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.”
The investigators reviewed 610 reports produced by the centers over 13 months in 2009 and 2010. Of these, the report said, 188 were never published for use within the Homeland Security Department or other intelligence agencies. Hundreds of draft reports sat for months, awaiting review by homeland security officials, making much of their information obsolete. And some of the reports appeared to be based on previously published information or facts that had long since been reported through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Congressional investigators also found that the reports were often derided by homeland security analysts who reviewed the work. “I see nothing to be gained by releasing this report,” one analyst wrote repeatedly on several draft reports. . .