Fusion Centers give Me the Creeps

Over the past week I have read a few blog posts that have included information about Fusion Centers. The concerns seem to stem from a Fox News article that created an uproar when it reported:

"If you're an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or a certain Republican member of Congress, if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group."
The article told about Fusion Centers that

"were created by the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to collect local intelligence that authorities can use to combat terrorism and related criminal activities. More than $254 million from fiscal years 2004-2007 went to state and local governments to support the fusion centers, according to the DHS Web site."
In 2007 the American Civil Liberties Union complained saying:

"These new fusion centers, over 40 of which have been established around the country, raise very serious privacy issues at a time when new technology, government powers and zeal in the "war on terrorism" are combining to threaten Americans' privacy at an unprecedented level."
I think that President Bush opened a can of worms with the Patriot Act and these other forms of domestic spying. The Fox News and the ACLU articles bring up very important questions about the role of our government in our private lives. I agree with this ACLU recommendation:

New institutions like fusion centers must be planned in a public, open manner, and their implications for privacy and other key values carefully thought out and debated. And like any powerful institution in a democracy, they must be constructed in a carefully bounded and limited manner with sufficient checks and balances to prevent abuse.
I was sad to read that the new fusion centers have not conformed to these vital requirements. I am not a paranoid person but this stuff gives me the creeps.

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