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Anti-terrorism fusions centers aren't... fusing

USA Today has an interesting story about so-called fusion centers headlined, State-run sites not effective vs. terror.

Here is how Slate.com's Today's Papers synopsized it:

USA Today leads with a report by the Congressional Research Service that found most of the "high-tech intelligence centers" that were set up in states after 9/11 have not proved to be a valuable tool in the fight against terrorism…

Homeland Security gave $380 million to set up "fusion centers" in states so it'd be easier for officials from different agencies at the federal and local levels to share information and allow officials to connect the dots to prevent attacks. But, in reality, most of the 42 centers across the country have lost their terrorism focus and instead work on helping to solve general crimes as well assist during local emergencies. Although some centers are working well, federal officials are often reluctant to share information with local officers, who often don't have the necessary resources to operate the centers effectively.

Is this really surprising?

It was interesting because there was a good model for this: the Y2K center that John Koskinen established for Y2K. It brought all the relevant parties together in one place, created a communication plan, and involved both public and private sector entities as well as state and local organizations. Unfortunately, in a horribly short-sighted move, the Clinton administration decided to disband the whole thing post-Y2K. It could have been a real model for precisely what these fusion centers are trying to do today.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jul 24, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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