Trending
MOST READ
Skin Deeper: Scarlett Johansson as predator in ‘Under the Skin’

Skin Deeper: Scarlett Johansson as predator in ‘Under the Skin’

Screens: One of the first images in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin is a tiny white dot at the center of a black screen. At what are we looking? An eclipse? The sun... By David Riedel 4/16/2014
Best Bar Trivia Night

Best Bar Trivia Night

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Alamo Colleges Barely Passed Its Own Accountability Test

Alamo Colleges Barely Passed Its Own Accountability Test

News: After months of passionate protest, petitions and public forums, faculty, students and administration of the five Alamo Community Colleges let out... By Mary Tuma 4/16/2014
SA’s Shadiest (in a good way) Parks

SA’s Shadiest (in a good way) Parks

City Guide 2014: For anyone in charge of a child or two, knowing where to find the nearest playground is information as essential as the numbers for poison control and your pediatrician... By Joy-Marie Scott 2/24/2014
There’s plenty to celebrate on the Old 97\'s 20th birthday

There’s plenty to celebrate on the Old 97's 20th birthday

Music: Back in the 1990s, when major labels would still propose multi-album deals to relative unknowns, Rhett Miller and the Old 97's sat in the offices... By Callie Enlow 4/16/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Newsmonger

Newsmonger: State rejects GEO's bid for psych hospital, Fusion Centers under fire, Ethics probe heads to hearing

Photo: , License: N/A


The GEO Care would have saved the state an estimated $3.4 million, largely through layoffs and reduced benefits for GEO staff. The company also planned to cut spending on patient medical care and client services, according to the proposal.

Fusion Centers under fire

One of the country's largest post-9/11 domestic counterterrorism efforts is essentially a failure, a Congressional investigation found last week.

The analysis out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on investigations reviewed a year's worth of reports out of the country's 77 so-called "Fusion Centers," regional intelligence-gathering partnerships between state, local, and the Department of Homeland Security officials bolstered by federal cash. The report states these fusion centers "forwarded 'intelligence' of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism."

Texas has more of these fusion centers than any other state, six in total, including the Austin Regional Intelligence Center and San Antonio's newly-minted Southwest Texas Fusion Center. Exactly how much the feds have dumped into these counter-terrorism intelligence-gathering partnerships is unclear. DHS figures peg spending somewhere between $289 million and $1.4 billion in support of state and local fusion centers since 2003, broad estimates that differ by over $1 billion.

Last month, the nonpartisan Constitution Project issued its own report warning the intelligence-gathering centers provide little bang for the buck while encouraging the unwarranted harassment of First-Amendment protected activities. One example being a February 2009 "Prevention Awareness Bulletin" circulated out of a North Texas fusion center describing Muslim lobbying groups as "providing an environment for terrorist organizations to flourish." The bulletin warned that "the threats to Texas are significant" and called for law enforcement officers to report on activities like Muslim "hip hop fashion boutiques, hip hop bands, use of online social networks, video sharing networks, chat forums and blogs." The Constitution Project went on to warn "the definitions of suspicious behavior used by federal government and police forces are wide-ranging and include behavior that may be completely innocuous."

DHS officials often "overstated fusion centers' 'success stories,'" according to the Congressional report.

While Congressional investigators couldn't find evidence that any fusion center had uncovered or disrupted an active terrorist plot, they instead found: Nearly one-third of all reports generated were never circulated because "they lacked any useful information, or potentially violated department guidelines meant to protect Americans' civil liberties or Privacy Act protections."

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus