As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) doles out billions of dollars to convince local police departments to surrender control to the federal agency, a recent report indicates that intelligence gathered at precincts-cum-surveillance-centers will be shared among all levels of law enforcement.
An article published by Fierce Homeland Security on November 4 reports:
The phenomenon of fusion centers sharing intelligence and skills with each other — not just with the federal government — is a new and underappreciated aspect of the centers, panelists at a Homeland Security Policy Institute event said.
Fusion centers mainly apply national intelligence to local contexts and gather information locally that they can share with federal agencies. But in recent years, a great deal of “horizontal sharing” has occurred, where fusion centers work closely with each other, said Ross Ashley, the executive director of National Fusion Center Association.
“We’ll find an expert in Washington state on international human trafficking over international ferry systems. Well, I don’t need that expert everywhere. What I need is the ability to reach out to that expert if I’m in West Virginia,” he said at the event, held Oct. 23 in Washington, D.C.
That meeting, entitled “State and Local Fusion Centers: Key Challenges for the Next Decade,” featured three panelists: John Cohen, principal deputy under secretary for intelligence and analysis, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Thomas Kirk, director, West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center; and Ross Ashley, executive director, National Fusion Center Association. The keynote address was delivered by Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
In July, McCaul co-authored with Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) a report on the progress of the establishment of the nationwide spread of the fusion centers. The press release announcing the report reveals the pair’s support for a program that dismantles federalism and accelerates the militarization of local police and the consolidation of control of those departments to the federal government. The McCaul-King report states:
Fusion centers serve as hubs of strategic analysis and information sharing where Federal, State, and local agencies are all represented in one location. State and local crime data is coordinated, gathered and reviewed to determine if there is any potential connection to terrorist activity. In addition, Federal terrorism-related information is shared with State and local law enforcement.
Seems the congressmen should be reminded of the fact that there is not a single syllable of the Constitution authorizing any such federal participation in law enforcement. If the power isn’t granted to the federal government in the Constitution, then authority over that area remains with the states and the people as described in the Tenth Amendment.
Remarkably, McCaul and King lament the fact that the chain of fusion centers isn’t growing quickly enough and the DHS isn’t getting adequate access to all that information. The report adds:
The Committee’s review concludes that the Network is not functioning as cohesively as it should be and fusion centers are facing numerous challenges that prevent the Network from realizing its full potential to help secure the homeland.
Of course, there couldn’t be a piece of federal police and surveillance program propaganda without reminding citizens that all this deprivation of their rights is for their safety. As if to say, if the federal government doesn’t take control of your local police department and keep all citizens under surveillance, the terrorists will strike again.
The representatives’ zeal for constructing local outposts of the central surveillance headquarters is not surprising. Self-serving bureaucrats inside the U.S. government are tirelessly trying to obliterate local police forces answerable to local citizens and promote the consolidation movement as a step toward federalization of law enforcement. These proponents of regional and national police forces desire nothing less than the eradication of all local police departments and sheriffs’ offices, the surrender of state and municipal sovereignty, and the conversion of police into federal security agents sworn not to protect and to serve their neighbors, but to protect the prerogatives of politicians.
Take for example the information contained in a White Paper presented in 2012 to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In that report, the DHS is encouraged to embark on an “evolving mission” away from its ostensible purpose of fighting terrorism, toward becoming the administrator of an enormous domestic intelligence agency resulting from an integration of the country’s local and state law-enforcement agencies.
This report was written by the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, co-chaired by former DHS chief Michael Chertoff. The blueprint promoted in the White Paper pushes Congress toward green-lighting the growth of DHS and the dissolution of local police and sheriffs.
The organization described in the paper, entitled “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission,” is reminiscent of more draconian governments. For example, one section of the report calls for a transition in the mission of DHS away from protecting the country from the “terrorism” of foreign militants and toward “more specific homeward focused areas.” Additional sections of the report lay out the plans for building a DHS/police hybrid agency that can monitor Americans in any town and prevent threats from fellow citizens.
In order to achieve their ultimate aim, the globalists demand that DHS or some other federal agency take control of the personnel decisions currently made by local police chiefs and county sheriffs. “As the threat grows more localized,” the report claims, “the federal government’s need to train, and even staff, local agencies, such as major city police departments, will grow.” Put another way: The federal government will run your local police department and sheriff’s office.
The establishment of fusion centers is a key component of this plan. The following information is taken from a fact sheet on fusion centers posted on the DHS website:
A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.
A description of the functioning of these incubators for the forthcoming federal police force is also provided on the DHS site:
State and major urban area fusion centers (fusion centers) serve as primary focal points within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners…. Fusion centers conduct analysis and facilitate information sharing, assisting law enforcement and homeland security partners in preventing, protecting against, and responding to crime and terrorism.
The literature promoting the acceptance of fusion centers lists several ways the new federal agency will impose its will on the formerly autonomous and accountable police chief or county sheriff.
Last year, The New American described the likely procedure:
First, the feds will decide where and when to deploy local police department personnel. The chief, if he still exists, will be no more than a functionary required to make sure that the orders of the federal government are carried out. More likely than not, these new missions, in addition to preventing crime in the city or county, will engage in the collection of information about and apprehension of those local citizens identified by a committee in Washington as posing a threat to national security. Consider the revelation in 2009 that Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis released a document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalism and Recruitment,” which listed war veterans, anti-abortion activists, small-government advocates, and those concerned about immigration as terrorist risks.
Second, DHS (or whichever one of the federal agencies eventually takes over law-enforcement duties) will train new recruits. Policies, procedures, and purposes will not reflect traditional (and constitutional) goals of law enforcement, but will be tailored to training officers to perform those duties associated with the new, national emphasis of the force, with a slant toward federalism.
Finally, funds for this conversion from local police department to outpost of the federal law-enforcement agency will be provided by the bureaucrats on Capitol Hill. This carrot will be tied to the stick of federal control.
The speed and success of the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to string together a powerful net of surveillance-focused fusion centers in all the country’s police departments is evident in the following statement at the Homeland Security Policy Institute’s meeting made by Thomas Kirk, director of the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center:
“In all law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “Most of the time when I call another fusion center director, they know my voice.”
Photo of Fusion Center in Virginia from 2007: AP Images
Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels frequently nationwide speaking on topics of nullification, the NDAA, and the surveillance state. He is the host of The New American Review radio show that is simulcast on YouTube every Monday. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org