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Domestic Surveillance Rise of the Fusion Centers

Alex Constantine - October 22, 2007

Allen 2005 - Domestic SurveillanceThe CIA's Charles E. Allen

Mr. Charles Allen is the Assistant Secretary for the Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis reporting directly to Secretary Chertoff. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating with the Intelligence Community and providing guidance on Homeland Security specific issues.

Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Allen served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection since June 1998. In this capacity, he was responsible for Intelligence Community collection and requirements management and reported to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI) for Community Management. Mr. Allen also chaired the National Intelligence Collection Board, which ensured that collection was integrated and coordinated across the Intelligence Community.

A native of North Carolina, Mr. Allen served in the CIA since 1958, holding a variety of positions of increasing responsibility both in analytic and managerial capacities. From 1974-1977, he served overseas in an intelligence liaison capacity and from 1977-1980 held management positions in the Directorate of Intelligence. From 1980 to November 1982, he served as a program manager of a major classified project, reporting to DDCI's Carlucci, Inman, and McMahon, respectively.

In December 1982, Mr. Allen was detailed to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, where he held a senior position in strategic mobilization planning. In 1985, Director Casey asked Mr. Allen to return to CIA in the capacity of a National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for Counterterrorism. In February 1986, he also was appointed Chief of Intelligence in CIA's newly established Counterterrorist Center. As NIO for Counterterrorism, he represented the DCI in a number of interagency committees, including the chairing of the Interagency Intelligence committee on Terrorism, and serving as a member of the Interdepartmental Group on Terrorism (IG/T) and the National Security Council’s Terrorist Incident Working Group. Following this assignment, Mr. Allen served as the NIO for Warning from 1988 to 1994. In this capacity, he was the principal adviser to the DCI on national-level warning intelligence and chaired the Intelligence Community's Warning Committee.

Mr. Allen was awarded the National Intelligence Medal for Achievement in 1983 by DCI Casey and the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service in 1986 by President Reagan. In 1991, he was presented the CIA Commendation Medal for provision of warning intelligence in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In October 2005, CIA Director Goss awarded Mr. Allen the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest and most coveted award. In addition, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Negroponte awarded Mr. Allen the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in October 2005.

Mr. Allen completed a Bachelor’s degree as well as graduate studies from the University of North Carolina. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College.

ACLU Skeptical of Information Sharing at Fusion Centers
Upcoming Report on Fusion Centers to be Released by the ACLU


Contact: media@dcaclu.org

Washington, DC –The American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern about fusion centers today. Fusion centers are federal, state, local and regional units, designed to improve the sharing of anti-terrorism intelligence among different branches of state, local and federal governments. Wary of potential privacy risks, the ACLU will soon be releasing a report on the 42 fusion centers that have opened in the United States.

"When the government collects and stores data on citizens it must abide by strict privacy guidelines," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "The public has a fundamental right to know what information the government is collecting about them, how that information is gathered, who has access to it and how it is being used. Effectively sharing information among police agencies is a laudable goal, but when the information being collected includes the intimate personal details of the lives of innocent Americans then there must be safeguards."

The ACLU’s concerns include the participation of non-law enforcement agencies, private sector entities, national guardsmen and even active-duty military officials in some fusion centers. This mass collaboration gives rise to even more significant concerns about the roles these parties play in the collection and analysis of the private information concerning Americans.

Not all fusion centers are engaging in improper intelligence activities and not all fusion center operations raise privacy concerns but, given that some do, the lack of a legal framework to regulate their activities is troublesome. The ACLU does not intend to criticize any particular fusion center, but rather ask that the public be provided with basic information about what fusion centers do so there can be more informed questions regarding the intelligence collection activities taking place in their communities. ACLU affiliates have been contacted by the Department of Homeland Security for their input into keeping fusion centers in line with the Constitution.

"We’ve been encouraged by DHS’s attempts to reach out to us," said Michael German, ACLU National Security Policy Counsel. "Because of the amount of personal information available to these centers and the parties being given access to that information, federal, state and local governments are obligated to ensure that they are accountable to the public, and are following both the letter and the spirit of the law."


Concerns about Nebraska Fusion Center on NET Radio Friday, Oct. 26

Tune in to NET Radio Friday, Oct. 26, at 6:33 and 8:33 a.m. CT during "Morning Edition" for a special feature about a new initiative that has some Nebraska sectors concerned about civil liberties.

Nebraska is in the process of spending more than 1.5 million dollars from the federal Department of Homeland Security to start a project called a Fusion Center. The idea is to coordinate data, information and intelligence from federal, state and local agencies, as well as private industry, to fight crime and terrorism. Promoted as a way to coordinate security efforts, Fusion Centers already exist in 44 other states.

A Congressional study says that beyond the efficiencies Fusion Centers may achieve, they have also sparked concerns about privacy, civil liberties and domestic intelligence gathering. NET Radio reporter Fred Knapp interviews Capt. Chuck Phillips of the Nebraska State Patrol, who's coordinating the creation of the Nebraska Fusion Center. He also talks with Laurel Marsh, executive director of ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Nebraska.

An audio link to the story will be on NET Radio's Web site (www.netNebraska.org/radio and click on Nebraska News) the day of the broadcast. All that is needed to listen to the report is access to the Internet and a free RealPlayer program.


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  1. These centers are the essential building blocks for the new dictatorship in the US. In guatemala, the deathlists that killed off 200,000 people were built with the “help” of israeli military police software and technical assistance. Reagan used israel because he was prohibited by US law from directly murdering off the peoples in the way of “progress”. In 1985, a spy network using police dept’s in the US spied on a number of people and groups in cooperation with the apartheid south african government and the israelis. Israel was only too happy to sell the nazi south africans nuclear weapons in the middle 70’s. Ain’t dead yet. . .

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