More feds working state ‘fusion’ centers for conventions

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.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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