TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

over NYPD’s practice of stationing detectives abroad to collect intelligence. 298On the other hand, the Department of Justice’s requirement that NYPD mustreceive federal pre-approval before applying for electronic surveillance warrantsin terrorism-related cases has often led to conflict over the speed withwhich New York’s requests are handled. 299Fusion CentersFusion Centers, located across the country and run by local officials, are intelligenceanalysis centers that facilitate the dissemination of counterterrorisminformation among local, state and federal officials. The federal governmentprovides funding to these centers, largely through DHS’s State Homeland SecurityGrant Program and its Urban Area Security Initiative. 300Currently, 72 fusion centers operate in all 50 states, and are located in every majorUS city. 301 At least 16 of these state fusion centers are co-located with a JTTFor FBI field office. Though both DHS and FBI provide personnel to the centers,they are managed by, and operate under, the legal authority of local governmentagencies, including state police agencies or bureaus of investigation. 302Fusion centers, however, are occasionally controversial organizations. TheAmerican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other privacy watchdog groupshave criticized the manner in which fusion centers disseminate and retain confidentialinformation. 303 Still, a Congressional Research Service review found thesuggestion that fusion centers have access to vast amounts of private data “largelyunfounded.” 304 Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) later noted that whenshe met with the authors of the ACLU report, they were unable to cite a singlespecific instance when a fusion center violated a US citizen’s civil liberties. 305Fusion centers have also been called redundant—that is, some allege thatthey merely duplicate the work of JTTFs. 306 A recent study found that fusioncenters have played a greater role in disseminating data among local policedepartments than in serving their primary purpose as a focal point for accumulatinginformation. 307 Despite criticisms, federal support for fusion centersis now required pursuant to a Congressional mandate, and DHS intends toexpand state fusion centers. 308108 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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