Report Condemns Ineffectiveness of Fusion Centers


The United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released today the culmination of its two-year investigation on fusion centers and the counterterrorism intelligence these provided in a report entitled, Federal Support for and Involvement in State and Local Fusion Centers. During this time, the Subcommittee reviewed over 80,000 pages of documents, including intelligence reports, grant applications, and other resources, and conducted numerous surveys and interviews.

The report estimates that approximately $289 million to $1.4 billion in federal funds were spent on fusion centers and their activities between 2003 and 2011. The press release accompanying the report states, “The investigation raises questions about the value this amount of funding and the nation’s more than 70 fusion centers are providing to federal counterterrorism efforts:

• 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.”

Ultimately, “[w]ith a $16 trillion national debt and $1 trillion annual deficit, Congress has a duty to the American people to ensure that every dollar we are spending – particularly those spent on national priorities like counterterrorism – is spent wisely and effectively.”

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