All but two of the nation’s 43 “fusion centers,” information-sharing offices set up after 9/11 to help uncover terrorist activity, have been distracted by local crime and other distinctly non-terrorist intrigue, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by the Associated Press. The problem, like so many facing our nation, apparently stems from the lack of funding and oversight by the Bush administration.
To top it all off, administration officials have argued that the centers’ chaotic approach to information sharing (as in the opposite of what they’re supposed to accomplish) is actually good for America. Right.
AP via Google:
WASHINGTON (AP)—Local intelligence-sharing centers set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have had their anti-terrorism mission diluted by a focus on run-of-the-mill street crime and hazards such as hurricanes, a government report concludes.
Of the 43 “fusion centers” already established, only two focus exclusively on preventing terrorism, the Government Accountability Office found in a national survey obtained by The Associated Press. Center directors complain they were hampered by lack of guidance from Washington and were flooded by often redundant information from multiple computer systems.
Administration officials defended the centers and said encompassing all sorts of crimes in the intelligence dragnet is the best way to catch terrorists.