Senators forced to defend 'fusion centers' role in sharing of intelligence
WASHINGTON — Stinging criticism from Congress about a counterterrorism effort that improperly collected information about innocent Americans is turning up the heat on the Obama administration to justify the program's continued existence and putting lawmakers who championed it on the defensive.
The administration strongly disagrees with the report's findings, and leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee are distancing themselves from the report. The review criticized the multibillion-dollar network of “fusion centers” as ineffective in fighting terrorism and risky to civil liberties.
The political maneuvering by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, is unusual because the bipartisan report was issued by their own subcommittee.
The intelligence reports reviewed by the subcommittee were produced by officials in the Homeland Security Department's Intelligence and Analysis division, which was created after the Sept. 11 attacks with the hope of connecting the dots to prevent the next terrorist strike. This division has never lived up to what Congress initially hoped for.
Lieberman and Collins were the driving forces behind the creation of the department. Fusion centers, the analytical centers intended to spot terrorism trends in every state, are held up by many as the crown jewel of the department's security efforts.
“I strongly disagree with the report's core assertion that fusion centers have been unable to meaningfully contribute to federal counterterrorism efforts,” Lieberman said in a statement Wednesday, singling out six “shortcomings” in the report. Collins issued a separate statement that listed four shortcomings.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Iraqi troops lack ‘will to fight,’ Secretary of Defense Carter says
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Navy divers to salvage remains of Confederate warship in Georgia
- Exhibit reproduces painter Frida Kahlo’s inspiration
- Florida mother who refused circumcision for son, 4, freed
- Chicago inmate eats screws, needles, amasses $1M medical tab
- Yellowstone injuries: Slips, falls outpace bear maulings
- Rare sighting of bird thrills watchers in Kansas
- Housing authority officer shot dead in New Orleans
- Protester leaves Shell ship north of Seattle; 1 remains
- After bruising safety crisis, U.S. car watchdog shows its bite