For more information contact:
Ben Bawden: 202-257-4173
Meredith Ward: 703-647-7211
RESPONSE TO THE SENATE PSI REPORT
International Association of Chiefs of Police - National Sheriffs Association - Major Cities Chiefs - Major County Sheriffs Association - National Governors Association Homeland Security Advisors Council - National Narcotics Officers Coalitions Association - National Fusion Center Association - Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
The nation's law enforcement and state leaders strongly disagree with the recently released report titled Federal Support for and Involvement in State and Local Fusion Centers. Simply put, the report displays a fundamental disconnect and severe misunderstanding of the federal government's role in supporting state and locally owned and operated fusion centers and the critical role that fusion centers play in the national counterterrorism effort.
Even more alarming is the fact that the report misrepresents the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which called for increased information and intelligence sharing between and among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Importantly, the report does not address the significant benefits that fusion centers provide to state, local and tribal law enforcement. Additionally, the report incorrectly asserts that a majority of the information or intelligence released by fusion centers is untimely, inaccurate and of little use. This assertion is false.
· Fusion centers play a critical role in receiving, vetting and analyzing tips, leads and suspicious activity reporting. This is accomplished through the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative, which has reported that over 1,000 FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) investigations have been opened to date based on SARs reported through the national network of fusion centers.
· In addition, the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) reports that in a three-month period ending in August, 2012 there were 214 cases of actionable or investigative intelligence developed and 60 new service request numbers generated through information provided to the TSC by fusion centers.
These are concrete - and recent - facts that demonstrate the value of the fusion centers to national counterterrorism efforts
Over the past decade, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, working in concert with their federal partners, have made great strides in building an effective information and intelligence sharing network. Significantly, in developing this capability, fusion centers have strived to protect the privacy and civil liberties of all citizens-which is why all fusion centers have adopted strict privacy policies and guidelines which govern their daily operations.
One of the greatest benefits of fusion centers to state, local and tribal law enforcement is the ability to maintain an all crimes approach. The law enforcement and intelligence communities rely on fusion centers to provide information and fusion centers rely on state, local and tribal law enforcement to provide information-both to the benefit of connecting the dots of high crime areas and indications of terrorism related activity.
The 800,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement officers in this country are on the front lines of fighting not only crime, but also terrorism. Indeed, homeland security is in fact hometown security. Many of these officers and their agencies are active participants in fusion centers and benefit daily from information gained from and given to fusion centers.
If we are to continue to effectively fight terrorism and violent crime, we must continue to enhance fusion centers instead of attempting to discredit them.
The nation's law enforcement community fully supports fusion centers and will continue to support additional training, technical assistance, technology and funding for fusion centers. We will also continue to support the thousands of fusion center personnel who work side by side with state, local and tribal law enforcement to assess threats and share information.
The citizens that state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies are sworn to protect expect that we do just that: protect them. Fusion centers are in integral part of that mission and one that must continue.