Billions of dollars have been poured into a surveillance and information-sharing network connecting the Department of Homeland Security with state and local law enforcement, nothing resembling a domestic threat has been uncovered. The New York Times reports:
One of the nation’s biggest domestic counterterrorism programs has failed to provide virtually any useful intelligence, according to Congressional investigators.
Their scathing report, to be released Wednesday, looked at problems in regional intelligence-gathering offices known as “fusion centers” that are financed by the Department of Homeland Security and created jointly with state and local law enforcement agencies.
The report found that the centers “forwarded 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.”
More broadly, the flaws uncovered by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations raise questions about the role of the Department of Homeland Security in the nation’s fight against terrorism, and whether the department can ever live up to its original purpose of “connecting the dots” to prevent another surprise like the Sept. 11 attacks.