Cooperation and security, we must have them both, this nation needs to examine where the tax dollars are going and then demand that OUR tax dollars be spent correctly, in making US safe…

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3 Responses to “Intel Centers Losing Anti-Terror Focus”

  1. comment number 1 by: gunz

    Interesting, I agree with your assessment, and I don’t believe I can add anything; but I will say that Spy vs. Spy was some good stuff, I used to read those. :)

  2. comment number 2 by: Bloviating Zeppelin

    Alphabet agencies, in one way, are not unlike the media; they want the Big Scoop and want to be the FIRST with the information (which help, of course, to justify their budgets). The sad aspect is this:

    1. We have no memories;
    2. We lack indignation and outrage
    3. See #1

    I believe we will not “wake up” to any number of real threats extant UNTIL we see a mushroom cloud developing over sovereign US soil.

    BZ

  3. comment number 3 by: Longstreet

    I agree with BZ above! This nation STILL does not believe it is at war! Plus, there has been a concerted effort to aid Americans in forgetting 9/11 by our mainstream media.

    Add to that the nonsensical belief among our national leaders that Terrorism is a “law and order problem” and not a “National Security/Military problem” and the stage is set for a future disaster of biblical proportions… including that mushroom cloud BZ warns us of above.

    Would that it were possible to grab an entire nation by the shoulders and shake some sense into it. For unquestionably, that is what America needs!

    Best regards!

    Longstreet