Tuesday, July 10, 2007

US anti-terrorism spending not necessarily effective

GCN has an article today titled "CRS: Mission creep at fusion centers" which describes "state intelligence fusion centers" which are intended to "fuse federal, state and local intelligence against terrorism." Unfortunately, apparently the money being spent on this is not being used for the intended purpose. Surprise, surprise!

The article is based on the findings of a report by the Congressional Research Service which concludes that "Antiterrorism information-sharing and analysis is taking a back seat to criminal intelligence at the more than 40 state intelligence fusion centers"..."
While many of the centers have prevention of attacks as a high priority, little ‘true fusion,’ or analysis of disparate data sources, identification of intelligence gaps and pro-active collection of intelligence against those gaps, which could contribute to prevention, is occurring”...according to the report.

While I think that the concept envisioned by these centers is good, we shouldn't be spending the money if the desired function of the program is not being met. It makes sense that local agencies would tend to focus more on domestic crime, as that is what they have to deal with on a day to day basis, but at the same time I can see where local law enforcement agencies have seen this as an opportunity to exploit the federal budget for local issues. So I say the program should be canned.

It reminds me of some of the absurd projects that money was spent on in the first couple of years after 9-11. At our local airport, there used to be a small parking lot where one could come and watch airplanes land and take off. That was closed off with concrete barriers and fencing. Well, about fifty feet away was a parking lot for a city golf course that had been developed next to the airport. If someone wanted to launch a shoulder fired missile at an airliner, the golf course parking lot would have worked just as well as the now-closed viewing lot. So a bunch of money was wasted on a knee-jerk idea...

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