Exposing Domestic Intelligence “Fusion Centers” in Michigan
Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 1:28 pm
Our colleagues at Michigan Messenger have the latest update on the Center for Independent Media’s nationwide series on “fusion centers,” a little-scrutinized program to funnel info about “suspicious activity” from federal, state and local agencies into data centers around the country.
Messenger’s Alexa Stanard investigates Michigan’s two fusion centers and finds that their original purpose-counterterrorism-has become almost an afterthought. Since one center’s creation two years ago in East Lansing, for example, no staffers have been hired who speak Arabic, despite Michigan’s enormous population of Arabic speakers.
So what are the Lansing center’s greatest accomplishments? A spokesperson trumpeted a recent apprehension in an identity-theft case and pointed to a local slowdown in meth production.
“[The fusion center program] has nothing to do with gathering information on terrorism,” one local critic of the program said. “It has to do with gathering all police information in one place.”
Michigan’s other fusion center, founded earlier this year in Detroit, is so mysterious that no one Stanard interviewed, including government sources, knew anything of its operations.
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