The Department of Homeland Security is providing a boost to local intelligence operations during political conventions, sending in federal reinforcements to state “fusion” centers for on-site support and communications with department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
According to a statement issued by the department on Friday, Aug. 22, shortly before the Democratic National Convention started in Denver, the agency’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis disclosed that it would be “providing additional on-site analyst support” during the convention to the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC), a state fusion center that works to facilitate intelligence sharing of “suspicious activities” between local, federal and military law enforcement officials.
Civil liberties advocates have criticized fusion centers for holding data reports about incidents or individuals for indefinite periods of time, noting that reports of “suspicious activities” could include writing notes, taking pictures of certain places or peacefully protesting.
Right now during the Republican National Convention, the department has reinforcements working at the state’s own fusion center, called the Minnesota Joint Analysis Center.
Although it was known that both fusion centers had federal liaisons with the department, it was not known how or if the feds would be increasing their presence in the centers.
Now there’s an answer from homeland security:
From headquarters in Washington, [Intelligence and Analysis] will provide a reach-back capability for the two fusion centers in Denver and Minneapolis and ensure the timely sharing of any threat information, intelligence, and operational information pertinent to the security of the conventions with all involved elements.